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Tuesday, June 9, 2020


Emmanuel Nicholas

Following his swearing-in for a second term in office on May 29, 2019, Governor Udom Emmanuel, launched out vigorously his Eight Point Completion Agenda, consolidating and expanding on his first term Five Point Agenda, still clinging unto his inspirational Divine Mandate campaign mantra, Only God.

There is no doubt that, the Governor has true to his promise, and without making needless noise, delivered on his promises not just in the aspect of redefining governance in the State but also in taking it to another level with dividends eloquently seen in every sector of the economy.

However, because this article shall come in series, this first shall focus on infrastructure with special attention on road, power, the 21 storey smart building and Healthcare institutions.

POWER: One of the prominent projections of Governor Udom Emmanuel while coming on saddle the governance seat of Akwa Ibom State, was that there was the realistic possibility for Akwa Ibom to launch out as the first state in the country with a 24-hour electricity. With the Ibom Independent Power Plant already in place, a project that has been a victim of broken promises over the years ever since it was conceptualized, and begun by a former Governor of the State, Obong Victor Attah, the Governor Emmanuel-led administration sooner proved that it came to translate age-long dreams into reality and bequeath a state better than where it met it on arrival in 2015.

The first of the provident steps taken with harmless aggression was that of revisiting the matter of constant power supply in Akwa Ibom State as the administration progressively and rapidly unfolds its development processes.
Of course, the Governor did not at anytime promise that the lofty public-interest goal of making electricity available in the State was going to be taken in one felt swoop but in piecemeal depending on available resources within the eight years of his positive-impact driven leadership. Judging from what is on ground, there are no contradictions that the Governor is on his way to achieving the goal.

There is no gain saying that businesses depend on power each day to run its operations  but when the power is epileptic, unplanned downturn  occur —  that can cost a  business a fortune. Unexpected outages can lead to situations from which it may be difficult to recover. How heartwarming it is to note that since the inception of Governor Udom Emmanuel's administration, he has power generation as a priority sector in the development of the State .

Consequently, he has constructed digital Sub-stations across the state, notably in Ekim in Mkpat Enin,  Edet Akpan Avenue and by Victor Attah international International Airport in Uyo. The State Government has also facilitated the construction of power lines to help in evacuation of power from Ibom Power Plant to consumers. This is the reason some parts of the State are witnessing between 20  to 22 hours of electricity now .

As a result, this has helped in attracting more  investment through SMEs and most  businesses have  also moved from the neighbouring States of Abia, Imo and  Rivers States to Akwa Ibom State in order to enjoy good energy supply and make more profits for their businesses.  It has also helped in boosting the Industralization drive of the Governor. 

ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE: ROAD: There are no arguments to the contrary that Akwa Ibom is at the forefront of States in Nigeria with the best road network in terms of number, quality and intra and inter-state connectivity. Whereas the presence of good roads can be expressed in general terms in reference to past administrations of the State, a generational blessing that makes the state the envy of others, the Udom-led administration that took off in 2015 has come with something peculiarly unique in terms of service delivery, effective distribution and sustenance of dividends of democracy.

The Governor has done this through both his celebrated first term agenda and the realities and realizable expectations embedded in the ongoing Completion Agenda. For a fact, the Completion Agenda, as the name implies, is the governor’s driving force in connection with what he owes Akwa Ibom people and history. It is easy to observe that the Completion Agenda is properly situated to serve as an icing on the cake of the governor’s first term breakthroughs but with a peculiarity that is aimed at altering the previous records. 

Prior to today, many left-wing politicians and the fifth columnists had to their great expense deployed the media and tried in vain to contradict the governor’s statistics that he had constructed over 1700 kilometres of roads in the last past years. Some of these critics did so not because the truth was too from them but necessarily because achieving such a feat was quite overwhelming. 

But today, that argument has been put to rest. It is no exaggeration to observe that even the worst critic and cynic of the Udom-led government has come into terms with the reality. Wirth conviction, they all have come to agree without the hitherto argument that numerous quality and durable roads have been constructed across the nooks and crannies of the State, and much more awaits the people as the governor inexorably pursues his Completion Agenda.

