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Sustaining The Vision Of A New Akwa Ibom by Akpadiagha Etukakpan


Sustaining the vision of a new Akwa Ibom

"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power." – Alan Cohen

The above captures the spirit in Akwa Ibom State, as the citizens within the last 10 months of the Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio’s administration in the state have voluntary chosen to shun the old order and embrace positive change which is fundamental for sustainable growth in the state. The courage and resilient of the people is no doubt paying off as today, the mystery behind governance in the 20-year-old state has not only been made manifest but has been brought to the door step of the common man - which is the beauty of democracy.

The people of the state, for the first time, unanimously shunned every divisive tendency, including ethnicity on the 14th of April, 2007. They embraced change which the state was in dire need of, by electing Chief Godswill Akpabio, against all odds, as the 3rd civilian governor of the oil rich state. The jinx of conservatism in the state was thus broken as the relatively young and progressive lawyer turned politician was given the mantle of leadership to lead the state for four years.

Today, barely 280 days in office, the state is undergoing a great revolution in every sector of her socio-economic life. These changes, which have swept through the state, has also affected the consciousness of the average Akwa Ibom person for good. In his attempt to sustain the ideals and vision of a new Akwa Ibom, Governor Akpabio has consistently ensured that his administration focus on projects and policies that are socio-economical viable to the people of the state. His welfarist approach to governance has brought government to the door steps of the masses that were long neglected and in dire need of government touch.


Peace and security, for those who appreciate them, remains the pivot for development. No wonder a grateful cooperate citizen, Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), publicly poured encomiums on Akwa Ibom State governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio on Wednesday, Feb 20, 2008, for his landmark policies that have engendered a serene and secured atmosphere for them to operate in. Besides, according to the Managing Director of the company, Mr. John Chaplin, Akpabio, within seven months, has been able to transform the state to a tourist and investment haven. The effort of the governor in checking the upsurge of youth unrest prevalent in the Niger Delta region, has no doubt yielded positive result as the state remains one of the most peaceful states in the south- south region.

Akpabio, knowing fully well that the socio-economic fortune of the state can only thrive in a secured environment, set out to checkmate the activities of criminals, especially those masquerading as minority rights activists. To achieve this, he ensured that the task of securing Akwa Ibom is the collective responsibility of the citizens while providing adequate support to the government agencies saddled with responsibilities of combating crime. He went ahead to set up the joint task force on security which the administration equipped to combat crime and check the activities of criminals in the state.

The state joint task force on security christened"Operation Aduma" is no doubt living up to the expectation. The out fit has successfully foiled robbery attempts on a number of occasions in Eket, Uyo and Ikot Ekpene. It is to the credit of the task force whose members have been selflessly committed to the task of protecting Akwa Ibom that crime rate has reduce drastically in the state within the last 10 months of this administration.

The agricultural sector being a key sector of the economy is one that is dear to the heart of the man at the helm of affairs in the state. Mindful of the important role it plays in the economic growth of the state and the need for farmers to shift from subsistence farming to commercial one, government has been able to assist farmers to increase on production. Recently, Governor Akpabio through the state Ministry of Agriculture has provided farm input and extension services to farmers in the state. Such include the provision of improved seeds, pesticides, other agro-chemicals and fertilizers at subsidized rate to farmers in the state. Also, in a bold attempt to boost mechanized farming in the state, government purchased a large number of tractors for use by the farmers in the state.

Farmers in the state are soon to enjoyinterest free loan to expand their production, and create employment for youths in the state while also enjoying government support in the area of enhanced crop production. Recently, Chief Akpabio’s administration built and donated a dialysis centre complete with12 units of dialysis machines to the Federal Medical Center, a great feat, considering that some states do not have even one functional machine. The state government has also introduced free medical services for children, pregnant women and senior citizens, while several government- owned hospitals have been rehabilitated and their obsolete equipment replaced with new and sophisticated ones. During the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the creation of the state last September, Chief Akpabio laid the foundation stone of an ultra modern specialist hospital at Ekit Itam II. The hospital, which is expected to be completed within the next 24 months, will serve as a referral center in the entire Niger Delta region.

