By Essien Ndueso
It was Plato, the ancient political philosopher who noted that the aim of the good society is neither freedom, nor economic well-being… rather the aim of the good society is justice… a true State, therefore, must be conformed to justice.
It was on the basis of this quest for equity, justice and fairness, that the founding fathers of Akwa Ibom State politics agreed that the political arrangement in the state should always be distributed between the three senatorial districts of Uyo, Ikot Ekpene and Eket.
It will suffice one to note that during the botched third republic that lasted between January 1992 and November 1993, the Governor Obong Akpan Isemin was from Uyo, while his deputy Engr. Etim Okpoyo was from Eket Senatorial District, paving way for the emergence of the three speakers Jimmy Ntuen, Nse Ekanem and Henry Afang from Ikot Ekpene senatorial district.
Following the return of democracy in 1999 Obong Victor Attah of Uyo Senatorial District was deputized by Engr. Chris Ekpenyong of Ikot Ekpene Senatoria District and for that eight years, Barr Bassey Essien, Chief Peter Linus Umoh and Chief Nelson Effiong of Eket Senatorial District served at various times as Speaker.
The clamour for justice led to the emergence of Chief Godswill Akpabio of Ikot Ekpene in 2007, with all his three deputies between 2007 and 2015 from Eket Senatorial district, while Uyo senatorial district produced the three speakers of the House of Assembly.
When stakeholders from Eket Senatorial district commenced agitations and claims for the 2015 governorship seat in the State, the former government led by the now senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio went round the ten federal constituencies and the general consensus was that Eket, having never produced a governor since creation of the state, and being the treasure basket of the state deserved to be supported to the hilltop mansion plum job.
From the afore going, it can be averred that any argument at variance with this existing gentleman zoning arrangement is not a reflection of the reality in the state and reinforces the belief that enemies of progress are possibly out to mortgage the wealth of the state to some political godfathers elsewhere. It is a sad commentary on our politics that people who were a part of the last administration for seven of its eight years would now turn around and demonize the administration for their personal gains.
This underscores the position of a political scientist and Philosopher Baron De Montesquieu that power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely while Abraham Lincoln reinforced this when he opined that, nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s true character, give him power
Governor Udom Emmanuel is a product of a consensus predicated upon fairness, justice and equity. The overwhelming decision to shift the governorship slot to Eket Senatorial zone was for the sake of inculcating mutual co-existence among our people and essentially to give every man, woman and child of our dear state a clear sense of belonging.
The overwhelming victory of Mr. Udom Emmanuel in the April 11, 2015 governorship elections, arguably, was thoughtful and cerebral, the reason being that he has a sophisticated knowledge of the workings of the global political economy, owing to his meteoric rise in the corporate world.
As noted by George Guvamatanga, a Financial Expert, and Managing Director of Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe, policy inconsistency and lack of clarity continues to scare off potential investors in Sub- Saharan Africa. The advent of Gov Emmanuel’s tenure came with a resounding message of sustainable development and massive industrialization to create thousands of job opportunities and create wealth for the state.
As an international investment expert, Governor Emmanuel is aware that policy summersaults, kills the potentials of an emerging economy and is therefore building on the lofty foundations laid by his predecessors in office.
Seven months on, Governor Udom Emmanuel has proven that leadership is about creativity and making the difference even in the face of harsh economic realities.
Unperturbed by pockets of cynicism, Governor Udom Emmanuel has demonstrated his focused to leave indelible positive imprints in the lives of Akwa Ibom people. He has not reneged on his avowed commitment to industrialization and infrastructural development. Governor Emmanuel has tapped into the wealth of his contacts and has resulted in the several ground breakings for new industries. Quite interestingly, he has also resuscitated ailing and moribund industries. From LED factory to automobile, and fertilizer plant to others, industrialization is on its wings in the State. Peacock Paints has come alive again.
Governor Udom Emmanuel is providing communities with portable water in his modest efforts to stem the spread of water borne diseases. His efforts in the health sector are evident at St Luke’s Hospital, Anua, and Ibom Specialist Hospital. The agricultural technical committee inaugurated by the governor are attracting high investments to the State. Coconut plantations and refineries are in the offing. The actual commencement of the Ibom Deep Seaport is gathering momentum. At the last count, over 50 foreign investors have indicated interest in coming to setup businesses in the State
Despite the significant drop in the revenue accruing to the state, Governor Udom Emmanuel is embarking on several road construction such as the 3.5 km Ikot Udom road with a 15m span bridge in Ibiono Ibom local government Area, progress has also been made with the emergency works on roads in Oron. The same can be said of the ongoing construction of the Nto Edino-Ekwere Azu Road with 2 bridges, measuring about 45 meters in Obot Akara.
The dualization of 23.4km Eket-Etinan Road with 3 bridges is on-going, Eket- Ibeno Road dualization, spanning 19.5 km with 4 bridges is at 53% state of completion and the work is progressing at a pace which pleases the host communities. Udom Emmanuel is embarking on the construction/re-modeling of Eket metropolis to reflect its status as a mega oil city.
In Uyo, the construction of Uyo underground outfall drainage from Nsikak Edouk Avenue through Akwa Efak to the Tropicana is at advanced stage.The dualization of Uyo-Etinan road with a flyover and water fountain at Etinan roundabout and the dualization of the 23.8km Uyo-Oron road Airport road-Okpedi-Oron road by East West Road with 60m span bridge in Odobo are set to commence.
Other road projects of his administration include the construction of 5km Ikot Usop – Ikot Edeghe – Ikot Ekpuk Road with 30m Span Bridge in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area and construction of 5km Mkpok-Okat road in ONNA Local Government Area. The icing of all these, is the ongoing construction of Information Drive in Uyo to the admiration of journalists and media professionals in the state.
There has been emergency Intervention on Gully Erosion at Enen Atai along Calabar – Itu Highway; Emergency Intervention on Gully Erosion at Independence Hall area in Abak. Resumption of work on Ikot Ekara-Ikot Ebritam Road; Electric Meter manufacturing Plant underway in Onna; Establishment of Sports Academies in the 10 Federal Constituencies; 1000 Youths for Oracle Certification Program; Power Sector training for youths; Special Agricultural Training for 100 youths in Israel.
Arrears of pensions and gratuities to local government employees and teachers, as well as regular payment of workers’ salaries, have stood Governor Emmanuel out as a worker-friendly leader.
In a direct contradiction to the famous axiom that a Prophet lacks no respect, except in his home, the people of Eket Senatorial District is organizing a colourful ceremony to celebrate the governor in a home coming mega rally.
The event organized by Eket Senatorial District Forum will afford the people an opportunity to celebrate and identify with the Governor on his ongoing efforts to stir the ship of the state to greatness, and will hold on Saturday January 9, 2015 at the Eket Township Stadium by 10am.
Today the celebration of Governor Udom Emmanuel by his home people, have shown greatly that the people of the Senatorial district appreciate the support extended to the governor by the entire state, and will stand by him throughout the duration of his tenure as governor of the state.
While commending the chairman of the Forum Mr Ephraim Akparawa Inyang and other stakeholders for recognizing and celebrating their own, we congratulate the governor for being such a worthy ambassador.
Ndueso writes from Eket, Akwa Ibom State