As our last edition promoted, today I am allocating my space to a cross section of the people of my home state of Akwa Ibom to score the last five years of Gov. Udom Emmanuel. These respondents are drawn from all sections and cover all ages. I am thankful to Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Special Duties, Rt. Hon. Okpolupm Ikpong Etteh, for his role in getting out this first part. Savour the quasi vox pop, but remember to keep a date next Monday for the concluding part.
Senator Akon Eyakenyi, Ph.D. of Akwa Ibom South: Thankfully, I recently released a document to celebrate Gov. Udom Emmanuel on his 5th anniversary in office. I could not even finish listing all the things he has done. His projects are so many and all perfect and cut across education, aviation, health, industrialisation, infrastructure, peace and security and so on. One project for which I ask God to bless the governor though, is his golden signature project -Ibom Air. It’s a record no state in Nigeria, nay Africa, has been able to match.
PDP National Legal Adviser, Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem: Start from the five-point agenda of the governor, in the first term and the completion agenda of the second. Each promise made during the campaigns has been touched significantly. That is historic. That doesn’t happen many times in the lives of politicians. Campaign promises are hardly kept. But with Gov. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, it is very different and distinct. Eg., he promised industrialisation. He has brought many industries which have helped with employment opportunities and poverty eradication. On inclusiveness in governance, he has done a lot. He accommodates others’ opinions and political interests. To be sure, Akwa Ibom has been very lucky, since 1999. Obong Victor Attah, Chief Godswill Akpabio, and now, Mr. Udom Emmanuel is crowning it all up. My greatest wish for Akwa Ibom is to break the poverty chain, break the civil service syndrome and go into economic prosperity -driven by the private sector; exactly the foundation Gov. Emmanuel has laid. Ours is the only state in all Africa that has floated a commercial airline. Not even the Federal Government of Nigeria has matched that feat. Ibom Air stands as a unique achievement of this governor.
Chancellor of Leadimpact University, USA & President, Destiny Mission International, Archbishop (Dr.) Cletus Bassey: My best understanding of Mr. Udom Emmanuel is that he is a very prayerful governor. Every situation draws him to his knees. Even so, he carries others along, especially leaders of faith. I believe, since no man kneels before God and fails; hence his incredible superior performance.
Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture & Women Affairs & Dean of Commissioners & Special Advisers, Dr. Glory Edet: All the pages of one newspaper cannot accommodate what Gov. Udom Emmanuel has done in five years. As someone in the agriculture sector,
I’m thinking about the coconut refinery at Mkpat Enin, the best thing in this part of the world. It’ll be inaugurated very soon. It’s already at 95% completion. Our coconut farmers and others in other states are looking forward to it. Also, the green house around the airport, the rice and flour mills, the garri factories, etc. that took care of our people and neighbours during the pandemic lockdown. What about Ibom Air, the best airline in Nigeria, a good signature project of our dear governor. We also have the syringe industry, for which the vice president really commended the governor during its inauguration. And, the many other industries, hospitals, 300-bed isolation centre, roads. No, please, Gov. Udom Emmanuel is too much. But, if you insist on just one takeaway from this enviable report card, please make that choice for me.
His Grace, Archbishop Udeme Simon, Great Faith Church: Akwa lbom is indeed blessed to have a light, an armour bearer, a brave knight, an examplary leader, a visionary, a trail blazer, an achiever, a treasure of inestimable value and a man of the people as governor. As Jesus stated in Matthew 5:16, the people of Akwa Ibom glorify our Heavenly Father for the good works evidently represented in good governance, peace, abundance, security, progress and the list continues. In the last five years, we have witnessed security become increasingly stable making Akwa Ibom one of the top-ranked states. The peace we revel in today is duly a consequence of top-notch leadership. Ibom Air has accorded us honour and prestige in addition to opening the door for socio-economic development. From the foregoing, my one takeaway from the last five years is that Gov. Udom Emmanuel was not and is not a mistake
Chancellor of Ibom Patriots: Obong Bassey Inuaeyen: Oh my God! Mike, this is a very difficult question. It’s like asking someone which of the soups the wife cooked is sweetest. I can’t pick a particular one but I’m going to give you many of the projects that are dear to me. The first for me is the peace. There’s security. This is a major achievement. If you look at the economic side, the governor has brought industries; the agricultural side, rice and garri factories; infrastructure like roads. And in the health sector, he has intervened massively. It is difficult to pick a particular one. Look at Ibom Air! The very first state in Nigeria to own an airline. Which one will I pick? Infact: do me a favour, pick one for me.
