PDP: Before and after Ini Ememobong - By Osondu Ahirika - Paul Ukpabio's Blog


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Tuesday, 25 August 2020

PDP: Before and after Ini Ememobong - By Osondu Ahirika

Appointed to serve deservedly as Honourable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Akwa Ibom State, Comrade Ini Ememobong will be sorely missed by the Peoples Democratic Party where, hitherto, he held sway as State Publicity Secretary of the Party.

He may have moved on to higher office, but we must do justice by evaluating his scorecard and not letting history deny him his right of place.

Until his advent as Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Akwa Ibom State Chapter, we all thought mindless propaganda, hate speech, war mongering, serial lying, scare crowing, blackmail and public manipulation were ideals of Political Party administration. 

Today we know better, that, public enlightenment, sensitization and education, integrity, mass mobilization, entertainment, spreading love, charity, people empowerment, Human capacity development,  bipartisan engagement and constructive criticism add value to the concept of Political Party Administration.

 All thanks to Comrade Ememobong for the awakening. He has changed the narrative and course of history with stunning paradigm shifts.
Before he came on board as the GDP Publicity Secretariats helmsman, the Party was flat footed, embattled, rattled and her very survival in the State was in doubt. I had cause to write a piece first published on January 13, 2016, titled, 'Calling for Ita Awak, Ini Ememobong debate', in which I stated the obvious.

Permit that I share an excerpt from that piece. I wrote: "Until the emergence of Ini Ememobong, it seemed the PDP had no spokesman. A situation which conferred on Ita Awak a soar-away platitude of the scourge of the PDP administration past and Present in the state. Indeed, Awak's elocution, discursive and deductive quotient, made him an instant hit with the opposition.

 He soon became the single most potent weapon of mass annihilation against the PDP horde, replicating with fecund ease, the mantle of a Lai Mohammed in the state. The opposition APC, had taught the PDP, as it were, the  relevance and power of a Publicity Secretary, beyond the ceremony of holding office in the party.
Methink, this wake-up call chastised the PDP into a careful search for a competent, capable and resourceful person, to assign the role of canceling out, Awak's unchallenged arguments, allegations of misrule against the PDP and media ascendancy. Ememobong's emergence is a plus to those who did the search.

 He is a brilliant and extremely articulate activist, whose learned processes cannot be harassed or bamboozled into inconsequence.

For Awak's sophism, Ememobong's logic-chopping ability will come to fore. If Awak wrangles, Ememobong will quarrel. Where one resorts to legalism, the other will settle for rationalism. They may quibble and argue, but my consolation remains that, both spokesman are evenly scaled on dialectics, though Awak is more grey in age.

We will most certainly see propaganda from either side fizzle out as truth will irritate falsehood. Nothing can serve better, than that, Awak confronts Ememobong with all those facts and figures, he so oft dangles at us during several interviews on print, online and electronic mediums. We will like to see, either, the hypocrisy the PDP administration or the dubiousness of the APC's taunts unravel. A debate will surely accomplish that.

Having said this, I have wondered what the debate will be. In his first chat after assuming office, Ememobong promised a responsible role-play, insisting that, "they will not wrestle with pigs''. An assertion which irked the opposition in the state."

That much anticipated 'Mother of all Debates' between Engr. Awak and Ememobong never materialized. Awak left the office for others, who, up until now, have barely made an impression on the polity and Ememobong prowled and ruled the stage, but with candour and candid humanizing of Politics. How do I mean?

Comrade Ememobong channeled his boundless energy, creativity and vision into innovative ploys for the Party's good. He initiated what became the first ever Radio programme solely anchored and sponsored by the Publicity Secretariat of any political party in Nigeria called THE UMBRELLA. 

Started  October 2016, the mass mobilization, reorientation and enlightenment magazine programme with four segments, namely, Party News, The Handle, The Canopy and the Quiz became an instant hit with the masses. It happened every Saturday first at Planet FM 101.1 Uyo and later on Comfort FM 95.5 Uyo by 10am.

Thereafter, another people centered radio programme, UMBRELLA EMPOWERMENT SHOW was rolled out every Friday by 5pm on Radio Akwa Ibom 90.5 FM.  

