…Analyses Sectoral Achievements of the Governor
… Says the state under Gov. Emmanuel has experienced peace
By Saviour Ekpe
A retired Permanent Secretary from the Akwa Ibom State Budget Office, Pastor Nicholas Ekarika has called on the people of Akwa Ibom State to rise in support of governor Udom for his second term bid so as to continue to provide people-oriented projects to the people of the state.
Pastor Ekarika who is now serving as Honorary Special Adviser on Budget Matters to the Akwa Ibom state Governor made this call while speaking with our reporter recently maintained that the state is blessed with a man filled with Divine wisdom to manage resources within his disposal. He observed that second term in office is constitutional in Nigeria in as much as there is tangible evidence. He recalled that Arc. Obong Victor Attah from Uyo Senatorial District served two terms from 1999 – 2007. Obong Godswill Akpabio from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District also served two terms from 2007 – 2015 and expressed the hope that Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel from Eket Senatorial District would be effortless elected for second term in 2019 in view of his performances.
The financial expert further explained that, “if God stood by Governors Victor Attah and Godswill Akpabio to round off their two terms of eight years each successfully, that same God will definitely stand by governor Udom to equally round off his two terms of eight years”. He assured the governor that with God on his side victory is assured, “if you look at the Bible, kings that were doing the will of God were given Divine assurance and directives by God Himself”.
The man of God maintained that apart from the two terms policy operated in the state, Governor Emmanuel has shown exemplary leadership architecture in governance which has endeared him to the people who are standby to vote him into office come 2019. In the book of Joshua chapter one verse seven, God told Joshua, “Only be thou strong and very courageous … that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest” (KJV). Ekarika, a Deeper Life pastor whose speaking was characterized with bible quotations urged the governor to be focused and operate under the consciousness of Isaiah 41: 10 (KJV), which reads, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness”.
The Honorary Special Adviser eulogizes Governor Emmanuel on his ability to govern the State as one indivisible family, which has brought about numerous achievements across the nooks and crannies of the State. He stated that Governor Emmanuel’s commitment to industrialization is irrevocable as the governor has re-written the Akwa Ibom State Economic story moulded from his background as Executive Director in Zenith Bank with direct supervision on Corporate Strategy And Planning; Corporate Financial Advisory Services and Control; Business Development, International Investors’ Relations; Oil and Gas Sector; Infrastructure And Power Sector; Multilaterals, Conglomerates and Private Banking as well as telecommunications sectors and has successfully executed those tasks brining to bear his training and experiences in corporate governance.
Pastor Ekarika pointed out that in 2013, the immediate past Governor of the State, Obong Godswill Akpabio, impressed by his superlative professional achievements as a corporate titan, appointed Mr. Udom Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government, a position he acquainted himself creditably, leading to the people of Akwa Ibom State at home and in the Diaspora to believe in him that the future of greatness and economic movement of the state reside in humility, accountable and foresightedness.
Pastor Ekarika charged the people of the state to grab the opportunity presented to it by the government to go and register at the ongoing PVC (permanent voter’s card) registration exercise so as to perform their franchise during the 2019 general election as this is biblical from time immemorial, “this issue of PVC, parents should direct and encourage their wards that are up to voting ages to go and register, apart from using it for election purposes, time will come in this country that if you don’t present your PVC, certain basic rights and privileges may elude you. So everyone should take advantage of this.”
The retired bureaucrat recalled the governor’s inaugural speech when he stated that his government would be large enough to shelter every boy and girl, man and woman, young and old, literate and illiterate from the scorching heat of injustice while seeking to build a greater state founded on prosperity and justice. Ekarika was optimistic that Governor Udom Emmanuel will be sworn-in in 2019 as it was the case in 2015 to celebrate the triumph of the people’s power over the murky waters of politics, recalling what the governor said in 2015, “we were troubled, but we were not distressed; perplexed but we did not despaired; persecuted but we were not forsaken; cast down but we were not destroyed, we stand tall because the trial of our faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it was tried with fire, was found unto praise and honour and glory”!!
According to Pastor Ekarika, “Governor Emmanuel as a true Christian has not disappointed Akwa Ibom people, his winning was seen as a test of faith in God and he has transformed the state by this same faith would make us laugh again in 2019 during his swearing – in, “this would be in recognition of his first term gigantic achievement such as dualization of Eket – Ibeno Road; Construction of Nsikak Eduok – Tropicana outfall drain; construction of Idiaba – Nda Nsit – Ikot Abasi (Nung Udoe) Road; construction of Ikot Usop – Ikot Edeghe – Ikot Ekpak Road with a 30m Span bridge; construction of Nto Edino – Ekwere Azu Road with 2No 45m Spam Bridges; construction of Ikot Udom road with 15m span bridge; emergency rehabilitation of Okopedi road by Community Health Centre through Oti – Oro; construction of gully erosion control facilities at Oron / Isangedighi Road, own urban; construction of Mkpok Okat Road; Construction of information drive; Construction of School of Arts and Science Road, Nung Ukim Ikono, Ikono Internal Roads; Connelly Cornelia College (CCC), Uyo; Road in Ibaka leading to Delmar Petroleum Harbour and Tank Farm; the list is endless, all these are completed project of His Excellency”.
