By Benjamin Jimmy
Before now, palpable apprehension and uncertainties in their thickest used to envelope the state in an astronomical manner over who would possibly be the right deal for the state.
These uncertainties were usually incubated, and most times, exacerbated when it became clear that there was no known real deal for the people of the state.
But this time, and unsurprisingly so, there appears to be no looming apprehension and uncertainties among the Akwa Ibomites over who is the real deal for the state beginning from 2023.
Many believe this is so, apparently because of the resoluteness in decisions, firmness in precision and perhaps exactitude in the choice of the right deal.
A cursory view of the state now reveals that the aggregation for this resolve by the people of the state is the right-found deal in the persona of Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke whom many said knows how to define reality; has many times done so; knows how to say thank you; has many times done so too, and in between these, knows how to serve.
One instance where Luke had defined the reality of service to humanity to my admiration was in the display of his pioneering leadership ingenuity as the first well deserved president of the Nigeria Youth Parliament during the administration of the late Yar’adua.
Prompted by a repository of experience and sagacious sense of duty as the man at the helms of affairs, the then president was moved by these humanistic outpourings to initiate the process of youth inclusion in governance as a way of harnessing the potentials and leadership aggregates of more youths.
As the late Yar’adua was busy in his leadership integration, Luke, on his part, was building bridges for the youth to cross to the mainstream governance. He was preoccupied with the whole of the future of the youth and creation of more paradigms for them.
Within the period he was there, more voices were given to the hitherto deafening silent youths and more of them who were on the periphery, or, still, on the fringes of inadequate self- realisation occasioned by our wounded democracy as was handed over to us by the military were mainstreamed into the centrality of the nation’s governance.
What grew my admiration for him as fast as it happened then was his unwavering oratory and rhetoric like that of Plato of ancient Greece, in consistently demanding, advocating and pushing for matters relating to youth development.
Upon completion of his tenure as the president, Luke, it seemed, had gone away with all the symphony and rhythmic drumbeat of the office as his voice that used to split any inhibition to youth development and resonate good initiatives was moved to the next stage of service, all for humanity.
But, it was an office well occupied; a role well played dutifully. Luke was able to inspire a lot of youths who hitherto inflicted incompetency on themselves, as it appeared, and thought erroneously that they were subservient to the power blocs.
By the time his tenure had ended, there were many status conferrals that accompanied his achievements; many international accolades and recognitions that blazed the trail of this youth who has an old head seated on his young shoulder.
Despite these, however, Luke was not swollen by all these, nor was he shrunk by any slightest appearance. He has continued to walk the same path of humanity liberation; the path where he believes social justice should be served and that done as a service, rather than as a reward.
As the number one youth in the country then and as the number one legislator in recent past, Luke, while building the capacity of the youth, was also building himself for a time like this where he will serve the Akwa Ibom people in a broader spectrum and be seen as intellectually qualified and socially certified as the right deal for the state.
Apparently very aware that destiny was making a pathway for him, Luke began leadership studies within and outside the country. By my personal fact-findings, Luke had studied the lives, times, the successes and the failures of world leaders and why those who failed did so.
These studies, one can guess, and rightly so, have equipped him with the right information for the kind of development the state needs now.
Luke had also studied policies of international and national governments across the globe, to, primarily, understand governance structure and what policies are for what development.
All of these academic engagements and knowledge holdings, interestingly, are ready now to find expression in the leadership of our state and ultimately, in the transformation of humanity. Luke is indeed pregnant with those studies and learnings that must be given an outlet and that soon.
For me and so many others in the state, Luke is the right deal for Akwa Ibom. He is a blend of rural dwelling and elitism. He is one man who, by his combined antecedents of ruralisation and urbanisation, rebuffs governance of delusions and illusions which is a friendly foe to development.
Luke holds a view that any sincere development of a people is better approached from the very lower throng of the pyramid where majority of the people grapple daily to survive. Interestingly, this is the same view which pulled out Singapore from a dying economy to a strong one today.
By my very reckoning, many people in the state believe that Luke’s actions in the past and present have created a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, hence, the right deal. This is, in fact, the fundamental underpinning of our growth process as a people.
As we prepare for yet another important moment in our lives, it is instructive that we go along with someone who feels what we feel; someone whom we can track down his monumental achievements in the last two decades and use them as a yardstick to foreshadow the real developmental glory that awaits us beginning from 2023.