Akwa ibom History Politics

Akwa Ibom State At 35, Visionary Leaders At Work

Akwa Ibom State At 35, Visionary Leaders At Work

Akwa Ibom State, one of the 36 component States in Nigeria is located in the coastal southern part (South-South Geo-political Zone), lying between latitudes 4°32′N and 5°33′N, and longitudes 7°25′E and 8°25′E. It is bordered on the east by Cross River State, on the west by Rivers and Abia States, and on the south by the Atlantic Ocean and the southernmost tip of Cross River State.

Created on the 23rd of September 1987 after about four decades of sustained agitation by the then Military Administration of General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida was a mark of justice, having been left out in earlier state creation exercises despite leading in the struggle for state creation in Nigeria, through the Ibibio Union – a foremost socio-cultural organization that served as a unifying platform for the people.

With a population of over five million people, the state with capital in Uyo, is currently the highest oil-and gas-producing state in the country.

In three decades, the leadership paradigm has shifted from six Military Administrators: Tunde Ogbeha, Godwin Abbe, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, Yakubu Bako, Joseph Adeusi, and John Ebiye in between accommodating Obong Akpan Isemin as Governor to Obong (Arc) Victor Attah, Chief Godswill Akpabio and the incumbent Udom Gabriel Emmanuel ushered in by full-fledged democracy.

As the then Lt. Col. Tunde Ogbeha got the machinery of government moving from the inside of pockets of buildings donated by some patriotic and kind-hearted persons, his words rang a bell: “I urge you to be dreamers; dreamer of broad, tarred and lighted streets in our towns and cities. Dreamers of industrial estates dotting all over our country-side; dreamers of blooming economy where our children will receive qualitative education and full employment there after”.

Visionary Leaders

From the first set of military leaders in the state, the pace of development witnessed brought joy and happiness. They all one way or the other fast-tracked a revolution in the State.

But Among the Military administrator , Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga stood out by giving the State a magnificent State Secretariat.

As things stand now, Akwa Ibom is rapidly on the rise to the top rung of Nigeria’s social and economic ladder.

The first leg of the journey started from the moment Babangida decided to create only Akwa Ibom and Katsina States. The second leg did not start until the dawn of democracy in 1999 when Obong Victor Attah was elected.

Obong Attah is one of the most respected political leaders in the state and this is not unrelated to his exceptional contributions to the development of the state and involvement in both local and national affairs. Two things Attah did, contributed to the rise of the state from the backwaters to Olympian heights.

The first was the struggle for resource control and payment of the 13 per cent derivation based on oil royalties mined on the Continental Shelf, aside onshore. Today, the state is the largest revenue earner from derivation royalties. This enabled it to commence the ambitious developmental strides.

Besides the resource control war, which won him accolades like ‘Apostle and/or Advocate of Resource Control,’ what really drew him to the people was that his administration nurtured the unity existing today among the different ethnic blocs in the state.

For that reason, Obong Attah is perceived by many as a detribalized, generous, accommodating, principled and visionary leader, who laid the solid foundation for the physical and economic development of the state; as well as initiated the Ibom International Airport, Le’ Meridien Hotel and Golf Course, Ibom Power Plant (IPP), Akwa Ibom State University of Science and Technology now Akwa Ibom State Universit amongst other projects.

The change of baton from Attah to Akpabio wasn’t smooth; yet Akpabio continued from where his predecessor stopped, striving to complete all on-going projects his administration inherited. Thus, when the State was 25 – a silver jubilee; the celebration was worth it because the years of existence, were partially buried in the womb of five years of uncommon transformation then heralded by the Akpabio administration.

And by 2012 and beyond, Flyovers over Uyo, Pipe-jacking underground drainage, Treasury Headquarters, Akwa Ibom International Airport Now Victor Attah International Air Port , Ibom Power Plant (IPP), a 30,000-seat ultra-modern Olympic-sized Stadium, Ibom E-Library, Information Centre, Specialist Hospital at Ekim Itam; Oxygen Plant at General Hospital, Ikot Ekpene, Cottage Hospitals in Essien Udim, Ibeno, Ukanafun, Eastern Obolo and Ika; Governor’s Lodge Complex; College of Health Sciences, Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Galleria,Four Point by Sheraton ,Daulized many Roads amongst others had radically transformed and changed the aesthetics and facial landscape of the state.

Post-1999, every administration ensured the provision of a conducive learning environment through massive rehabilitation and reconstruction of schools’ blocks, provision of Science and Laboratory equipment, construction of hostels and supply of text books, desks etc.; and an educational policy of free and compulsory education up to secondary school level for indigenes and residents aside yearly Payment of SSCE/NABTEB fees for students.