The man of God noted that in the area of Road Construction, the Governor has undertaken over 91 Roads Construction amounting to over 1700km and 35 bridges, stating that this same spirit of superlative achievements is visible in other sectors as follows:
Education is the core and bedrock of any modern development. Aware of this reality, government has invested much resources and efforts in ensuring that education of Akwa Ibom children is given the necessary commitment. The following are achievements in the subsector: Free, compulsory and qualitative education policy in public primary and secondary schools in the state; Collaboration with the Federal Government to implement the Home Grown School Feeding programme in the State’s public primary schools; Training of School Inspectors, Education Officers and Principals, on quality assurance and best practices, in education in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education, UNICEF, UNESCO, etc.; Training of officers in Examination and Certification Division of the Ministry on ICT and computerization of examination results; Training of 30 indigenes of Akwa Ibom State on ICT in India; Accreditation of courses in the state’s Tertiary Institutions and public technical schools; Training of primary school teachers on effective classroom management skills, basic classroom teaching methods and techniques, language communication skills and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
Organization of a 2-day Advocacy Workshop on Structure and Effective Implementation of the new Senior Secondary School Curricula in collaboration with the Nigerian Education Research and Development Council (NERDC), Abuja; Payment of Subvention to all School Heads and Principals of Public Primary and Post-Primary Schools at the rate of N100.00 per pupil and N300.00 per student per term; Generation of reliable inputs through reports from Quality Assurance Inspectors and Evaluators for renovation and rehabilitation of schools by the Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Co-ordinating Committee; Procurement and distribution of free exercise books, textbooks and other educational materials, to public and private schools in key subjects like Mathematics, English Language and the Sciences; Payment of examination fees and scholarships to students of Akwa Ibom State origin in tertiary institutions; Provision of grants and laptops to Medical and Law Students respectively; Revalidation of private schools in the state to ensure maintenance of standards and quality control; Production of a Handbook for Chaplains in Schools as a prelude to introduction of Chaplaincy Services in public secondary schools; Development of Ibibio Language curriculum; Conduct of verification exercise by the Ministry of Education to ascertain the actual number of pupils in public schools in the State.
HOUSING AND SPECIAL DUTIES
The Ministry of Housing and Special Duties has made the following indelible marks in the housing sub-sector within the lifetime of the Administration: Giving a lease of life to the Administrative and Pediatric/Male Medical Blocks at the St. Luke’s Hospital, Anua, Uyo, even as a new Gynaecology/Maternity Block was also constructed in memory of the pioneer Irish Gynaecologist, Rev. Sister Dr. Ann Ward, for her selfless services rendered in the medical facility. The block has an 86-bed ante-natal/post-natal ward, nurses’ station, nursery, and recovery section; The four-storey former 10th Anniversary Hotel building was completed and converted into an office edifice. It has more than 600m2 floor area and three access elevators. The new State Secretariat office complex consists of modern accommodation for about 400 offices, three conference rooms, auditorium, staff/VIP cafeteria, and Traditional Rulers Council Chambers. Other facilities include lawns and green areas, parking lots for more than 150 cars and heavy duty trucks, staff clinic, technical workshops and service building; Influx of investors in housing development seeking partnership with government to alleviate the housing problems in the state. Proposals received include development of residential estates, designed to be self-reliant in terms of support facilities; commercial and multi-storey office buildings; mixed-use and terrace buildings. Each of the projects is expected to be executed based on a public-private-partnership (PPP) arrangement, with government providing land and basic infrastructure as part of its counterpart investment.
Unity Luxury Estate Project: The State Government is to provide a site and services for low and very low density luxury flat in Unity Luxury Estate, located at Ibiaku Issiet and Ibiaku Obio Ndobo Villages, off Airport Road, Uruan LGA. The services that will be provided at the Estate through a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) arrangement include: regular water supply, regular electricity using gas turbines, central sewage disposal system, fiber optic cable, police station, safe city security system, fire station, good road network with drainage system, recreational facilities, shopping malls, crèche and primary school and generating sets. The site measuring consisting of a land area of about 159 hectares is still being cleared.
Relocation Of Uyo Federal Prison: The project entails construction of a modern prison complex, with state-of-the-art facilities providing adequate security and accommodating 1,000 inmates and a residential area for about 36 prison staff. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed, Governor Udom Emmanuel endorsed for Akwa Ibom State whiles the Minister of Interior, retired. Gen. Abdulraman Dambazau endorsed for the Federal Government for the construction of the new structure on the 15 hectares of land donated to the Nigerian Prisons Service by Ikot Oku Ikono; Ibom International Airport Project: The government is committed to completing all existing projects for the good of the citizenry and to boost the economy. Ibom International Airport is one of the projects inherited by this government. Construction of 3.6 kilometers x 60meters wide Taxiway is ongoing; Ibom International Airport Power Sub-Station: The Ministry has embarked on reconstruction and upgrading of the switch gear and panels building of the Ibom Power Sub-Station.This is aimed at providing dedicated public power for running the Airport which is now being run with generating plants.
