Specualtions that the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Emmanuel Udom, may defect to the All Progresives Congress (APC) in order to checkmate his political menter, Godswill Akpabio, who had earlier decamped, have proved abortive.
Udom bold;y declared for second term under his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ready for whoever the APC would bring on as challenger. He made his intention to contest for a second term in office known following his formal declaration at an event that attracted a mammoth crowd in Uyo, the state capital.
Big wigs of the party including a powerful delegation from Rivers State led by Governor Nyesom Wike were on hand to give solidarity to his sister-governor.
Udom said: “I submit myself for consideration to continue with the good work that I have done and I seek your support for my candidature as governor for second term,” he said.
Emmanuel said he was banking on his superior performance to return to the Government House, Uyo, in 2019.
He listed industrialisation as his major achievements in the last three years, stressing that the conglomeration of industrial clusters including toothpick, pencil, syringe, electric metres, coconut factory, peacock paint, fertilizer firms and several kilometres of roads, would recommend him for a re-election.
He said, the Akpabio administration left behind some uncompleted projects including the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel at Ikot Ekpene and the Uyo – Ikot Ekpene Road, stating his administration has been working hard to ensure the completion of those legacy projects of the immediate past era.
“Who said they had completed the Sheraton by Four Points Hotel? It is only today that we are negotiating with Starwood Group for the retainership of the name, which some surreptitiously put up on a building. Is building a hotel?”
He urged the people to rally round him in his quest to sustain the tempo of good governance he introduced in his first term in 2015.
In the same vein, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke; the former Military Governor of the State, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, who chairs the governor’s re-election committee and the state PDP chairman, Obong Paul Ekpo, charged supporters and stakeholders of the PDP to work towards ensuring the PDP retain Akwa Ibom with Udom Emmanuel, in 2019.
Solidarity messages from neighbouring governors of River State, Nysom Wike and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, assured Governor Emmanuel that he would be returned based on track-record of quality works in the last three years and encouraged the people not to allow external influence to alter the already political arrangement ably directed by the PDP since 1999 in Akwa Ibom.
With the declaration, the battle line seems drawn in Akwa Ibom State between Udom and his mentor, Akpabio.
CRITICS FIRE AT HIM ON DAY ONE
On same day, his waiting ritics took pages to review his performance in office.
We are aware that Gov. Udom Emmanuel has invited PDP governors and his party leaders to Uyo to witness his declaration to run for second term tomorrow, Friday, 24th August. Accordingly, with a profound sense of responsibility, the APC in Akwa Ibom State wishes to draw the attention of Akwa Ibom people to the dismal and parlous scorecard of their Governor in the last three and half years, and urge them to reject this governor as we approach the next election season.
*BACKGROUND & CONTEXT*
To help our people make an objective evaluation of Udom Emmanuel, we should remind them that the Udom administration has earned well over a trillion naira in the last 40 months from FAAC, IGR and refunds from the federal government. These refunds include $172 million received last December and N130 billion received in three instalments for federal roads constructed by the Akpabio administration. The trillion naira that has accrued to this government in is more than what the Akpabio administration earned in its first term, and far, far more than what the Attah administration earned in all of its eight years. Yet those governors were able to lay a sound foundation for the development of our state.
Udom Emmanuel’s claim to creating industries in the state has been a huge joke, to put it mildly. We can categorize the government’s failed industrialization mantra into four groups: In many aspects, the governor has been scammed out of millions of dollars by fraudulent 419 men masquerading as investors, and in other cases, the government has lost huge amount of foreign exchange in phoney investments. In a few others, the government has deliberately misled the people in a grand deception, and in other cases, the business idea was just plain stupid. Here’s just a sample:
a. *Fertilizer Bagging Plant:* Two months ago, the governor commissioned a small facility in Abak and claimed it to be a fertilizer blending plant. But it is just a bagging operation without a blending component, without basic approvals from the Office of the National Security Adviser and other authorities which is a requirement for all fertilizer plants in the country. This explains why the plant has been idle since it was commissioned, another grand deception from the government. On this, Udom Emmanuel scores F9.
b. *Coconut Plantation and refinery:*
Early in the life of his administration, Udom Emmanuel spent millions of dollars to import coconut seedlings with the aim of developing a plantation that would feed a coconut refinery he claimed he would build in Mkpat Enin LGA. As at today, the seedlings, planted in the mangrove swamp of the coastal community, have all withered away. No refinery has been built. The governor ignored basic agronomical and cultural practices in developing such enterprises. Again another F9 grade for the governor.