Today, various major roads, especially federal roads that were in very deplorable conditions have given way to a network of high quality, well-constructed, paved and asphalted roads across the State; modern digital traffic lights, urban renewal and regeneration projects.

Visionary Leaders At work

Visionary Leaders
Visionary Leaders

Visionary Leaders

In Agriculture, government has lived up to the statutory responsibility of providing the needed enabling environment to ensure availability of adequate and affordable food for food security, supply of agro-based raw materials for industry, generation of employment, creation of wealth and economic emancipation of the people.

Akwa Ibom State has been so blessed with leaders who put the people first in the scheme of things through provision of enduring projects that have changed the landscape.

The approach to governance has been bold, decisive, and methodical. They have left no one in doubt that they were/are not happy with the State of Affairs that they met and in the process decided to embark on non-parallel development projects that have changed the face of the entire State.

In some States we have situations likened to Iraq, under Saddam Hussein – a one man’s show, where he had an exclusive right to the state and the citizens had none; a situation where he ruled Iraq as if the country was a personal estate and the citizens were mere tenants; a situation where all governmental functionaries, institutions, and apparatuses emanated and revolved around him; and the Iraqis who benefited most were his children, surrogates, and attendants; a situation where Iraqi money was basically Saddam Hussein’s money and he could take as much as possible without any accountability to the Iraqi people.

But Akwa Ibom State has generally speaking over time been blessed with many patriotic leaders.

Leaders who formed political, military, and economic alliances that were/are very constructive to the security of their people. Leaders who willingly attracted foreign investors to develop the State based on the available resources.

Leaders who care about their own citizens and the future of the unborn generations. Leaders who were/are eager to enrich/empower the people. Leaders who directly and indirectly accept responsibility for the living conditions of the people.

Visionary Leaders

Leaders who ensure that Akwa Ibom civil servants should not starve in the face of an extensive natural resources, even as some of their colleague Governors are owing salaries of five months or more. The State has had a handful of leaders with well-thought out plans to develop the economy.

Leaders who spend more time working strategically in a systematic way to develop the State with the resources at their disposal.

Leaders who are equipped with intellectual creativity, courage and device of alternative political and economic means in development. Leaders who adopt unworkable and inappropriate “development” models that do not unnecessarily drain the resources and manpower.

We are living in a time and age where we expect ‘development’ (socio-economic, political, etc.) to be the rule and reject the lack of development to be served as dinner.

The long road to development in the State has been very risky. And we cannot say that there haven’t been times and instances where policies are short-sighted, counter-productive, and in pursuit of narrow donor-interests.

The struggle has been changing the content of the pressure for good governance in the direction of the best possible measures. At the end of the day, the benefits of the blessed leadership have favoured development. Leadership has attempted to standardize by blending to a norm and acclimating to the status quo of development strides.

Describing the development rate in AKS at 35, one would say: It has been nuanced, contextual, collaborative, fluid, and above all else, actionable. It has occurred beyond the norm. It has been focused on technique/content/curriculum of the people.

It has tested courage. It has trained on the present, while focusing on the future. It has generally adhered to global standards while maximizing potential. It has been both transactional and transformational.

And given the rapid pace of change in today’s workplace where professional development is a lifelong process, it has focused on maintenance, growth, the role and indoctrinated as well as educated the people.

Has the housemaid virus not been permanently treated? Is there any Akwa Ibomite who still wants to be a house maid? None. And this is because development has catalyzed innovation; enriched the culture; encouraged compliance; emphasized performance and focused on efficiency, effectiveness, problems, solutions and reporting lines. Influence has been expanded.

People hitherto placed in a box have been mechanically-trained and intellectually-freed from the box with a right to identify the knowns and explore the unknowns. The people are no longer robotic or static thinkers.

They have been moved beyond their comfort zones. That is infinite development. And it is so because the leaders at various times sought for an enterprising people that is growing and evolving just as the leadership itself.

Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel (a banker-turned-politician from Eket Senatorial District)) as the fourth democratically-elected governor of the State came in with the Dakakada Initiative; a Spiritual Rebirth, moral transformation and reorientation campaign officially launched during the State’s 28th anniversary in September 2015.

To consolidate on the achievements of the past administration and sustain superior performance aimed at moving the State to the next level, he took superlative steps to trudge the State to higher heights.

He anchors his Divine Mandate on a five-point agenda, namely: job creation, poverty alleviation, wealth creation, economic and political inclusion as well as infrastructural consolidation and expansion, and is working assiduously to sustain superior performance and achieve sustainable development.

In no time, Governor Emmanuel set an enviable record of performance to the admiration of many.

In order to galvanize technical and professionals inputs as well as realize his lofty objectives.

He constituted Technical Committees on the actualization of Ibom Deep Seaport; Foreign Direct Investments; Agriculture and Food Sufficiency, amongst others.

