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Thursday, April 9, 2020


Udom Emmanuel

One of the distinguishing features of a good leader is the capacity to think outside of conventional wisdom. The motivating impulse is always the foresight and vision such a leader brings to bear in governance. At the onset, postulating new ideas, and insisting on following through with them often threaten the popularity of visionary leaders. However, the popularity the purposeful leaders begin to soar as soon as their unpopular course of action begins to produce positive and undeniable results.

This scenario best describes the governance style of Mr. Udom Emmanuel. When he started out as governor, his model of empowerment, poverty alleviation and job creation anchored on industrialization, met with doubts and criticisms. Cynics dismissed it as another political gimmick to hoodwink the people. Apart from the innumerable Micro, Small and Medium entrepreneurial initiatives of his administration, which has provided means of livelihood for countless Akwa Ibom people, a number of foreign industrial concerns have also sprang up in the State.

Five years into his administration, he has attracted and facilitated the establishment of about 18 industries that have emotional and economic connectivity with the people. The meteoric rise in the number of foreign investors that have moved in, to do business, has led the state to being adjudged twice in the last five years as the second largest destination for foreign direct investments in Nigeria by the National Bureau of Statistics.

As if he knew the global community will be plunged into a socio-economic catastrophe, as occasioned by the current Coronavirus pandemic, Governor Udom Emmanuel had, from the inception of his administration, among other things, insisted on industrialization alongside agriculture and food sufficiency as the main pillars that will underpin the welfare programme of his administration.

Today, through his investments in agriculture, staple foodstuffs such as garri and rice have remained within the reach of the common man.

This, he achieved through the establishment of rice mills in Ini and Ibiono local government areas and several garri processing plants in the state.

The icing on the cake in Governor Emmanuel’s devotion to kitchen table issues saw the establishment of Kings Flour Mill, which was commissioned by Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in September 2019. As global economies struggle to cope with the new realities and dynamics, confectionaries, such as bread, cakes and associated items are easily available at the right quantity; at the right price and at the right time. Periodically, the administration of Governor Emmanuel has continued to release garri and rice from the State Reserves into the market to cushion the effect of the biting economic realities.
Since his assumption of office in 2015, Governor Emmanuel has taken up the issue of healthcare delivery as a major area of concentration as reflected in the numerous achievements in that sector. Apart from upgrading facilities at the Ibom Specialist Hospital to meet originally intended standards, several secondary healthcare facilities have been remodeled, reconstructed or refurbished, and equipped enough to render affordable healthcare services to the people. As if the Governor knew the world will be hit with a major health challenge, many of the hospitals in the state have been upgraded to digitally handle their operations.

Beginning with strategic interventions in structural facilities at the St. Luke’s Hospital, Anua, Uyo, General Hospital, Etinan; General Hospital Ikono; General Hospital Iquita, Oron; General Hospital Ikot Okoro; General Hospital, Ituk Mbang, as well as Immanuel Hospital, Eket and Awa Comprehensive Hospital have all been turned around, courtesy of the purposeful leadership of Governor Emmanuel. A number of other health facilities are still undergoing transformation across the state. Also, construction of a 300-bed Isolation Centre in Ituk Mbang, to complement existing ones in Ikot Ekpene and Ibom Specialty Hospital.

Another notable, significant and futuristic investment in healthcare sector by Governor Udom Emmanuel is the Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Company. The factory, which is the largest in Africa, has the capacity to produce over 400 million syringes, expandable to 1Billion annually. It has not only created employment opportunities for youths, but has also made Akwa Ibom and Nigeria, exporter of syringes, thereby improving the nation’s economy in general. During its inauguration on September 23, 2017, Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, overwhelmed by the magnitude of the project, described the initiator, Governor Emmanuel as an asset to the economic development of the country.

While the world lay comatose due to the global Coronavirus pandemic and the rising need for medical equipment, this great investment has ameliorated the impact on the populace, thus giving further credence to Governor Emmanuel’s visionary leadership.

With the Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Factory, the largest in Africa; the King's Flour Mill and several other companies spread across the state, Governor Emmanuel’s dream of industrializing the state has been a promise kept. 
Given the deep insight, huge investment and enabling environment that Governor Udom Emmanuel has brought to bear in his industrialization strides in the State, the people of the fast growing and peaceful state can now look ahead to a better and more secured economic future.

At a time like this, when communities, cities, states and even nations are on lockdown, the major challenge confronting families is how to feed. With fast dwindling finances, families are in dire need of basic food items. As a people oriented-leader, Governor Emmanuel has commenced the provision of palliatives to the good people of AKwa Ibom State.
The palliatives of the Udom Emmanuel administration for the people include rice, garri, flour and other essential food items, to cushion the effect of the Quarantine and Restriction of Movement Regulations 2020.

It is imperative to mention that the flour, rice and garri that the administration is giving as relief materials distributed to the people, down to the village level, are all produced in Akwa Ibom State.
Akwa Ibom people are indeed blessed to have a leader in the mould of Governor Udom Emmanuel. Notwithstanding the gloom cast over the global economy, no thanks to COVID-19, Governor Emmanuel’s visionary leadership, through his robust industrialization agenda, had set Akwa Ibom on the path of socio-economic sustainability, particularly, for a time like this.

Babatope Ayotunde
wrote from Lagos

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