There was jubilation in Abuja on Friday as Nigerians at home and in the diaspora called on Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel to contest the 2023 presidential elections in order to replicate his industrialization policy and use his creative financial and economic ingenuity to salvage the Nigerian dwindling and almost collapsing economy.
This was part of reactions that trailed the Governor’s live interview when he appeared as a Guest on Brekette Family Radio Live Talk Show in Abuja, hosted by the Ordinary President, Ahmed Isah on Brekete Family on Human Rights Radio 101.1 FM, Abuja, where the Governor spoke on his achievements in the last six years and on the State of the Nation.
Following his numerous achievements in the last six years as Governor, his hosts, Ahmed Isah and other phone-in callers called on him to get set to contest for the office of President come 2023, promising to mobilize ordinary Nigerians to contribute funds to finance the electioneering cost. “Now we are begging you. Soon we’ll lead a massive protest if you refuse to heed the plea of Nigerians. The country is bleeding. We need someone like you to use the knowledge of what you have done in Akwa Ibom to salvage the country, Isah declared.
The Governor asked those clamouring for him to run for the presidency to rather pray over their demand to seek God’s blessings and direction while he concentrates on completing the mandate Akwa Ibom people gave him through the ballot.
Listing his achievements in office as Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Governor Emmanuel said the time has come for leaders to think outside the box on how to run the economy, a factor he said inspired him to conceive the idea of developing the three gateway of land, air and sea in Akwa Ibom.
He explained that apart from linking all the local government areas with access roads including the neighbouring states, his administration has expanded on the vision of his predecessors to develop the MRO of the Ibom International Airport to allow for all aircraft within the African continent to be serviced, maintained and overhauled in Akwa Ibom, a feat he noted will bring foreign exchange to the state.
According to the Governor, his administration is looking beyond oil which explains why he is currently test running the multi-million dollar coconut refinery in the state of which five foreign countries are currently in Akwa Ibom to understudy the idea, technology and expertise in order to replicate the same in their home country.
He explained that despite the price of crude oil per barrel at the International energy market, a litre of virgin coconut goes for $6 which means coconut oil is more costly and profitable than crude, this he said was another way his administration is diversifying both the State’s economy and it’s revenue profile.
He regretted that despite Akwa Ibom sitting on top of over 31.1% of oil and gas reserve in the country, the state has no NNPC depot, no DPR or PPMC presence in the state which is why he has built Nigeria’s seventh tallest building named the Dakadda Towers with 21 floors to provide accommodations for investors and multinationals as well as the Luxury Estate which will be built to accommodate foreigners from all over the world.
He warned of a great economic crisis due to the impending food scarcity occasioned by banditry and farmers/herders crisis that has impeded the ability of farmers to go to their farmlands to cultivate food, warning that with a country of over 200 million citizens, the looming food crisis is one national crisis that be better imagined than experienced and that the time to act is now.
On Power, he revealed that his administration is targeting power for all but regretted that despite producing enough power for consumption, the power so generated cannot be adequately transmitted to end-users, and called on the federal government to rise beyond partisanship and grant him license to distribute the power generated by Ibom Power so that citizens and residents of the state can enjoy uninterrupted power supply.
“If the power Ibom Power generates is adequately distributed, Engineers in the power sector have assured me that my people would by now be enjoying up to 21 hours of power per day”, he said.
He noted that if power is available, affordable and accessible to small and medium scale businesses, the average barber or salon owner will run his or her business at a reduced cost and make more profit.
He announced that his administration also made available an interest free loan of #2 billion for market women, announcing his intention to add more funds to it to make it a revolving loan to stimulate the growth of SME’s in the state.
According to Governor Emmanuel, his vision is to ensure the state has a modern health system that will cater for the health needs of citizens and residents which explains why he has revamped and equipped ten General Hospitals in the ten federal constituencies and link it up to education which is why his government is investing massively in making education free at the basic level as modalities have reached advanced stage to make the Vocational Training Center in the state functional so as to equip students with skills needed to make them self reliant upon graduation.
On agriculture, Governor Emmanuel said the state is investing massively in encouraging people to cultivate vegetables and that a tomato processing plant has been put in place to ensure harvested tomatoes are processed and marketed to curb waste, improve storage and create wealth for farmers in the state.