Aniekeme Finbarr

One fine evening, December of 1997, my mum returned home with a big bag, full of clothes. We had been expecting Christmas clothes and accessories before 25th. My mum gladly announced that the Christmas clothes were here and the house broke into a frenzy. But, in splits of minutes, the outburst of joy speedily turned into gloom when my mother opened the bag. She brought out 5 different dresses, made from the same fabric, locally tailored, over sized with a material that looked similar to our bedsheet, for the 5 of us.

We were expecting foreign “ready-made” wears as they were called those days, with plastic sunglasses to match. Tears rolled everywhere as I took turns to tie the ropes behind the dresses for my sisters. My mother struggled to explain how fine the clothes were but we knew all those folks in church will cajole us on Christmas Day for being ‘local’.

“Mummy should have asked us what we wanted for Christmas?”

I feel bad today, for being inconsiderate. A lot of sacrifices were made by my mother to produce those clothes. But kids will always be kids. We didn’t even ask our mummy too, what She wanted for Christmas.

Today I just love to ask people, what do you want for Christmas? I don’t fail to ask my kids what they want for Christmas. My son wants an airplane packed next to my car. (Idoho serious).

On a larger scale, what do Akwa Ibomites want for Christmas? And nobody has even asked the Governor, Pastor Umo Eno, what he wants for Christmas. Oh! We think he too doesn’t need anything because he has everything, right?


But, you know, I have talked with him one on one, on this Christmas matter and I know what he wants.

1. Governor Umo Eno wants a Christmas that is truly made in Akwa Ibom for Akwa Ibomites. How? He says this year’s Christmas carol festival should feature Akwa Ibomites prominently. Let the foreigners rest a bit. Let Akwa Ibom people, artistes and choirs have their best time, be treated like royalty and showcased to the world. So, we will have 13 home-grown gospel artistes. Home-grown but world class. Then 17 church choirs and choral groups will show their stuff. Akwa Ibom is arguably the home of the best choral groups.

2. Governor Umo Eno wants a concentrated and fun-filled yuletide. That’s why the Christmas village will wear a new look and the carols have been moved to the village- that’s like having Amala and ewedu in the same plate. It will be hot and sizzling.

3. Governor Umo Eno also wants a clean state and crime free yuletide. He wants peace and good behaviour. That is why he quickly created an office on Social Reorientation to preach to the people to embrace good values, ethics, practices and peaceful coexistence.

The aforementioned are what a good father should really want for his children. Or do you think Pastor Umo Eno is asking for too much at Christmas?

Aniekeme Finbarr is the Special Assistant to the Governor on Social Reorientation

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