In statistical terms, so far, the record shows the following: 43 bridges; 170 streets in Uyo metropolis alone; 37 streets in Eket; and 21 in Oron. There have also been construction of long-9 daulized roads or expressways that have further opened the frontiers of the state. These would include those already completed and those that are ongoing: Etinan Ndoneyo; Uyo-Etinan; Etinan-Eket; Eket-Ibeno; Airport-Okobo-Oron Road; Uyo-Ikot Ekpene; 55.5 kilometre Ibaka Superhighway; 3rd Ring Road and 2nd Ring Road. And there are two  or more  ongoing  or completed in all the rural  local Government areass .

The twin flyover project at Ikot Oku Ikono Junction that is nearing completion is already being described by commentators as one of the gigantic and strategic road projects undertaken by the administration. This is against the backdrop of the hope that the frequency of vehicular accidents that previously characterised this busy and popular intersection that links the Uyo township to the interiors shall have been averted on completion of the project. Indeed, before now, no week had passed that ghastly accidents would not be recorded at this junction that has been historically accepted as the cradle of the Ibibio race, a densely populate area within which vicinity are the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, the Federal Secretariat, the Nest of Champions and a couple of state ministries that have combined to make the area a traffic hub into and outside the state.
The general encouraging fact and expectations are that most of the communities where these new roads have been constructed have had to cope with the sordid reality of bad roads for as old as they have been in existence until now or for as long as the State had existed since its creation in 1987. As investigations have shown, some aborigines and residents of these areas has during the commissioning of these roads confessed that they had lost hope of a real connection with modernity on account of how sequestered or completely cut off from other communities they have been. Now, with the construction of the roads, businesses had since sprung up with resultant ripple effects on life in general. It can simply be said that these road shave opened the areas for robust economic activities that in specific and general terms have in turn improved the state’s economy.

21 STOREY SMART OFFICE COMPLEX : The zeal and speed with which Governor Emmanuel focuses on roads have been deliberately and even more elaborately extended to the construction of public Utilities such as the 21 storey smart building. The 21 storey intelligent building specially conceptualized and designed to cater for the needs of oil majors in the country, but who have, for associated economic justifications, had their corporate headquarters in Lagos and Abuja over the years even though Akwa Ibom contributes the highest oil-based revenue to the country and serve as their operational bases. The logic of the 21 storey structure, strategically located in the Banking Avenue and built with the latest sophistication, will be an irresistible attraction for the IOCs to relocate to the State.

It is noteworthy that giants like the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) and Shell Petroleum have either already relocated or close to relocating their corporate head offices in Nigeria to Rivers State, their main operational bases. In the case of Akwa Ibom, the argument or excuses before now had centred, and rightly so, on the unavailability of standard offices for this reason. This had informed the State Government’s discretion to pummel and squeeze itself, in spite of lean resources and huge commitment port folio, and develop a multi-purpose 21st century complaint office space that would adequately accommodate the diverse needs of these oil giants.

Also under the category of public utility is the emerging fully transformed Eket Township Stadium that has now been contemporised to play a competitive role in both the State and national sporting activities. As should be expected, the remodelling of the Eket Stadium to a standard complex has been lauded as one of the clairvoyant undertakings of the state government in the area of sport development, harnessing and grooming of potentials in our youths whether at amateur or professional levels. Considering the international best standard adopted in the construction of the stadium, there can be no question that state and national events –even international events shall be held here.

HEALTHCARE: By the last count, the Udom administration has built or upgraded not fewer than seven General Hospitals in the State within a short space of 5 years. These include general hospitals in Ikono, Iquita Oron, Ikot Okoro, Ituk Mbang and the general hospital in Etinan. And now, the recently commissioned Isolation Centre in Ituk Mbang, Uruan Local Government Area, adjudged as one of the best in the world. 

The cumulative summary of all of this, in real economics terms, means great IGR to the state. Apart from regular employment and contracting engagements, the value-chain benefits that these populist endeavours shall bring to the state can never ever be over-emphasised. it also shows how committed the governor is to the welfare and health of Akwa Ibom people and residents in the state in general. It certainly must have taken rare vision, courage and tactical adjustments for Governor Udom Emmanuel to have taken this huge step towards improving the fortunes of the state.

So, what might the Governor need most for now? Genuine support and encouragement from the populace. Not acrimonious criticisms.

The Completion Agenda, indeed, is on course!

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