Even in the most difficult of times, the people of Akwa Ibom State still have reasons to smile. In his usual manner of connecting with the people, Governor Udom Emmanuel has vowed not to relent on the delivery of his campaign promises by ensuring that education remains free and qualitative. Adequate healthcare delivery; and rapid industrialisation of the state also remain his focal points.
In his heart-warming Easter message to the people of Akwa Ibom, the other day, the governor also assured of creating wealth and job opportunities; challenging and galvanising youths with fresh ideas and tools to make them productive citizens. What more can he offer his people?
Working in the civil service in the state is a dream many people in the state would like to come through in their lifetime. While most states of the federation are incapable of paying salaries and pensions of their workers, the state pays as and when due. While most states are not executing capital projects; the entire landscape, across the three senatorial districts of the state, has become some sort of construction sites.
Through massive road projects, hidden treasures of Akwa Ibom are being revealed. These include the internal roads in Ewet Housing Extension and Shelter Afrique. There are over 1,700 kilometres of road with 35 bridges spread all over the state. Interestingly, development experts admit that these are not just regular routes, as they are enduring, durable and economically viable roads, just as Governor Emmanuel believes that “Good roads are the engines of economic activities.”
This is one sustainable method the governor has adopted towards laying a solid foundation for tomorrow. That emboldens him to affirm that the state is marching on.
Education too has been paid due attention. Under Governor Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom State sets aside N600 million to pay WAEC fees for their citizens, which is the responsibility of the parents. So, why did the government take up the responsibility? The governor says it is because “we want to create a level playing field for equal opportunity to our children.” And he has been consistent in making this amount available for the payment of the fees every year. For some parents who may not have the means to pay these fees for their wards, nothing can be more rewarding than having a government that places premium on the welfare of the people.
In Akwa Ibom State, the government provides free education with a difference. “We don’t just provide free education; we provide opportunity for all our children to rise to the height of their greatness,” said the governor.
There is yet another novel idea. It is not only the children in the classrooms that benefit from good government policies. Recently, the governor gave out interest free loans to traders, the first of its kind in the country. This is in line with his philosophy of sustainable development. The governor describes this as “conserving what we have for better use in the future. We have provided these soft loans to our traders, and from the testimonies they have given, they have expanded their businesses.”
From all indications, the developmental plans of the Udom Emmanuel administration are geared towards things that connect the people to the needs of today while planning for tomorrow. “That is why this state is marching on and the gates of propaganda cannot prevail.” That is a word for those who deliberately distort fact about his administration’s achievements.
Under his administration, the state has diversified its economy and put premium on agriculture. The state is currently cultivating over 16,000 hectares of land under the FADAMA III scheme. Its vegetable Green House is helping to produce best-in-class tomatoes while its farmers are busy in the rice fields in Ini. Well over 600,000 bags of fertilizers have been distributed to farmers across the state to ensure higher yield of their crops.
Under its enviable policy on agriculture, the Dakkada garri ensures that this staple food remains affordable. That is how the state government is ensuring that food is put on the table of its people.
In line with its determination to improve healthcare services especially at the secondary level, the Emmanuel administration has refurbished hospitals in the state. It has remodeled Etinan Hospital, the General Hospitals at Ituk Mbang, Ikot Okoro, and Ikono. That is not all. Some of the medical equipment the government has provided in these hospitals can compete with the best any where in the world.
Beyond that, wife of the governor, Her Excellency, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel, through her social intervention programme, FEYReP, has sponsored the screening of over 15,000 people for eye ailments, high blood pressure and diabetes. “FEYReP has educated our people on changing their lifestyles in order to reduce the spread of these deadly diseases,” the governor recalled.
The government is equally committed to its industrialisation programme. That is why the Syringe Manufacturing Company, the Metering Solutions Company, the Toothpick and Pencil making company have come on stream.
Similarly, the state owned Fertilizer Blending Company, Flour Mills, and the Plastic Making Company will soon spring up. The target of the Emmanuel administration is to build a state where posterity will look back to his era and say, “this was the golden era of our history.”
To show for his giant strides, the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Nigeria’s public broadcaster, recently froze partisan politics and celebrated success, when it honoured the governor with the “Integrity and Service Award”. The event took place inside Aso Presidential Villa, Abuja and the presentation was made by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha.
The governor is equally thrilled by the fact that when Senator Babafemi Ojodu, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters devoted a whopping 32 pages of the President’s Mid-Term Report praising his administration for its spectacular performance, he was stating the facts. “This state is marching on and we should be proud of ourselves. When I was voted the Best Sports Governor, 2017, the reason they gave me that award was because of our visible and fruitful investments in sports and youth development.
“Through our massive support and the creation of an enabling environment, our Super Eagles qualified for World Cup, Russia 2018 with a game remaining.” It is evident that his administration’s commitment to sports development is total. The expectation is that in no distant time, the state will become the sports capital of Nigeria.
The Emmanuel administration in Akwa Ibom State understands the value of peace and security. The recent proscription of cult groups in the state is geared towards deepening peace and addressing security concerns that may have occurred in one or two spots. The governor believes strongly that there is no political office that should cause the spillage of blood. You can see why the governor can shout it loud that it is well with Akwa Ibom state under his watch!
Nkosima, a public affairs analyst wrote from Lagos.
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