c. *2,000 Mexican Cows:*
If the coconut plantation deal was hare-brained, the governor’s plan to import 2,000 cows from Mexico to start a dairy farm in Uruan LGA was the most thoughtless, stupid and unintelligent proposal that any state government has ever contemplated. We were told that the cows would come in already pregnant, and so we would have two or more for the price of one. But no single cow has been delivered, no dairy farm established and the government was defrauded of $5 million in this senseless venture. Truth is even if the cows had been imported, the project would have been dead on arrival because no animals bred in temperate regions would survive in this humid tropical weather. What a scam! What a deception! Score: F9
d. *Fake Akwa Ibom Rice:*
About two months ago, the state government released photographs of two bags of rice brought into the meeting of the State Executive Council. The produce was branded Family Rice and was announced by the governor to have been produced in a plantation in Ini LGA. Intrigued, many Akwa Ibom journalists, and a renowned columnist, Dele Sobowale, rushed to the site and found out that no single grain of rice is grown there. This is just another grand deception in which paddy rice is brought in from Ebonyi and other states and milled in Ini, yet our government is fraudulently showing this off as a successful rice farming business. Another F9 grade!
e. *The Armoured Personnel Carrier Assembly Plant in Itu* LGA was one of the most vacuous and specious ideas from the governor early on in his administration. In fact, it was just two months after his inauguration that Udom Emmanuel went to a village in Itu LGA to ‘break the ground’ for a plant that would assemble armoured personnel carrier vehicles. As usual, the governor was effusive, claiming that the investors were Israeli intelligence officials. But alas! The whole thing was a fraud perpetrated by one of his commissioners then. About N600 million was fleeced out of the treasury in this scam. As at today, nothing has happened beyond the ceremony of the ground breaking. Akwa Ibom people are wondering what their governor knew of this fraud, and when he knew about it. Another Super F9 grade!
f. *The Metering Solution and the Syringe factories:* Because these are privately-owned businesses, they are the only seemingly functional investments facilitated by the administration. Located in Onna LGA, the governor’s LGA, these cottage factories are just single-line operations that hire less than 50 persons each. We score the governor a big D for this.
2. *Road Construction:* Successive administrations in the state since 1999 have always made road construction and rehabilitation integral part of infrastructural development. The Akpabio administration invested heavily in opening up new roads and building infrastructure. It is a big disappointment that the Udom administration has approached road development in a half hearted manner. This administration has not started and completed any length of road that is up to 5km anywhere in the state. The governor has done a few short inner city roads in Uyo metropolis, but not a single major artery linking one LGA to another, or running from one part of the city to another. Any visitor to Uyo will marvel at the beauty of Edet Akpan Avenue; Nsikak Eduok Ave; Goodluck Jonathan Boulevard; Uyo-Abak Road, Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road; Airport Road and Nwaniba Road which were done by the Attah and Akpabio administrations. Together with many others, these roads give our state capital its enviable layout and loveliness. The Udom road legacy is noticeably absent in our state capital. On roads, we score him a big E.
3. *Non maintenance of State Assets:*
The most insidious part of the Udom Administration is its unwillingness or inability to maintain the prized assets of the state government he inherited from the two previous administrations. The Ibom Specialist Hospital, designated the best by the Minister of Health, has been left to rot. The 107 expatriate doctors, nurses and other medical specialists have been laid off by the Udom government. The ISH is now managed by a government employed doctor who is related to the Commissioner for Works, Mr Ephraim Inyangeyen. It is abandoned and desolate. Similarly, Le Meridien Group of Paris, which managed the five-star Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort, has also been fired by Udom Emmanuel. The result is that the hotel and the golf course ( managed by the IMG Group of London), that won so many awards are now desolate and decaying. Equally depraved is the government’s decision not to put the Hilton Hotel in Uyo and the Sheraton in Ikot Ekpene to use. We therefore score Udom F9 for lack of maintenance culture.
The nepotism inside the Udom Emmanuel government is very glaring and repulsive. Twenty of the governor’s SAs are his relatives, his wife’s brother is in charge of the Direct Labour Inter-ministerial Projects which hands out low budget contracts to sundry party members; another brother of the governor’s wife is the Chairman of a LGA, and the husband to the governor’s sister runs a major department in the Governor’s Office (Department of State Service). This man has never been in government or civil service before. The Head of Service herself is also a relative of the governor’s. What an incestuous inter governmental relationships!
(Many may however not agree with this scorecard).