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THE AKWA IBOM OF MY DREAM

By Franklyn ISONG

In the recent three commentaries I have made on this platform, I repeatedly called on our politicians and political leaders in Akwa Ibom State to close ranks and work together in the interest of people of the state.

 

Therefore, it gladdens my heart and that of Akwa Ibom people that the APC 2015 Governorship candidate and managing director/CEO of the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA), Mr Umana Umana, despite political differences and misgivings arising from the 2015 governorship elections in the state, yesterday, led the management team of the OGFZA to pay a courtesy visit to Governor Udom Emmanuel at the Hilltop Mansion.

 

Even though, the purpose of the visit was official and not political, methinks, the mere seeing the duo sit together and reason in the line of development of the Akwa Ibom is a good omen for the state and a welcome development.

 

The meeting was successful. It yielded the required dividend. Both political leaders discussed ways of attracting and/or siting federal government presence in the state as it concerns the Oil and Gas sector.

 

Mr Umana used the visit to inform the state governor of the Buhari led Federal Government’s intention to establish Oil and Gas Free Zone in the state. He reeled out the huge economic benefits of having such a gigantic establishment in Akwa Ibom state.

“The history of the free zones is a record of collaboration between the federal government and other investors such as states and private sector operators in the development of the logistic support based for the Oil and Gas industry,” Umana to the governor.

 

The meeting ended well. Oil and Gas Free Zone Implementation Committee was set up in Akwa Ibom. The six member Joint Committee comprising the Commissioner for Investment, Commerce and Indusrty, Prof Eno Ikpe; the Chairman, Technical Committee on Foreign Direct Investment, Mr Gabriel Ukp and the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Technical Matters and Due Process, Engr. Ufot Ebong as members on the part of the state government, while the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority is represented by the Head of Legal Services, Barr. Sule Wasiu, Head of Operations, Mr Adekunle Ajayi and Head of Trade and Investment, Mr Adamu Kontagara.

 

Mr Umana also used the meeting to condole with the government and people of Akwa Ibom state on the December 10, 2016, Reigners Bible Church building collapse which the Governor was in attendance. He prayed God to grant the bereaved families fortitude to bear the loss.

 

On his part, the Governor congratulated Mr Umana on his appointment as the MD/CEO of OGFZA and commended him for the tour of the zones from Akwa Ibom. He pointed out that the project would boast the industrialization agenda of his administration by creating employment, and generating wealth for the people.

 

“Akwa Ibom being one of the major producer of crude oil deserves to be beneficiary of the project,” Gov Emmanuel said in the meeting.

 

On my part, I laud both political leaders for resolving to work together for the development of the state. I urged their supporters and party members to take a queue and learn from the sportsmanship spirit of their leaders. Mr Umana could have either prevented the proposed project from being brought to the state or delayed it, until his APC takes over the state government, but no, he sees beyond politics and think of the larger interest of the state.

 

Likewise the governor, he could have ignored Mr Umana and his OGFZA’s team, so that the APC federal government will end up having no physical project to show in Akwa Ibom State at the end of 2019.

 

This type of development should be encouraged and nurture to grow in the state. Elections were over in 2015. Let every Akwa Ibom person think of posterity and do things that promotes peace, unity, and progress of the state and its people.

 

Akwa Ibom DAKKADA!

 

*Franklyn Isong is a public affairs commentator and writes in from Uyo.

 

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