Henshaw NYONG || FEATURE || 29-7-2019.
“The governor’s decision to take road infrastructure to the hinterlands that were neglected by previous administrations is a welcome development…this action will improve the economic standard of our people and aid the prompt movement of goods and services within these areas and the neighbouring towns” – Says Mr. Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, Commissioner for Works, Akwa Ibom State
SINCE Mr Udom Emmanuel took over the reigns of power in the soon-to-be-celebrated thirty two (32) years old State, the people living in the hinterlands have continued to testify that the powers which the financial expert – turned politician sought and got in 2015 and 2019 are the powers to do good to the State.
It is pertinent to recall that the Emmanuel administration quickly won the heart of the people of Akwa Ibom by the pragmatically different development approach it adopted. By deliberately taking development projects to local government areas that pre-2015, could not boast of a tarred road done by any State governor, the current administration became a source of inspiration to every watcher of development in the leading oil producing State.
Upon assumption of office, many road projects were conceived, awarded and executed on the template of the ‘Superior Performance’. Good examples are; the 14.1 Kilometer road with two bridges which begins in Odoro Ikpe community, traverses Ikpe Ikot Nkon, Nkana and Obotme all in INI Local Government Area and terminates in Arochukwu in Abia State. In ORUK ANAM; the 18.95Km Ikot Ibritam – Inen – Ekeffe – Ikot Akpan Afaha road with a bridge, by Almajdal. In IKA; 15.13Km Ikot Otomo – Azumini Road, which traverses over ten (10 villages); Ikot Akpan Okure – Ikot Esu – Otomo – Obio Ebenwang – Ikot Akpa Ofiong – Ikot Otong – Ikot Urom – Nto Udo – Nto Udo Enwang, by Cossels Construction Company, among several other roads.
Recall that in the past, governors used to enjoy Billions of Naira from excess crude fallouts, which enabled them carry out sundry development programmes and still had enough to through around, but none remembered the aforementioned areas.
Since 2015 when the All Progressives Congress (APC) took over power at the centre, monthly allocation to states from the Federation Account had fallen drastically to less than 38 per cent of what it used to be as a consequence of the nation’s current economic woes. The situation was so bad that the Government had to summon courage to declare that “the country is broke”.
The unfortunate development has obviously hindered the efforts of most governors to fully actualize their genuine vision for the people. From the foregoing, it will be irrational and unjust to compare the Udom Emmanuel administration with the past in all its ramifications.
Notwithstanding the hopeless economic realities, the Emmanuel administration has been able to embark on verifiable massive development projects, especially in the rural areas across the state. The feat is in line with a part of his inaugural address, where he promised to pay special attention to RURAL DEVELOPMENT, in recognition of the fact that, a good number of our people live in the rural areas and equally deserve the dividends of democracy, as true heroes of democracy. This, no doubt, informed the commencement of road projects in INI, ORUK ANAM, IKA and several other areas that hitherto had none.
The Ministry of Works, saddled with many responsiblities, including supervision of roads construction in the State, has since the appointment of the current Commissioner, Mr Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, breathed new life into that once failing Ministry. The success story so far is there for all to judge.
The current Ministry of Works under the watchful eyes of Commissioner Inyang-Eyen, has been altered from how it was working. Gone are the days when Commissioners used to sit in the office and receive reports, the current boss at the Works’ Ministry, runs on the field from project to project to physically see things and gives instructions.
For instance, during his routine inspection of State government financed road projects over the weekend in INI, ORUK ANAM and IKA Local Government Areas, Inyang-Eyen, expressed satisfaction with the progress of on-going work in the aforementioned areas.
INI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA:
Construction work on the 14.1km Ikpe Ikot Nkon – Obotmme – Arochukwu Road is about 90 per cent completion with the finalization of the two modern bridges.
A community leader from Arochukwu in Abia State, Amazi Okoro Chijoke, who spoke with newsmen, expressed his appreciation to Akwa Ibom Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, for constructing the only road that leads to his State from Akwa Ibom.
