The Evangelist News Edition, May 1, 2023. By Tony Udoh
One of the most applauded democratic philosophies of Socrates,
the Greek philosopher known as the father of Western Philosophy, is that “the secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.”
Every four or eight years as applicable within the Nigerian system, citizens at different levels are presented with opportunities for a fresh start and socio -political change through the election and appointment of new leaders.
In most states, including our Land of Promise, Akwa Ibom State, where second term for most elective offices, especially the governor has become more or less a tradition, the citizens have such opportunity for a fresh start every eight years, just as it is the case in the state today.
Cognizant of this fresh opportunity for the state, the followers especially, analysts, critics, and even supporters among others have rightly expressed their desires and expectations for the soon -to-be inaugurated administration.
While these expectations are absolutely in order, it is important to state that the Governor-elect, Pastor Umo Eno is well prepared and equipped to hit the ground running; having traversed all the local government areas in the state on consultation visits and campaign rallies.
Similarly, Pastor Umo Eno had also went further to conduct needs assessment of all the communities in the state and has first hand information on most of the challenges and needs of all the local government areas in the state.
As prove of his preparedness, these needs, arears of concern and focus of the next administration have been reduced to an economic development blueprint code named “ARISE Agenda” with major components including; Agricultural revolution, Rural development, Infrastructural development, Security management, and Educational Advancement.
However, while so much is expected from the government and its leaders, it is observed that no one among the followers has actually bothered to think of what he/she could do or bring on board to help actualize the ARISE Agenda which is aimed at engendering a new Akwa Ibom.
This seeming social imbalance ostensibly inspired the 35th President of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy during his inaugural address on January 20, 1961 to say, “and so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
This could be paraphrased to read, “and so my fellow AkwaIbomites, ask not only what your Governor-Elect, Pastor Umo Eno will do for you, but ask what you can do to help further the burning determination by the Governor-Elect to maintain the peace and security, further development, and birth a new Akwa Ibom.”
Though it might be natural as Lawrence Suda of Palatine Group observes that from childhood, our focus has been on being a leader and has directed attention away from the importance of following. Yet no project, government or organized effort can succeed or be sustained without followers.
He defined followership as the willingness to cooperate in working towards the accomplishment of the mission, to demonstrate a high degree of teamwork and to build cohesion among the organization members, stressing that effective followership is an essential building block to effective leadership.
Using the military high command as illustration, Suda noted that without good followers, the army could not accomplish their strategic military goals. Neither could a sports team win games if everyone decided to be the coach. Each person plays a vital role. The contribution of all followers, who may have different skill sets, to high-performing sports, military or project teams is irrefutable. High-quality work cannot get done without good followers.
Specifically, Pastor Umo Eno has promised to develop tourism, agriculture, develop the rural areas, encourage entreprenureship, invest in science and technology, upgrade primary health care service, build international markets, explore the natural resources in the sea and to turn the coastline to gold mine among others. These are key areas where the followers should think and fashion ways to further the ideas and make them achievable with a possibility orientation as the new government takes off in a few week.
It is a fact that the non performance by some governors, political office holders and leaders generally have created negative impressions and caused prejudices against succeeding leaders. But it is important to note that prejudice according to Maya Angelou, an American memoirist, popular poet, and civil rights activist, is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible,
Therefore, in the words of Richie Norton, an award-winning, bestselling author and entrepreneur, “every sunset is an opportunity to reset. Every sunrise begins with new eyes.” It is important to align with Pastor Umo Eno’s sunrise and the ARISE Agenda by pressing the reset button to begin the next chapter without any form of bias.