By Niger Delta Post…..
Obong Victor Attah, the former governor of Akwa Ibom state has called for the implementation of the principles of true federalism across Nigeria to ensure there is an equitable distribution of resources and development.
The former governor who disclosed this to Niger Delta Post in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital while interacting with journalists said “until Nigeria goes back to the foundational issues of development it will still be stunted even though touted as the giant of Africa.”
He said “Nigeria will disintegrate if we don’t revert to true federalism. He suggested that we revert to a parliamentary system of government to stop rigging as citizens will be able to influence the electoral process and open to independent candidacy”.
He said “the major disappointment for those who want to see Nigeria develop is that we have not gone back to true federalism, true federalism is not something new it is something we have always had, even though young people are not aware of our history, but it was interrupted during the civil war”.
“In that time there was healthy rivalry among the federating states and they developed at their own pace, salaries were not uniform, growth was not uniform but opportunity was uniform”.
“Let me tell you a story, I lived in kaduna for so many years and I know kaduna at one time had so much money that for instance they invested in Cross River state. They actually brought their money and invested in something called Calabar Plywood Industry, so you can see opportunity in another state and invest your money there and take profits back to your state”
On the developmental trajectory of Akwa Ibom in the last 20 years, he said “regrettably we are not where I had expected Akwa Ibom to be at this moment in history. I feel disappointed that the vision was disrupted, I say disrupted because my successor derailed from the vision”.
He stated that “when we took over in 1999, we came with a manifesto to make Akwa Ibom a model within the South-South region and even across Nigeria, we developed a master plan that was comprehensive and integrated”.
Attah told Niger Delta Post that during his tenure, several projects were initiated and some commissioned which included the Ibom International Airport, the Ibom Power plant, The Ibom Science Park, Le Meridien Hotel, the Akwa Ibom University of Technology, but the next government bastardized the entire system.
“There was a time people in Aso Rock were thinking I had a plan to secede from the federal government, by the quantum of projects we embarked upon.”
“But I believe the administration of Udom Emmanuel will make the state fly again. I know in the past he was limited by circumstances and now he is working to cover the lost grounds and make Akwa Ibom the hub of industrialization in Nigeria, especially with the Ibom Deep Seaport Project.”
He stated that Governor Udom Emmanuel has done well in terms of following through with the plan, he has gone further to launch an airline; the Ibom Airline will create jobs and consolidate the plans to industrialize the state.
The ex-governor told Niger Delta Post that with the plans by the incumbent Governor Udom Emmanuel to complete the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility at the airport, it will bring in more revenue for the state as airlines in Nigeria and West Africa will patronize the facility for regular checks and repairs.