GOVERNOR UDOM IS ON COURSE – UMANAH
Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Aniekan Umanah, in this interview, speaks on the milestones so far achieved by the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel among other issues. Excerpts:
Governor Emmanuel promised that industrialization would be the focus of his administration but not much has been seen?
Udom Emmanuel Udom Emmanuel The Governor started by inviting investors and performed ground breaking ceremonies, which is a starting point in industrial process. I have often said that industrialization or developing an industry takes a lot of time. It involves various levels of approvals, authentication and licensing. For instance, he performed the ground breaking ceremony for the Automobile Assembly plant in July last year, today the firm is on site with container loads of equipment. They had to go through licensing and other registration processes, ditto for several others.
Pre-fabricated steel structures
The Electric Meter Manufacturing Plant is on course and will roll out meters in about six months. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed for the take-off of the Coconut Plantation and Processing Refinery. Same goes for the LED Manufacturing Plant. With tonnes of containers of appliances and pre-fabricated steel structures on ground, a smooth process is assured. Also, the Fertilizer Blending Group that came to Abak has started work on site. Investors are coming from all over the world to invest in Akwa Ibom. In furtherance of the governor’s noble agenda of developing the state into a strong economy with abundance of business and employment opportunities in the Gulf of Guinea, over 1000 youths have been engaged for ORACLE training and certification, while 200 others were sent to Israel for training in agriculture, with another 200 trained in the power sector. Gladly, the state now has a license to produce additional 540 megawatts electricity, thus the critical need for trained personnel to man the power sector. The governor is also developing the aviation sector. Work is ongoing to complete the second runway in record time, while efforts are also in top gear for the development of the main terminal building and the cargo terminals. And, the newest project is Akwa Ibom Entrepreneurial and Employment Scheme, AKEES, which will engage and empower about 10,000 youths to work for themselves. Clearly, the industrialization promise of the governor is in on.
But an advertorial was published, not long ago, criticizing the publicized achievements of the governor. Are the criticisms justified?
They are certainly not justified. Their publication was false and meant to put the administration in bad light. Government is constructing over 150 kilometers of road. Work is ongoing on Eket-Ibeno Road, Eket-Etinan Road, Ikot Udom Road in Ibiono, Etinan-Ndon Eyo Road and Mkpat Enin axis. Also Eket urban remodeling is on course and so on. People must realize that you cannot start and complete projects in one week. Government is carrying out the projects through a very methodical and scientific process to ensure success. The people are happy with the government and are expectant of the full realization of ongoing projects.
Some citizens were employed as teachers and others into the Civil Service. There are rumours that since their employment over one year ago, they have not been paid salaries. Is this true? And if true, why?
For the Civil Service employment, government found out that there was racketeering, where some people gave out fake appointment papers to unqualified candidates. So government had to set up a committee to verify and ensure that only qualified persons were employed. That process is over and those genuinely employed have been pay-rolled and they are now getting their salaries. In the teaching service, a certain syndicate also sold appointment letters to unqualified candidates, who neither had National Certificates of Education nor degrees in Education. You cannot allow people who are not qualified to go into the classrooms as teachers. The seeming delay is not intended to hurt anybody. Since government has started with the civil service you can be sure that issues in the teaching service employment will also be sorted out.
Ten months since taking over the mantle of leadership, what specific achievements would you say Gov Udom Emmanuel has recorded?
I have mentioned some of the achievements of Governor Udom Emmanuel in this interview. However, let me reiterate that as a meticulous administrator, Governor Udom Emmanuel has taken time to encapsulate his vision for the State in a five point agenda of Job Creation; Poverty Alleviation; Wealth Creation; Economic and Political inclusion; Infrastructural Consolidation and Expansion. To achieve his vision, therefore, he inaugurated a Technical Committee on Foreign Direct Investment, Technical Committee on Ibaka Deep seaport project, Technical Committee on Agriculture and Food Sufficiency, and rehabilitated and re-commissioned the Peacock Paint factory in Etinan. Also, to consolidate the infrastructural edge of the State, the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel has ensured the clearing of 85 hectares of land in Eket for 100,000 barrels per day petroleum refinery, and another 15 hectares along Eastern Obolo – Mkpat Enin axis for coconut plantation and refinery. As I speak, over 50 foreign investors have indicated interest in coming to setup shops in Akwa Ibom State, while ground breaking ceremonies have been performed for the take-off of a number of industrial concerns. (Culled from Vanguard)