✅ Proved His Pulpit Mettle
✅ Dazed Rally With Oratory Power
✅ Takes On Tinubu For Insulting Gov. Udom Emmanuel
✅ Turns PDP Rally Into Revival Crusade
By A N I E T I E U S E N
The PDP Governorship Campaign rally yesterday in Eket, the oil-rich city of Akwa Ibom State, took a different turn as the charismatic governorship candidate of the party, Pastor Umo Eno electrified the mammoth crowd with soul-lifting Pentecostal songs reminiscent of the Tent House revival crusade in America..
It is usual for Pastor Eno, a renowned Apostolic Church pastor and founder of the All Nations Christian Church International, to start his campaign speech with praise and worship songs, but when he took the microphone yesterday in Eket, his business and church headquarters, he waxed completely spiritual and practically ascended into another realm, from where he showered a variety of spiritual blessings for the ‘congregation’ of his supporters, as the better part of the crowd almost forgot they were in a political rally.
For close to 30 minutes he held the mammoth crowd spellbound with a series of spirit-filled vernacular gospel songs and prophetic declarations. “The God that raises the poor out of the dust; the God that lifts up the beggar from the dunghill and makes them inherit the throne of glory…Let that God be your God”. The response was a deafening “Amennnnnnnnnnn”.
“The God that chooses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise…The God that chooses the weak things of this world to confound the things which are mighty…Let that God be your God”, he roared with authority. And the echo of the Amen would have been heard across the land. “It is well with you. I say it will always be well with you” he roared again as the screams of “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” filled the jam-packed campaign arena.
When he eventually turned to politics, it was Umo Eno as never before. Those who perhaps thought the spiritual part of his speech was the crescendo of the event were all proven wrong. Nobody had ever seen Pastor Eno in that fiery and fire-filled mood. He took up Bola Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate, on his ‘small boy’ comment about Governor Udom Emmanuel, in a way nobody else would have contemplated or imagined. And he did that without even mentioning Tinubu by name.
♦ “Somebody came here this week and has the temerity to insult our common patrimony. Somebody came here and had the guts to insult us. And now politics and political parties aside, we are all Akwa Ibomites here in this land. I don’t care what political party you belong to, you are first and foremost an Akwa Ibomite and when someone insults our common heritage and our leader, it doesn’t matter which political party you belong to”, he said in a tone that can only be described as a roar. To be sure, this is usually a very humble man that speaks softly and kindly to everyone. But not today. He took everyone by surprise
♦ “This person” he continued at the top of his voice, “has insulted all Akwa Ibomites and every right-thinking Akwa Ibomite must understand that our governor is not the one who made himself governor. He is the governor duly elected by the Akwa Ibom people. And this governor, yes, he may be a boy, but that boy has built roads that are next to none in Nigeria; that boy has constructed one of the best airports in Nigeria today. The very airport where their plane landed was built by that boy. Yes, the beautiful stadium that they used was given to them by that boy. The 21-storey building, the tallest in South-South Nigeria was built by that boy. The network of roads in Akwa Ibom was constructed by that boy. Oh My God, Oh My God…Ibom Air is the pride of this country established by that boy. There are some States they go to and they stone them and they cannot campaign. But the peace in Akwa Ibom is brought about by that boy”.
♦ In a remarkable display of oratory skills, he thundered a one-liner repeatedly as the Stadium erupted into a spontaneous response.
♦ “And we love that boy…We love that boy…We love that boyy… We love that boyyyy. . .
Do you love that boy”?
“Yeaaaaaaah” was the response at the top of every voice.
♦“Hear me and hear me now! I don’t have a problem with anybody calling my governor a boy. But if that small boy can bring about peace in Akwa Ibom, if that small boy can set up an international syringe factory, build the Metering factory, the coconut refinery…and if that small boy can build the smartest airport in Nigeria and obtain the licence for the distribution of electricity from Ibom power plant… Oh oh oh, I love that boy. If that small boy can build Eket Stadium if that small boy can make progress on Ibom Deep Sea Port. If that small boy can build the longest bridge in Niger Delta and the fourth longest bridge in Nigeria, oh oh oh, hear me, I love that boy. Do you love the boy”?
“ Yeahhhhhhh”, the crowd roared in return.
♦ Pastor Eno then stepped up the tempo. “Hear me and hear me well! Akwa Ibom does not live in the backyard of anybody’s house. It was Michelle Obama that said: ‘The presidential campaign does not change who a man is. The presidential campaign or any other campaign whatsoever brings out who a man really is’. Let me tell you something today. Whoever we are, this campaign will expose us. Whatever we are, if we are area boys, this campaign will show it. If we are drunkards and cocaine smokers, this campaign will show it. Whoever we have been all these years, this campaign is the platform to exhibit it. And people are exhibiting it and you have seen them. Whatever they have in their minds is out in the public. Some of them still see an average Akwa Ibom person as a house boy, as a person who stays in the Boys Quarters…as the person, they still call Okon…That era is gone, gone forever. Akwa Ibom has risen to the faith of our greatness…” he roared again, gasping for breath.
♦ By now tears were welling up in the eyes of thousands of supporters. Some party leaders surrounding him were clapping and screaming in approval. Others were glaringly angered by the insult meted at the governor. Even the wife of Governor Udom, Martha, and the deputy governor, Moses Ekpo, were on the spot. But Pastor Eno was fully in charge right now on this podium.
♦ “Maybe you don’t understand this. Hear me! Some of them still see an average Akwa Ibom person as a house boy, as a person who stays in the Boy’s Quarters…That is what they mean: If you make the mistake of bringing them to the office, they will want to make you their houseboy. Are you going to be houseboys again?
“No o o o o o”, the crowd responded in an emotional uproar.
♦ He continued: “They talked about Ibom Deep Sea Port. . . Don’t let anyone deceive you. Nobody, at least not the presidential candidate of APC…will leave Lekki Deep Sea Port and Badagry Deep Sea Port and come to build Ibom Deep Sea Port for you. It will not happen. They are lying to you. Don’t believe them. Don’t waste your vote…They will not want you to be anything…What they do to Udom Emmanuel today, if, God forbid, they have power, that’s what they will do to every Akwa Ibom person. Will they have power?”
“No o o o o”
♦ He continued:
“Our governor has told us not to reply to this insult. With great respect, I am not making any attempt to reply. I am making an attempt to X-Ray the truth and to show you that nobody will love you more than yourself…
♦ By the time he handed over the microphone, Pastor Eno was virtually mobbed by thousands who were eyewitnesses to the emergence of a bold and true leader of his people. He had accomplished in a single moment of divine inspiration what many never thought he could in many years. “Is this not a confirmation of what Governor Udom said that ‘the man coming after me is a hundred times better than me”, Dr. Udeme Udofia, Associate Professor in the University of Calabar said.
♦ It was like the Biblical picture of offspring born to a vigorous young man. According to the Bible: “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate”.