Written By Douglas Ekarika
In a special communique issued by the office of special communications headed by unofficial interim Senior PA for communication matters and youtube posting affairs, Ata ikiddeh, a communique has been released to the public detailing the upcoming awards scheduled to be received between now and december 31st 2011 by his excellency Chief, dr, barrister, transformer, promiser, uncommoner, Obot Oko-oko Godswill Ami Nkere(My name is) Akpabio.
Fresh out of high a powered meeting with award conferring associations as well as joint stake holders in the business of honor bestowing, Barrister Ata Ikiddeh called on all well wishers both in Nigeria and diapora to begin sending their congratulations in advance. He warned that if they wait till later before starting, they might be out of luck because all the newspapers in Akwa-Ibom and Nigeria have been 91% booked for congratulation spaces. He also warned that what this means is that, not only will the cost of praising Governor Akpabio increase if one wishes to do so on a national newspaper, but that there will be no availability left. The only recourse according to the unofficial PA for youtube postings, Ata Ikiddeh, will be for individuals to erect their own billboards at their own expense on any available space in Uyo and sorrounding towns. However, Ata Ikiddeh stressed that certain restrictions and conditions apply to the option. For instance,
1. The bill board must be extra extra large (20feet/20 feet) and stand 20 feet from the ground bearing a larger than life image of the governor wearing a beautiful outfit and a golden crown on his head. (inscription on the crown must be visible from any 10 mile radius, and must boldly read, “Grand Architect of Akwaibomian Transformation”)
2. There must be bright light on the edges/sides of the billboard so that at night, the billboard remains lit up so everyone can see clearly and then marvel.
When asked about the unreliable power supply situation that might make option 2 difficult to fulfil, Ata Ikiddeh suggested that well wishers who go with this option should make sure they have generators chained to the billboards. When reminded that notorious thieves might steal the generators used to power the billboard lighting, Ata Ikiddeh suggested that they could hire a watch night to watch the generator each night for the duration the billboard remains. When asked how long such a billboard could remain erected, he responded in vernacular saying..”Ke Nsinsi Nsinsi…………..”. An Ibibio translator was not readily available as at the time of going to press with the report, so the meaning of those words are subject to readers interpretation.
Speaking to our correspondents Fatai Lasisi Ologbenla and Nurudeen Ojogel in his Uyo office, Ata Ikiddeh, in company of his boss, Aniekan Umanna intimated that no stone must be left unturned in congratulating Governor Akpabio. Here are some excerpts of that interview
Nurudeen: Honorable PA Ata, thanks for granting this interview. Let me ask you real quick about an earlier statement you made regarding the purchase of bill-boards by individuals for use in congratulating Governor Akpabio for his upcoming awards bef…..
Ata: (cutting in rudely)..excuse me, what I said, what..I said, this is how things are taken out of context..
Nurudeen:..but I am quoting your..
Ata: Shhhhh!!My friend, Shhhhhhhhhhh!!! don’t misquote me. Are you arguing with me? Are you saying I do not know…listen what I said was that because of space…in fact if you know how newspapers operate, you will realize that they have advanced orders placed for advertisements. The space is limited because we are coming to the end of the year. So what I was saying was that it is better to begin now congratulating his excellency because if they wait till the last minute, they will miss their golden chance. I don’t know if you ever attended Sunday school,
Nurudeen: I am Muslim Sir…
Ata: It does not matter. Even Muslim sometimes go to Sunday school. If you have ever heard about the story of the 10 bridesmaid, you will understand the point I was making..
Nurudeen: Mmmm…No, I am not familiar with that story. Can you enlighten me?
Ata: Of course..well, the story is that the 10 bridesmaid were given money each and were told to invest it. It was a test, mind you. So 5 of the bride-maids took the money and spent it on useless things. Two of them did not spend it at all, preferring to hide it under their pillow. Another two used the money to learn a trade, while another 2 decided to start business selling fig tree to the Philistines and the Hittites. The remaining 3 were the ones that used their money to place announcement telling people that the bridegroom was a wonderful man that had done great things and that he was coming to marry. Out of the ten, do you know who was rewarded and even allowed to enter the wedding hall?
Nurudeen: …were the bridesmaid more than ten? I thought you said ten..
