Creative artists, aesthetic communication scholars and other experts have asked Akwa Ibom government to review it’s recently launched emblem and anthem to draw an intellectually acceptable image to the state.
This position was canvassed at a roundtable, organized by the state chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), at the Image House, Uyo, at the weekend.
Avalanche of criticisms has continued to trail not only the emblem and the anthem launched in September, 2020, to mark the 33rd anniversary of the state’s creation, but also the state pledge known as Dakkada Creed , which is increasingly becoming unpopular and ignored by most people in the state since it was launched in 2015.
Due to its unpopularity among civil servants and school children, Daily Sun learned recently from a reliable government source that its recitation by directors and deputy directors would be a condition for appointment as permanent secretary in the state.
NIPR took the steps as a reaction to public criticism trailing the state emblem and anthem since passed into law by the state House of Assembly.
The keynote speaker and an expert in aesthetics communication, Prof Peter Esuh of the Department of Communication Arts, University of Uyo, while applauding the state government for initiating the process of equitable branding, however called for a review of certain lyrics in the anthem.
Prof Esuh who also queried the crowned lion’s head on the emblem, stated that the choice of head of a dead lion could not rightly convey true feeling of strength and bravery..
Other Discussants; the Dean of Faculty of Environmental Studies, Prof Best Ochigbo, Regional Editor of Premium Times, Mr. Cletus Ukpong and Mr Mike Asuquo of BusinessDay newspaper all pointed to areas where adjustments were needed to arrive at a better emblem and anthem for the state.
“These symbols appear to have been chosen arbitrarily by the designer or perhaps they were part of the brief. But while they serve aesthetic purposes they leave a lot of the intrinsic value of the state unexplained. There is the danger of cliche in the choice of choosing elements. Overloading some elements with meanings. The cowries for instance. While it represents an ancient means of exchange is not perculiar to Akwa-Ibom state.
“Number of elements should be reduced. The entire emblem should be created in two-dimension. It’s easier for reproduction The charges on the shield should be reduced. I suggest the supporters (ivories) should be replaced with some more significant elements; animal perhaps” said Mike Asuquo, a professional cartoonist
Chairman of the round-table planning Committee, Prof Des Wilson however congratulated Akwa AIbom State government on coming up with the idea of an element that can help galvanize the people and give them a sense of belonging and uniqueness.
“We are here to do some evaluation of what has been presented to the state as emblem. If there are things identified as possible areas of adjustment, suggestion would be made to government for possible changes to make it more solid and more acceptable. Whatever would have been presented would still have been subjected to some form of criticism”. he said
Addressing the round-table, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Ini Ememobong, who was Special Guest on the occasion, said the idea of the state symbols had remained a recurring issue for past governments. He added that the symbols were not perfect as no human process is completely perfect.
While expressing the confidence that the emblem and anthem have so far shored up the pride of Akwa Ibom as a people, and satisfied the yearnings of past leaders of the state, the Commissioner however assured that the state government was open to suggestions that could lead to perfecting the symbols.
While he could not give assurance of an immediate modifications on the emblem and anthem as they had been passed into Law by the State House of Assembly, the Commissioner however assured that steps would be taken to review the law when convincing rooms are established for adjustments.
The Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Akwa Ibom State chapter, Mr Nsemeke Udoakpan said the roundtable will be in series going forward, to enable the chapter pick on and discuss topical issues affecting the state and nation.