Noah Speaks: The man Edwin Udofa

By Itoro Noah

22nd September, 2017, around 9:54pm, I saw a list of PDP Chairmanship and vice chairmanship candidates as published on the Facebook wall of my mentor and then state publicity Secretary of the PDP, Comrade Ini Ememobong. I skimmed to check the name of the vice Chairmanship candidate for Oruk Anam LGA and it was one Edwin George. I recalled immediately the name, Edwin, a former councillor. I checked his messenger and he was online. I sent him the message ‘congrats Sir’. He responded, ‘any information?’ The question was unexpected from him, I enquired, ‘is your name Edwin George?’ he replied ‘yes’ and then I broke the news, ‘you are our vice Chairmanship candidate, congrats Sir.’ He quizzed me furtger, ‘confirmed from where?’ I explained that it is in public domain, on the Facebook wall of the PDP publicity Secretary. I casually sent my next message, ‘carry me along ooo’ and he simply replied, ‘ok’, seemingly noncomital. That was however the beginning of my relationship with Rt. Hon. Edwin Udofa, my very first conversation with him in this world. He was then the chapter secretary of the party. I later realised that he probed me that far because he wasn’t even aware that God had used a mentor to send his name as the vice Chairmanship candidate. I was lucky to know his new elevation before him. We ceased communication until the ward by ward campaign, the PDP won the election and they took oath of office on 7th December, 2017.

But did Edwin Udofa carried me along in his 3 years tenure as the vice chairman of Oruk Anam local government council? If you’re in my circle of friends, you will know that he did more than I could have ever asked for, we became friends and brothers instead of political associates. We have been together many nights and days. He knew where I reside in Uyo and at Ika-Annang, just like I know his Abak, Ikot Omono and Uyo residences. We have been together to Abuja, Abia and Imo states. He has introduced me to many Oruk Anam and none Oruk Anam politicians. He once took it upon himself to be giving me and some members of my clique some monthly allowances to support our advocay for our party. He has looked for me several times, ‘Itoro asisine ke mmo? goes the calls. And when I emerge, it’s always, ‘I’ll send so so amount into your account tomorrow or this evening, transfer this to this person, this to the other person etc etc’. He trusted me more than I think I deserve.

I don’t remember doing anything significant for Edwin Udofa. He wasn’t from my ward, he is not even from Oruk Bloc, he is an Anam person. I was just his political subordinate. Not only did he carry me along but carried virtually everyone I’ve recommended to him and those he himself later discovered in our small circle of media influencers. The line goes as usual, ‘Itoro, ema ekpe akuk nteye yak nno nkpo yak anoh so so and so so persons.’ As a vice chairman in an era where some politicians at the local government level are branded by critics as nkpo ibaha, Rt Hon. Edwin Udofa to my knowledge has built and handed over a bungalow to a poor aged widow, he increased the number of motor cycles he donated to empower his constituents as councillors to nine. I’ve seen him donate wrappers to all the women in his village; feted traditional rulers in his clan; donated books to pupils, paid school fees to students in tertiary institutions and gave palliative to so many persons before the word became a popular usage.

Rt. Hon. Edwin Udofa is yet to show any house he has built for himself since his emergence as vice chairman about 3 years ago but he is currently constructing a second house for another poor less privilege. He is also currently financing a corrective surgery for a physically challenged girl, a situation I know has cost him more than a million naira.

I don’t know where Rt. Hon. Edwin Udofa took the grace to do what he has been doing for our people. I can vouch he was not the most richest man in that administration. He probably was not the only elder of a Church in that cabinet. He might have been the most educated (rounding up his PhD at the moment) but it is doubtful if there is any direct relationship between level of education generosity.

I thank everyone for giving him the opportunity to touch lives, especially his dear wife, Mrs Fonnyene Edwin and children. As he bows out today as the vice Chairman of Oruk Anam, it is my prayer that God should continue to bless him and his family and also give us the grace to follow the good steps of public office holders like him.