NOW THAT ATA IKIDDEH HAS JOINED NDDC MEDIA TEAM
“Why are you dissipating too much energy on Ata Ikiddeh, he has never been a serious person. He was my classmate at the defunct School of Arts and Science, Uyo. While in at UNICAL too, he was course mate of former Governor Godswill Akpabio. He used to dance breakdance at UNICAL. It was on this strength that he won an award then called Mr. UNICAL.”
That was a message, crispy and clear from a concerned Akwa Ibom son who felt Ata Ikiddeh’s noise was not worth the attention. But then anyone who ignores Ata, does so at his own peril. This is moreso when so many amiable indigenes of the state, like former screen delight,Regina Askia Williams who reside outside the country, are yielding towards the emotions raised by his ilk. I remember the build up to the 2011 elections, the same desperation and blackmail were employed by the same guy and the next thing was his strong persistent clamour to take over the media team of the then Governor, His Excellency Godswill Akpabio. It got to a point that Mr Ikiddeh would sent message after another to the Governor on how the Commissioner for Information Aniekan Umanah failed to properly inform the people, and how he waded in to redeem the image of the governor on the social and global media. His pestering was uncontrollable and anyone could just imagine the volume of pressure he mounted on the former Governor, who characteristically refused to succumb to blackmail. Most of the text messages undermining the Aniekan Umanah-led information team were usually forwarded to the subject of the blackmail.
For close to two years, between 2019 to 2011, Mr. Ikiddeh was usually seen with a small camcorder, recording projects and posting them on his social media platforms. Perhaps it is instructive to note that in 2009, Ata first came to Uyo with a group of about six diasporans on a fact finding tour, and despite being shown round the entire projects locations in one week, he saw it as a Vista for endless all expense paid trips. Most times even when he got the clips from the information team, he won’t hesitate to forward a message to the former Governor as his personal efforts at salvaging the battered image of the governor. Almost a month would not pass without Ikiddeh arriving the state with his small camera, and the usual text messages to get support. That is the story of a tall bespectacled dude at the tarmac of the newly commissioned airport, with his brown Elizabethan checkered blazers. Although unsolicited, the State government made it a point of duty to always find him handouts. Of course I was the Special Assistant to the Commissioner and had a fair knowledge of most of Ata’s activities. On one occasion, he wrote a passionate letter about his rent expiring in his London apartment, and his children being unable to attend school.
It is obviously not a surprise that he found his way to the doorstep very humble and listening Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rd.Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke. It will a broad mind to imagine the pestering and harassment he may have meted on the peaceable number one state lawmaker. This aspect of Ata dates back to 2010 during the ‘Child Witch Saga’ that compelled the state government to intervene and rescue the children from the CRARN home in Eket. It was a very emotional moment, seeing the terrible condition of young children suffering from the ignorance of their parents. My involvement in the evacuation enabled Ata to have access to the process. He said he would like to join and we brought him along. When I received a call from the then Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare Mrs. Eunice Thomas, the following morning, I was shocked to hear that the same Ata in his usual nature had forwarded a text to the Governor on how he narrowly escaped dead while trying to rescue the children from their ‘captors’. He had painted a picture of a war scenario where he was the Rambo that helped wade of the savages that came out with machetes. The commissioner was upset with me, she said it was unfair for the Ata Ikiddeh to go a-lying to the governor. In the true sense of it, there was never a resistance from the center when the government team arrived and it took three trips to evacuate the inmates to the Divine Children’s home, built initially as the security village in Uyo.
Like I had said somewhere else previously, Ata is a lawyer by training, and his mates in the Nigeria Law School include the likes of Senator Godswill Akpabio, Senator Liyel Imoke, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Anyim, Senator Grace Bent, former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Chibudum Nwuche, among other notable Nigerians. He had no history of involvement in media services in any known media establishment or department, neither could he prove he had consulted for any reputable agency or government. These were obviously addendums to his penchant for blackmail, which probably accounted for his appointment as one of the numerous Special Assistants on Projects Monitoring, to the then governor in 2011, as against his crave for the soul of the information machinery. If ever someone exists who would have entrusted Ata Ikiddeh with the job of managing his image, it ought to have been His Excellency Godswill Akpabio. But he got a job of project inspection for all his troubles. It was like, let us find Ata something to do, and save ourselves the troubles of his harassments.