His words: “We have lost many people and goods in the past because of the bad nature of this road. In fact, there is an age long adage in my community which says, ‘there is no way to Arochukwu’… That was in the past. My people are so glad that the adage has been changed due to the project…. Today, we are eternally grateful to the government and great people of Akwa Ibom state. May God bless the Governor”, Amazi Chijoke said.
Speaking after inspecting the level of work done, the Commissioner thanked Ini people for cooperating with Peculiar Ultimate Concerns; the contractor handling the Ikpe Ikot Nkon – Obotmme – Arochukwu road project.
He divulged that Governor Emmanuel embarked on the road construction to transform Ini, which is a major gateway to the State. It is worthy noting that, the new road, alongside the two ultramodern bridges will replace the one constructed before the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria more than 100 years ago.
The construction of the 15.13Km road which begins at Ikot Otomo, passes through no fewer than ten (10) communities to Azumini in Abia State, initiated by Governor Udom Emmanuel and financed by the State government, elicited excitement among indigenes of Ika and the people of Abia State.
When the Inyang-Eyen-led inspection team visited the road, weekend, to assess the level of work done, residents; women, youth and elders from Ika, literally mobbed the Works boss.
The excitement was orchestrated by the fact that, the area had suffered total neglect in terms of road network by previous administrations.
A youth leader; Enwongo Ibanga, in a chat with newsmen, expressed happiness that Governor Emmanuel has answered their prayers for good roads.
“We are happy for the road construction because since the creation of Akwa Ibom in 1987, residents of this community have been suffering. Sometimes when the local government grade the road to ease movement, we inhale dust and fall sick”, Ibanga said.
Inyang-Eyen, on his part, advised the youth not to rescind in their cooperation and support to the handlers of the project; Cossels Construction Company. He noted that good infrastructure is the bedrock of socio-economic development, explaining that the massive road construction put in place by Emmanuel’s administration, like the 15.13Km road, when completed, will connect the area with the people of Abia State, drive commerce and maintain global competitiveness.
ORUK ANAM LGA:
The Inyang-Eyen led inspection team on that day also visited the 18.95Km Ikot Ibritam – Inen – Ekeffe – Ikot Akpan Afaha road with a bridge. Construction work was ongoing. The Commissioner told workers that his visit was to identify with the company on the recent sad news, where an expatriate was abducted and two soldiers attached to him, killed.
While informing that the government and people of Akwa Ibom State were with them in their trying period, Inyang-eyen appealed residents of the community to remain calm and go about their normal duties promising that the Police was working with the sister security agencies in the state to arrest those involved and would soon apprehend the culprits and bring them to book.
However, the 18.95Km Ikot Ibritam – Inen – Ekeffe – Ikot Akpan Afaha road in Oruk Anam links Ukanafun Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom and shares common boundary with Rivers State. According to the Works’ boss, when the road is completed, there will be cost reductions in many economic sectors in the state as it would provide better accessibility to markets, increase employment, bring in foreign investment and as well improve global presence in the Akwa Ibom.
It is worth noting that, Governor Emmanuel has succeeded in challenging the status quo in the once neglected INI, ORUK ANAM and IKA, and moves a step further by putting paid to the culture of impunity and entitlement mentality. For him, the meagre resources available to the state should not end up in the pockets of the few parasitic individuals but rather, must be channelled towards the development of the state.
The highlighted are just a few of the giant strides of Governor Udom Emmanuel in three (3) local government areas that the previous administration ommitted in the execution of capital projects and other basic basic needs for the people, but unfortunately it may not make it to the dailies.
However, as the governor ‘takes off the plane’ of his #CompletionAgenda, all eyes are on ‘Pilot’ Udom Emmanuel with excellent track records who thinks, sleeps and wakes up with the peace and development of the rural areas and the hinterland in his mind. Akwa Ibomites on their part, should not only be proud of their governor, but, should do their best to support and promote the divine gift to the State to enable him achieve more.
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