By Nsidibe Akpan
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Novone Consult Limited, Arc. Ezekiel Nya-Etok has called on the government of Akwa Ibom State to include private and ‘non-state’ actors in the development of the state.
Nya-Etok who stressed that government alone cannot develop the state without the contribution of citizens who needs the support and encouragement of the state for a better Akwa Ibom.
The former Governorship aspirants also stated that he has given more to Akwa Ibom State as an individual in bringing federal presence and development than any other indigene.
Speaking with journalist on Wednesday at his Novone Housing Estate in Uyo, Nya-Etok said he has done more for the state without holding a political office, and will continue to do more for the benefit of the people.
He calls on government encourage private sector which will help open the state for business and create more employment for the citizens.
“What happens to me positively will encourage others to make effort, what happens to me negatively will discourage others to make effort. We have live in this state as though without government life does not exist and government encourages which is wrong, it should not be so. I lived in Lagos for 30 years without knowing where Alausa which is the seat of government is. I lived as a private citizen and was happy throughout those years, I did not bother myself who was the commissioner,” he said.
“If we are going to develop this state, we must bring ourselves to a point where citizens should be able to make their contributions to the state and compliment what government is doing, that is when the state is going to be opened up, that’s when there will be businesses, that is when there is going to be employment, we need to encourage non-state actors to be part of the system and contribute to the system.
“By right, government should go out of their way to create that enabling environment, but in a situation where somebody will see this level of investment (Novone Housing Estate) and the comment is that ‘afterall, he is not one of us’, it’s sad. That comment came from a Commissioner in the state.
“Today there are celebrating Akwa Ibom at 33 and Nya-Etok will not be recognized as one of those who has done anything for the state. It is sad.
“There are two sets of people, those who gives the state and those who benefits from the state. When you are an appointee, you are a beneficiary benefitting from the state, whether you are governor, commissioner, chairman, member of board or you hold one position or the other, that is why people will go out of their way to get an appointment.”
Nya-Etok says he was the first Akwa Ibomite to beautify the state by decorating Ibom Connection (Ibom Plaza) which has developed to the centre of the state capital.
“I want you (Journalists) to compile a list of 10 people who have given to the state more than I have. I can state some of the things that I have done. I was the first person that started beautifying this state as an individual in 2010. I went to Alaba Market bought lights, decoration materials and everything and came to Ibom Connection; when to Aba, bought a generator, employed someone to take control of the equipment with my personal money. I was not an appointee of government or held any political office.”
Nya-Etok who is a social housing advocate is credited with the Shelter Afrique Housing Estate, a project he conceptualized, envisioned and delivered to the Akwa Ibom State in 2000 under then Governor Victor Attah and other projects he privately brought to the state.
“Shelter Afrique was not a government project, it was my private personal initiative. I was the first Nigerian that got a facility from Shelter Afrique for any state government, but I was privileged to have a state Governor that was opened for private initiatives, he partnered with me on Shelter Afrique Estate. I could have taken it to any state in Nigeria but I brought it to Akwa Ibom State, my Governor (Attah) is still alive, you can confirm it. On the of commissioning, they refused to give me a seat to sit on, out of frustration, I left the place, when the Governor stood up to talk, he said where is Arc. Nya-Etok?
“What about the Amnesty programme for the South South. The programme was anchored by Samson Siasia. I convinced government to bring the programme to Akwa Ibom State, for four months, 30 people from each of the Niger Delta States where camped here. I did that strictly as an individual, as someone that cares for this state. Over 200 young people were accommodated in this state and revenue was generated with hotels full with people.
“This estate (Novone Estate) will accommodate lots of people and create employment for our citizens.”