From Joe Effing, Uyo
Former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has urged the Akwa Ibom State government to ensure that its citizens are economically empowered in order to take care of the massive infrastructure developed in the state.
Speaking in Onna on Monday shortly before he inaugurated a 29-km dual carriageway that has two cable bridges along Etinan-Ndon Eyo Road in the state, the former president said infrastructure development must be backed with employment for the people.
“I don’t know why anything good and very good happens in Akwa Ibom State, you call me to take part in it. Why? The longest flyover in Uyo, you asked me to come and commission it and I was very very pleased to be the one who commissioned that flyover,” the president said.
“Again, with the amazing grace of God, you have this; the longest, first class, dualised road in the state. You again asked me to come and commission it. Governor, I thank you.
“Leadership requires character. Anyone who knows you reasonably well will know that you are a man of character. And one of the characteristics of a man or woman of character is to be a man of his words.
“When you say you do it, you do it. I have seen that in you at close quarters. Keep on doing what you are doing.
“These infrastructures that you are putting in place are very very good. When we have good infrastructure, when we have a road like this going through the rural area, there must also be what the people would do to ensure that they make maximum use and take maximum advantage of these infrastructures.
“What are they going to do? If they are farmers, they have opportunities to farm more. If they are traders, they have the opportunity to trade more. Whatever you are, you now have the opportunity to enhance whatever you are doing.
“God has given you the enablement, and God will continue to strengthen you. I come here to join them in thanking you,” he stated.
Obasanjo commended the infrastructural development strides of Governor Udom Emmanuel and encouraged him to continue with his good works.
Speaking on his achievements so far, Governor Udom Emmanuel said he felt fulfilled that despite the economic situation in the country, Akwa Ibom State was still making progress.
He noted that he was mocked and criticised on social media about his ability to complete the road, adding that he would continue to inaugurate more projects until the last day of his administration on May 29, 2023.
“This road carries two cable bridges of 80 metres each. This is the first time my people have seen cable bridges.When you look at all these, I feel fulfilled that despite the challenges of the economy, we are still making an impact in communities; and this is not all.
On his part, the Commissioner for Works, Prof Eno Ibanga, explained that the road has 13 outfall drains totalling 6.3kilometres and 1.3 kilometers underground drain that takes water into Ekpene Ukpa bridge.
Ibanga applauded Governor Emmanuel for the project saying: “This is a gateway for all industrialisation, vehicular movement, commerce and everything you can think of. With this project, Governor Emmanuel has told the world that everything is possible when the passion is right.”
Also speaking, the Paramount Ruler of Onna Local Government Area, Edidem Raymond Inyang, commended Governor Emmanuel for the road, explaining that the road had a historical significance.
Inyang stated that the road connected the three communities that make up the local government area which were cut off when the road became impassable as it became a river.
The Etinan-Ndon-Eyo road which was constructed by a Chinese firm, Wizchino Engineering, connects several communities in Etinan and Onna local government areas with the East-West road and grants access to the industrial belt of the state. It was inaugurated as part of activities to celebrate the 35th Anniversary celebration of the state.