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Why Akwa Ibom is Rising with Dakkada Campaign- Udeme Ufot

A spiritual rebirth for Akwa-Ibomites to higher morality

 

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Governor Emmanuel Udom has flagged off a new behavioral change communication in AkwaIbom State as the state marked its 28 years of existence.

Tagged: ‘Dakkada’, the campaign, according to the Governor, is inspired by the Governor’s dream to change the narrative of AkwaIbomites and call them to rise to greatness against every barrier.

In this interview with BUSINESSWIRE.ng, the Group Managing Director of SO&U Advertising Group, Mr. UDEME UFOT, an indigene of the State, explains the rationale behind the Dakada campaign, which is trending on both social and traditional media.

 

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How did Governor Emmanuel Udom conceive the Dakada idea?

The idea of Dakkada came out of discussions that I had with Governor Udom Emmanuel when he was the Secretary to the State Government (SSG). He had just indicated to me his intention to run for governorship of the state. In reviewing the situation in AkwaIbomState, our discussion narrowed down to an agreement that the biggest thing Akwa-Ibom needed was transformation of the mindset of the people and attitudinal re-orientation. A spiritual rebirth for Akwa-Ibomites to higher morality and to see themselves and their State differently, bearing in mind that the most valuable resource that the State had was not oil, but its people.

 

The people of the State had to be reminded about where they are coming from and elevate themselves above the house-boy, house help mentality. The narrative needed to focus more on the legacy of the distinguished personalities from the State, who contributed significantly to the growth and development of Nigeria, as well as the achievements of contemporary AkwaIbomites in various fields of endeavor.

When we look back at the people like late Dr. Clement NyongIsong, a banker and politician, elected governor of Cross River State (1979–1983) and before then was Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria between 1967 and 1975. He was certainly one of the most successful CBN governors in history, successfully managing the country’s finances throughout the civil war without the need for external borrowing from any foreign institution to prosecute the war. Thanks to his skillful management of the country’s finances.

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We have seen states have different slogans like EkoO’ni Baje. It is a statement of hope, an aspiration, a promise.  It is also somehow a prayer. Lagos must not spoil. Lagos must do well. In Akwa-Ibom State, we had “Akwa-Ibom Ado OK” that means:All is well with Akwa-Ibom. Later, we had the expression of Uncommon Transformation. But we needed to go beyond this to create something that would have real meaning for the people, resonate with them and inspire them to rise to their potential. A call to action, or if you like a battle cry.   Dakkada goes beyond a statement, it goes beyond a prayer, it goes beyond a desire.  Dakkada is a call to action. Dakkada means rise up, stand up and realiseyour God given potential.

We look at people like Sir Egbert Udo-Udoma, a lawyer and justice of the Supreme Court. He was Chief Justice of Uganda from 1963 to 1969. He spent 13 years as a judge on the Supreme Court of Nigeria and was chairman of the Constituent Assembly from 1977 to 1978. He was one of the founding fathers of Nigeria.

 

We have General Wellington Bassey, the first Commissioned army officer in West Africa, and indeed Nigeria. We have so many others. So, we came to the conclusion that in fact, our young people need to better understand our history as a people; as inspiring them to pursue their own dreams of greatness.

We felt it was important that they be reminded that they have it within them to soar to any level they may aspire to. That if those people in the past succeeded they can also succeed.

Thecampaign therefore aims to reawaken the consciousness of our people to a life of moral uprightness, build their confidence, refocus and challenge them to become great citizens of Akwa-Ibom State.

If all of us, citizens of Akwa-Ibom State commit to our personal greatness, we can collectively create an Akwa-Ibom that is great. Once we make the choice to eschew ethnicity and bias at all levelsand choose to embrace unity, and commit to oneness of purpose, we can have an AkwaIbom State that will be a pace setter.

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About mid-July after the inauguration he called me and suggested we meet to further our earlier discussions. He said we needed to bring the spiritual rebirth and moral re-orientation programme to life.

The initial campaign had a different theme expression, delivered in English. Following further strategising, Agency and the Governor (and his team) came to the conclusion that a theme expression in local language that would be highly inspirational and resonate more with the people would be more appropriate. And so, Dakka da was born.

 

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Your Agency, SO&U?

The governor had a clear picture of what he wanted. So, what you see as the Dakkada Creed today is about eighty percent the work of the governor. The job of the agency was to infuse Dakka da as a call to action into the creed, and create compelling communication from it.

