People are often remembered for two things- the problems they solved or the ones they created; the lives they saved or the ones they took. Even leaders are remembered for what they did in their time of stewardship. But what will Governor Emmanuel be remembered for?
It is common knowledge that when a pet is badly injured in an accident, it becomes aggressively violent, pushing from pillar to pole, even with its owner anyone attempting to offer assistance. Of course, this is what some naysayers are doing, attempting to discredit the Governor Emmanuel’s administration from all angles, but to no avail.
They have paid media hirelings to call him names, they have engaged in blackmail and propaganda, yet the governor remains focused; they have used all available media to abuse and accuse him, but that has not worked, neither has it waned his popularity and acceptance among the people.
Akwa Ibom people have come to realize that Udom Emmanuel is the best event and institution Akwa Ibom has at this point in time, hence their undiluted support and loyalty to him. Very soon, the APC in Akwa Ibom state, which recently, have been crying of lack of funds for payment of workers in their Secretariat, and poor finances to even take part in local government elections, would wane into oblivion.
Eneke the bird says that since men have learned to shoot without missing, he has learned to fly without perching.
There’s something beautiful about governance. It’s the window of continuity available for successive administrations to continue from where their predecessors stopped. It equally provides a platform to interpret and complete the vision of other leaders who could not achieve certain things in their time. This is the foundation of steady progress and societal development.
From the first military administrator of Akwa Ibom State, Tunde Ogbeha to the present dispensation of Mr Udom Emmanuel, it has been a steady improvement from where the previous leaders had stopped. For instance, Obong Victor Attah initiated the airport project, but successive administrations have taken it to the height that its present height.
Based on what is on ground, one doesn’t need a prophet to realise that Mr Emmanuel did not only come to industrialize the state, but to complete projects. This informs why his second coming is christened the completion agenda- A self-explanatory phrase that assures that projects initiated by his predecessors must be completed.
In line with the completion agenda mantra, Gov. Emmanuel has completed and taken to advanced stages, some projects initiated and left uncompleted by the previous administration despite huge resources budgeted and released for those projects. The Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road project has been taken to near completion level huge resources were pumped in to facilitate its completion. The same completion push had been given to the moribund Ibom Tropicana Entertainment center, Four Point by Sheraton Hotel, the Ibom Specialist hospital, Ibom Deep Seaport and the Science Park projects. The list is endless. And it takes only a leader with foresight to actualize these feats within the shortest time and also initiate and complete over 80 per cent of fresh projects in just 5 years in the saddle.
Some people will be remembered for the corruption they glorified in their time. They will be remembered for massive looting of our resources. They will be remembered for awarding contracts on papers, but nothing is done to be commensurate with the amount budgeted for and released.
Or how do you explain giving approval for the release of N72billion naira for the construction of only 3km of the 25km Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road? How do you explain fully releasing over N150 billion for the uncompleted Tropicana? How do you explain the release of N19.5 billion for the uncompleted Etebi-Enwang road that was originally valued at N5billion naira? How do you explain the release of billions of naira meant for the construction of the 8-lane Goodluck Jonathan Boulevard on papers whereas in reality the road is 4-lane?
Should one mention the N42 billion paid for Ibom Specialty Hospital he left uncompleted or the N25 billion fully paid yet uncompleted Four Point by Sheraton?
What about the uncompleted Airport project? What happened to the N18 billion terminal building? Is the International soccer pitch (stadium) worth the reported $360 million dollars it allegedly gulped? Of what use today is the E-library to the common Akwa Ibomite? And out of the over 3trillion naira that accrued to the state in the previous administration, how much investment dividends do the state derive today?
Is it not true that last administration left the state with huge debt, uncompleted white elephant projects and over N30billion pension arrears despite huge revenue?
Before now, the only industries Akwa Ibom could boast of were hotels and filling stations. So many people grew up to believe that filling stations, hotel or supermarkets, fall within the category of industries.
But Mr Emmanuel came and changed the narrative, transmogrifying Akwa Ibom from a civil service state to an industrial hub, a feat for which generations will celebrate and remember him.
The Ibom Air which remains a reference point in Nigeria’s Aviation industry stands as a signature of remembrance of a visionary leader who came to define a model of leadership that is people-oriented.
The King’s Flour Mill and the Syringe Manufacturing Factory which is the largest in Africa will stand as eternal towers of remembrance.
The coconut refinery and the Ibom Deep Seaport on completion will remain as rainbows of greatness on the sky of development.
The rice mills, fertilizer manufacturing company, the toothpick and pencil factories and the vehicle assembling factory, would continue to represent the indelible mark of this administration in the sands of time.
What remains more soothing to note, is that all these achievements came at a time the economy of the world has been on its knees; that at a time of dwindling oil prices, global pandemic and lean resources, a certain Governor Emmanuel was able to look beyond those limitations and take his people to heights that were never imagined.
The Governor has been able to diversify a mono economy to a multi-dependent economy, with ample enablers for investments to thrive.
Recently, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, a South America nation came to secure business partnership with Akwa Ibom State government. Available records indicate that there are hundreds of requests from Governments of nations and corporate organizations to Akwa Ibom State government for partnerships in the myriad of opportunities created in Akwa Ibom State.
Gov. Emmanuel is such a selfless leader whose signature is honoured in the world business market because of his uncommon integrity and accountability. Instead of using his contacts to benefit himself, the Governor deliberately utilized all his connections to the betterment of Akwa Ibom State. This is true leadership.
By the time the smart 21 storey building in the state capital will be completed, and all International Oil Companies (IOC) have their corporate offices therein, Akwa Ibom will become the Saudi Arabia of Africa.
Indeed, Governor Emmanuel will be remembered for so many things. A true Akwa Ibom son recently penciled this: He(Gov. Emmanuel) will be remembered for breathtaking initiatives;
For helping us to see the nexus between infrastructural development and economic growth; for the many interconnecting roads and bridges; for the investment in healthcare, both in the physical infrastructure and human capital development and for playing national politics and getting the deep seaport project on course.
Rev’d Richard Peters, a development communication expert and peace advocate, writes from Uyo.