By Tom Fredfish
The inscription “men at work” usually accentuate the busyness of people on duty. Most often, they are people who struggle to earn their days’ pay in line with the biblical injunction that he “who sow should reap”. Even though Nigeria has no regard for precautions whenever they imposed workers to labour on our major high and low ways, upsetting innocent travelers, few foreign companies do. For instance, if Julius Berger is on site, they will place an insignia “slow down: Men at work” or “danger ahead: slow down” etc. These immediately awake the consciousness of a driver to be cautious.
Akwa Ibom State, in the last two years has been quite full of activity. Various men and groups have been working tirelessly for the interest of the state and in some cases self. This has made the state a perpetual construction site with so many ongoing projects. Virtually all aspect of the socio-political and economic life of the state has “men at work” beginning with the Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel to the last man on the streets of Uyo and environs. More fascinating is that not all these works are development projects.
For Governor Udom Emmanuel, nothing is more important than industrialization, job creation for the teeming youth and “Dakkadaring” of citizens to claim opportunities that will enhance their standard of living. This he made clear from onset when he noted during his swearing-in speech on May 29, 2015 that: “I stand before you today not as a master but as a servant and not as a boss but as a co-labourer (italics mine)… sic…to transform the economy of our State via industrialization and sustain public-private sector initiative, thereby opening up opportunities for growth and improved living standards”.
With the stage set, Governor Udom commence work with the setting up of committees: the 11-Member Technical Committee on the realization of Ibom Deep Seaport, headed by a former director of NIMASA, Mrs. Mfon Usoro as chairman, 11-man Technical Committee on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) with Mr. Gabriel Ukpeh as head, another 10-member technical committee on Agriculture and Food Sufficiency and caretaker committees at the Local Government Areas: note that all these men have since 2015 began work. Lest I forget, the investigative committee on the death of more than twenty worshippers at the Reigners Bible Church, Uyo Village Road, Uyo in December 2016 is still at work.
Governor Udom work did not stop there. He has awarded several contracts for the construction of roads in many parts of the state: the construction of Mkpok – Okat (5km) road and the near completion of the controversial Eket-Ibeno road, construction / remodelling of selected roads in Eket metropolis, the construction of Ikot-Ebekpo- Ikot Ebidang road in Onna Local Government, the Dualization of Etinan-Onna road with two bridges and Spur from Awa Iman to Nkana, dualization and Urbanisation of roads in Oron and drainage control system as well as the erosion control at School of Nursing, Anua. The list is seems long.
If you think governor Udom work ended with road construction and setting up of committees, then you are in for a shock as governor Udom also sent about 100 youth to Israel for mechanized farming, trained a large number on Oracle Database Administration and power sector in Abuja. Do I need to mention the remodeling work at Saint Luke Hospital, Anua, or the erosion control / drainage system via Tropicana to Nsikak Edward? I will not also forget the celebrated ground breaking ceremonies of DAAR Communications Broadcasting Complex in Abak, the Led factory at Itam, the Shoprite Mall at Ibom Tropicana, the Coconut Industry and Syringe factory at Onna and the famous Automobile Assembly Plant in Itu amongst other ground breaking ventures still on the pipeline. Worthy of note is the timely revamping of the Peacock Paint Industry at Etinan which spearheaded the industrialization pledge of the governor. I would have been inebriated if I forgot the pencil and toothpick factory of this administration. I also read from an unofficial source that our governor wants to import about 2000 cows from Mexico, chai! Work, work, work!
After May 29, 2015 Obong Nsima Ekere did not immediately send men to work because there was none. But when he emerged the Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC in 2016, work began. As I silently grumble yet question the veracity of the existence / termination of “operation zero pot holes” in Uyo especially during the dying days of Chief Godswill Akpabio administration, I woke up one morning and discovered that I could drive pass some potholed infested roads which hitherto were impossible. Agents of both the state government and NDDC were moored with exertion, as claims and counterclaims filled the air on whose handiwork it was. (I wish people can claim whistle-blowing cash the way they claim projects) well, that is not my focus for now. I am talking about men at work. As Nsima is busy working for the “federal government of Akwa Ibom State” and plotting how to return NDDC to its core mandate, another obong, Obong Umana Umana, a former governorship candidate for the opposition party is busy free-trading the oil and gas zone. The seriousness which Umana Umana place on his new work is very impressive and commendable as we hope there is no thread attached. He exhibited sportsmanship when he paid Governor Udom an official visit. He wants the State government to partner with him to develop Akwa Ibom. How nice that our politicians now remembers home.
Before we could reminisce on the workability of Umana Umana’s work with the Akwa Ibom State Government, another working episode unfolded. This time around our fellow party men began their own work; people started flying from one political party to the other: APC to PDP, PDP to APC and vice versa. Leading the packs of flyers (apology, I meant defectors) was our own remorseless Senator Nelson Effiong who, fumbling through self enlightenment, tried to give us some spongy reasons for his actions. Followed by another PDP member in the House of Representative, Emmanuel Ukoette. Thereafter, it has been decamping completion between both parties as certain people have found it a lucrative job organizing decampronic event in wards of different local government areas of the State.
Senator John Udoedeghe has also started work. First, was a personality assault launched against Umana Okon Umana followed by that of Nsima Ekere and down to Governor Udom Emmanuel.
To be continued…
Tom Fredfish is a media consultant, youth activist and public commentator.
Published by Nextreporter Media