Rags to riches stories are not uncommon in this part of the world, they abound everywhere and in different categories.
Many great men have tales of humble beginnings to tell, a fact that buttresses the saying that ‘nothing good comes easy’. It is even a common saying here that ‘He who craves to be tall would not mind to have tiny legs’. So, it is believed that greatness and success come carrying a huge baggage of sorry tales.
While many tell their grass to grace stories to the world to give strength to failing hearts and burdened souls, others do so to gloat and brag from their new position of strength, wealth or power, whichever the case is. More often than not, these tales of rags to riches reflect hard work, diligence, perseverance and staunch determination!
Such is the story of the Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Entertainment Industry; Mr. David Okon Sergeant. A man whose story of glory is not just encouraging but also a challenge to many youths.
Mr. Sergeant never waited for opportunities, he grabbed them. He never waited for windfalls, he created them. While others were dreaming with their eyes tightly shut on king sized beds, his dreams followed him everywhere, even on the streets! Blaring horns could not stop him from dreaming, no, he dreamt every day until his dreams materialized.
At quite an early age, UTANG AKWA IBOM, as he is fondly called, realized his ends would not meet if he kept waiting for his ‘poor’ parents to do everything for him. The tall dark-skinned young lad realized very early in life the indispensability of a sound education and, therefore, pursued his education with all diligence and sense of purpose despite his family’s limited means of livelihood.
His educational development began in his hometown, where he had his primary and secondary education at Government Primary School, Afaha Offot and Community Secondary School Ikot Okubo all in Uyo Local Government Area, before proceeding to Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic where he finished in the department of Mass Communication.
Coming from a family that placed premium on trade and vocation, Utang Akwa Ibom, in the early 2000, traded on so many goods and food stuffs including Akara, Bread, Maggi, Onions, Yam, Oyster to mention a few.
But, as a guy with massive grace of God, he discovered his calling later on, in the year 2004, when he took to the then little known balladry popularly called in our local parlance “Uto”. His craftsmanship with words was awe-inspiring and it was not long before he hit the big screen.
Those who lived in Afaha Offot in Uyo community and environs in the early 80’s would not forget in a hurry how the little David was almost ostracized because they feel he was possessed with evil spirit of talking. And at a point when he was managing a ‘provision’ shop for his master at the then Uyo Main market, young David, this time, got sacked without any benefit for reasons being that, he had succeeded in using the shop as a podium for his comedy. In all these, they never knew that, just like the Biblical Joseph, they were sending him out to the ‘foreign world’ to become ‘a king’.
It got to a point when he was between 9 and 11 years of age, young David would knocked on people’s doors on scorching sunny afternoons to give them succor in the burning heat with ribs-cracking comedy. And this was how Utang Akwa Ibom became known on the streets of Uyo by everyone he serviced.
“Fingers are not equal” as the popular saying goes, and this implies that we all cannot have rich or influential parents who would pave the way for us while we tread without fear of slipping or stumbling. Young David’s parents were not rich, not even remotely so. They were struggling people who only wished they could do all they could not do.
Even at his young age, he already had a slogan that made everyone refer to him as ‘the councilor’. As he grew, he began to channel his energy towards the cause of young people within his immediate community and his neighbors.
Utang Akwa Ibom unity football tournament; a yearly soccer event which its seventh edition is scheduled for November this year, is one of the many tactics he used as a private individual, to unite the people of Uyo.
Apart from the soccer completion and his rib-tickling talent, Utang Akwa Ibom also became largely involved in politics at every phase. He has held so many political officers in the past. Some of them are; Uyo Ward 6 Coordinator of Akwa Ibom Consolidation Alliance (ACA), Publicity Committee of Udom/Moses Ekpo Campaign organization, Special Assistant on Media/Publicity, Uyo LGA, amongst others.
Indeed, Mr. David Sergeant’s humble beginnings did not drive him far from God, it drew him closer to his maker, David knows how to serve his God!
That poor, despicable, wretched and ‘worthless’ balladist is the pioneer and current Special Assistant to the Governor on Entertainment Industry, thanks to Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Few weeks after he received his appointment letter, Mr. Sergeant who is a believer of the aphorism that “a single finger cannot remove lice from hair”, however, constituted a-19 man working committee of the Entertainment industry, to join him in his earnest desire to take the industry to the zenith. This particular action was also a pointer to the fact that he wants to run an all-embracing, all-encompassing and all-inclusive leadership.
Of course, over the years, there was a clamor to have an effective entertainment industry in Akwa Ibom State in other to get practitioners in the creative sector to level up with counterparts in other parts of the country.
Two years after, it could only be said that, Utang Akwa Ibom, apart from giving life to the once inert industry, has made superlative and quantum exploits so far. From carrying the entire entertainers (toddlers, up and coming and stars) along and uniting them, to reawakening the night life in the once comatose capital city through live gigs, Utang Akwa Ibom has not disappointed his boss; Governor Udom Emmanuel.
It will be recalled that the SA on Entertainment Industry, in his sincere yearnings to provide a platform for entertainers, has staged no fewer than four live performances, so far, where no fewer than 50 artistes displayed their different talents in each of such shows. In his bid to strengthen the camaraderie between members of the State House of Assembly and State entertainers, Mr. Sergeant has organized a novelty football match, where both teams had the opportunity to exchange banters and live experiences. Same novelty match and experience also took place between Governor’s aides and the entertainers.
That, the SA on Entertainment Industry has received over 30 awards and recognitions from highly reputable establishments since his assumption of office, including the most recent award from the respected Maritime Academy, Oron, is as a result of his topnotch humility, selflessness and sincere passion to take Entertainment industry to the next level.
Indeed, David Sergeant’s grass to grace story has taught anyone who cares to read, that, no matter how tattered his rags are, he mustn’t mind, as there is a big chance they would be new again. Today, parents in Akwa-Cross region tap their children when they complain and say: Don’t you see Utang Akwa Ibom?”
Utang Akwa Ibom is now the pride of the entire entertainers in Akwa Ibom. He is a good husband of a Nurse/Midwife and father of three (3).
His promise to be a candle for all the dark days in the industry is getting fulfilled and it is only proper all entertainers give maximum support and wait patiently for him just like they supported and waited when he was a mere balladist!
Akwa Ibom entertainment industry edakka’eda. Akwa Ibom Dakkada!
© Henshaw Nyong | Aniekan Ekah