Ini Ememobong: A Case of Point and Kill
By Osondu Ahirika
The date was July 18, 2020. Comrade Ini Ememobong’s name was among others in a list, fowarded to the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, as Commissioner and Special Adviser nominees. The elation was widespread and infectious.
As the masses were roused celebrating Ememobong who is blessed with grassroots admiration, I sent him a text message congratulating him for the well deserved elevation, having posted an impeccable seven star performance as the State Publicity Secretary of the PDP. I however expressed my supplication that, he should be deployed to the Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs Ministry, and not the Information and Strategy Ministry, the majority yearned for.
Reason I made that plea has just played out. The Information Ministry is akin to a poisoned chalice. I feared he would be undermined seriously by entrenched interests, who had been accusing him, of using the PDP Publicity Secretary platform to outshine the then Honourable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Sir Charles Udoh. Others who were less charitable, even alleged, he was scheming behind the scenes to uppend and supplant Sir Charles Udoh. I know how he struggled with that suspicion and worked hard to allay the fears of the allegation by his predecessor.
Beyond this, the power game in the information management layers of the State Government remains a mafia style tango. You either hit or get hit. I also knew that, despite his popularity with the masses and major stakeholders in the media sector of the State, including, online, print and electronic, managing them with a view to achieve zero skirmishes, would be like rolling water uphill.
The honeymoon period for any Information Commissioner never really lasts for too long before the baptism of fire starts. Many times, it comes from the quarters you least contemplated. Ask any former information manager about fire fighting in the bureau.
In the highly ‘Landmined’ information sub sector, where propaganda and blackmail are standard currencies of transaction, I knew, he would sooner than later face the firing squad.
Little surprise therefore, when my friend and brother, Joseph Okon, himself an Aide of the Governor, attacked Comrade Ememobong, accusing him of looking away, whilst, those, he described as his friends keep attacking the Governor and Government he is serving. The die has finally been cast.
Joseph Okon clearly labels Comrade Ememobong a ‘traitor’ who has ‘betrayed’ his boss, Governor Emmanuel, arguing that he is on bed with the detractors of His Excellency.
Going by this ‘Guilty by Association’, verdict on Comrade Ememobong, I submit that, he(Ememobong) should hold me guilty on account of Joseph Okon’s attacks on his person as Mr Okon is my friend. How can I explain that, I’m not privy to the ferocious assault on the integrity of Comrade Ememobong by my friend?
Indeed, Joseph is a friend to many other associates of Comrade Ememobong. So, all those friends of his who also relate with the Information Commissioner are guilty by Association. Fact is, like everyone else, I was taken aback when I read his vituperations against Comrade Ememobong online.
If this submission is wrong, then, how does one conveniently indict Comrade Ememobong for the expressed thoughts of others who are said to be his close allies?
Jesus faced similar accusations of eating and drinking with Sinners, and he was condemned for associating with Tax collectors. Yet, Jesus never sinned nor did he compromise his precepts whilst hobnobbing with these class of people, as his ultimate goal was to win and save them from apostasy.
Comrade Ememobong is suffering the fate of the fish in the pond, which is marked for slaughter the moment a customer points to say, ‘This one’. Those who deal on this business call it, Point-and-kill. Inside the corridors of Power, Point-and-Kill is a game of the thrones. The list of victims are endless.
In the last near six years, I have worked very closely with and under the supervision of Comrade Ememobong. There are only a handful of person’s in this administration that share the same uncompromising passion, unwavering loyalty and unrelenting commitment to serving Governor Udom Emmanuel. I know how he grieves and reaches out in pleas, to restrain and appease persons who hit his boss, Governor Emmanuel.
I was at a point Comrade Ememobong’s emissary to brilliant folks like, Edidiong Udobia, Borono Bassey, Samuel Ayara, Imoh Udoima amongst others as he wooed them to join him and bring their brilliance to bear in the affairs of the PDP and support the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel in particular.
He always maintained that, the value they would add to the system is worth every ounce of his effort to bring them on board.
For the same person who snatched these ones from the clutches of the opposition to embrace the administration of His Excellency, Governor Emmanuel to now be accused of using them to scuttle or shortchange his boss is very unkind and for me, a conspiracy of blackmail taken too far.
It pricks my heart to note that, the turf cold war in the Media and information team of the Governor is spilling over into a head hunt for the Commissioner. He is smeared for the Point-and-kill power play in the system. We may just be hearing the voice of Jacob with the hands of Esau.
I pray Governor Emmanuel doesn’t fall for this Point-and-kill plot to unhorse his high flying Commissioner for Information and Strategy. Ememobong has paid his dues in fighting for and defending this Government and his boss , Governor Emmanuel. The arrows of blackmail shot at him should come to mo harm.
He tells all who care to listen that, he was identified by Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke, lifted by Distinguished Senator Godswill Akpabio and empowered by Governor Udom Emmanuel. Indeed, he sees the First Couple of the state as his Foster parents and I know how dearly he loves them. May God vindicate his just servant.