Senator Effiong Bob, one of Akwa Ibom political heavyweights, gives a scorecard of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s one year on the saddle. Excerpts:
Assessment of the Udom Emmanuel administration
In the past one year we have witnessed significant peace in the state, looking at the state of criminality, kidnapping, insecurity that we had before. You will know that this administration has achieved incredibly. Without peace there will be no development. The Governor has also brought about a sense of timing in the running of his administration. You know time is business, business is time and when he keeps an appointment for 10.am it is 10.am.
In the past one year there has been no money in the administration as against what used to be in the previous administration and so whatever the expectation and promises were it has become generally very difficult to manage the financial burden of the state. But we have to thank him and also give him kudos that from the records he has been able to pay salaries to workers as at when due and that is what many states of the federation are unable to do. How he manages to do that is what I do not know but I believe he is prioritizing what he wants to do. Akwa Ibom being a purely civil service state, without strong economic base; everybody depends on government and without a government that is focused; it would be really difficult to work through this rough financial terrain in the country.
He started some ground breaking ceremonies of some industries because the focal point of his administration is industrialization and that he has done. You know that cannot be done in a day, industry is not carry it and put there and it starts working, there are processes. He is on the process. The automobile industry at Itu, the Meter solution complex in ONNA, the second runway at the Ibom International Airport which has not been highlighted much as an achievement for his administration and various committees are working. Agricultural sector like the multi-complex, Cocoa project, coconut industry with refinery at Ikot Abasi, Eastern Obolo and Mkpat Enin and many others. One wonders with the short fall in revenue and unstable foreign exchange, which throughout my life time I have not witnessed where Dollar is over N300, it is very difficult to manage the economy. But I thank him because having been in the financial sector he has been able to manage a very difficult financial terrain at this moment. What we need to do is to pray for him, that it is rough today does not mean it will be rough throughout his tenure. We should pray to God to rearrange things in his favour which I know He will do so that he can accomplish all his programmes. So, without being sycophantic, he has done well for this one year.
Is Akwa Ibom peaceful, considering the political situation in the state?
Yes, the state is peaceful and there is nothing wrong only that in governance you will do your best because there are people that no matter what you do, they will never see anything better in you. For me, once the majority is satisfied, which is the essence of democracy, am okay. So, politically, the state is stable and I have not seen anything that threatens his administration. The mandate of his administration is clear and vision is also clear and sustainable. I urge our people to support what is good. I am not saying people should not criticize his government but criticism should be constructive and reasonable.
What is your advice to the Governor?
My advice to Governor Udom Emmanuel is that he should continue to do his best by carrying majority of the people along and working for the overall interest of the state and he should see criticism as part of governance. He should be focused and keep to his campaign promises because at the end of the day, it is history that will judge. So, within the first year of his tenure he has done what majority of us expected him to do and I can score him very high in performance