Udoedehe, Umo Eno And The Traditional Institution

4 mins read

If you are looking for a stark difference between Senator John Udoedehe and Mr Umo Eno, just take a look at their approach to the traditional institution and how they intend to relate with it. Both candidates have visited our paramount rulers, clan heads, village heads and family heads in the course of their campaigns, but the difference is in their style and messages.

While the PDP candidate, Mr Umo Eno summoned the traditional rulers to the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Uyo, yesterday; the NNPP candidate, Senator Udoedehe visited the traditional rulers at their respective palaces in the course of his tour of all the 329 wards in the State. But that’s not where the difference ends.

In his address, Umo Eno said that the traditional institution ‘’will continue to enjoy its pride of place’’, if he’s elected. The visit, he said, was ‘’to pay homage to the traditional rulers and seek their blessings in his quest to serve the state as governor.’’ These are the usual platitudes we have heard from all the governors in the state.

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But in the case of Senator Udoedehe, he did not only seek the royal fathers’ blessings whenever he visited them, he also promised to make them an integral part of his government given their wisdom, status and influence in their various communities. The NNPP candidate plans to send an Executive Bill to the State House of Assembly in his first three months in Office to constitute the traditional institution into the Fourth Tier of Government. This tier of government would be responsible for the supervision and maintenance of government’s facilities in their respective communities like health centers, schools and markets. The royal fathers would receive subventions from the government to do their work. It is well known that most of the 2,500 primary and secondary schools in Akwa Ibom, especially those in the rural areas, are not well monitored and supervised. This leads to widespread truancy among the students and prevalent teacher absenteeism.

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This Fourth Tier will therefore work with the relevant ministries to ensure proper supervision of these facilities in their domains. They will also be responsible for the repairs and maintenance of these facilities. In other words, under Udoedehe, a broken window or a fallen ceiling in a school or an unhinged door in the health center could be fixed without the delay of waiting for approval from Uyo. In addition, they will also play a role in monitoring the activities of the 10,000-strong Community Policing Vigilante that he would set up to work with security agencies in securing our communities.

In other words, while Umo Eno is only seeking blessings from our royal fathers, only to abandon them, and return for more blessings in another four years, Senator Udoedehe is planning to use the education, wisdom and influence of the royal fathers in improving good governance and decentralizing governance to the rural folks. I should also note that most of these royal fathers are very well educated and very experienced. For example, my Paramount Ruler is a US-educated and erudite man. My Clan Head is in his early 40s and a very sound individual with two Masters degrees. My family head is a lawyer of many years.

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This is just one clear difference between Senator Udoedehe and Umo Eno in terms of policy formulation and the depth of their thoughts.

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Etim Etim
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