Few weeks ago, I had a training session with management of a company opening up branches in many states in the south south Nigerian region, and one of the secrets to expansion I shared with them was the power of brand endorsements.

I shared with them the story of how my children forced me to buy a school bag I didn’t think will be durable, but because they liked the carton character, ‘Pee Jay Masks’ on it, they protested and persisted and I had to buy it. Or how my wife justifies the taking of one of the carbonated drinks because Tiwa Savage ‘drinks’ it.

The management completely agreed with me and I in turn agree with my post-graduate lecturers in Marketing Communication that truly, endorsements are important in products acceptability, including political products.

Talking politics, in Akwa Ibom State, especially as it concerns the 2023 Governorship elections, one of the most used phrases before Sunday was “we are waiting for the Governor to give direction”. It was on the lips of all the political aspirants and supporters, I mean all. I have been around and have interacted widely. Even some of the guys who knew they had an outside chance to clinch that endorsement told me, “Aniekeme, don’t be surprised if it is me o, God works in a mysterious way and I said Amen!”

The prayer of every serious politician who seeks to contest for any elected position is to get the endorsement of the critical stakeholders and groups to shore up his candidacy. Chief of all the stakeholders is the Governor of the state. Not just any Governor in this case, Governor Udom Emmanuel; a sleek utility political player, highly unpredictable, deft and adroit in tactics, clinical in execution and never betraying emotions.

We had all learnt not to underrate Governor Udom Emmanuel after 2019, after all the much touted political tsunami, the much awaited armageddon ended as a fib, apologies to Udo Mmakara, my CPS, Ekerete Udo. Nigerians still do not understand what happened, everyone would agree that it was ONLY GOD who did it through his fine son, Udom.

And so, on Sunday, the 30th January, 2022, a holy day of the lord, Governor Udom Emmanuel left no one in-doubt as to who he prefers as his successor. His name is Umo Eno, a known industrialist, politician and clergy man. Former Governor Obong Victor Attah has given his blessings. This brings me to the thrust of my offering -The notion that Governor Udom Emmanuel has imposed an aspirant on Akwa Ibom people is incorrect, and false. Every citizen has an inalienable right to support a candidate and the Governor enjoys that right too. He has exercised it. There is no imposition anywhere.

Why has Governor Udom Emmanuel’s endorsement carried so much weight? He is a serious minded person and enjoys tremendous respect for the maturity he has exuded in governance and stabilizing the polity. His speeches, comportment, even his mien exudes excellence, civility and calm even in the face of provocation. People respect his opinion, they love his personality. Without deafening razzmatazz and loud praising, he keeps on delivering top quality projects and making every Akwa Ibom son and daughter proud -see Ibom Air!

The fine Governor has not imposed his preferred successor on the people, he is too refined to do that. Succession is too serious a matter to play anonymity. He had to give direction. He knows too much not to take a stand, he has worked and interacted with all the aspirants long enough to know them, their capacity, their dispositions, their tendencies. More so, he has sought for long, God’s divine assistance to help the people know which way to go. Governance is deeper than throwing money around, it is the destinies of millions of people we are talking about.

Every aspirant can go ahead and solicit support but seriously, it is a tall order. The clouds are gathering for Pastor Umo Bassey Eno and soon it shall rain.

Copied from Mr Aniekeme Finbarr, Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on New Media.

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