Prelate Emeritus of Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr. Sunday Mbang, CON: I have so many, but I’ll like to mention two, whether you like it or not. The first one is, tell me which state, or even the Federal Government that has done that. We have Ibom Air. I was involved in the dedication of those planes. Ibom Air is not fairytale, it’s true! We are the only state in Nigeria. I don’t know whether we have any state in Africa that can beat what Udom has done. We now fly freely from Uyo to Abuja and Lagos. I dedicated the fourth plane, and I’m told the fifth one will soon come. I’m told the fleet will have about ten. The second thing is this covid-19. You know a few days ago, federal authorities came here and say that Uyo has the best of everything about covid-19. Sometime ago, when I went to Ituk Mbang to inaugurate the remodelled hospital, I couldn’t believe the new equipment I saw. The place had taken completely new look. And, I’m told every Federal Constituency will have one like that; with about six or so already done. No covid-19, no disease can try us. Have you seen our IDC at Ituk Mbang? Please, we have a governor God sent to us. I hear a few people say, the Udom industries are a lie. I’ve visited some. Those of them saying it’s a lie, should come to me, I’ll take them to some of them. Apart from Dr. Isong who tried to build government-owned factories which all died off, tell me another governor who has done anything like that. All of you, please support Gov. Udom Emmanuel.
President, Eket Senatorial District Esop Mbong Iban, Obongawan Mary Inyang: Our Governor has done a lot of things. We don’t call him Mr. Industrialisation for nothing. Also, being an Oro person, the general hospital in Iquita that has been renovated and equipped excites me. Apart from that, I love the Infectious Disease Centre in Ituk Mbang, Uruan LGA, recently inaugurated so that anyone with symptoms of covid-19 or such other ailments could quickly rush down and get treatment.
Former Member, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Usenobong Akpabio: Ibom air is this governor’s biggest achievement. With our international airport, it would not have been visionary not to have an airline, plus the kind of base that Victor Attah International Airport provides. The MRO and Cargo facilities coming on stream, Akwa Ibom looks to properly position to earn so much. We need to reduce the dependence on oil-related revenue, which in any case is gradually drying up.
President General, Ndigbo Community, Akwa Ibom state, Hon. (Elder) S. N. Orie: The security of the state matters. He has performed super. Also, under him, the state government
has not taxed us so much that we are not able to meet up with our business. We thank him for the roads, hospitals, many things. You can see that he has tried in industrialisation. He will do more in the three years left.
Former Vice Chancellor, University of Uyo, Professor (Mrs.) Comfort Memfin Ekpo: Let me start by saying Governor Udom Emmanuel is a visionary and proactive leader. He came up with ‘Dakkada,’ and ‘Only God.’ These philosophies shall outlive him. You can see that even the next generation are now equipped to produce more results while making more gains. You see how young people who thought agriculture was too dirty a job for them have all gone back to the farm. Our state benefited hugely from that, during the pandemic lockdown. Also, setting up the post-covid-19 economy reconstruction committee which had since submitted a plausible report, shows a leader who knows what he’s doing and where he’s going. I like that. Plus his great leap in the area of transportation. Akwa Ibom is the first state in Nigeria and indeed Africa to establish a state-owned commercial airline service, which now services the whole country. As someone in the education sector, I commend the governor for holding and attending that Education Summit, which thinktank is currently deliberating on the State Strategic Education Roadmap covering 2020 to 2030. I cannot end without squeezing in his management of covid-19. In five years, Gov. Emmanuel has left me with too many takeaways.
Nollywoodian/Entrepreneur/Social Media Influencer, Amazing Aniebiet Francis: Five years on, HE Udom Emmanuel has shown that government can be run on a clear blueprint and that election promises can be real and achievable. His pattern has been to do what he promised and steadily so. The images he painted, first in his a five-point agenda and now in his completion agenda, are becoming real. His is a government that says and does what it intends. That is my one takeaway.
National President of Akwa lbom Elderly Citizens Assembly, AKECA, Obong Ememobong Essien: Our governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, has done spiritual things marvelously. As an old man, that’s what concerns me most. He has deployed the power of God to bring unity, peace and development. He is a true Christian. He evinces such rare virtues as humility, forgiveness and love for even the least person. He is a blessing to Akwa Ibom and Nigeria. He is a complete governor.
