I am Akwa Ibom State. And I live in Uyo.
I reside in IK, Eket and Oro Nation. My house is everywhere in the Land of Promise. But since promise has tarried like Israelites on the Canaan journey, the Land of Fulfillment phrase was neologized. So, I am not sure which one is my official tag these days – Land of Promise, or of Fulfilment.
Promise has spent decades on the road and I hear he’s near; I can even see a cloud of dust in the distance. I believe he’ll get here soon. He will have matured into Fulfillment by the time he arrives my doorstep.
Although I’m only a hunk of 29, I have sired many sons, from my time in the womb of Cross River State to the years after my birth. Illustrious sons too. But I am unhappy with some of my children. My young guys. The emerging lads. I have felt this way about these fine young men for a while but I saw something recently, which stoked my worry afresh.
One morning I was doing my thing on social media (of course I’m on Facebook, check me out at Akwa Ibom Online!), when I came across a post by Prince Goldenchyld Simeon where he said, “Uyo has a great network of roads, what stops us from having a cycling race?” I had no qualms with the Prince’s post, but most of the responses my children (my young guys, the emerging lads) posted as replies made me cringe in embarrassment. Na me really born these children fa?
They were ready with uncouth sarcastic responses which were frothing with ignorance at the top, and dripping with foolishness from the bottom.
Someone said, “blah…”
Another squeaked, “blah blah…”
80% of respondents to that post bleated, “blah blah blah…”
They tried to ridicule Prince Goldenchyld Simeon’s suggestion on grounds of, “Irrelevance to the city,” “Nigeria’s present economic situation,” “Residents’ apathy,” “Keke on the streets,” “How would a cycle race ‘empower’ the average guy,” and other laughable reasons.
But I fed these children Ekpang-Nkukwo and sent them to school, why would they disgrace me so?
Initially I pretended not to suspect the reason. But soon, I told myself the truth.
Uyo is my melting pot and my most ambitious sons who live and work at home stay here. This is how most of my young men react. Why do they react this way? They react this way because they work so hard for money, that they do not take out time to think about development. They spend all their time playing politics, and they forget about leadership. I’ll link back to that Facebook post but let me take a detour, and pick up a fact along the way.
Putting it in perspective – of men resident in Uyo between the ages of 20 and 40, maybe 10% are bankers, 20% are civil servants, 10% are in private employment, 5% are entrepreneurs, 5% live off sports betting and Ponzi schemes, 10% don’t know what year it is, and the remaining 40% are politicians.
Now, there is nothing wrong with the fact that 40% of the demographic are politicians. Nothing wrong at all. The problem is the fact that the other 60% of this 100% depend heavily on politics to grow their careers and businesses. I am sad because the result of this, is the fact that I have sired, and we have raised a whole generation of politics-dependent yes men who can’t think objectively and developmentally for themselves, and by extension, me.
Every young politician’s aim is to be a Personal Assistant to someone. Every young banker wants to be friends with the Personal Assistant and his boss. And everything the government of the day does, is reported with the slant that will please Wellington Bassey way end, so the young blogger will get regular patronage from the powers that be.
So, it is a constant litany of yes, yes, yes, absolutely yes sir!
What this does is shut down their creativity, their individuality. All in return for enough money to build a house, buy a car and open a slew of those generic Uyo businesses. Shut their brains down so that they cannot notice that the excellent works previous governments achieved, like the Le Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, the beautiful Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, the other 5-star hotel at Tropicana Entertainment Centre, the Four Points by Sheraton in Ikot Ekpene, and the good roads network in Uyo could be built on by expanding infrastructure (like a NASCAR, Formula Two or even Formula One race track) to accommodate international state-sponsored tourneys in cycling (like Prince Simeon suggested), golf, soccer & athletics, and maybe tennis and Formula One invitationals too.
They don’t see that it is possible to use their politicking to collaborate with their political principals and sponsor a bill in the State House of Assembly to make sports tourism as the thrust of the state’s developmental drive, to become policy.
They don’t realize that if such a bill is passed into law, I their father, could achieve economic independence from Grand pa Federal Govt. through a massive tourist economy that would blossom.
No, they don’t. I know they don’t. I know because some of them are my friends, even here on Facebook.
Talk about a PDP or APC political rally or some mundane thing that translates to perpetuation of their (whether progressive or inept) principals, naira in their pockets, but no development to me their father, and they will run amok with approval and excitement.
There is blame to be shared by you my older ones, the entrenched political class – the ones who promote this mediocrity in younger ones by always channeling them funds in exchange for insincere sycophantic patronage. Thereby programming yes men, who won’t be fit to take up the leadership positions you presently occupy when you move on up.
Seniors, I think you should tell your juniors that such behaviour is self-destructive & counter-developmental, and that this isn’t the way you got to your exalted positions. You must do this, as it is important.
Erm, erm… Forgive me for I have lost my train of thought even though I am only a young man of 29. Dwelling on the challenges of raising unique, responsible and forward thinking children can do that to a man. I will come back to say more once I remember what I was trying to say. Meanwhile, let me take a stroll down the timeline.
Oh yes wait, thank God I remember now. I wanted to say that you older ones should tell them to stand up.
Mentally stand up.
Edorkor ammor, yak e dakka e da!
DISCLAIMER: That I only referred to young men and not women in this post is neither because I am chauvinistic nor misogynistic. It is because the average Akwa Ibom young woman is mostly preoccupied with finding a comfortable man to marry, traditional marriages, church-going, and burials. I respect all Akwa Ibom ladies nevertheless, especially those developing themselves, others, and the land by extension.
This article initially appeared on Kuby Uyanga’s Facebook page.