So, we believe that if Dakkada as a movement, is driven effectively, it has the capacity to transform the people of Akwa- Ibom psychologically. The greatest empowerment you can give a people is empowerment of the mind. With that, they can conquer anything.

The Governor believes that if Akwa-Ibomites see that goodness in themselves and believe strongly that nothing can stop them, they will move from being timid to being assertive, from being scared to being bold. They will move from being weak to being strong, disunity to unity and together we will move from failure to achievement.

Having an agenda of such nature is one thing, driving it with a strategic communication to enhance behavioural change is another, how do you intend to transform the campaign theme to make the impact?

We have seen states have different slogans like EkoO’ni Baje. It is a statement of hope, an aspiration, a promise.  It is also somehow a prayer. Lagos must not spoil. Lagos must do well. In Akwa-Ibom State, we had “Akwa-Ibom Ado OK” that means:All is well with Akwa-Ibom. Later, we had the expression of Uncommon Transformation. But we needed to go beyond this to create something that would have real meaning for the people, resonate with them and inspire them to rise to their potential. A call to action, or if you like a battle cry.   Dakkada goes beyond a statement, it goes beyond a prayer, it goes beyond a desire.  Dakkada is a call to action. Dakkada means rise up, stand up and realiseyour God given potential.

 

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This is an expression that the common man can understand, as well as those in higher places also finding resonance in the expression.

Launch strategy was to saturate the environment via a teaser campaign with the expression, and cause conversations around the subject matter across traditional as well as online media.

The teaser campaigns climaxed with an invitation to the launch of the campaign on 23rd of September 2015 at the GodswillAkpabio International Stadium. The launch was preceded by a million man march of youths from across all the local governments in the State to the Stadium in the State Capital, Uyo.

On that day, which happened to be the 28th Anniversary of the creation of the State, the Governor unveiled the campaign where he called on the people to rise up to the faith of greatness.

He charged them to accept that greatness by faith because he who created them and brought them this far will not abandon them.

The awareness levels, followed by buy-in have been absolutely amazing. My Media Team believe they have achieved about 90% reach in AkwaIbom. Within the first week of campaign launch, the website received 5000 hits and one of the uploaded videos has had almost 9000 views so far. The next phase will be to bring Dakka da to life through activations across the local governments and communities in the State. The various empowerment programmes being launched by the Governor will help re-enforce the message and give the people greater reason to believe.

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The Governor intends to sustain this through the delivery of his 5 Point Agenda of Wealth Creation, Poverty Alleviation, Job Creation, Economic and Political Inclusion, Infrastructural Consolidation and Expansion.He intends to take AkwaIbom State beyond oil and into an era where the entrepreneural capacity of its people will unleash the power of the State’s most important resource, its people.

The necessary first step is to psychologically empower them for the journey.

Beyond changing the mindset, challenging people to explore and achieve greatness what role will this campaign play in driving tourists to Akwa-Ibom?

You know tourists want to go to locations where the people are hospitable and welcoming, where they can feel safe and secure, and of course, where there are attractions and facilities that they can enjoy.

Akwa-Ibom is blessed with attractions and the government is set to develop tourism sites around the State. Beyond this, Governor Udom Emmanuel is poised to turn AkwaIbom into an industrial hub with the Deep Sea Port and the industrial Zone anchoring these developments. Major investments are also expected in Agriculture, Oil and Gas, auto assembly plant, fertiliser and other Petro chemicals. The Governor is of the view that with an industrious and enterprising mindset, his people should be well positioned to enjoy the benefits of these developments by keying into emerging opportunities. He hopes to see a state abounding with creators of employment and not just job seekers. He hopes to see a people who do not just wait for government, or who are contended with menial jobs, but choose to challenge Nigeria’s status quo and create opportunities for themselves in the nation’s economy.

How does the governor intend to sustain this in the next four years and what is the expected result?

I already maintained the empowerment programmes and the Governor’s 5 Point Agenda. These will be used to sustain the programme. The Governor will also very importantly sustain the Programme by walking the talk. He will lead from the front and live those habits he expects AkwaIbomites to exhibit. Already, government functions start on time these days because the Governor believes time is a valuable asset and must not be wasted. So, he keeps to time and expects government officials to follow his example. When good habits and attitudes take root, they become part of the people’s culture.

The expected result is to see the people transformed in their mindset and in attitude. We expect to see a transformed state from dependence on oil to agriculture and industrialization, a private sector driven economy.

The result will be a happier, prosperous people living at peace with one another.

 

Interview was first published on BUSINESSWIRE.ng

 

Source: BUSINESSWIRE.ng

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