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« on: December 09, 2011, 09:57:33 AM »
Akpabio: A toast to the uncommon transformer at 49
By Anietie John Ukpe
Friday December 09, 2011
• Akpabio

In the epic Paradise Lost, John Milton tells the story of Satan’s rebellion against God and how he and his co-rebel angels were thrown down to earth. He narrates in pulsating verse how Satan tempted man and caused man to lose his Paradise. In one seamless piece of classical poetry, Milton states, “Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit/ Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste/ Brought death into the world, and all our woe.”

Paradise Lost is an epic of the very first order: vast and complex in scope, potent in its rendition, evocative in its rhetoric, rich in imagery, complex in plots which craft the first couple’s perfect and divine estate, before the fall. It is a gripping tale, which intensifies the biblical theme of man’s downfall in the first Paradise.

 The sequel to this epic is Paradise Regained, by the same author. Having chronicled man’s fall, he decides to cast his searchlight on Jesus Christ and show how Paradise was regained for all mankind. He states in compelling and clear terms how Christ by overcoming the temptation of Satan, restored to man the glory of Paradise.

 Hear him:
 Who e’re while the happy Garden sung,
 By one man’s disobedience lost, now sing
 Recover’d Paradise to all mankind,
 By one mans firm obedience fully tri’d
 Through all temptation, and the Tempter foil’d
 In all his wiles, defeated and repuls’t,

 And Eden rais’d in the wast Wilderness.
 The author and celebrated poet, John Milton, shares the same birthday as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio. He was born on December 9, 1608 in London. Governor Akpabio was born on December 9, 1962 at Ukana Ikot Ntuen, Essien Udim local government area. Unto the Akpabio family a son was born, and unto Akwa Ibom State a Governor was given. His story shall read like “Akwa Ibom Regained” (if you prefer, “Earthly Paradise Regained”).

 From the cradle to when he would emerge Governor, providence programmed him for leadership and impact. Why was he named Godswill? Because his parents hoped that through him God’s will shall be done in their lives.
 But the plan of God for him was larger than his immediate family. He was to bring God’s will to a state conceived in hope and nurtured in faith. A state named after God – Akwa Abasi Ibom State (literally, State of the Almighty God).
 The story of Paradise Lost could be said to be the story of Akwa Ibom on a different scale. A story of a people who dreamt of, and received, a Paradise when the state was created, and who went wild with hopeful celebration. “When God turned again our captivity we were like those who dream,” an Akwa Ibom man enthused about the creation of the state.

 But that Paradise was almost lost because some Akwa Ibom people tasted the forbidden fruit of ethnicity and tribalism. Consequently, the rest of the people left the Paradise and staggered through the years with motion without movement and had little to show for the promises, which defined Akwa Ibom state as the Land of Promise.
 But “Paradise Regained” is also the story of Akwa Ibom State. It is the story of how God’s will was done in 2007 and done again in 2011.

 It is the story of how one man’s refusal to bow to the Devil of tribalism has led to great unity, growth and development in Akwa Ibom State. It is the story of Paradise regained in uncommon transformation. It is the story of Paradise regained in free and compulsory education, free treatment for the aged, infants and pregnant women. Paradise regained in the completion of the Ibom International Airport, the completion of the first phase of the Ibom Power Plant, the e-Library (the first of its kind in West Africa), the pipe-jacking drainage technology (the first of its kind in Africa), the Ibom Gas Plant, the concentric flyovers in Uyo, Tropicana Entertainment Centre, over 3,000 inter-ministerial projects… the list goes on.

 But this is not only about the regaining of Paradise, it is about the fulfilment of truths. Governor Godswill Akpabio’s life holds abundant proof of the truthfulness in the scripture “seeth thou a man diligent in his work, he shall stand before kings,” and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s assertion that “if a man can write a better book than his neighbor or preach a better sermon, or make a better mouse trap, even if he lives in the woods the world would make a beaten path to his door.” He has done so much that he is now a hunted man.

 The world stalks and hunts him with honors. The honors come so fast, and though most are politely turned down, you still need to update his resume almost fortnightly. A sampler of some of them: Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), Doctor of Management Science, Honoris Causa, Nigeria Defence Academy; Doctor of Law, Honoris Causa, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Doctor of Law, Honoris Causa, University of Calabar, Calabar. Doctor of Law, Honoris Causa, University of Uyo, Uyo. Doctor of Public Administration, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

 Honourary Fellow; Nigeria Society of Engineers 2010 (Only fourteen non-engineers have so far been so honoured in Nigeria). Fellow, Kazaure Polytechnic, Kazaure; Fellow of the Yaba College of Technology, Yaba; Fellow of the College of Education, Bichi, and  a host of others. Best Governor in Nigeria and Outstanding Human Brand 2010:
 BillboardWorld. Man of the Year 2010: National Daily Newspaper. Governor of the Year 2010: Nigerian Tribune. Award of Excellence for Outstanding Performance 2010: Nigeria Union of Journalists. Nigeria’s Emerging Tiger 2009: Thisday Newspapers. Man of the Year 2009: Daily Independent Newspapers. Man of the Year 2009: National Daily Newspaper. 2008 Most Outstanding Governor in Nigeria (South South): National Daily Newspaper. Governor of the Year (South South): City People Magazine. Best Governor Infrastructure 2009: Encomium Magazine.

 Best Governor (South South): Encomium Magazine. Excellency Award as Best Governor South South 2009: Global Excellence Magazine; Nehemiah Award of  the African Church and several other honours from other churches. He is the recipient of over 30 chieftaincy titles. These include the Uko Akwa Ibom (awarded to him by the Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs), Utuenikang Ibibio, Iberedem Ibibio, Nta Nta Offiong Annang, Atta of Eket and the Nta Nta Oro, to mention just a few. It is notabe that Governor Akpabio was mentioned in Wikileaks. But unlike others who received negative mention, his mention was, to our national pride, for the right reasons. Wikileaks quoted American diplomatic correspondence  as saying that Akwa Ibom, under him, was one of the fastest growing states in infrastructure development in Nigeria, and should be watched.

 An alumnus of the University of Calabar, where he graduated in Law and was Speaker of the Student’s Parliament. Says Joe Iniodu, who was in the school at the time, “His election as speaker was accepted by everybody because he had sufficient and robust goodwill.” He paid his dues in legal practice and rose to become the General Manager of Emis Telecom. He served as an Honorourable Commissioner in key ministries. He is the people’s Governor and a man of his word - the promise keeper (that is what Akwa Ibom people call him).

 He is all these and more, and he is worthy of a toast on this his 49th Birthday. Hip! Hip!! Hip!!! Hurray!!! Forty-nine Gbosas! to a Governor who is first among equals!”

 *Ukpe is Chief Press Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State governor


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« on: December 09, 2011, 09:57:33 AM »

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