Re : Of Peace, Its Maintenance and Its Movement – A Reaction
By Emmanuel Ndon
“Criticism of others is thus an oblique form of self commendation. We think we make the picture hang straight on our wall by telling our neighbours that all his pictures are crooked”.
– Fulton Sheen
The quoted lines describe Udo Silas’s incensing publication on the inauguration of Peace Maintenance Movement in the state by the commissioner of Information and Strategy. He was quick to assert that the exercise signals a kick-start of the 2023 gubernatorial race.
According to his outburst, Udo’s interest is in “the ideational leaning of the name, its casual or real interpretations and what it means for all and sundry”.
Under the spectre of his dilemma, however, Udo got to be true to himself by asserting that the Movement suggests “that peace exists presently”.
While I do not begrudge his right to criticism, my attention lies on the sweeping allegations and fabrications against the state government . But before he is lost in his befuddlement, it is proper to bring Udo up to speed with current situation in the state and educate him on the accomplishments of the present administration.
1. Peace Maintenance as Udo rightly acknowledged is not a “supposition”, it means that peace exists presently and needs to be sustained. In case he forgets, It means that kidnappings, assassination, politically motivated killings no longer exist – a sharp contrast to the past. It means that die hard opponents like Udo Silas are tolerated and provided freedom for dissenting views.
2. . Despite the worsening security in the country, Akwa Ibom State can still pride itself as one of the most peaceful. Within the state, the present administration has invested enormous material and financial resources to quell violent clashes and killings in Ukanafun/Oruk Anam/Etim Ekpo axis which existed prior to the present administration in addition to other administrative procedures. When the Eastern Security Network ((ESN) rose up against security formations in the state, the state government quickly responded. Without holding any brief for them, the ministry of Information and Strategy has been alive to its responsibility of enlightenment, mobilization, orientation and advocacy. It provided toll – free lines, jingles to create awareness on the danger of opening doors to “strangers”. It makes no sense to play down on the critical areas where tremendous successes have been recorded.
3. The industrialization policy of the Udom Emmanuel administration has overwhelming successes transforming the entire landscape of Akwa Ibom -land, air and sea. The new pride of Nigerian skies Ibom Air fleets get increasing just as its routes. The Deep Seaport conceived many years back is underway with complete approval from the federal government. Within Udo Silas’s backyard in Onna is the Kings flour mill, the syringe factory and the meter manufacturing company. The automobile assembly line in Itu is on the verge of unveiling. All these is already steering the economy from the pedestrian, civil service state to a preferred investment destination. No sensible person can wish all these away.
4. In the history of the state, health care system has never witnessed the level of transformation as it is today. Improved health services occasioned by massive infrastructure upgrade and equipment is now the order of the day. The education sector has achieved even more – all these are evident.
5. If the ministry of information and strategy is inaugurating Peace Maintenance Movement, it is within their purview. Peace is an essential element of society without which no development can thrive. The government has a responsibility of sustaining the peace it has worked hard to install and which had eluded the people in time past. The overall condition of infrastructure and by implication the living standard in the state has improved compared to the past and cannot be diminished by an attention seeker. The political parties know how best to get their campaigns underway at a time appropriate but it is the responsibility of the state to provide for and protect the welfare of its citizens.
Let me leave Mr. Silas with the words of Theodore Roosevelt. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.
So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”