Ata: Forget about the number you people are always finding fault. The moral of the story is that only the bridesmaid that spent the money on advertisement and praised the bridegroom were recognized and rewarded. So as I was saying, the national dailies are running out of advertisement space. Only 15% space remains between now and December 31st. So as a remedy what my office is proposing is that they should hire billboard makers to erect giant billboards around Uyo township instead.
Fatai Ologbenla: Barrister Ata, is using billboard not expensive? What about internet option? Can the same people not send their messages of goodwill to governor Akpbio by email or on internet social media, such as facebook, okopusem forum, nto-anannag forum, and other sites which is much cheaper and infact free?
Ata: Mmm…Mmmm…you make me laugh. Ok, how many people in Akwaibom state have internet or computer? How many go to cafe to read email? How many? The answer is few my brother. But if you put a billboard 20 feet high, everyone will see it. People will know that it is something serious when the name of his excellency is mentioned anywhere. As we speak right now, even people from the U.S have been reserving spaces for billboards not minding the cost. Some like Dr. Mua Eshiett has reserved 17 billboards by himself alone to be erected all over Uyo and roads leading to and from Uyo.
Nurudeen: Wow! 17 billboards? One person alone? But honorable Ata, isn’t there an expectation of some kind? I mean if a person spends that kind of money, certainly, he or she is expecting or hoping for something in return. Besides, some would say such lavish display of comradery boils down to sycophancy? How would you explai….
Ata: (cutting in again)..ehn heeen, my friend, my friend..have you been listening to Thompson Essien and Eno Adams? Have you been listening to those people that are always against this great man? Do you realize that..
Nurudeen: No, I am just asking an honest question. We have not spoken to anyone..our audience would like answers to some,
Ata: Your audience better ingore those mischief makers. Their mates in America are busy trying to order billboard to the glory of our tranformational governor and all they are doing is criticising. Is that nice? ……Is that nice?
Fatai Ologbenla: Ok, let us switch gear for a second. I suppose someting positive can be said to come out of this idea of billboards placement all around the city and state. Obviously, the idea is catching on fast especially with majority of the orders coming from Akwaibom indegens in America. My guess then is that it is creating some employment in the state, and some people will be hired. Besides, money spent on such project will help create some economic activity.
Ata:..(Thoughtful for a minute) Mmmm…you know I didn’t even think about it like that. Yes, yes, you see now? Do you see what I have been talking about there? The hateful people are saying unemployment is high and that his gracious excellency is not solving it. I am glad you have seen how the Governor creates employment. We must give him the praise and credit. If it were me that said it now, the “I-too-Know” people would have said it is propaganda.
Nurudeen: But to be fair, is this really a works program designed by the governor? Seems like you are saying this was his strategy. I thought the whole idea of the billboard project was to Congratulate the governor in a larger than life manner. So are you now saying that Akwa-Ibom indegenes have been finding work as billboard mounters?
Ata: Well no, but employment has been created from demand. It looks like you don’t undertand enconomincs very well..
Fatai: Can you please explain your statement?
Ata: What I mean is, this demand for Governor Akpabio congratulatory Billboard is in demand in Akwa-Ibom, but it is a chinese company that has the contract to build and erect them.
Nurudeen: So they hire Akwaibom youths to work?
Ata: No they don’t. You know these Chinese people how they are….they like to bring in their people from China to do the work to ensure high standard, and that is a good idea. That is the way they do things so their quality is not compromised, but the important thing is that there is demand for billboards, and they are more qualified and have the right equipment. So you must understand that and let them do the job instead of finding fault in that. Are you fault finder? Please be a fact finder instead. Even as a journalist, you should know that it is better to be a fact finder than a fault finder.
Nurudeen: Honorable Ata Ikiddeh, thank you very much for your time today. We will paste the list of upcoming awards for Governor Akpabio so our audience who see and congratulate him accordingly. It is very extensive and several are from foreign organizations.
Ata: You are welcome…you see, I will not be surprised if His excellency is soon nominated for the Nobel Prize in good governance, very soon. Also, the United Nations, given their global presence, are taking note of his excellency’s mighty works. We are on the move and his excellency is taking us to the land of Promise. Nice talking to you.
Ekarika writes from Brunswick, Maine