Isantim Kenneth Okon: An efficient leader with mystery wings
By Udo Okon
When people work hard to carve a niche for themselves and create enduring impacts in their environments, especially in becoming unusually spectacular in their fields of endeavours, it becomes a perpetual attitude that may in turn serve a life time purpose. It turns out to build for them a unique frame that will interminably remain a signifying connection to link them up with goodness and good deeds. Isantim Kenneth Okon
History, I always say, “is a legitimate owner of time”. It is neither a recorder of events nor a space within which an act of man or of nature is documented. Rather, history remains an indestructible clip that bears the mark of any occurrences in Haman vicinities or otherwise, making the future, a debtor of verification whose chief consultant is history itself.
As such, history does not wane; history rather freshens memory and becomes a reliable link from which the present time could rightly be married to correspond with an envisaged new brand of future.
To this end, men who live and make their marks at any point in time, become founders of history which chronicles their deeds. These men live in their time and after that, live eternally in history. They become immortal and exist in space without hitches and distortions. Many of these men exist in perhaps all fields of human occupation. They continue to exist from time to time, making history an unslaken elastic that keeps expanding with time.
Today, I become slightly subconscious as I propel my psyche to develop energy in trying to project a mystery man of history. This is not to say that my limbs are breaking in this self-imposed task, I rather think that hard task are done early in the morning and in that light, making this my well composed commentary in the year 2017 could still be so well understood.
Rt. Hon. Isantim Kenneth Okon hails from Ekom-Iman, in Etinan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. He has made his marks variously in different fields to which he stretches his hands. He has been a team plyer in the Akwa Ibom project where he has recorded excellent imprints. And so, the political history of the state can hardly be completely told if his name is not mentioned. Isantim Kenneth Okon became the Chairman, Petroleum Task Force during Gov. Attah’s era. He was a pioneer member of the Akwa Ibom State Youth Caucus.
At the appointed time, Isantim Okon was elected to serve as the Executive Chairman of Etinan Local Government Area in 2008. As a record breaking history man, Kenneth Okon was re-elected as the Chairman in 2012 for a second term, where he served till 2015. It would be quite inappropriate not to stress here that he remains the very first and only Executive Chairman of Etinan Local Government Council that has broken the second term jinx since inception.
As an astute politician with a difference, coupled with his high sense of diplomacy, he worked hard to align with the huge dreams and aspirations of the present government. No wonder he was first retained within the council as the Transition Chairman for the first two terms within the leadership of the present government.
A right thinking person would be very thoughtful to think clearly, in line with the strides he has so far recorded. This then could be seen as the principal factor behind his active involvement in the current government.
As a man with mystery wings, whose appearances and conducts rarely faults rationalism, he makes himself, through his actions, conducts and political exploits, to remain a relevant man that is always sought for. This, I suppose, is why the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, while Perhaps borrowing a leaf from the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, whose objective analysis of the legislative skills, prowess and knowledge of Senator Ita Enang, and appointed him to Specially Assist him on Legislative Matters (Senate), thought well to give him the post of his Senior Special Assistant on Local Government and Youth Groups. This is a clear evidence that Kenneth Okon has worked hard to attain the position of virtual indispensability.
Just before I take you through a few of his milestones, let me make a reflection on the name, “Isantim” to wander about its etymology, deep meaning and others of its symbolic portrayal. This has the propensity of providing insights to most of his familiar ways of life which have contributed very immensely to give him the conspicuous uniqueness he stands for.
First, the word “Isantim” is an Ibibio lexical entry which refers to an animal with adaptable features to live and survive both in water and on land. In the English Language, “Isantim” is translated to be the “hippopotamus”, that animal whose spelling is common to even a primary two pupil because they learn it through a common rhyme. The Latin word “hippopotamus” is derived from the ancient Greek, “hippopotamus” from “hippos”, “horse”, and “potamus”, “river”, meaning “horse of the river”. They are gregarious, living in groups of up to thirty animals or more in some cases.
A group of hippopotamus is called a pod, herd, dale, or bloat. Hippopotamuses are among the largest living land mammals, being only smaller than elephants and some rhinoceroses. Mean adult weight is about 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) and 1,300 kg (2,900 lb) for males and females respectively. Very large males can reach 2,000 kg (4,400 lb) and an exceptional male weighing almost 2,700kg (6,000 lb) has been reported. Male hippos appear to continue growing throughout their lives while females reach maximum weight at around age 25.
