Uwemedimo Udo: Condemned to succeed
By Osondu Ahirika
I don’t envy the incumbent Executive Chairman of Uyo Local Government Area, Hon. Dr Uwemedimo Udo. He is currently pigeon-holed in the very strait situation of beign condemned to succeed. There is absolutely no middle ground to excuse failure. That’s exactly a reminder I took to his Office on Thursday, January 28, 2021.
For a background, Dr Udo was my co panelist as Guest Public Affairs Analysts on Paper View, on Inspiration 105. 9 FM Uyo, a programme that reviews issues in the News every weekday by 8am.
He was intrinsically blunt, characteristically stoic and consistently principled in his judgement or critique of Government programmes or public policy. He was a revered advocate of the masses, and a thorn in the flesh of mediocrity in public service.
From thence, by divine providence, he was plucked out to run on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for Chairmanship of Uyo Local Government. Whilst the crew, comprising, Charles Akpan, Dr Promise Etim, Mr Chris Okon, Imaobong Akpan, Gloria Ekong(peace on her ashes), and others wished him well, we warned him to walk his talk in office, insisting he is condemned to succeed. Of course, the caveat was, if he derailed from what he so oft preached as an uncompromising professor of good governance, we would call him out.
On January 8, 2021, Dr Udo led the Executive and Legislative arms of Uyo Local Government as well as Staff of the Council, to a Thanksgiving/New Year Prayer Summit to usher in the 2021 service year.
The Bible reading of the day was apt. It was derived from Judges 16 verses 27-31. The short exhortation was even more instructive. The message was titled “WHY WE WILL SUCCEED OR FAIL IN 2021”. The Reverend (Dr.) Iniobong Udoh, Superintendent of Qua Iboe Church, Oku, Township Superintendency, 112 Ikot Ekpene Road, Uyo did justice in reminding Dr Udo and his Government that, failure would be a blip too costly to contemplate.
When he set out on this journey, Dr Udo adopted the catchline ‘Service Alone’. An avowal to render selfless service to his fatherland. He helped hype the new shibboleth. It sounded reasonable and resonated with patriotism, commonsense and responsibility. What else, should be a leaders mantra, if not Service alone?
I am not disappointed he is living the jingle of Service Alone.
On January 26, for the first time I can recall, a Local Government Legislature held a Public Hearing on Executive bills for Development-based Bye laws in Uyo Local Government Area.
The Public Hearing was organised by the 7th Uyo Local Government Legislative Council as part of their legislative engagements, with Dr Udo in attendance. Pacesetting and unprecedented.
In his address, Dr Udo appreciated the Legislative Council for the expeditious consideration of the Executive Bills and promised to diligently implement the Bye-laws for the overall good of the people and residents of Uyo. That is historic.
When I arrived the Council, I met Dr Udo on the spur to inspect the level of work on the Administrative block of the Council which was initiated by the immediate past administration of Hon. Elder Imoh Okon. He pledged his commitment to complete the project which seemed jinxed within his first hundred days in Office,
To achieve this, Dr Udo has done the unthinkable. A total forfeiture of his Security Vote, which he has ploughed back into the project. This is unheard of in our clime. According to him, the building when completed, will ease the accommodation problem of the Local Government Staff and ameliorate their present discomfort to enhance service delivery.
I took inventory of the achievements recorded by Dr Udo’s Administration in less than 2 months in Office. Here’s a list:
1. Restoration of water supply at Primary Healthcare Center, Wellington Bassey Way, Uyo with provision of new 1.5hp pump, it’s accessories, overhead tanks and replacement of broken water pipes.
2. Provision of Communication equipment to the Social Mobilization Unit at Primary Healthcare Centre, Wellington Bassey Way, Uyo.
3. Commencement of rural roads development with grading of community roads within Uyeh Estate, Ifa Ikot Okpon, Etoi, amongst others in Uyo.
4. Drilling of borehole at Uyo Shopping Complex, Ikot Ekpene Road to ensure regular water supply to occupants of the complex, in fulfilment of the pledge he made when he interfaced with tenants doing business at the complex.
5. Will it shock you to know that, the Office of the Vice Chairman of The Council just had Installation of 1 horse power Air Conditioner as executed by Dr Udo? Now, he is working to restore electricity in the Council which has no power supply for years now. Need I mention that, he habitually resumes work before 8am and shuts down by 6pm. Is this initial grandstanding? Will he last the distance or will the pressure of Office corrupt his good breeding as an academic and noble intentions?
The French existentialist philosopher, novelist and playwright, Jean-Paul Sartre, it was, who used the phrase ‘Condemned to Succeed’. While expounding his philosophy of Determinism and existentialism, he talked about, ‘The anguish of freedom’. Satire held that,
“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”
I wager that, Dr Udo is condemned to succeed and is sentenced to live in constant anguish of the fear of failing to succeed. He has no choice but succeed. He dare not fail and Uyo will be better for it, because, at the end of this divinely orchestrated tenure, Uyo will exhale, that something valuable happened to her.