I remember the day I called Ata when he started rolling these spiteful messages on the social media against the Governor, I was in my office and when he received my call, I explained to him that it was not fair for him, a beneficiary of the system to attempt pulling the ladder down. He started explaining to me that he has done his best to get the Commissioner to involve him and that he even got recommendation from the Speaker of the State House of Assembly. After submitting his proposal, the commissioner has failed to send for him, and has not also been picking his calls. It was an absurd thing to hear, that someone could tell me he has resorted to media attacks on the governor because his proposal didn’t meet favourable consideration.
Most people have gone on the social media space, urging the state government to respond to the calculated jaundiced smear campaigns by Ata Ikiddeh and brothers. Like I said, genuine and reasonable people usually ask questions before to conclusions except where there is a malicious intent, like in this case.
Everyone who cares to know, has seen through the various communication media that the Governor of Akwa Ibom state His Excellency Mr Udom Emmanuel has clearly made a bold expression on the health sector of the state. Governor Emmanuel clearly stated that the medical equipment being brought into Akwa Ibom are bought first hand from the manufacturers in the United States of America, and are being shipped in 100 containers to Nigeria. The administration, he echoed resisted the temptation of purchasing equipment from several third world countries to be guaranteed of their quality and durability. So far more than 25 of those containers have been received and deployed for use. The hospitals in Etinan and Ikono have been well equipped and furnished and were commissioned recently by the Vice President Yemi Osibanjo and the Governor respectively. These much information are in the public domain, produced and circulated by Commissioner Charles Udoh. Ata has access to these. Because his interest is in his personal gains than these information, he overlooks them and goes for the jugular of the Commissioner for refusing him his outrageous media consultancy.
Other hospitals like Oron, Okobo, Eket, Oruk Anam, Uruan among others are undergoing renovations and re-equipping. If Ata and his cohorts were sincere, instead of writing and publishing on rag tag sheets, they would review government projects and come down to inspect and access before going to attack the commissioner for information and the media team. I remember the day I personally called him to advise against towing the path of self-destruction, he took it in bad faith, went on the media alleging blackmail.
In summary, it is well to note that Ata disturbed the Speaker of the House of Assembly and out of compassion, the speaker opted to introduce Ata to Charles Udoh. Note, Barr Luke possibly paid his transport fares and lodged him in a hotel, and for Ata, this means that his proposal ought to be accepted at all cost. If Ata Ikiddeh wanted information on the achievements of government, he got it, more than enough. Others get it when they seek. Currently, the state government runs a whole lot of media programmes on the achievements of the governor. Discover Akwa Ibom, Update Akwa Ibom and Akwa Ibom Rising are documentaries that run both on local electronic media and cable TV. There is a feedback mechanism for citizens to access the government spokesman on SMS,whatsapp messages, social media platforms and even the state website. Today, we have a man who benefitted consistently from government for over six years, coming out with a threatening proposal including a clause for hotel bills, flight tickets and other expenses. Didn’t he owned a house in Uyo while working for the state government a year earlier? That is story for another day.
By his own admission, Mr Ata Ikiddeh has joined the media team of Mr. Nsima Ekere, the Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, who is neck deep in the 2019 governorship race against the incumbent governor. He said Charles Udoh refused to give him attention, Mr Ekere picked his call and accepted his offer. Ata has repeatedly expressed his prowess as a media expert, without whom nothing can work in a media team. Methinks he would have set out for work immediately to gain acceptance from the already existent team members of the Nsima Ekere crew who may see him as a gold digger. Don’t get me wrong, no one is against his being accommodated in Mr Nsima Ekere’s media team, but he should promote Ekere and NDDC and stop knocking Governor Emmanuel and his media team. He is expected to bring that media ingenuity and show the world those achievements of NDDC in Akwa Ibom that every other media hireling has unfortunately failed to showcase in the past three years. He should exhibit his media skills at his new duty post and stop crying over the job he couldn’t get at the Hilltop mansion.
(c) Essien Ndueso
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