The administration started with intervention work to save St. Luke’s Hospital, Anua, Uyo, from ravaging gully erosion and also built new blocks to enhance health-care delivery in the State.

In the industrial sector, his administration had attracted over 20 industries in the State and one that was moribund revived to its functional State .

The industries are Jubilee Syringe , Metering and Solution manufacturing Ltd , Kings Flour Mill , St Gabriel Coconut Refinery, Pencil and tooth pick factory , Plastic and packaging factory , Lion Plywood and Timbers ,Agricom Rice Mill , Green World Fertiliser Blending plant ,three garri Mills , Automobile Plant, Peacock Paint LTD , Palm Kernel Oil Processing Plant, Rave Refinery – Odio , Petrol- Chemical Refinery ,Sterling Global Oil Rigs in Eastern Obolo with Fertilzer company among others

Ibom Deep Sea Port has fully been licenced for Contruction and operation by Federal Government of Nigeria and free Oil and Gas free trade Zone the State has also been certified .

One way or the other, he seems to be tackling industrialization in the footsteps of the late Brig. Gen. U. J. Esuene (also from Eket Senatorial District), who governed the South Eastern State between 1967 and 1975 and the late Dr. Clement Isong (also a banker from Eket Senatorial District) – the Governor of the old Cross River State between 1979 and 1983,.

In the last 7 years, over 2700Km of roads ,47 bridges and several infrastructures have been constructed across the State.

Some either completed or on-going are: Dualization of 19.7km Uyo-Etinan Road, 39.4km Etinan-Ndon Eyo Road with 2 No. Bridges and Spur; 19km Uyo- Ikot Ekpene Road , Etinan – Eket Dualization , 7.3km Ebekpo-Ikot Ebidang Road; 5km Mkpok-Okat Road; Dualization of Eket-Ibeno Road; Nto Edino Ekwarazu Road, Obotme – Arochukwu Road ,Secretariat Road in Udung Uko Local Government Area, Nung Okim Ikono Road , Urban Renewal Projects within Eket Township; Emergency intervention, flood control, completion of Outfalls and Urban Roads in Oron;

Second Runway at the Akwa Ibom International Airport; three collapsed bridges and internal roads in Obot Akara LGA; Dualisation of Oron-Uyo Road; 9km Ten Lane Ring 3, named Late Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga and Late Dr Clement Isong ,Dualization of 5km Ring Road 2, 19km Anua- Mbak- Issiet Road, 1.2km Underground Drainage in Uyo; gully erosion that ravaged Calabar–Itu Road at Enen Atai, Itu LGA , Contruction 114 internal Roads in Uyo Metropolis ,21 in town and 64 in Eket Local government Area government Area among others.

Visionary Leaders

There are also Awa-Ikot Nkan Road;kot Usop-Ikot Edehe-Ikot Ekpuk Road , 3.5km Ikot Udom Road ,Underground drainage at Nsikalk Edouk and 10km Surface Drainage taking flood water away from IBB

In power generation Governor Udom constructed Power Sub-Station, Edet Akpan Avenue, Uyo; Power Sub -Station Ekim,Power Sub Station , Ikot Ekpene sub Station, Eket Sub Station – Air Port among others

Governor Udom Emmanuel started his rescue mission from St Luke’s hospital Anua, one of the most popular medical facility in Uyo , where he renovated Men’s Ward and Children Ward and equipped those Wards with modern beds and equipment .

Apart from reconstruction of those two buildings , Governor UDOM also built a brand new Maternity Ward , a one floor storey building ,which was named after a renowned Missionary, who dedicated her entire life to ensure others stay alive Rev. Sis. Ann Ward

After St Luke’s Hospital, Governor Udom Emmanuel visited General Hospital Ituk Mbang in Uruan and Ikot Okoro General Hospital .

Ikot Okoro Hospital was covered with overgrown grass and trees ,hence making it impossible for humans to stay there. The roof of the buildings were all shattered and there was no visible hospital equipment for healthcare delivery.

On the other hand, Ituk Mbang General was like a virgin who had lost her virtue to a rapist ,a one time renown Methodist Hospital was fast becoming an abandoned facility of lack of Staff, qualitative infrastructure, and equipments.

Governor Udom Emmanuel immediately ordered work on the two General Hospitals ,all the building reconstructed and new ones constructed ,while new beds and equipment were installed .

The next General Hospital’s were Etinan General Hospital and Ikono General Hospital. Today, both hospitals have also been constructed and commissioned with modern Medical equipment.

General Hospital Iquita, in Oron and brand new General Hospital in Onna , Gemeral hospital Ikot Abasi , General Hospital, Ikot Ekpene are all completed and commissioned with world class equipments .

