A foremost industrialist and topnotch of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Obong Kingsley Mbre, in this interview, says it is premature to say Governor Udom Emmanuel has failed Eket people. Excerpts:
There is an ongoing altercation between a group known as Eket Integrity Alliance, who feel Governor Udom Emmanuel has failed Eket people in the area of infrastructural development and those who say it is not so. What is your opinion on this?
First of all, although the Eket Integrity Alliance is just a four men gang that lacks popular appeal, it is within their rights to express themselves freely. This they have done. It is, however, without their right to claim to represent Eket people. I am an Eket son and I know several others who do not share their sentiments. So, for me, they are speaking for themselves. For the very first time in a very long while, Eket is seeing development. The place has been turned to a massive construction site. I mean the whole area is being restructured. It has never happened.
Past governments did one or two roads but this administration is embarking on a massive reconstruction to turn Eket into a model city. You cannot say the several projects brought to the area have been abandoned. No, they are ongoing. Until this administration completes its agenda by 2023, you cannot say it has failed Eket because saying so will be very unpatriotic and a great disservice to the people. I know very well that Eket is part of the Completion Agenda of Governor Udom Emmanuel. I believe we should give him a chance. He has said in many fora that he will spring surprises with his Completion Agenda. Eket will be one of such surprises. I wonder where the Four-Man Team will be when we will be commissioning those projects! And let me tell you, constructors are now on site, more are going to move back to site. This is so, because Governor Udom Emmanuel never abandoned the projects in the first place.
As stakeholder, would you say the stance of the members of Eket Integrity Alliance represent that of the people of Eket?
Not at all. The first and second episodes of write ups by the group are entirely the opinion of the signatories. In fact, the action by the group is capable of causing disunity and anarchy in Eket. The people of Eket are known to be revered, respectful, well-cultured and well-mannered. I am certain that the people of Eket will not allow the narrow interest of four individuals to be promoted as the collective interest of the people of Eket.
But are the claims by Eket Integrity Alliance erroneous?
It is laughable reading through such claims. It is equally pathetic knowing that the people that should contribute their quota to the development of Eket are the same people trying to cause disunity in Eket through their alleged claims. As a stakeholder of the area, I can attest that so many of our sons and daughters are direct beneficiaries of the Udom Emmanuel administration.
Most of the allegedly abandoned roads by the Udom Emmanuel’s administration were awarded to sons of the area who have refused to live up to their responsibilities. That Governor Udom Emmanuel does not go to the radio stations to mention their names or capture his humanitarian and compassionate gestures to the people of the area to impress the public is no reason to tell lies against him.
What could have been the reason for the seeming break? People said some of the contractors collected monies and left site. Is that true?
I am not in government to know this. But I can tell you, whoever is a contractor that collected funds for the Eket project and left site will go back. Under Governor Udom Emmanuel, resources are scarce and there are several projects beckoning on the projects all over the state. So, if some has been allotted to Eket remodeling project and someone takes it away, I am sure they will return it.
This is even the area my four brothers should be concerned about. But you know, they all served in a government that money was free and could be taken away at will. That aside, Governor Udom Emmanuel is a prudent person and I am sure he will get contractors back to the site. We should just give him the benefit of the doubt when he says he will complete all his projects. I believe he will.
Do you really believe in the Completion Agenda given the huge number of projects scattered all over the state in the midst of scarce funding?
Why not? There is nothing to show any sign that it will not mark out. First, I trust that the Governor knows he needs to leave a good legacy. Secondly, I trust his sense of judgment, on the timing of the completion of the different projects. Thirdly, the new Commissioner for Works, Prof Eno Ibanga, recently went on a tour of all project sites. That in itself shows great movement. And you heard him give timelines on some of the projects. Once again, I tell my Eket brothers to be calm and support Governor Udom Emmanuel. He means well for them. Those projects you see scattered around Eket are for the good and progress of the area and in no time, they will all be completed.
Your words to the people of Eket
Like I said earlier, Eket people are known to be revered, respectful, well-cultured and well-mannered. I want to sincerely urge my people not to compromise these virtues. We must, at all times, pray for this government to succeed. We must be extremely supportive of this government. It is our own.
I want to use this opportunity to congratulate and thank Governor Udom Emmanuel for appointing our sons and daughters into government Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs). Going forward, I sincerely appeal to the Governor to do even more for the people of Eket to shock those criticizing his government.