Amid numerous precautionary measures canvassed to contain the dreaded corona virus, the Honourable Commissioner for Environment and Petroleum Resources in Akwa Ibom State, Dr. (Barr.) Ekong Sampson, has called on the people of the state to pay serious attention to personal hygiene and environmental cleanliness, even as the state government is set to clamp down on illegal felling of trees in city centres.
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.