The Ministry of Justice received, within the period, a total of 2414 legal advice requests from the Police, out of which 2401 cases were concluded; Provision of laptop computers to all Law Officers and Heads of Departments; Provision of new desk top computers to all departments and outstations offices of the Ministry; Provision of laptops for 90 newly-recruited law officers in 2015; Drafting of 23 bills and subsidiary legislations; Drafting of 490 contracts/agreements/MOUs; Provision of 50 legal advice/opinions to various MDAs; Number of Estates under the ministry’s control as at Sept. 2015 – 63; Number of Estates wound up – 34; Welfare for beneficiaries; No. of processed death benefit, ( 27); No. of family disputes resolved, (59) and No. of cases pending in court,(9).
With over 70% of the state’s populace dwelling in the rural areas, government has vigorously tackled rural development, to make life meaningful to them. The following are government investment in this area: Reconstruction/rehabilitation of PHCN Electricity Facilities along Ikot Ekparo village, Ikot Abai village, Ekpuk village and part of Nyaodiong village in Mkpat Enin LGA; Provision of 1 (one) 300 KVA sub-station to supply electricity for effective water supply to adjoining offices at Wellington Bassey Barracks – Ibagwa, Abak LGA; Provision of power supply to Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat Complex, Uyo.
Hosting of 1st Akwa Ibom Youth Sports Festival; Approval for the establishment of Sports Academy in the 10 Federal Constituencies; training of 1000 Youths for Oracle Certification Programme; Power Sector training for 200 youths; Special Agricultural Training for 100 youths in Israel; Construction of West Itam Secondary school sports complex; Training of 450 youths in agro-allied industry; Training of 3000 youths in ICT, through AKEES; ongoing renovation of Eket Sports stadium among others.
Power and energy are very critical to industrialization particularly and for the overall development of any society. Hardly can any sector of the economy grow without power. And so, in his quest to catapult Akwa Ibom State into an industrial hub in the gulf of Guinea, Governor Udom Emmanuel has vigorously tackled Power generation in the state to boost commercial and domestic activities. Achievements recorded in the power sector include: Attainment of 18 hours daily electricity supply; Installation of “dead bus” technology which allows Akwa Ibom to be an island of power supply during National Grid outages; Configuration and commissioning of GT 2 to enable IPP operate at 80 percent of installed capacity as required under the CBN-NESI fund; Proposal to NERC for expansion of IPP licence (from 191MW to 670MW); Completed electricity distribution asset evaluation to ascertain the number of transformers and customers on each transformer in every village, ward and community across the three senatorial districts; Built structure/capacity for the effective operation of the technical and commercial activities of the power distribution sub-sector in the state; Collaboration by the management of Ibom Power with TCN and NERC for the creation of a work centre in the State – initial six staff were posted to the State; Improvement of power supply in various communities across the State, including, Etebi Ikot Udofa/Ikot Udota in Eket L.G.A, Etinan L.G.A, Ikot Abasi Town, Ikot Akpan Mkpe, Afaha Atai in Onna LGA, Awa Ikot Nsong, Nkana Communities, Ewet Housing Estate, AKBC in Ntak Inyang, Peacock Paint Industry and Ibom e-library within Uyo Capital City.
AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SUFFICIENCY
This leading sector of the country’s economy is not treated lightly by the state. The objective is to ensure food sufficiency and security as well as diversify from petro-dollar to an agro-based economy. To this end, the Udom Emmanuel administration has achieved the following: Re-introduction of second planting season for enhanced food production and sufficiency; Refurbishment and upgrading of three 10mt/day cassava processing factories in the 3 Senatorial Districts; Cultivation of 40 hectares of seed multiplication cassava farm in the Senatorial Districts to provide free stems to farmers; Distribution of improved oil palm and cocoa seedlings to farmers in the state; Extension of technical advisory services to about 350 fish farms in the State, as well as the cultivation of 300 hectares of cassava under the FADAMA III+ Financing Programme; Establishment of Special Cocoa Maintenance Scheme (SCMS) for the training of farmers and youths on pruning/shade management, under brushing, and tree care by fumigation, to ensure improvement of yields from 300 kilogram/hectare to 2000kg/ha over 3 years period; Zoning and mapping of the cocoa producing communities in the State, and sensitization of cocoa farmers in the 24 cocoa producing local government areas in the State; Holding of sensitization programmes for Field Extension Officers of the Ministry of Agriculture, and those of Akwa Ibom State Agric Development Programme (AKADEP); Importation of 1000 bags of special cocoa fertilizers from Ghana for optimal yield; Delivery of 1000 bags of special cocoa fertilizers in September 2016; Distribution of training kits to all participants at practical field training on cocoa; Signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Sand Carlos of Mexico to develop 1000 hectares of cocoa farms and cocoa nursery in the State.