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The Bubble Bursts By Joe Etokudor

Akwa Ibom State to many was a very buoyant state in good financial standing until recent. The state since 2007 under the able-leadership of Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio has no doubt been regarded by virtue of its abundant human resources, and resource endowment as a major player in the national and global economy.

Without any equivocation, Akwa Ibom State, under the Akpabio administration has been at the forefront of regional and national integration in the context of political activities. To say the least, Chief Akpabio’s intellectual endowment has been put to an optimal use. That is why he sees everything reprehensible with the political empowerment of individuals without political address.

Governor Akpabio, it is observed, has taken bold steps to preserve the integrity of Akwa Ibom People. To him, the parts must be strong enough to stand as a whole. He has been able to transform the whole state infracturally and otherwise but a lot still remains.

George orwell’s “Animal Farm” comes in handsomely here-. The erudite author presents a direct replica of what happened in Russia, when Stalin, the then leader of the country was well able to provide the citizens with solutions to their “very big” problems but unmindfully refused to satisfy them in their very “Little” and minor problems which he felt did not matter very much to him. This eventually sparked off a big revolution which crumbled the system. Yes, true to fact, Governor Akpabio has done a lot for the state and beyond, but one little thing, he has not been able to do which has attracted public criticism is quite obvious. He has done the big things – infrastructures and free education from the primary level to secondary level. But individual empowerment is conspicuously lacking.

The idea of the government being more intent in lining the pockets of a few selected and opportune individuals in the state than in servicing the people who massively elected them, the mounting cynicism with which constituents of the state now view political. In all respects, the Akpabio administration has turned out to be a blessing to the people of Akwa Ibom and Nigerians respectively. Beyond this, there still, is something which this administration has not done. This government has only been able to give fish to the people instead of teaching them how to fish. For many observers of the governance and activities in Akwa Ibom State for the past seven and a half years, the policies of Governor Akpabio are well articulated and in line with Nigeria’s role..

But not a few agree that a major factor responsible for the steady rise in poverty level among Akwa Ibom People is the inherent alarming rate of unemployment. This invariably summarizes the mood of many Akwa Ibom people on the uncommon transformation agenda as it is yet to positively impact on the lives of the generality of the people. And the big question on the lips of everybody is, “When are the people going to enjoy the fresh breath of air promised in 2011? The promise of industries in all the 31 Local Government areas is now more or less an utopia. Employment of the youths and people across the length and breadth of Akwa Ibom State has since been the exclusive preserve of the few favoured and opportune individuals who, perhaps may have got special link with the powers that be. Contracts are awarded to relations and in-laws of the government.

Years of being profiled in enclaves on the basis of ethnicity by the political leaders in the state in the political and economic sector have taken their toll on the state-unification project. As the political becomes increasingly exclusionary and repressive, separatists and identitatrian tussles and agitations now arise among Akwa Ibom constituent ethnic groups with lasting repercussions on the political, cultural, and socio-economic scene. Equality and non-discrimination are principles that under-pin the protection and promotion of rights.

The main challenge that continues to dog Akwa Ibom is the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty. Why does the greatest oil producing state in Nigeria have the greatest concentration of poor people? One would have believed that in a state like Akwa Ibom, promoting self-reliance in development and building capacity for self-sustaining development should have been very paramount. This in turn would usher in an accelerated socio-economic development to achieve sustainable development and the eradication of the seeming poverty.

Without any doubt, Akwa Ibom people are yet to feel the impact of the agenda. If there is transformation at all, it is on the reverse side. The people of Akwa Ibom are yet to see it in its truest sense. For now it is safe to say. It is not yet Uhuru. The onus is now left for the incoming administration to work harder to fill the gap.

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