UDOM: BUILDING BRIDGES INTO HIS PEOPLE’S HEARTS

By Essien Ndueso


Gary Burnison an international business and leadership book author, may have had Mr Udom Emmanuel in mind when he said that a leader, like a good coach is focused on what the “players” know — not what he knows; and that competence is required on the part of the leader, especially to empower others to stretch themselves and accomplish more than they thought possible.” This in other words positions on a leader, the ability to inspire and instil confidence on his people. Mr. Udom Emmanuel since assumption of office, has left no one in doubt of his capacity to take the State to a new level of greatness in line with his Five Point Development Agenda of Job Creation, Poverty Alleviation, Wealth Creation, Economic and Political inclusion as well as Infrastructural Consolidation and Expansion.

During his electioneering campaign, the governor categorically assured the people of the state that he was coming prepared, with a master plan that will forever change the history of the state for the better. In line with his policy of expansion and consolidation of infrastructure, the governor has left no one in doubt by working assiduously to open up and create access to the rural communities that harbour the economic treasure chests of the state.

Despite the significant drop in the revenue accruing to the state, Governor Udom Emmanuel is constructing several roads, in line with his determination to attract more investment opportunities to the state.

This story has been the more remarkable in Eket federal constituency, which is regarded as the bastion of the oil wealth, that accounts for the state’s position as the largest producer of crude oil in Nigeria. It was regarded that this geopolitical area was not getting a fair share of attention despite its significant role, but as a good coach, Governor Emmanuel is recanting the narrative with several strategic roads network and urbanisation programmes.

Prominent among this is the dualization of Eket-Ibeno Road, a project that links the operational base of Exxon Mobil in Ibeno with Eket the headquaters of Eket senatorial district. This road is expected to be commissioned during the second anniversary of this administration in May 2017. The 19.5kilometre road located in one of the most difficult terrain in the state, has six reinforced bridges and will also make it easier for the fishing coastal communities in the area to do business with other parts of the world.

Another road that has been of priority to Governor Emmanuel’s infrastructural consolidation plan is the dual carriage construction of Etinan-Eket Road which comes with three bridges. This project is handled by the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC)

On September 17, 2015 Governor Emmanuel commenced dualization of the 29km Etinan-Ndon Eyo Road with Spur from Mbioto- Ekpene Ituen – Ikot Akpan Ishiet Junction, handled by WIZCHINO ENGINEERING (WE)Ltd. One very special feature on this road is the introduction of two Cable Stay bridges. The road also has Pedestrian walkways, parking lane and street lighting. Other projects in the federal constituency are the 5km Mkpok-Okat Road in Onna Local Government Area, Construction of Ebekpo-Ikot Ebidang Road, construction of 12.742km Awa Iman –Asong-Ikot Edim –Ikot Emem road with two bridges in Onna/ Mkpat Enin local government areas.

Udom Emmanuel is embarking on the construction/re-modeling of Eket metropolis to reflect its status as a mega oil city. This comes with construction and remodelling of selected roads, strategic Roundabout/Junction and Storm water Drainage in Eket Metropolis. The project awarded on August,12, 2015, is handled by NigerPet Structures Limited, a notable Civil Engineering Company that effectively anchored the Uyo City remodeling programme of the immediate past administration in the state.

The first Phase of the project which is already at an advanced stage, include remodelling of Atabong /Idua roads junction; construction and expansion of Atabong Road from the Okpongkpong bridge, and construction of underground and surface storm water drainages and outfall for Atabong Road, Hospital Road, Asang Street, Idua Road and Etebi Street. Explaining this development, the Construction Manager, Adam Perkins explained that, “Our concern here is to do more on land reclamation and laying of solid concrete waterways to checkmate erosion. This we have successfully achieved in various parts of the city”.

The State government is also partnering with some private investors to commence the construction of a 55.1km super highway with six lanes and three spurs leading from Ukpenekang in Ibeno through the Ibom Industrial City to the Uya Oro axis of the coastal line. Not only is the road opening up the coastal line for brisk business, it will also prevent traffic explosion in the impending economic boom in the area.

Recently, during the visit of the Minister of Interior Gen. Abdulrahaman Dambazau to the state, Governor Emmanuel had recounted that over N145bn is being owed the state by the federal government following the state’s numerous interventions on federal infrastructure in the state. However despite this setback, the Governor has made a bold expression that his interest would not be dampened by the lean resources in his infrastructural expansion programme, especially since the primary beneficiaries of these projects are the people of the state.

This is more so because on completion, these projects will engender urban renewal, opening up of hitherto inaccessible communities, stamping the tide against flooding and erosion, free flow of traffic, promotion of economic activities and social interactions, among others.

Indeed the people of Eket federal constituency have a thousand and one reasons to celebrate and continue in their support for Mr Emmanuel, not just because they are his kinsmen, but because he is showing strong will in building bridges into their hearts. This was clearly seen when they overwhelmingly came together with other people in Eket senatorial district recently to pass a vote of confidence on the Governor for keeping his pact with his people.

Mr Ndueso is an indigene of Eket local government area

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