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Wednesday, March 20, 2024


Governor Umo Eno

By Dr. Kenneth Akpan

In his inaugural address on May 29th, 2023, Governor Umo Eno, had laid out in a succinct and concise manner how involved he would be in the struggles of the  poor and the vulnerable. He had stated thus “To those of you who may be struggling to put food on your table, I will be your champion because I came from your stock.”

Nine months after, Governor Eno, has been intentional in addressing the needs of the poor and the neediest amongst us. In the first few months after he was sworn in, he used to regularly stop his convoy to empower street traders with seed money, an act he still relishes.

These spontaneous acts were not done for photo-ops, they were and are still genuine  display of connection with a group he has a deep affinity to. The story of God’s invisible  Hands in the affairs of Governor Eno- lifting him up from the valley to the apex of accomplishments has been told and well-documented.

In all he has done since  assuming power, from the flag-off of rural roads, to primary health facilities, to the payment of gratuities, 14.7 billion so far, to the provision of school uniforms, books and shoes to pupils, to the payment of  monthly 50 thousand Naira upkeep for the elderly drawn from all the wards in the State under the Arise Initiative for the Elderly, to the free medical outreach  program where over five thousand surgeries and other medical assistance were performed to the poor and the vulnerable in Uyo, Oron and Ikot Ekpene, with Eket to be conducted next month, to the educational grants of 100 million Naira dedicated to students living  with disabilities, of which the first tranche of payment of 250 thousand to undergraduate students and 350 to graduate students have already been paid , Governor Eno has always been drawn by the plight of the poor and the vulnerable amongst us.

The Bulk Purchase Bill which was recently signed into law, will make staple food items : Garri, rice and beans easily available for the poor and the neediest. This free programme is billed to be launched next Tuesday. It is a bold and compassionate intervention initiative, while the long term and sustainable focus remains the return to farming by our people.

It is therefore, preposterous and ludicrous for anyone to question Governor Eno’s infinite attachment to the poor and the vulnerable. The reality of the current situation in Nigerian is clear and simple: Nigerians need our staple foods, garri, beans and rice to feed their families.

Governor Eno, is fulfilling that need through the Bulk Purchase free food voucher  programme, to be launched next Tuesday. This is a matter of necessity. Any other food item, should be considered a matter of choice, and on this, Nigerians are in full and total agreement with Governor Umo Eno.

Governor Umo Eno’s free food voucher programme which is identical to what obtains in the United States, the food stamp program  which is given to the poor and the neediest, is his New Deal for Akwaibomites’ most vulnerable.

When nations or subnationals are faced with dire and challenging economic times, leaders think outside the box of conventional wisdom. Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the end of the 1929 Stock Exchange crash that brought untold hunger and food shortages in the United States, introduced the New Deal, that provided soup kitchens and other support for the poor and the vulnerable.

Governor Umo Eno, has given Akwa Ibom people a New Deal through the Bulk Purchase free food voucher program. He deserves our commendations and eternal gratitude and not some obtuse and mischievous narrative that is motivated by bile and animus.

Dr. Kenneth Akpan wrote in from Marietta, Georgia

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