By Uwemedimoh Umanah
According to Plato, the ancient Philosopher, “Until the philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the others are compelled to stay aside, cities will never have rest from their evil”. Great men are good philosophers who invest in philosophy as a vehicle for social, economic and political transformation.
Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Mahatma Ghandi, Emperor Meiji, Nnamdi Azikiwe, sardauna Ahmadu Bello, Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkruma, Martin Luther King (Jnr) among others constitute leaders whose thought shaped the attitude of their people.
Through Ujama, a philosophy, concept and ideology of communalism, founded on “an extended family brotherhood”- where every everyone saw himself as his brother’s keeper, Tanzania was able to inculcate the culture of self- reliance which today forms the basis of the values and development in the society.
Non -violent resistance, a philosophy that was evolved and propagated by Mahatma Ghandi an Indian political sage also formed the basis of the culture of the Indian people. As a political philosophy, it articulates that greater result can be achieved by intellectual engagements, non- lethal confrontations , work- to- rule and other approaches other than violent confrontation.
The continual search by leaders to use philosophy as an instrument for moral regeneration, political and economic rebirth has found expression in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria where Udom Emmanuel, the fourth democratically-elected Governor has evolved an entirely new philosophy, Dakkada to inspire the people of Akwa Ibom to greatness.
Dakkada has spiritual, political, social and economic components aptly founded on the history of the Ibom people, whose experience and ordeals from the Nile Valley through the Cameroons and Ibom in Arochukwu to its present place of civilization reveals are a special creature with great potentials. Perhaps, this realization propelled Vinci Lombbardi, a leadership theorist to adumbrate that, “leadership is based on a spiritual quality; the power to inspire, the power to inspire others to follow”.
Governor Emmanuel, in his first interdenominational thanksgiving service at the Ibom Hall Ground assumed the position of “spiritual leader of the state”. That ritualistic declaration which His Excellency, in the the presence of thousands of Akwa Ibom people poured an ‘oil of restoration’ which signaled a new beginning. It reminisced the days when Kings were also prophets, while defining the Governor as a King with prophetic insights and character. Above all, it exemplified a determination by the Governor to inspire the people of Akwa Ibom to greatness.
A society attains greatness through collective resolve by it’s members. It begins with a dream, just as Wilma Rudolph said, “do not underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in the notion: the potential for greatness lives with each of us”. Viewed from this perspective, therefore, Dakkada, is a component of a new beginning, in that it creates a totally new thinking, mindset and resolve by every Akwa Ibom person to rise to his place of greatness, assume his manifest-destiny as first among equals in the entire gamut of human civilization.
Historically, these are reasons every Akwa Ibom person should rise to his faith of greatness. During the Atlantic Slave Trade ( 15th to 19th centuries), Ibom people constituted the most able -bodied workers to Dakkada on European plantations, and their doggedness, resistance to disease in the new world, loyalty to constituted authorities, tenacity and hard work made their plantations the most productive in terms of profit.
During the legitimate trade- trade in Palm produce in the Niger Delta areas of Opobo, Abak, Ikot Abasi among others between the African Chiefs/ Middlemen and European traders/ officials and companies, Ibom people had Dakkada by playing a pivotal role in oiling the industrial revolution in Europe, as their products became catalytic to the process which changed the entire history of mankind from the 19th century. That led to the rise of a petit – bourgeois class who were part the earlier beneficiaries of the Afro-European relations Akwa Ibom people were the earliest in Nigeria to imbibe the culture of democracy and republicanism. Being an acephalous society, the people of the area were the first to resist the Warrant Chief System and the European taxation, and these culminated in the Women War of 1929 which spread across Abak, Ikot Abasi, Opobo and Aba.
In the same vein, Ibom people were the first in the Nigerian nation to agitate for the creation of states. The COR State Movement courageously pivoted by Sir Egbert Udo Udoma in 1954, culminated in the strengthening of Nigeria’s federal system and the subsequent creation of states in Nigeria against the prevailing Regional arrangement in the country.
Furthermore, Akwa Ibom people had Dakkada to protect the unity and stability of Nigeria during the Nigerian Armed Conflict of 1967-70.
Being the main food basket in Eastern Region, Ibom people saw the need to align with the centre (federal government) by withholding the supply of food to the Biafran secessionist, a situation that facilitated the collapse of resistance. Little wonder, Chief Obafemi Awolowo said that “all is fair in war, and starvation is an instrument of warfare…”
If Dakkada as a philosophy explains the greater part of the Akwa Ibom past, then it’s use as an instrument for political and economic revival has been illuminating. Governor Udom Emmanuel, the progenitor of this philosophy -cum ideology has never failed to harp on the imperative of its essence in his speeches and messages to individuals and the entirety of Akwa Ibom state.
A cursory reexamination of the Dakkada creed shows that it’s multi-encompassing:
Akwa Ibomites, rise to the faith of greatness
Rise to the faith that with God all things are possibl
Rise to the faith that Akwa Ibom was created by God out of greatness
Rise to the faith that as a people, we can move beyond ethnicity, biases, religion, and gender
Rise to togetherness
Rise to the faith of our resources, beyond what others see, human and intellectual
Rise to chart a new course for us, our children and a generation of Akwa Ibomites unborn
Rise to the faith that one day; we shall be counted as great people of a great state with great minds
Rise to the faith that all these are possible and many more
Hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful
I rise to the faith that Akwa Ibom was created to be great
I rise to the faith that Akwa Ibom is destined to be great
I am an Akwaibomite
I rise to a faith of greatness
Akwa Ibom Dakkada”.
Taking cognizance of the tenets of this lofty philosophy, it is apparently clear that Dakkada is a spiritual, philosophical and intellectual revolution which, if imbibed into the body -polity and the consciousness of individual members of the Akwa Ibom society, the state would experience an unprecedented degree of development on head of any other Nigerian State. Dakkada also means imbibing the spirit and character of a sportsman, by acknowledging and appreciating a challenge, and investing in the right attitude towards surmounting it.
It’s embracing winners, with the mind that “winning is contagious and that God appropriates power to whoever and whenever he wishes.
The political, economic and social components of Dakkada are clearly elucidated in Governor Udom Emmanuel’s 5-point Agenda, which include: job creation, wealth creation, poverty alleviation, infrastructural consolidation and expansion and political inclusion.
By possible extrapolation, every agendum here is aimed at reinforcing the greatness of the state and superior performance which Dakkada represents. The speed at which Akwa Ibom Is getting industrialized, with the commencement of some strategic industries and the institutionalization of justice and equity in the state points to the fact that the state is heading to greatness.
The personality of the philosopher-King, Governor Udom Emmanuel, whose track record of fiscal discipline, rare investment acumen and political sagacity gives credence to the fact that Dakkada has come to stay as an intellectual and philosophical engine of Akwa Ibom greatness.
Uwemedimoh Umanah, a Crisis Communications Expert, Diplomatic Scholar, Strategic Theorist and Public Affairs Commentator, writes in this piece from Uyo.