Chairman/Chief Executive of Kenduo Nigeria Ltd., Amb. Offiong Edet Akpan: The sustained peace in Akwa Ibom creates a conducive investment climate. The governor, in the past 5 years, has driven citizens’ consciousness toward economic prosperity through his dakaada philosophy. He needs to complete the drive by creating funding windows for the private sector to tap from and grow the state economy.
Former Member, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Soni Udom: Well, first, I have so many takeaways, not just one. But the number one on my shortlist is the peace he has engendered. You see, I was a victim of political violence perpetrated by the last administration. Gov. Udom Emmanuel has done many things but I cannot score any of those above the peace we now enjoy.
APC Chieftain, Arc. Otu Ita Toyo: I want to express my happiness at Gov. Udom Emmanuel’s approach in curbing Covid-19. He brought experts together to look at the future after the pandemic. That is a governor who knows how to run the state. The man is not a partisan player. The group submitted their report and with an implementation committee already in place, I am hopeful that Gov. Udom Emmanuel is not toying with those recommendations. He has embarked on life-changing events. I believe God shows him the direction to lead the State.
Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Deputy Chief Whip & Chairman, House Committee on Youth, Sport & Security, Rt. Hon. (Otuekong) Nse Essien: There are plenty takeaways though, but most important must be his industrialisation drive. Gov. Udom Emmanuel has taken Akwa Ibom from a supposedly civil service state to an investor’s haven. I salute his vigour towards ensuring that Ibom deep seaport, which is in its last preliminary stage, becomes a reality. This is one project Akwa Ibom are looking forward to. This will definitely change our narrative. The governor needs our support to achieve his completion agenda.
Former Minister of Lands, Housing & Urban Development, Chief Nduese Essien: I would name two. First, Ibom Air and second, the Infectious Disease Centre. In the one year Ibom Air has operated, it has become the most reputable airline in the country and is growing rapidly. We are happy about that. Secondly, IDC, Ituk Mbang inaugurated a couple of weeks back has shown remarkable difference. I thank God for Gov. Udom Emmanuel’s approach. Of course, it’s not surprising having come from the business world.
International President , Ekid People’s Union & Medic, Dr. Sam Udonsak: There are numerous, but if you say I must choose one, it has to be something of my core interest and core discipline: health. The health system in Akwa Ibom State before now was moribund. The channels of healthcare delivery and outcome were in disarray. Gov. Udom Emmanuel has repositioned all that. We see the secondary healthcare facilities or general hospitals repositioned, being rededicated for service and then the speciality hospital. So, we now look forward to a proper structured healthcare delivery system. The primary healthcare structure is being reworked. Also, there’s recently IDC, Ituk Mbang. This governor has touched my heart.
Entertainer, Philosopher & Conflict Resolution Expert, Mr. Christopher Esin (Mista Xto): I can mention fifty but there would be no time. I would think that as an Akwa Ibom person who is also into branding or a brand manager of some sort, there is a lot of pride in my heart every time I see Ibom Air in the air. Anytime I see Ibom Air flying, maybe going to or coming from Lagos or Abuja, or when I have an Ibom Air ticket, and see the way others look at me, I know these people respect Akwa Ibom! I think the most profound achievement though, of this governor is peace. Step out into the streets of Uyo and look around. You’d see the calmness in the air. Everything is possible where and when there is peace.
Executive Chairman, AKROIMA, Prince Godwin Ntuk Udeh, Ph.D: Everybody has come to agree that we have a philosopher king in Akwa Ibom State. A leader who is not just visionary in the basic interpretation of his goals. He is someone who sees the end from the beginning, and therefore knows the way that will take us to where we ought to be. The greatest of all is his industrialisation drive, because truly, it is sustainable. It will deliver our people from the dungeon of unemployment and criminal activities. It employs and engages human beings so that they can develope and be counted among strong men. For the industries which he has brought like Ibom Deep Seaport which paperwork has been done to commence work. That is industrialisation which has become visible to be seen, and touched and is bearing fruits. He is raising men for Akwa Ibom who can stand up, and talk tomorrow, and compete very well in and outside the country -thanks to Dakkada.
Epilogue: I cannot close this chapter without thanking some of those who made it possible. First, this paper for graciously allowing me more than my traditional weekly legroom of half page. Second, Honourable Commissioner Okpolupm Ikpong Ikpong Etteh of Ministry of Special Duties for his role. Third and even most importantly, the respondents most of whom spoke impromptu. God bless Akwa Ibom state of Nigeria!