PAUL EKPO, A HUMAN FACE POLITICIAN
In 1968, a politician from the Czech Republic named Alexander Dubček, a then National Party Chairman of a political party introduced a programme christened “socialism with human face”.
The programme had the sole objective of correcting the disappointment of the people of Czechoslovakia with the political and economic situation at his time.
Dubček as a party chairman believed in the ideology of liberation, empowerment and improvement in the social and economic status of the people.
In 2007, Etinan just like Czechoslovakia of 1968 began breathing a fresh breathe from the stables of Obong Paul Ekpo who was appointed Commissioner for Commerce and Industry during the administration of Governor Godswill Akpabio.
Ekpo, emulated the virtues of Dubcek by bringing on board politics of liberation, empowerment and also improved on the social,political and economic wellbeing of all and sundry.
Elected state party chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2012, Obong Ekpo managed loyalty and respect such that he did not have any personal problem with his bosses, subjects and members of the party.
Very accessible, Obong Ekpo is never a sycophant, he stands in the gap for the people, helping the poor, widows of his community and the oppressed.
The economic power of many families was improved with Obong Paul Ekpo facilitating several jobs for the the people. Obong Paul Ekpo has facilitated employment for more than 120 Etinan sons and daughters during his stay as Commissioner and Party Chairperson.
Obong Paul Ekpo used his position well especially in grooming others to political offices, notably from Etinan are Barr. Dennis Akpan as House member; Hon. Sam Ikon as House of Representatives member/Speaker AKHA, Prince Ibanga Udofia as PDP State Auditor and the facilitation of uncountable aides to the governor popularly known as SA/PAs.
Ekpo has also moulded so many people outside his home town, they are seen in almost all local government areas of the state. Just like a pastor would say, Ekpo has several political sons and daughters.
Though some politicians who fear his rising profile are sponsoring unstable writers to create a situation of Obong Paul Ekpo facilitating appointments and jobs for his kinsmen. Such is a lonely lie.
Nepotism is far from Obong Paul Ekpo’s ideology, no wonder the majority of his political sons and daughters aren’t from his clan. For example, his replacement in the party Prince Ibanga Udofia is from Northern Iman a position he could have converted to his kinsmen in the south.
Ekpo as Commissioner saw the emergence of the word “landing” in Akwa Ibom political space. In Etinan, several persons got car gifts from the politician with a human face. No wonder Obong Ekpo has so much testimony and goodwill especially during his last days as Party Chairman.
During the thanksgiving service at The Apostolic Church Obio Imo Street, Uyo to round up his two term as Party Chairman, Governor Udom Emmanuel applauded Ekpo for his leadership skills. Ekpo gave the party a human face, he humanise politics.
Just like Alexander Dubček, Obong Paul Ekpo has been in the forefront of overcoming the disillusionment of Etinan people in respect to Economic and political power.
Utitofon Morgan writes from Ikot Abasi No1, Etinan local Government Area.