Akwa Ibom today is littered with amazing developmental strides, a fulfilment of the Akwa Ibom dream orchestrated since 2015. And in line with the governor’s pronouncement during the unveiling of the Completion Agenda, the bar of performance has been lifted and Akwa Ibom is taken to such a height that it has become the pride of the nation.
The hallmark of the Completion Agenda is that of improving and enhancing better living.
From the word “go”, Governor Emmanuel whose character symbolizes development, advancement, empathy, support and empowerment has never been found wanting in matters of humanities, science and other arts of improving lives.
The Governor’s long walk to emancipating the State from the shackles of backwardness is evidently observed in all facets of the State economy where all loopholes have and are still being filled for her to measure up with contemporaries in developing States and nation.
Worthy of mention are his strides in the health sector which has paid off at a time where Isolation Centres are in high demand to accommodate the increasing number of COVID-19 confirmed cases. The Isolation Centre at Ituk Mbang and mini centres at the Ibom Specialist Hospital and IDH, equipped with state-of –the-art-facilities could not have come at a better time than the time it did, considering the surge of the second wave of the pandemic.
Today, the 300-bed Isolation Centre for Quarantine and Prevention of Infectious Disease is one of the Centres specified by leading Airlines in Nigeria for the clearance of Air Travelers before they board the Plane, which is not far from the fact that its Modernized Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Administrative Block, Clinical Laboratories, 50 residential rooms for doctors, Control room (where doctors could dump their already used PPEs before and after attending to patients), two generating sets of 150KVA and 200KVA capacity, modern facilities, intercom lines for internal communication between doctors and nurses, among others have won the heart of the FAAN.
Beyond the Isolation Centre, Governor Udom Emmanuel has adequately revolutionized the health sector through the remodeling, reequipping and digitization of hospitals across the three senatorial districts including: Methodist Hospital in Ituk Mbang, General hospitals in Ikot Okoro, Etinan, Iquita, Ikono, Awa, and Eket. Others are: Ibom Specialist Hospital, Uyo; University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Uyo; Immanuel General Hospital, Eket; General Hospital, Urua Ata, Ikot Ekpor; General Hospital, Etinan; General Hospital, Ikpe Annang; General Hospital, Ikono; General Hospital, Ikot Abasi; General Hospital, Ikot Ekpene; General Hospital, Itu; General Hospital, Ituk Mbang; General Hospital, Oruko; General Hospital, Mbioto II; Dental Centre, Eket; Dental Centre, Ikot Ekpene; Psychiatric Hospital, Eket; St Mary’s Hospital, Urua Akpan; Mercy Hospital, Abak; Redeemer Cottage Hospital, Ibesit; Divine Hospital, Utu Etim Ekpo, St. Luke’s Hospital, Anua, Uyo; St Theresa’s Hospital, Use Abat; Camel Hospital, Akpautong, Leprosy Hospital, Ekpene Obom among others. These are just but few.
On education, the State’s Chief Executive’s impacts have been felt from start to finish. Governor Emmanuel has embarked on strategic interventions in Tertiary Institutions through the construction of access roads, supply of equipment, renovation of academic blocks; payment of subventions to public primary and secondary schools as well as Technical Colleges; payment of over N600 million WAEC and NABTEB fees for indigenes in public secondary schools annually; provision of training aids to mentally and physically challenged pupils at the Special Education Center of the state; provision of training equipment at the Adult and Non-Formal Education Centers; computerization of the Examination Division of the Ministry of Education, and still counting.
As a way of ensuring and securing commerce and economic accessibility, the 29.0km Etinan-Ndon Eyo road with 2No Cable Bridges, 25.0km Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road, 19.5Km Eket-Ibeno road and the 13.5Km Okopedi-Oron road by East-West Road Phase 11, have been dualised; not to mention the over 1,700 Km of roads and 40 bridges undertaken by his administration statewide. So far, the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road project has been taken to completion level courtesy of the Governor’s injection of huge resources to facilitate its completion. The cascading effect of this is the relief it will bring to users of the road who had hitherto been subjected to fear and experienced loss of lives and properties through the narrowness or deplorable state of the roads, the Ekom Iman junction for example. The same injection was given to the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment center which was recently commissioned amidst jubilation from all quarters; the Four Point by Sheraton Hotel, the Ibom Specialist hospital, Ibom Deep Seaport and other unfinished projects of the past administration.
It would be recalled that the four point by Sheraton Hotel and the Tropicana mall were just an empty house inherited by the present administration. The same can be said of the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road which has gulped millions of the Governor Emmanuel-led administration.
Through his intervention, the Ibom Air is what it is today – the pride of Akwa Ibom and a talking point in Nigeria’s Aviation Industry which has boosted the ego of the State from a civil service ware to an industrial hub.
Before now, the only industries Akwa Ibom could boast of were hotels, fuel stations and supermarkets which were even not owned majorly by indigenes. But even the blind today can see the myriad of SMEs and LSEs which have sprang up within the span of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s intentional leadership. We are now known to produce and export Syringes, fruit crops, Rice, vegetables and Onions cultivation being the most shocking of all discoveries in recent times. It is no longer news that our State will now be a large-scale producer of Onions. These discoveries and more could not have been possible without the intentional leadership of a visionary man on the saddle whose foremost dream has been how to explore and develop the State’s potentials for the people’s benefits hence, the Governor has had to give out free training, inputs, seedlings, stems and recently, goats to famers to increase productivity and yield for food sufficiency.
True to the words of the Hon. Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Glory Edet, Akwa Ibom State is the only state where farmers are given such things as mentioned above for free.
These giant strides so far point to what lies ahead for Akwa Ibom people and assures us that we can truly be great if we look inward to discover our potentials.
Governor Emmanuel’s 5 years at the wheels of the State leadership has obviously steered us from obscurity to popularity; poverty to riches and from inferiority to stardom, with an unequaled financial judiciousness across all sector.
What remains a mystery is how so much is achieved at a time when so little is accrued to the State and when the economy of the world generally was on its knees. It shall remain a hard nut to crack that at a time of dwindling oil price, global pandemic and lean resources, Governor Emmanuel was able to look beyond those limitations and take us to heights we never imagined; an unprecedented record of five-star performance like it was witnessed during the post-independence era.
For these and more, those accusing the present government of having done nothing only need to be treated of eye problem or pathological ingratitude.
Rev Richard Peters