The Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Health, has been strengthening measures to ensure an outbreak in Nigeria is controlled and contained quickly. The multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group, led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has since activated its national Emergency Operations Centre and will work closely with Lagos State Health authorities to respond to this case and implement firm control measures. “I wish to assure all Nigerians that have we have been beefing up our preparedness capabilities since the first confirmation of cases in China, and we will use all the resources made available by the government to respond to this case. “We have already started working to identify all the contacts of the patient, since he entered Nigeria. Please be reminded that most people who become infected may experience only mild illness and recover easily, but it can be more severe in others, particularly the elderly and persons with other underlying chronic illnesses. All Nigerians should take care of their health and maintain hand and respiratory hygiene to protect themselves and others, including their own families, following the precautions below: 1. Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser. 2. Maintain at least 1 & half metres (5 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. 3. Persons with persistent cough or sneezing should stay home or keep a social distance, but not mix in crowd. 4. Make sure you and people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene, meaning cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or into your sleeve at the bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. 5. Stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. Please call NCDC toll free number which is available day and night, for guidance- 0800-970000-10. Do not engage in self-medication 6. Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19 through official channels on TV and Radio, including the Lagos State Ministry of Health, NCDC and Federal Ministry of Health. Citizens must not abuse social media and indulge in spreading misinformation that causes fear and panic. The Federal Ministry of Health, through Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, will continue to provide updates and will initiate all measures required to prevent the spread of any outbreak in Nigeria,” announced Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Hon. Minister of Health. As at the time of filing this article, over 9,000 cases have been confirmed in Nigeria, over 3,000 cases have been discharged and about 300 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory, having carried out 48,544 tests. AKWA IBOM COVID-19 INDEX CASES -Dr Otobong Asuquo, a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, after recovering from the disease at Ibom Specialty Hospital. As at April 1, 2020, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed 5 cases of the disease in Akwa Ibom State, and Dr Otobong Asuquo, a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, was one of the cases. Dr Asuquo, in his detailed account after recovering from the disease at Ibom Specialist Hospital in Uyo, said he received a call immediately from the state COVID-19 team to get set that an ambulance would be coming to pick him. Different thoughts went through his mind: his dear wife, children, and when he saw how others in different parts of the world were passing away, he thought his end was near! At the isolation centre, Dr Asuquo said he enjoyed his stay because of the privacy, the modern facilities, and equipment at the hospital. “You don't know what is happening and who is in the next room. Constant water and light, it's like having the U.S. in Akwa Ibom,” he said in a video chat. He added that he was surprised to know that all the rooms there are equipped with Television sets (with DSTV) and that there's free WIFI for browsing the Internet, which made him stay updated and worked on his personal project. Although he was silent on the treatment he received that led to his recovery in less than two weeks, he was thankful to the state government for a job well done. “I want to give kudos to the Akwa Ibom State Government because I know without them, this wouldn't have been possible and also for the [COVID-19] team.” Akwa Ibom State so far has 35 active cases of the disease, with 2 deaths and 14 recoveries of which Dr Asuquo is one of them.
One major recurring theme of our democracy so far has been the sad fact that the masses have consistently failed to hold their elected office holders to their words. For every active citizen, the end of each administration is usually a time to take stock on the performances of their leaders, promises made during the electioneering periods are matched and mirrored against the realities on ground at the end of the administration.
In Akwa Ibom State, the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel has recorded impressive and elating strides in his first four years.
Upon his swearing into office on May 29th, 2019, Deacon Udom Emmanuel who earlier served as the secretary to the State Government had anchored his campaigns on a promise to industrialize the state when voted into office. The pledge of industrialization did not however, come to majority of Akwa Ibom people as a surprise since the then outgoing Governor, Godswill Akpabio in his second term vowed to build at least one industry in the 31 Local Government Areas of the State but ended up not building even one tissue paper factory.
Shortly after his swearing in, Deacon Udom wasted no time in setting a road map on how he wants to go about achieving his dreams for his people. A Philosophy christened DAKKADA was introduced by the government with a clarion call for citizens to arise to their faith of greatness and do exploits. School children from nursery were encouraged to say the creed which accompanies the philosophy. Just like every other major government policies, the idea of having a mental revolution in the state did not come without resistance especially from the opposition parties.
Not deterred by such antics, the state government went ahead and encouraged her citizens to imbibe the new culture. Since introduced the impact has been vast, one of which was when Miss Imaobong Nse, an SS2 students won gold medal in the women 400 meters race at the National Sports festival finishing at a time of 52:53 seconds. All her opponents were triple her age but she rose up when it mattered most to write her name in gold. Today she is one of the Ambassadors of the DAKKADA philosophy.
Aside the mental revolution, the DAKKADA philosophy has help to prepare the minds of Akwaibomites for the industrialization rebirth that has swept across the length and breadth of the state. Four years down the lane, if one is to score governor Udom Emmanuel based on his campaign promises of attracting and building industries, the governor in all honesty has performed excellently.
Within the first term of the Governor, Akwa Ibom State can boost of at least 11 functional industries which includes, the toothpick industry located at Etinan Local Government Area, the revamped Peacock paints now known as Ibom Paint, the pencil industry, the metering solutions manufacturing industry, the flour mill industry, Rice Mill at Ini, Coconut plantation and Refinery in Ekim, Mkpat Enin Local Government Area.
There is also the Hatchery at Uruan, the Jubilee syringe factory at ONNA, the fertilizer blending factory at Abak and other giant initiatives.