The Umbrella Empowerment Program was in line with Governor Udom Emmanuel's agenda to get the people to rise to greatness. It featured over a hundred and thirty vocational skills including, auto mechanics, cosmetology, photography and videography, Food and nutrition etc and aimed to empower Akwa Ibom indigenes to be self-reliant.
Hundreds of youths beyond party lines were trained and benefitted from this initiative, fully sponsored by the PDP.

In what was an effort to highlight the successes and achievements of His Excellency, Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel,  the then Ini Ememobong led Publicity Secretariat introduced another radio programme in the series: THE UMBRELLA IMPACT SHOW. The programme was scheduled for Sundays, 5 to 6 pm on Inspiration FM, 105.9, Uyo

The Umbrella Impact Show, apart from highlighting the achievements of Governor Emmanuel,  took people closer to these achievements and projects by giving them the avenue to hear directly from the beneficiaries of these projects in the state.

The aim of this radio programme was to take people to all the nooks and crannies of the state where the good works and achievements of Governor Udom Emmanuel are felt. 

The programme had the Impact Corner (discussion) and the News segments, making it interactive, informative, educative and beneficial to all.

The icing on the cake for me was THE UMBRELLA BUSINESS QUEST.
The Umbrella Business Quest was geared towards assisting business minded people who have financial impediments. They came on the Show to pitch their business ideas while the listening public voted to determine winners.

The first placed winner received a prize of N250,000.00 while First runner up and second runner up received N150,000.00 and N100,000.00 respectively per season. The programme was aired on Comfort 95.1Fm by 9.00 -10.30pm on Thursdays. Indigent persons who also had a legacy of managing a business for over two decades were selected from the three senatorial districts of the State and given a handsome grant of 500, 000 Naira. The famous Eka Udoma and Emem Tailoring became outstanding beneficiaries.

For 30 Seasons, 3 Winners smiled home with these prizes. For a composite breakthrough, members of the public were invited to the first Umbrella Business Quest product exhibition which was held on the 27th and 28th of September, 2019, which was hosted at the then State Party Secretariat, 113 Edet Akpan Avenue, Uyo. 

The product exhibition provided an avenue for beneficiaries of Umbrella Business Quest to display their goods and services to the public for patronage.  That historic event was graced by the then State Party Chairman - Obong Paul Ekpo, Hon. Commissioner for Trade and Investment - Barr. Prince Akpabio, CEO of Eni Group - Mr. Ime Uwah, SSA to the Governor - Elder Ufot Ebong, Tech. Entrepreneur - Mr. Hanson Johnson, CEO of Made in Akwa Ibom Showroom - Mr. Collins Oscar and a host of others. 

The event also featured a graduation ceremony for beneficiaries of Umbrella Empowerment Show who had completed their skills acquisition training in different vocations. Ini Ememobong had built a massive entrepreneurial community that paraded youngsters like Utibe Akwa, who is doing exploits with Custard production and Odudu Papze, a notable Maker of designer shoes among others.
Beyond these, Comrade Ememobong made the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of the PDP become the first Party to roll out yearly calendars' and Diary and the only Party in Nigeria to publish it's news magazine called THE SCROLL.

Around the country, Comrade Ememobong became the Avatar of Political Party publicity, information and communication management as he strut around the major cable networks including AIT, CHANNELS TV, ARISE TV, TVC, and Radio Station's making advocacy, asking and answering questions about our Democratic evolution and became a nationwide household name, in the heat of the 'Warsaw' infested and keenly contested 2019 Governorship elections in the State.

It must not be forgotten that Comrade Ini Ememobong changed the face of Party Administration in Nigeria, because I sense that, in future, his innovations will be adopted as the new normal for/by political party's in Nigeria.

I will not end this attestation without thanking HE. Governor Udom Emmanuel for the unreserved support he gave Comrade Ememobong and his boss in the Party line, Obong Paul Ekpo whose sagacity made it possible to allow the luminous light in the youthful Ini Ememobong glow without encumbrances or feeling intimidated and outshone.

There goes Comrade Ememobong like a Colossus who humanized politics as he famously quipped and never politicized humanity. When comes such another?

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