Money is often regarded as the common wh*re, the universal procurer of people and nations. On the flipside, it is the perfect means for bribing yourself through the inconveniences of life. Ask Governor Emmanuel Udom. The Akwa Ibom governor cultivated the money habit in markedly different tradition from the ways of his peers.
While too many of his peers, gained from their wealth only the fear of losing it, he gained from his wealth, comfort, contentment and a deep sense of purpose. The former banker understood quite early in life, that there are no little ways to imbue his life with grandeur. He understood that money matters in the mix, in his pursuit of ease and luxury. More importantly, he regarded money as the only sunbeams that lights his path to grandeur. Nothing is black where it shines. That is why his life is radiant with light.
Curiously, however, like a sore thumb, a building under construction in the billionaire’s haven, Mac Donald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, sticks out for its obscene glamour and sheer size. Passersby stand in awe and amazement to behold the beauty in concrete while well-heeled residents simply gape and fantasise as they drive by.
The pace of work is fast, like the owner cannot just wait to move in. Residents say workers are on a 24-hour shift and that at no time in the last couple of months that work started on it had there been a break.
Behold, this is the new place Governor Emmanuel Udom of oil-rich Akwa Ibom would call home when his second term lapses in 2023. Sources say he comes to personally inspect the progress of the construction every other week. And that he has been more frequent since the global outbreak of COVID-19.
Those who have seen the house rightly behind Ikoyi Baptist Church, say Udom is sparing no expense to build a home that would make other billionaires wished they had access to raw oil money. Though a Lagos-based banker who served as executive director at Zenith Bank Plc before he was appointed as Secretary to the State Government in Akwa Ibom by former Governor Godswill Akpabio in 2014; Udom may have inadvertently drummed it home that after his tenure, Lagos would serve his base.
A former Sunday school teacher at the United Evangelical Church (formerly Qua Iboe Church, QIC), Udom’s career in banking spanning Diamond Bank and later, Zenith Bank, as the pioneer manager of its Lagos Central Branch and general manager in charge of the Telecommunications Sector, Income Optimization and Financial & Strategic Planning seems to have exposed him to the wonders of money and how it can be deployed to living heaven-style on earth.
Indeed, Udom has the money habit and he sure knows how to put vast state resources into getting personal comfort and massaging his larger-than-life ego. When he buried his father, Elder Gabriel Emmanuel Nkanang, in a ceremony that attracted Who-is-Who in Nigeria to Awa in Onna, his home town, last February, he had an opportunity to show the world how to deploy oil wealth to satiate one’s vanities.
According to a source, the deceased’s grave was encased in beautiful blue tiles measuring about 4 meters in length and 1.5 meters in width. “The upper four walls have single-pointed light each, which gives 24 hours illumination, and an air-conditioning system. Also, the grave has a customized top which could be easily removed without much damage done on it. Another aspect of the burial that caught the attention of the guests was the unique entrance of the corpse.
The body of Udom’s father was conveyed to the burial ground in a luxury Cadillac Escalade ambulance which could cost over N1 million in rent. The ambulance was heavily protected by securities while over 20 other vehicles followed it,” the source said.