Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and white Nature’s own sweet and cunning hand laid on. Lady, you are the cruel’st she alive If you will lead these graces to the grave And leave the world no copy”
Williams Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
The above quote arose from a dialogue between two characters Viola and Olivia in the famous work of the great English playwright. Olivia was described by Shakespeare as a perfect beauty little wonder Duke Orsino was hell bent to get her hand in marriage. These lines capture the heart and thrust of this short piece. Short because I truly intend to make it short.
The Akwa Ibom Christmas Carol Festival 2019 may have come and gone but one thing that can never be forgotten is the 21st century magic concorted by our very own King Midas Aniekpeno Mkpanang who has proven time without number that everything he touches turns to gold no matter its former state.
Many had viewed the moving of the Akwa Ibom Christmas Carol Festival to Ibom Hall ground as a downward slide for the event that has been held at the Uyo Township Stadium and at a time the magnificent Goodwill Akpabio International Stadium. They ridiculed the choice of Ibom Hall ground, that the only good left of it was a Hall not even good enough for a 3star event. The surroundings were water logged, the topography undulating, the environment unkempt. The conclusion was simple, the current administration was no longer interested in the event, the biggest Christmas Carol celebration that had stood for 11 years.
To the awe of many, in just few months Mr Aniekpeno Mkpanang had transformed the rejected Ibom Hall ground to a world class spectacle. Leaving many to now say that Ibom Hall ground is the most suitable venue for the Carol Festival. Like king Midas, Aniekpeno touched Ibom Hall ground and it turned to gold. Who would have believed that anything good could come out from that venue. The aerial view of Ibom Hall ground with thousands of worshippers was a delight to see. The world watched as a State named after God raised an alter for the most high.
The success of the Akwa Ibom Christmas Carol Festival cannot be written without the mention of the ingenious creativity of Mr Aniekpeno Mkpanang. Not taking for granted the support of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State Mr Udom Emmanuel and others on the team who worked to interpret the vision. I also acknowledge that same resources can be made available for others and they fail to produce one tenth of what Mr Mkpanang has done.
Now beyond the euphoria of the success of the Akwa Ibom Christmas Carol Festival, rest the question, Is there another Aniekpeno Mkpanang or will there be another Aniekpeno Mkpanang? I have read the story of how God brought back this gift to Akwa Ibom State from death. And I feared more what would have happened had God not been merciful to us all who the glory of this successful Akwa Ibom Christmas Carol Festival is rubbing off on.
The burden is on the shoulders of Mr Mkpanang to raise his kind for generations to come to be beneficiaries of his wealth of wisdom and creativity. The vacuum that has been created since the days of SOMETHING TO REMEMBER is frightening, if it finds a way to repeat itself with the Akwa Ibom Christmas Carol Festival we may be doomed as State. So like Williams Shakespeare, I appeal that you do not lead these your graces to the grave and leave Akwa Ibom State no copy.