“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.” – Buddha
No responsible government will take delight in misleading and deceiving the citizens. This therefore makes it an awful thing of shame for government to be caught by the governed in the very act of deceit. This, in some democratic climes could lead to the impeachment or resignation of the culpable actors.
When faced with the risk of ridicule due to deceitful governance, many leaders still go neck-deep into such practices. Such unpatriotic acts should only be heard and tolerated in systems under the watch of unscrupulous persons; and not in a place like Akwa Ibom State headed by a person like Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, who, apart from being a Deacon of Qua Iboe Church, is a man whose demeanour and sangfroid poise exudes such child-like innocence capable of winning the trust of any stranger. Besides these qualities, the governor’s profile as a banker adds to his credentials as a man who should be trusted: as bankers are supposedly men of integrity. Or has this changed? Has the cloak of veracity and integrity been exchanged for that of deceit and shamelessness?
On April 13, 2016, this column ran a piece which drew the attention of the reader to the deplorable state of the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene-Aba Road, apparently neglected by the present state government. Rejoinders came in and my attention was drawn to the March 2016 edition of Superior Performance Digest, published by Crackdown news media consult for Ministry of Works, Akwa Ibom State. On page 9 of the referenced publication, a photograph captioned “Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road (Now),” and reproduced here for easy reference shocked me.
Sadly, and shamefully too, the publishers of Superior Performance Digest misled the public with that photograph. For readers who visit Ikot Ekpene, it is clear that the road shown as Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road in the publication is a misrepresentation; it is actually a portion of Abak road which was completed by the immediate past Governor of the State, Senator Godswill Akpabio. A key feature, which has given away the foisters is the Four Point by Sheraton hotel standing prominently in the photograph to the right hand side of the road, betraying the shameful act of the propagandists. How mean and despicable for government to commission such a deceitful publication, misleading the unsuspecting public.
The collaborators in this scheme of deceit must mark that they are doing more harm than good. The Akwa Ibom people and the general public cannot be cajoled and coaxed for eternity; and once the truth is discovered, the people will naturally treat them (the merchant of lies) with much indignation. Also, deceitful publications sponsored by the State Government or her agents will only help place question marks over the integrity of his Excellency, Gov Udom Emmanuel and his administration. These avoidable integrity questions can be very damaging to the trust that the governor in currently enjoying from the Akwa Ibom People.
To encourage Udom’s administration to succeed, all well-meaning persons must challenge any form of deceit that the government may attempt to market or foist on the people as truth. Small deceptions by government -. like the one challenged in this piece – when allowed to flourish, can easily aggregate into an impregnable monster capable of sinking the whole state.
Gov. Udom Emmanuel and his cabinet must understand that they can only project and market their administration successfully on foundations of truth, transparency and equity. If the administration is repeatedly caught playing smart on the citizens, the trust and faith in the administration will erode faster than they can imagine, leading to a political debacle.
The good news is that his Excellency still has a wide window of opportunity to redeem his image and repair the harm that has been done by government’s deceitful information on the Ikot Ekpene Uyo road.
This is not the time for a political spiel. The governor should take concrete steps to redeem his image and avoid the temptation of deceiving the Akwa Ibom people. Finite steps should be taken to recant the misleading publication. Further to this, all publications by government should be properly screened for any element of deception, while all untamed government propagandists should be restrained from telling lies. After all, propaganda needs not be negative; it can still be based on truth.
As a common citizen, this columnist may not compel the governor to do what is right and needful; but for certain, if his Excellency fails to demonstrate the virtues expected of him, Buddha’s message will become clear to him, and conscience will compel the people to ask: “Can we really trust Gov Udom Emmanuel?”