Mindful of the need to shift the state from a civil service driven economy to a very strong private sector driven one, Akpabio has created an investor-friendly environment. He has put in place a think-tank for the establishment of the Ibaka Free Trade Zone which will on completion provide employment for over 10,000 Akwa Ibom indigenes. Within three months in office, Governor Akpabio hosted and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a number of indigenous and multi-national companies, including financial institutions with intention to invest in the abundant natural and investment potentials in the State. Such investors include a team of experts from the Federal Mortgage Bank; Union Bank; ExxonMobil; Petrogenesis Oil Company, RUSAL, Julius Berger PLC, Costain PLC etc, which all pledged their readiness to help build the state’s economy.

Recently, media reports highlighted hundreds of Akwa Ibom people who had earlier dropped out of schools, returning back to complete their education. This, no doubt, is a direct impact of government educational policy on the people. Determined to provide affordable and qualitative education to its citizens, Akpabio charged the commissioner for Education and all agencies involved in education management in the state to map out workable solution to checkmate the level of decay reflected in the public educational sector of the state.

The state government has, within the last fdew months, concentrated on revamping the sector by rehabilitating dilapidated schools, boosting the morale of teachers which was at its ebb before now. Also, the Akpabio administration, in an attempt to ensure that children in the state enjoy their right to education, has introduced a free education policy for the first 9 years in public schools.

The Akwa Ibom State University of Technology is a priority educational project of the Akpabio’s administration. Conscious of the dearth of professionals of Akwa Ibom origin in this field, the previous administration conceived the institution to meet this need. However poor management and implementation remained the albatross of this noble idea and as at the terminal date of the previous administration, nothing tangible was on ground to show for the funds committed into the project.

Cognizant of the importance of the institution to the people of Akwa Ibom, the Akpabio administration has commenced practical efforts at repositioning it to meet its mission statement. One of his campaign promises was to give Akwa Ibom people what he called"targetted education". Hence, with its new management team working tirelessly to get the nod from the National Universities Commission (NUC), academic activities are set to commence in the institution before September this year.

The Akpabio administration, desirous of helping improve the academic standard in the state, has partnered with the management of federal government owned University of Uyo to recover the courses delisted during the last visit of the NUC accreditation panel to the institution. Apart from that, the state government has rehabilitated roads in the university and governor Akpabio has assured the University of his Administration’s support in other areas.


Road construction and rehabilitation remains a focal programme of the current administration. Chief Akpabio has rehabilitated the roads network in the state; through "Operation Pot Hole", roads that were death traps for motorists are wearing a new looks. Within his first few months in office, he has embarked on massive construction of road projects in the state, especially in areas that have been long abandoned by previous administrations.

Today, the nine villages of Ikot Ibekwe enjoy electricity, courtesy of Akpabio's prompt and sensitive response to the communities' age-long plight of darkness. It is also to his credit that the people of Ibiono Ibom LGA of the state can heave a sight of relief as he awarded contract for the construction of Nung Udoe /Itak /Use Abat-Okoita/ Use-Ikot Amama/Ikot Esifa road, which last saw tar during the era of U.J. Esuene as military administrator of South-Eastern State. He has ensured that all the senatorial districts in the state would benefit from at least 20 kilometres of road project, in his first two years in office. Already, construction giant, Julius Berger has started work on the dualisation of Ekim Itam to Ikot Oku Ikono, from Abak round about to Itam Peace Column. The long abandoned Afaha – Obong- Etim Ekpo –Urua Inyang –Iwukem road is undergoing massive construction.

Urban roads in Ikot Ekpene LGA are undergoing massive road rehabilitation and construction works. Currently, about nine roads in the area are said to be ready for commissioning. The construction of Etebi – Ewang road, is also at advance stage. The entire Eket Federal Constituency used to be dependent on the benevolence of Mobil for road network, but Akpabio has awarded contracts for the construction of 26 roads in the federal constituency, a clear departure from the past.

It is widely believed that if Akpabio does not derail as a result of distraction caused by the detractors of his administration, he will change the fortune of the state and ensure that the people’s mandate given to him is judiciously used for the good of the entire

By Akpadiagha Etukakpan


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