Different from all other large land mammals, hippos are of semi-aquatic habitats, spending the day in lakes and rivers. The eyes, ears, and nostrils of hippos are placed high on the roof of their skulls. This allows these organs to remain above the surface while the rest of the body submerges. Their barrel-shaped bodies have graviportal skeletal structures, adapted to carrying their enormous weight, and their specific gravity allows them to sink and move along the bottom of a river.
Hippopotamuses are territorial only in water, where a bull presides over a small stretch of river, on average 250 m (270 yd) in length, and containing 10 females. The largest pods can contain over 100 hippos.
Evolutionary stories about the animal are based on fossil evidence, which confirm that other species of Hippos lived in areas all over including Eurasia. They were also only about half of the size of the Common Hippo. Other than size though it seems that their anatomy is very much the same as it used to be, it is believed that the nostrils on top of the head though is part of evolution. This location allows them to breathe easier and without exposing all of their body to the harsh sunlight. There is plenty of speculation to go around when it comes to the evolution process of the Common Hippo.
Apart from the huge nature, the strength and the very reserved nature of the Hippopotamus, the animal is said to be found on land only occasionally. All these go to match with the personal attributes of Isantim Kenneth Okon. He is a man with a large heart who will not look back after setting his mind towards doing what is good. He is reserved and always makes his appearance only when it is necessary. He is a politician with a difference. Isantim Okon remains that man that finds it offensive to make pronouncement on what he is not sure of being able to accomplish. He promises only what he is capable of redeeming at a given time. This single nature of straightforwardness has endeared him to many who are true lovers of good things.
As previously been mentioned, Isantim Kenneth Okon is the first and only Etinan council boss to have served for two terms and also chaired for two terms, the Transition Committee. This would not have been possible without his performing to the satisfaction of the people of Etinan who are known as the brain basket of Akwa Ibom State. Such performance ranges from: infrastructural development, empowerment, ensuring the unity of Iman Ibom people, provision of perimeter fence for security of the council Secretariat and the renovation of the entire building blocks at the Secretariat.
Also part of his achievements during his time as the Executive Chairman and Chief Security Officer of his home council is the construction of a 21st Century legislative chambers with state-of-the-art facilities. This has given a huge mark to his administrative expedition. Also, to ensure that the ICT centre he provided for the council was functional, Isantim Okon procured a 100KVA generating sets for the council.
Worthy of note also, is the fact that Kenneth Okon always carries the youths, the women, and the elderly along in the scheme of things. This is why he took up the project of drilling many bore holes for many elders in the area. This singular act also gave him and still gives him a pass mark as a people-oriented leader. His uncommon intelligence in galvanizing support from all angles and infusing his ideas that would be accepted by his people could even become the most attractive factor of his person to many.
These and many more give me reasons to have an imaginative memory flight in recalling a similar figure during the Nigeria’s Second Republic, Joseph Wayas, who was born on 21 May 1941 and served as Nigeria’s third Senate President from 1979 to 1983. In literary studies, this semblance is called “antonomasia”, because it compares individuals of diverse backgrounds who share identifiable character in the course of doing something. Of course, just as specific literary languages exist that ‘General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida is the Maradona of Nigeria’ and that ‘Wole Soyinka is the William Shakespeare of our time’, so has it perceptually been held by many that, ‘Isantim Kenneth Okon is the Joseph Wayas of Akwa Ibom state.
It could be recalled that Wayas was elected as a Senator in 1979 when General Olusegun Obasanjo terminated military rule on the platform of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and subsequently appointed Senate President. Joseph Wayas was a member of the 1994/1995 National Constitutional Conference. Being a founding member of the All People’s Party since 1998, Senator Wayas later joined the People’s Democratic Party in 2001 at the urging of the then Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke . And today, he remains a strong believer in true Federalism as the only solution to Nigeria’s democratic problems, which had been manifested in the Nigerian Civil War and the multiple versions of unrests that are still plaguing the country even now.
As the festive season comes and gradually winds off, many would still be testifying of the good deeds of Isantim Okon. But most importantly, Okon is not a common politician. He is and will remain a man of difference. Although none would not complain of not always having the opportunity to see him, especially in public places, those of his home in Ekom Iman will confirm that he is indeed a people’s politician.
As “Isantim” as his name implies, you may not quickly see Kenneth Okon. Of course he has his mystery wings with which he could fly away. But it must be emphasized that he will never leave you the same way he met you. He is not commonly yoked, but Isantim Kenneth Okon has a mystery wings which does not only enable him to fly but that which as well strengthens him to perform wonders.