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Monday, January 17, 2022


Mr. Udom Inoyo


Gov Udom Emmanuel

Etokowo Owoh*

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: If we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome"

 --Anne Bradstreet

Many Akwa Ibom people are yet to appreciate the efforts of Governor Udom Emmanuel at doing everything to curry investors, partners, associates, and finance to hurriedly industrialize Akwa Ibom State. There is much insight in that Ibibio proverb that says, "No mother cries when her children are doing well". 

Industrialization is critical because we are in dire need of diversifying the state’s economy. Despite the difficulties strewn on the way by a wobbly national economy, benign insecurity, and poor ease of doing business which have created hiccups on the way of wooing investors, the governor is still doing everything to make the difference. And whether or not we acknowledge this effort now, it does not detract from the fact that, in the medium run, patches of new industrial colours will adorn the economic landscape of the state. I hope we will at that time remember the “little efforts” of Mr. Udom Emmanuel.

Udom Emmanuel is pitching tent with industrialization because he knows it is an aphorism for an enduring all round development, a transition from a trading, consumption economy to real sector development. It is the small seeds sown today to signal tomorrow’s emergence of industrial revolution. It is the transformative stage in the production process where technology, science, and finance, converge to stem import dependence, generate foreign exchange, create employment, enrich, and lengthen the value chain in the production process. It is an effort at converting our basic raw materials to semi and fully processed goods and adding value to our farm assets.

There is a general consensus amongst policy makers and scholars that a robust manufacturing sector is the fundamental path to economic growth and development. Another name for the developed world is “industrialized world”. In other words, what separates advanced economies from underdeveloped nations is the extent to which they are industrialized and how much of technology is applied in the production process. I hate to quarrel with people, but saddens one's heart when one hears the description of Akwa Ibom State as “Nigeria’s Dubai” using a few flyovers that superimpose themselves on rusty old environment, on rusty buildings devoid of simple evidence of modernity like water closet, interspersed by “food is ready” joints that litter the place, and second hand, “bend down” clothing markets that define our business sophistication in the eye of discerning visitors.

Recently the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a body formed to promote a single market in Africa came under scrutiny in South Africa. AfCFTA was launched in 2018 to unlock the manufacturing potential and facilitate industrialization, drive sustainable growth and create jobs among other Laudable objectives in Africa. According to Mr. Kingsley, former deputy governor of the Nigeria’s Central Bank, has said it, and it is true, that although Africa has 70 percent of the world strategic minerals, we only control 1 percent of global manufacturing. All these natural resources we are have, the real blessing goes to the West and Asia while the curse comes to us all because we export them without adding value. Nigeria being the biggest economy in the continent, should lead this transformational change. Akwa Ibom will not live in this fools’ paradise of remaining an exporter of raw natural resources and vaunting development success while virtually all we consume are imported and all we manage to export are raw materials without value add. Not anymore!


There is empirical evidence that manufacturing absorbs large swathe of workers placing them in productive and decent paying jobs. Manufacturing is a sure-footed path to prosperity. It is this universal recipe for a prosperous economy that we desire in our dear state. Thus, no matter how “dismal” anybody may think of the performance of the current industrialization drive, the protagonist, Governor Udom Emmanuel, deserves kudos for showing tenacity in the face of very unfavorable industrial climate. 

The big disaster to wedge against is an incoming governor jettisoning this very important paradigm shift. And this is why we must not shy away from discussing the next leadership and his potential, determination, to up the current industrialization game by increasing the tempo. Most importantly is the need to make sure the industries being established and the anticipated additions are not left in the hands of civil service managers whose track record at managing complex industrial establishments is abysmal.

In my opinion, we need to improve on the governor’s efforts. This is because through it, we will diversify the state’s economy and create multiple revenue streams. This naturally leads to assessing current aspirants to the Hill Top. One man that pleasantly stick out is Mr. Udom Inoyo. His mind set, experience, network of international linkages, and, above all, his unblinking concern for the Akwa Ibom of tomorrow, indicate an alloy of personality that the governorship of the state should be entrusted. Industrializing the state must benefit from a strategized plan. It must segment the industrial sector into blocks - the commanding heights, the small medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro enterprises (where over 60 percent of the population, particularly the unemployed school leavers are gravitated).


Akwa Ibom people are not looking for a run of the mill governor. We are not seeking just another politician. We are going into competition as a state, where we will struggle with other states for the few foreign direct investments. Akwa Ibom needs a professionally recognizable personality who will be called by his first name by fellow investors; not one with choking hyperbolic titles. The investment world is a very intelligent and complex one not given to tolerating learners. Udom Inoyo is not a first timer in the eye of investors; rather, he is someone who has been at the highest levels of negotiation. He can very easily discern low hanging fruits while at the same time keeping his eyes on the big-ticket opportunities. He is an evidence of sophisticated industrial credentials having managed complex industrial concerns in the immediate past and understands the rubric of the private sector in its entirety.


Fellow Akwa Ibomites, if we are looking for a cutting-edge governor that will bridge the wide gap that has been created between business, governance and the investment public for several years by politicians, this is not the time to pick a learner in the business world as governor. Our monthly federation accounts receipts will continue to dwindle as the world is fast rendering our kind of buying and selling economy prostrate and relegating crude oil to the back waters. All over the world, nations are baking new cakes to replace current hydrocarbon economies. Laboratories of the West are busy and new energy sources are emerging. Akwa Ibom needs a cake baker for a governor come 2023; not rent-seeking consumers. We need a man with the required aptitude, attitude, competence, experience and network to keep open the opened industrial windows, while opening up new doors for Akwa Ibom. We need our globally-trusted son, Mr. Udom Uko Inoyo.

*Mr. Owoh is a Management Consultant, Researcher and Public Policy Analyst and Author

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