By Aniefiok Macauley
Sustainable development, according to Brundtland Report of 1987 is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
This concept posits that the essential needs of the world’s poor should be given a top priority among other contending challenges.
In line with this concept, Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom State whose policy thrust hinges on sustaining superior performance through sustainable development has in the last few months in office steadily pursued this goal in all ramifications.
So far, Emmanuel has shown the wherewithal, the energy, the capacity and managerial prowess in attending to matters of critical importance as related to the poor and the vulnerable persons in the state. With excellent managerial skills from the private sector, Emmanuel took over the leadership of the state with full knowledge of the demands and responsibilities of high office without leaving anything on the pipeline.
Knowing that electricity plays a key role in the industrial growth of any state, Emmanuel has ensured that the management of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHEDCO, supplied additional megawatts to the state which has led to a near uninterrupted power supply in most part of Akwa Ibom for almost four months running.
Emmanuel whose economic blueprint for the state includes the industrial growth through industrialization as panacea to sustainable development, has signed several MoUs and performed groundbreaking ceremonies for the establishments of several industries across the state.
For instance, the government has acquired over 85 hectres of land along Eket- Ibeno road for the building of Petroleum Refinery which on completion would process at least 100,000 barrels daily. Investors and consultants are also working for the establishment of Coconut Refinery in Eastern Obolo. The coconut refinery alone is capable of generating over 2000 direct employments.
Besides, plans have also reached an advanced stage for the performance of a groundbreaking for establishment of Clay Processing and Refining Company in addition to Electric Meter Manufacturing Plant in Onna where site clearing has already begun.
Again, there is also the establishment of Automobile Assembling Plant and Light Emitting Device, LED, factory all in Itu Local Government Area.
Others are the Fertilizer Plant in Abak, DAAR Communications Complex in Abak and Shoprite Mall at the Tropicana Complex in Uyo. Knowing the revenue potentials of the maritime sector, Emmanuel is vigorously pursuing the realization of the development of the Ibom Industrial City with deep seaport in Ibaka.
This alone, is believed could generate over 100,000 jobs and over $157billion annually to the state. To achieve this, Emmanuel has set up a technical committee on the Deep Sea Project to ensure the commencement of the project not later than 2018.
Over 50 investors and industrialists from more than 30 countries have in the last few months invaded the state as the new business destination in the Gulf of Guinea.
Apart from industrialization policy, Emmanuel in spite of dwindling finances, from Federal allocation has awarded contracts for the construction of over 137 kilometers of roads and bridges across the three senatorial districts of the state.
Curiously, most of the roads were impassable for more than twenty to thirty years thereby cutting the residents away from other parts of the state.
Some of the roads under construction include the dualization of the 19.5 km Eket- Ibeno road with 4 bridges, dualisation of 23.4km Eket-Etinan road, dualisation of 19.3 km Uyo-Etinan with flyover and water fountain at Etinan roundabout, the dualization of the 23.8 km Uyo-Oron road with 60 meter span bridge in addition to construction of 1.5 kilometer underground drainage in Uyo.
Regardless, Emmanuel has also initiated a programme called Akwa Ibom Entreprise and Employment Scheme, AKEES with the target of employing 10,000 youths this year. The programme, according to its Coordinator and Senior Special Assistant to Governor on Technical Matters and Due Process, Engr. Ufot Ebong is aimed at generating more sustainable employment opportunities for unemployed youths through empowering local businesses that will employ the youths to earn a wage while undergoing practical enterprise skills development.
The vision of the scheme is to establish Akwa Ibom as an enabling state where anyone regardless of their economic background can generate an idea, start and grow their business as easily as possible.
In the pursuit of his sustainable development policy, Emmanuel has intervened in rehabilitating some hospitals in the state, ensured the continuation of the free and compulsory education up to secondary school level and has taken further steps to ensure agricultural growth by setting up a technical committee on agricultural development and food sufficiency.
All these, the governor have done in face of campaign of calumny and patent falsehood by those who lost out in the last election. As at date, the greater number of Akwa Ibom people believe Udom Emmanuel is the best thing that has ever happened to the state and the right man for job of governing the state.
Aniefiok Macauley, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Uyo