Senior Pastor of Insight Bible Church & Medical Doctor, Dr. Sylvanus Ukafia: Please allow me do a 3-in-1 takeaway. One, Okoroete Township Road, the first state government road in Eastern Obolo Local Government Area since its creation and now Okoroete Elile Road which gives the LGA which contributes so much to the state a sense of belonging, instead of the punishment location it hitherto was. Two, Ibom Air has done more to rebrand our states than all other initiatives in that direction, plus jobs created, etc. And, three, peace, safety, security, etc. that you can check from other sources. We are rated very high. Clearly, we are on the path of meaningful growth. This governor is not about propaganda.
On Air Personality, Rose Akai Rozay: The governor has recorded some decent achievements. Foremost is Ibom air which in just one year has opened up the state in ways that atteact investors and hopefully some attention to the hugely untapped tourism potentialities of our state. However, I believe that the remaining three years will see more fruits eg., Ibom Deep Seaport, super SMEs and more.
General Overseer, Word Tabernacle Worldwide, Bishop (Dr.) Gabriel Nkenang: I consider it a big temptation to be asked to pick just one achievement of a governor who is an all round performer in the areas of continuity, infrastructure development, sports, education, health, industrialisation, etc. Well, my one takeaway from the last five years of Gov. Udom Emmanuel is the involvement of God in governance. Deacon Emmanuel is not afraid or ashamed to declare he’s a child of God. Check out his slogan in the last election: Only God!
Southampton, United Kingdom-based Singer & Student Nurse, Mrs. Uty Pius: I Know he has done a lot of things but what really stands out for us overseas, for me, is Ibom Air. To know that ours is the first state in Africa to have an airline is amazing. We say thank you to His Excellency Gov. Udom Emmanuel for giving us such special project. I have heard about its time-consciousness and
affordable fare as well as the safety and effectiveness of the crew. We are really grateful. Once my family and I are in the country, we shall fly Ibom Air.
Chairman of Eket LG/State ALGON: Rt. Hon Frank Archibong: It is very difficult to pinpoint just one because he has done so much. Asking me to pick one is a disservice but I think the one that affects us directly is the industrialisation drive of His Excellency. That has brought about so much employment. That has put food on so many tables. That has turned around the lives of so many people within and if you like outside the state. From the flour mill to syringe to even the one about to kickstart -coconut refinery. Of course, there’s no way I won’t mention Ibom Air. The number of persons Ibom Air has employed, the multiplier effect and how it has served Akwa Ibom people in terms of air transport and convienience in travelling to and from Lagos and Abuja. We call him Mr. Industrialisation. Industrialisation is the centrepiece, the pivot, the mainstay of everything Udom Emmanuel!
Sir Emem Akpabio: The industrialisation drive of the governor stands out for me. The development of the society is in stages. You have the stage of infrastructure development as well as the stage of economic development. Akwa Ibom was all about the civil service; perpetually fixated on developing infrastructure, but Gov. Udom Emmanuel has tried to deemphasise that, and to decentralise governance. The numerous industries generate job opportunities which take so many people away from the street. Think about how that affects the health and general wellbeing of our people. Think about how this cuts down crime rate. And, the governor has been strategic with these industries. They are into products which are in high demand. In five years, Gov. Udom Emmanuel has been fantastic. Surely, he shall land well in the three years left!
… to be concluded next Monday