By Aniekeme Finbarr
The opening months of the Udom Emmanuel Administration in Akwa Ibom State has been nothing short of inspiring. The people of the state have religiously followed with kind admiration the refreshing touch of gold that the Akwa Ibom Governor has brought to the stables of good governance.
Recently, one Lagos-based group, Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies (CIAPS) came up with a false and annoying rating of the Governor as being low in performance.
The purported comparative analysis of the governors’ performance in Nigeria, as reported in some newspapers and published online was nothing but a spurious fabrication that insulted the sensibilities of Akwa Ibom people, who are living witnesses and beneficiaries of the good governance brought to bear by Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Beginning with basic infrastructure like roads, the government has shown tremendous commitment to the construction of roads, linking people and businesses across the state. The opposition party in the state also raises false alarms that the roads projects awarded are not being constructed. Let’s take the Eket/Ibeno Road project, work had stopped completely on that road before Governor Udom Emmanuel came on board in May and by June, he had released funds to Construction giants, CCECC for work to continue. He consistently mobilizes the company on a monthly basis. It was on the strenght of this that the commissioner for works in the state went to Ibeno and demanded that the project be completed latest June 2016. On the 26th of November, he has promised to make a return there to examine the progress made so far.
Also, Etinan/Eket Road was equally left untreated due to paucity of funds. The present administration has reactivated that project, CCECC has gone back to that site and as we speak, money has been released to them to go back to work and a drive through the road will reveal that work is in progress.
There is the other road in Oruk Anam local government area, it connects the East/West Road through Oruk Anam, through Ikot Ibritam. The construction is to take place in two phases. Phase one has been given out; work had stopped but as we speak; the administration of Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel has released funds to HAMMAKOP and they are back on site working.
In Eket, the remodeling project is on. Compensation has been paid to the affected persons and a trip to the city will reveal that from Atabong Bridge to to Fiong Etok market, all the structures are down. Is Government just pulling down those structures just for the fun of it? It means work is on.
In Ikot Udom in Ibiono Local Government, compensation has been paid 100 per cent and VERINI construction Limited is working. The 3.5KM road in Ikot Udom in Ibiono Local Government is ongoing. Full compensation has been paid and Government will take delivery of that project by February 2016. That is progress.
The Udom Emmanuel administration is highly focused and keen on the development of the state. The government is implementing the Free and Compulsory Education Programme and in October 2015 paid subventions to heads of Primary and Secondary Schools for the administration of school children.
The state Government also provides free medical care for all infants up to the age of five (5) and for all pregnant women. Adults above 65 years of age also enjoy free medical services. The government has also been vehement in its fight against preventable diseases in the state. It runs 8 Anti-Retroviral therapy centers, 15 prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) centers and 37 HIV counseling and testing centers to battle the dreaded HIV/AIDS scourge while also providing counterpart funding for all health programmes by donor organization like UNICEF, UNFPA, Operation Roll Back Malaria and HIV/AIDs World Bank Assisted Programme.
It can be said and rightly too that Akwa Ibom is one of the safest states in the country and governor Udom Emmanuel has remained exemplary and focused in his pursuit of the wellbeing of the people. The administration is carrying out construction and dualisation of about 140 km of roads with nine bridges across the state, the Ibom Deep Seaport development drive, the on-going construction of the second runway, massive electrification projects, the ground-breaking for the establishment of different industries; the construction and rehabilitation of blocks at the St. Luke’s Hospital, Anua; training of 1,000 youths in Oracle Database; emergency intervention in threatening erosions along Calabar-Itu Federal Highway and School of Nursing, Anua. The governor has so far worked tirelessly to keep faith with the covenant he made, when he was sworn-in on May 29.
Other laudable achievements for which Governor Udom Emmanuel deserves commendations are the payment of the 10 years arrears pensions and gratuities to primary school teachers and local government employees; re-commissioning of Peacock Paints Industries and several others. In just near 6 months of his administration, Mr Udom Emmanuel has spiced up the story of Akwa Ibom as over 50 foreign investors are currently discussing with the government on modalities for setting up businesses in the state.
It’s a bright and purposeful take off. The next 3 and a half years in the first instance will be richly rewarding. The people of Akwa Ibom state are satisfied by the government’s effort to better the living standards of the citizens in the face of paucity of funds across the country. Detractors should desist from sponsoring laughable reports that score Akwa Ibom low on performance. The governor is focused and the future of the state is certainly bright.