By Henshaw NYONG/Ruth ESSIEN
“His Excellency the governor (Mr Udom Emmanuel) has put everything in place in ensuring that this place (Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene) is put to use as soon as possible. Above all, based on the discussions we have just finished with the consultants here, I am very certain that the governor, who is so desirous of seeing that this place is opened without delay, will do the needful and full activities, shall soon commence here”.
These were part of the statements made by the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Housing and Special Duties; Mr Akan Okon, on Friday, during an on-the-spot assessment of the 14-floor Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, located in the raffia city of Ikot Ekpene.
The Commissioner who was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary; Dr (Mrs.) Valerie Obot, Directors as well as Engineers from the Ministry, however, divulged that the drastic drop in the revenue allocated for the State also played significant role to the slow pace of work at the hotel.
Mr Okon hinted that with the level of paucity of funds staring all States in the country menacingly on the face, Governor Emmanuel must be a magician to have engaged those handling the project and also undertake several mega projects in other parts of the State.
Answering a reporter’s question, the Commissioner debunked the rumour that some materials and equipment at the facility, were brought from Le Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, for the purpose of its commissioning.
His words: “Le meridien is still operating today, not so? Now, how come we still have materials there and here at the same time?” he asked rhetorically.
Continuing, Mr Akan Okon said: “It is a pity that what thrives in our State is rumour. People rarely verify information. Thank God you people; men of the fourth estate of the realm have seen the true position here and you can differentiate between the rumour and what you have seen here. I am sure you will also help us to inform our people properly that this place is at the stage of its usage, after we must have finished putting finishing touches in few departments”.
While stressing that the facility, which has a total of 146 guest rooms, is one of the safest in the country, the Commissioner expressed happiness that the first high-rise tower in the city of Ikot Ekpene, as well as the first purpose-built internationally branded hotel in the iconic town, will strengthen the hospitality sector in Akwa Ibom State.
Meanwhile, it took the Commissioner’s inspection team, two hours and eight minutes to tour round the entire facility. Some of the amenities visited were: the banquet hall, meeting rooms, spa, indoor and outdoor restaurants, swimming pool, tennis courts, club lounge, a roof terrace, fitness centre, amongst others.