Fred Itua, Abuja
Former minister of Lands and Housing, Nduese Essien has warned against any bitter conflict that usually exists between Akwa Ibom State governors and their successors to the extent of disrupting development. He said such must be avoided in 2023.
Essien spoke during his presentation at a Colloquium organised by Uyo Book Club to mark the 82nd birthday anniversary of former governor Victor Attah, entitled: “Akwa Ibom State march towards sustainable development- The road to be taken”.
He stressed that the application of sentiment-based passion to development could not achieve any sustainable development.
He lamented that a situation where a governorst steps in and abandons major projects started by his predecessor results in stagnation to growth and colossal wastages, citing the Science park, Qua River hotel, Tropicana, Four-point by Sheraton and E-Library as obvious cases in sight.
He said: “Our fallibilities in attaining sustainable development from 1999 till today is not for lack of quality and competent leadership at the Governors level.
“Akwa Ibom State has been extremely blessed with governors from a background of knowledge, excellent training, technical experience and maturity before ascendancy into office. Obong Victor Attah, Godswill Akpabio and Udom Emmanuel have performed relatively well within the confines and scope of their individual plans.
“Regrettably, we have been unlucky to have internecine conflicts between successor and predecessor of every administration to the extent of disrupting development between administrations.
“This is a pitfall that has to be avoided as we transit from the current administration to the next. The application of sentiment-based passion to development cannot achieve sustainable development.”
The former member of the House of Representatives, stressed that a development plan which catalogues aspirations of the state over a long period of time, overhaul of public schools, investment on Information, Communication Technology (ICT), and concerted effort to reduce trade in sycophancy which paints erroneous picture of satisfaction to cover inadequacies in the system, were required for the state to attain sustainable development.
He extolled Attah for the role he also played in the Offshore/Onshore dichotomy in oil production, payment of 13 per cent derivation and agitation for resource control, that brought the state’s voice stronger to the centre of national politics.
“May the spirit of Obong Victor Attah and all his successors come together to march Akwa Ibom towards sustainable development,” Essien asserted.
In his welcome remarks, founder and convener of ‘Uyo Book Club’, and former media Adviser to Attah Dr. Udeme Nana, said the Club’s focus in celebrating his former boss at 82 years was in line with the ideals of great leaders like, Obafemi Awolowo and Julius who had articulated the need for an enlightened leadership in societies.
“The life of Obong Attah, his leadership style, contributions, achievements are indeed books to be read and reading them will refine the sensibilities of our people in the assessment of prospective leaders in Akwa Ibom and in Nigeria in future.
“Going forward, Akwa Ibom needs a leader in this mould of Obong Attah: mature, seasoned, widely exposed, well experienced, credible, hardworking, visionary,… someone who can take us away from our dependence on oil into a Society driven by technology,” Nana stated.
Among other eminent citizens, leaders of the state close friends, professional colleagues of the former governor who poured encomium on him were a former State Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ita Toyo, Joe Ukpong, gubernatorial candidate of Young Democratic Party, Ezekiel Nya-Etok, among others.