Elder Statesman and former minister of lands, housing and urban development, Chief Nduese Essien, has asked Akwa Ibom State government to stop the annual ritual of wasting public funds and man hour in the name of celebrating anniversary of the state’s creation.
The state, was last week engrossed in a series of activities to mark the 35th anniversary of the creation of the state culminating in a public holiday of Friday, September 23, and a flow-up state banquet at Ibom Icon Hotels and Golf Resorts, which had dignitaries from all over the country attending, while the former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, functioned as the special guest of honour.
Daily Sun learned that more than N1 billion might have been spent on the exercise, which incidentaly, is the last for Mr Udom Emmanuel administration before it expires on June 12, 2023.
Reacting to the frenzied celebration in a telephone chat with Daily Sun, Chief Nduese Essien, who is also a former two-term member of the House of Representatives for Eket Federal Constituency of the state, said he was not aware of how much the state budgeted and spent for the celebration, but that “the state was created for development and not for annual celebration.”
“Akwa Ibom was created the same day with Katsina and Akwa Ibom has continued with annual anniversary celebration while Katrina does not and all the states created in Nigeria have long stopped anniversary celebrations.
“The resources spent on anniversary celebrations could be applied for other developments instead of wasting it away in frivolous anniversary celebration activities.”
He however reasoned that the celebrations are instigated and encouraged by the people in government who capitalise o such celebrations to siphon money into their pockets.
“Nigeria at 62 may also be celebrated on October 1 despite the fact that the country is now worse off than at independence.
“With our country in distance of bankruptcy, insecurity, economic meltdown, disunity and mutual distrust, educational dislocation and universal corruption, there is no basis to celebrate anniversaries of Nigeria’s independence. The Elder Statesman reasoned.
He explained that his absence during the 35th celebration of the state creation was because anniversary celebration is not one of his priority events.
He however commended the governor’s effort in making Ibom Air the leading airline in the country, adding the governor’s achievements in various infrastructural development projects like the just commissioned 10-lane road, Uyo Ikot Ekpene road and several others plus the industries are highly commendable
He noted that the Gov. Udom Emmanuel would have done more but for the various insipid distractions caused by his perennial antagonists at times for no just cause.
Chief Essien called on the Akwa Ibom people to reduce the level of distraction in the remaining period of the governor’s tenure to enable him tidy up his programmes and projects to the benefit of the state.