As if that was not enough , Governor Udom has reconstructed and reequipped Emmanuel Hospital in Eket ,while work is ongoing , in Mkpat Eni General Hospital and Akwa Ibom University Teaching Hospital .

Governor Udom Emmanuel built 300 bed Isolation Center and the biggest oxyven plant in Nigeria ,all at Ituk Mbang General Hospital

All these Hospital’s are supplied with modern equipment like

Surgical Lights ,Electrosurgical Units, Blanket, Surgical Tables, EKG/ECG Machines, Sterilizers, Patient Monitors, Anesthesia Machine , Defibrillators Hospital Stretchers, bedpan,cannula , Ventilators, Dialysis machines ,Xrays machines ,movable hospital beds and many more .

It is worthy of note that Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration also took aviation business in Akwa Ibom State beyond the building of an Airport and record the great feat of being the first State in Nigeria to own and operate an Airline business .

Ibom Air with 8 Aircrafts in the first hundred days of operation had recorded well over fifty thousand passengers , from the calculations of economists , the Airline made well over 1billion naira in just 100 days.

Away from the direct income from Ibom Air, today one who is an entrepreneur in Akwa Ibom can go for a business trip in Lagos or Abuja and come back the same day. In the same vein, investors coming to Akwa Ibom State no more witness lack of flight to visit the State as when the need arises .

Visionary Leaders

Ibom Air is rated as the best Airline in Nigeria with over 10 routes , Governor Udom Emmanuel have also completed 2nd Run way and is building an international terminal for the Airport .while work on Hanger is at advance level .

Governor Udom Emmanuel have Completed the construction of 22 storey Ibom Towers ,which will house world multi-national Firms .

It is no gainsaying tat Akwa Ibom is fast metamorphosing into an Industrial Tiger; a Tiger in a class by itself, hence, its being characterized as the “Newly Industrializing State”.

The number 30s is used as a sign of physical and mental maturity. It is an age when you are ripe for leadership. Visionary Leaders.

Nearly every time the number is mentioned, it is in reference to some significant event or responsibility. It is an age when you are no longer a boy, or young man. You are either a man (or woman).

Perhaps no single number more fully embodies the essence of the rhythmic fluctuations which characterize human affairs than that of the number 30. Its significance to the realms of finance, economics, physics, mathematics, astronomy, and religion is integral to a full comprehension of each field, and almost mystical in its import.

From the scriptures, it is quite clear that God places a great amount of emphasis on the age (or number) 30. Visionary Leaders.

Examples that abound are the patriarchs Salah (grandson of Shem), Peleg and Serug (the great-grandfather of Abraham) had their first sons at the age of 30.

Abraham was challenged to find 30 righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah; Jair, a Judge of Israel had 30 sons; Ibzan, another Judge of Israel, had 30 sons and 30 daughters; Samson offered a prize of 30 sheets and 30 change of garments to 30 men if they answered a riddle within a week; Joseph was 30 years old when he became 2nd in command to Pharaoh; the priests officially entered service at age 30; When Moses died, the Israelites mourned him for 30 days; David became King when he was 30 years old; Ezekiel was called by God as a prophet at age 30; John the Baptist was 30 when he came to pave the way for the Messiah (Jesus) and Jesus officially started his ministry at 30.

The number 30 also represents the sacrificial blood of Jesus as He was betrayed by Judas for 30 silver coins. Visionary Leaders @ work.

That is not to say the youths should do NOTHING until 30. In ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ the French existentialist Albert Camus comments that the age of 30 is a crucial period in the life of a man, for at that age he gains a new awareness of the meaning of time. Akwa Ibom State just did. And in many great ways.

The success story of Akwa Ibom State at 30s could not have been, without the able-leadership of the pragmatic Governors at various stages and the supportive role of members of the State Executive Council and other key members of the administration at each time. As Governor Udom Emmanuel leads the State through 30, he needs to be encouraged.

He deserves applause for the Hatchery at Uruan, the agricultural revolution, Industries ,the sub-stations that are striving to ensuring 20 hours of electricity supply, upgrading of facilities at Akwa Ibom State University, As an ‘Industrial Tiger’ he has done well. Or what do you think? To me, he has kept his words. He has fulfilled his promises.

To me he operates on the premise of Bill Bradley who said that ‘leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better’. Kudos Governor Udom Emmanuel. The State has done well. Akwa Ibomites have done well.

Either way, it is certainly interesting that God places such emphasis on age 30, as it seems to be the age He considers us worthy for leadership and responsibility.

You won’t be perfect at this age, or any age. But apparently, you’ll be READY! Ready for whatever God has in store for your life. Visionary Leaders @ work.

AT 35, AKWA IBOM IS BLESSED WITH VISIONARY LEADERS.

Visionary Leaders
God bless Akwa Ibom State.

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