These are not white elephant projects but visible milestones made possible by a purposeful leadership championed by Deacon Emmanuel. The first term score card of Governor Udom Emmanuel is invariably anchored on the standpoint of creating an Akwa Ibom State where wealth can be created through hard work and diligence and not through politics and sycophancy as was the case yesterday.
Just when everyone thought the Governor has finished with the industries, towards the end of his first term, the whole world especially Nigerians were taken by unaware when the Akwa Ibom State Government announced that they had concluded plans to introduce a State owned Airline known as Ibom Air, critics were quick to dismiss it as a campaign strategy aimed at seducing electorates for the purpose of winning a second term in office. This is one project that has already provided our people with employment, more than 400 youths are to gain direct and indirect employment.
Aside the industries promised and delivered by the Governor in his first four years, Deacon Udom Emmanuel has equally performed creditably in the maintain peace and unity in all parts of Akwa Ibom State. The foundation was laid in one of his first move as a governor by insisting on God fearing men and women to form his cabinet.
In a state which made political motivated thuggery attractive to criminals, politically inspired crimes such as kidnapping, assassination, ballot box snatching, arm robbering and other vices became the other of the day. By first making himself and his wife God fearing, clear signals were sent to those juggling for appointments and elected positions in the state on which path to toe.
It is to the credit of the Governor that Akwa Ibom in the past four years has witnessed peace and security, Thuggery and cultism is no more rewarded and celebrated by the government.
Last year, in a well celebrated move, Governor Udom took the Bull by the horn by proscribing major cult groups in the state. The Governor, through the backing of the State House of Assembly made cult related activities a criminal offence. The benefits so far has been enormous, though the spate is yet to be been totally eliminated. Before now it was a common thing to see young men who do not belong to any recognized uniform organization in their hundreds, sometimes thousands at funerals matching with the corpse of a colleague and chanting war songs which were accompanied by gunshots. During this ritual, no “ordinary individual” even close family members and church members were permitted to get close to the corpse. It used to be horror scenes.
We cannot forget the last general elections so quickly; it can be adjudged the most peaceful election conducted in the state in recent times. The opposition’s wish was to make Akwa Ibom another a modern Warsaw headquarter, their aim was to liter the streets of Uyo with bloodshed and render as many as they could homeless but such devilish plan never saw the light of the day. Despite enormous provocations by the opposition parties, the governor maintained his calm not because he was handicapped but because his love for peace and the state was greater than stooping low to the level of his opponents.
On the plank of infrastructure development, the governor has demonstrated strong passion towards adding to improving the physical environment of the Akwa Ibom State, this administration has constructed more rural roads than past administrations. A total of 1,700km of roads have been completed and commissioned by the Governor. Just last Saturday the Governor led other citizens of the state to Mkpat Enin Local Government Area where he commissioned the 12.7kilometers Awa- Asong-Ikot Edim- Ukam road. That Particular road has opened up the rural communities and equally served as an alternative route for those journeying from Uyo to Mkpat Enin.
At the venue of the commissioning, Hon Ubong Ekefre, a former transition Chairman of Mkpat Enin confessed that he never knew there was a road that links his Community- Asong with the Governor’s village (Awa Iman) in ONNA Local Government Area.
This administration has also showed commitment in ensuring that the Deep Sea Port at Ibaka comes to life before the expiration of the second term. With assurances from the Honourable Commissioner for Special Duties, Housing and Aviation, Hon Akan Okon, the governor is passionate about this particular project. The economic gains of the deep sea port is better experienced than explained, what makes Lagos state the envy of the nation is the presence of the sea port which is not even a deep sea port.
Employment opportunities will open up in earnest, Akwa Ibom will be opened up to the world through the waters, there will be ease of doing business in the state, with functional road networks down to the hinterlands, the Ibom Air which has already began commercial flights, the state will become a destination of choice not just within the African continent but to the whole world.
As Deacon Udom Emmanuel begins his second term the expectations of Akwa Ibom people are as high as it was in the first term. Aside completing ongoing projects which were initiated in the first term, the governor is also expected to initiate other projects or complete abandoned projects such as the Ibom Science Park which is a brainchild of Obong Victor Attah.
Ibom Science Park if given proper attention that it desires will further put the state on the world map. The world today is driven by technology. Concentration should be channeled towards that direction; the urge of the youths to take to entrepreneurship has increased notably during the present administration, this further stresses the need why the state government should pay attention to developing the science park.
Also, contractors handling the various ring roads currently under construction in the state must pace up with their projects. The governor should be able to commission those projects within the first year of his second term, other ongoing road contractors especially those handling the remodeling of Eket town should also be up and doing. Of course one cannot forget to mention the coconut refinery and plantation in Mkpat Enin and other ongoing projects in the state.
Undoubtedly, Uyo is one of the fastest growing cities in Nigeria; this standard set by the Governor in his first term cannot decline. Governor Udom’s second term which is tagged the Completion Agenda will for sure bring economic stability to the state, the peace and security enjoined in the last one year will be consolidated in the second term with new frontiers achieved. It is expected that the second and last lap of the administration will be reduced amount of politicking and more of governance.
By being an exemplary leader, the governor has given an average Akwa Ibom person the urge of being part of the governance process and contributing actively within his or her reach. The superlative performance of Governor Emmanuel is not witnessed in Akwa Ibom state alone, recently a journalist friend of mine from the East attested, “if Akwa Ibom had committed the mistake of letting another party take over the state, it would have taken the state decades to match up with the blueprint already being implemented. Your state is blessed with a man who is passionate about the welfare of his people; his performance is visible for all. He understands that being a governor is beyond commissioning roads, that is why you see him pay salaries effortlessly even when other states are struggling to do so. He is an asset to the federation. When I am in your state I feel proud of being a Nigerian.