Umo Eno: A Shift from the Honeyed Deception of Politicians! - Paul Ukpabio's Blog


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Thursday, 12 May 2022

Umo Eno: A Shift from the Honeyed Deception of Politicians!

Uwemedimoh Umanah, PhD, ANIPR 

According to Euripides, the a Greek Tragedian, “when one with honeyed words but evil mind persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.” What the tragedian meant was that it’s high time societies deemphasized on rhetorics, than on practical and measurable reality.  

Euripides’ notion finds expression in the third world, or what is today known as the global south (Africa inclusive), where politics is being equated with deception, mendacity and zero- sum game-  which winners take all. 

It is however encouraging to know that there are few persons, such as Pastor Umo Bassey Eno, the people’s preferred successor to Governor Udom Emmanuel in 2023, and others in his genre, who who have made truth and honesty, the bedrock of their leadership endeavors. Honesty, in this connection, refers to, honor gained by action or conduct.

On the other hand, deception is  “the act of causing someone to accept as true or valid, what is false and invalid”. Cognitive Psychologists believe that lies by politicians impact voters’ behavior: lies can be used to get others to form false beliefs and garner their support, but it’s benefits is usually short lived. 

For instance, former United States President Donald Trump famously made more than 30,000 false or misleading claims during the four years of his presidency. This is an average of more than 20 a day, and his abysmal failure in the 2020 presidential election cannot be separated from this. 

Deception is also one of the sources of political violence and instability in the Nigeria . For instance, the Niger Delta insurgency, the persistent riots and conflict in the North East part of Nigeria and the prevailing poverty and inequalities, cannot be divorced from insincerity and honeyed deceptions of the political elite. 

In the buildup to the the 2023 gubernatorial election in the Akwa Ibom State, cases of aspirants who have no antecedent of accountability and honesty abound. Some of them have held political offices in the last 20 years, but have no traceable evidence of possessing genuine concern for the people they wish to lead. Epistemologically speaking, human beings are what they repeatedly do. 

One question that requires an answer is, does the number of years a political figure spends in public offices translate into the common good- with no concomitant betterment in their living standard? What this means is that the mere holding of political offices doesn’t solve the governance/ leadership and development crisis. 

Citizens also expect ethical and responsible conduct from politicians and public administrators. Teddy Roosevelt, former Governor of the New York, observed that, “honesty is not so much a credit as an absolute prerequisite to efficient service to the public. Unless a man is honest we have no right to keep him in public life.” 

Taking cognizance of Roosevelt’s opinion, one cannot agree more with him that honesty is an ingredient of governance. It means that political wisdom- veiled with deception and vindictiveness- is not enough to sustain the momentum of peace currently being enjoyed in Akwa Ibom State. In this regard, Umo Eno is  a shift from the honeyed deception of political figures. 

What makes Umo Bassey  Eno different from other gubernatorial aspirants in the state? The governorship election of 2023 seems to have job creation and entrepreneurial development  as the main talking points. In this regard, Umo Eno outranks every other aspirant, in terms of antecedent.

Having grown the Royalty Group with just five (5) rooms in 1995 into an enviable conglomerate (with numerous subsidiaries) that has over 800 persons in its employ in 2022, and with a wage bill of about twenty -five million Naira (N 25M), its indubitably true that he would replicate such feat in the state, as Governor of Akwa Ibom State. This record is unbeatable, as one is yet to present any other aspirant who can match this feat. 

Also, international capital or Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and other development partners are looking for concerted and determined answers; and these can only be provided by a truthful and honest technocrat in the genre of Pastor Umo Bassey Eno. Truth is, career political figures would subject the peace and unity of the state to their drive for political vendetta. 

As Governor of Akwa Ibom State from May 2023, Umo Eno will use his reputational advantage to deepen honesty in the political system and social structure. This is because,  lies and deception lead to the erosion of social trust.  

Therefore supporting Pastor Umo Eno to succeed Governor Udom Emmanuel translates into passing on a sense of the value of honesty, integrity, and personal responsibility to the next generation Akwa Ibom people. 

- Uwemedimoh Umanah, a Development Scholar, writes this piece from Lagos

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