By John Bassey
From history, humans have learnt this basic truth: Sustainable development driven by revolutionary ideas is the bedrock of any nation that has perpetually attained economic power and international political clout. The past two decades have witnessed many revolutionary breakthroughs in education, art and culture, governance, media, science and technology, business. The world as it used to be known was changed by unprecedented innovations and purposeful leadership so much so that if leaders of yesteryears e.g. Kwame Nkrumah…. were to live again in our present world, they would find it unbelievable how much the world has achieved in a few years.
This kernel of this discourse is to point out that ideas do not only outlive us, so do good and visionary leaderships. History fondly helps us to appreciate revolutionary leaders with revolutionary ideas that birth visions that make the world a much better place for us to live and prosper even when those figures do not live to see it’s full manifestation.
Revolutionary leaders across the world have certain things in common: ability to identify societal problems and passion to bring about a solution, pursuit of their objectives with integrity, consistency and loyalty to the vision of creating a better society even in the most inconvenient circumstances and amidst failures, mistakes and criticism.
These identified traits are evident in the way Akwa Ibom State governor, Emmanuel Udom has been working assiduously to bridge the economic gaps of the state through the establishment of factories that produce essential products Nigerians have for decades been importing from foreign countries for decades.
The governor has shown great foresight in his push to create an enabling environment for the establishment of an Electric Metering factory to cater for the needs of Nigerians instead of importing the same from other countries and creating employment for citizens of such countries while Nigeria’s unemployment rate continues to balloon.
Metering Solution Manufacturing Services, a limited liability company which commenced the roll-out of prepaid meters for electricity distribution for the Port Harcourt Electricity (PHED), Eko Electricity (EKEDC) and Kano Electricity (KEDC) distribution companies in 2019 has the capacity to install 3 million prepaid meters annually.
According to Adebisi Adeniyi, the Chief Executive Officer of Metering Solution Services: “we are capable of meeting the needs of electricity consumers in the country. Our facility is clearly and arguably the biggest in Africa in terms of Metering solution with capacity of 3 million prepaid meters per annum, on a single shift, it is capable of producing 6 million prepaid meters annually working in two shifts in a year.”
Governor Udom did not stop there. He created an enabling environment for investors through provision of land, access roads and a 33KVA substation which supplies dedicated 24/7 power supply from Ibom Power company, thereby reducing their diesel costs. If this was all Governor Udom did, critics and cynics may well scoff at this project as a fluke. However, he has a slew of notable developmental projects, completed or nearing completion in the state. And for discerning Nigerians who can connect the dots, it is only a matter of time before Akwa Ibom becomes the industrial hub and the engine room of Nigeria’s economy. Take for instance, the Ibom deep seaport, another developmental project being undertaken by the administration of Governor Udom.
Designed for very large vessels that can load over 13,000 containers in one voyage, the Ibom Deep Seaport also serves as a trans-shipment port as smaller vessels will be used to load cargoes from the mega vessels to seaports, and river ports closer to the consignee’s within and outside Nigeria.
Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Economic Development, Akan Okon said the project which has an estimated cost of $4.6 billion is in the final stage of approval, adding that the Full Business Case (FBC) for the project has been submitted to the Federal Ministry of Transport for presentation to the Federal Executive Council while the project has gone through the entire procurement process, and chosen a preferred bidder, to which all federal agencies involved in Port development had given their support towards it realization.
Also of note, Akwa Ibom closed the year 2020 with the official gazette from the federal government approving 50, 000-hectare Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone in the state.
The document was presented to the Governor by a delegation of Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) led by its Managing Director, Mr. Umana Okon Umana.
Governor Udoh had disclosed: “Within this oil and gas free zone, we are installing the largest coconut refinery that will do crude extraction of coconut oil, and serve as a major export hub of coconut virgin oil in Africa. The refinery will be multifaceted and digitized with capacity to process other economic value adding products like palm kernel.” There is no gainsaying that Governor Udom Emmanuel has demonstrated visionary leadership.
And there is no doubt that he has positioned Akwa Ibom for development and prosperity, by laying the foundation for increased internally generated funds, employment opportunities for the youth and vast economic growth in years to come after he might have completed his tenure as the administrator of Akwa Ibom. The height of leadership, truly, is not in the position held or for how long it was held; rather it is embodied by the sustainable legacies established to the benefit of the younger generations and children yet unborn.
Bassey writes from Uyo