During the recent second anniversary of the administration of Mr Udom Emmanuel, the Governor and his handlers belaboured so hard to generate some activities to fill up the space and show that the Governor has performed in two years.
Having received serious criticisms for the endless and fruitless ground breaking ceremonies often heralded with fan-fare, Governor Emmanuel and his handlers cunningly changed the name to “flag-off.” But Akwa Ibom people were not deceived. It is another name for motion without movement. If one may ask, what’s the status of the ground breaking ceremonies the Governor had performed for Shoprite, car assembly plant and numerous others?
But Governor Emmanuel was to expose himself further during an interactive session with the media in Uyo. Without an answer to the pauperisation of Akwa Ibom people since he became the Governor, Mr Emmanuel flew into a fit of rage when a Journalist asked him what he had done about the empowerment of Akwa Ibom people.
Sitting on his Business School high horse and totally cut off from the realities of the time, Governor Emmanuel said the era of sharing money to Akwa Ibom people was gone. His own idea of empowerment, according to our Business School Governor, is to create a conducive atmosphere for enterprise to thrive. Hear him: “What do you call empowerment? I hope you are not referring to sharing money to people? Because as governor I had decided never to carry on with that culture of waste. Empowerment, to my mind should not be about sharing money, but creating interventions and the enterprise-friendly environment where people can make money in Akwa Ibom. That is why we brought the Dakkada philosophy so as to carry our people away from the unfortunate mentality of money sharing”
Get me right. It is a good idea to encourage entrepreneurship. The only problem is that Governor Emmanuel is using this to hoodwink Akwa Ibom people. While he is busy pauperising Akwa Ibom people, on the other hand his diminutive brothers hitherto unemployed before his great teacher brought him and imposed him on Akwa Ibom people, are busy acquiring properties in Uyo as if the properties are going out of stock. One has just acquired an N100 million mansion in Ewet Housing Estate. Pray which enterprise did he embark on?
If it is in the spirit of encouraging entrepreneurship that the administration is touting the establishment of the so-called toothpick factory and the made in China but packaged in Akwa Ibom pencils, then the Governor needs to be open to Akwa Ibom people. Who really are the owners of these factories? Are they established by the Akwa Ibom State Government or its cronies? And if so, at what cost to tax payers money. I hope I’m not asking for too much.
If Governor Emmanuel did not know, let me enlighten him. The idea of establishing factories is good and I am sure all well meaning Akwa Ibom will applaud it. But establishing small industries does not mean he cannot still empower the people through small contracts. I remember during the dispensation of Udom Emmanuel’s great teacher through the Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Agency, small contracts to the tune of between N10 million to N20 million were given out to people who executed such jobs with some profit margins which enabled them to build houses, buy cars and even get married and transformed from boys to men. Now, such era is gone and in the estimation of our Business School Governor, all Akwa Ibom people must be ready to work in factories to be empowered.
Governor Emmanuel’s idea of those to be given money should not begin and end with his brothers and Lagos returnees while the rest of Akwa Ibom people are asked to wait for the taking off of factories whose ground have been broken or flagged off.
But Governor Emmanuel’s biggest blunder was when he said at the same media chat that he would not embark upon white elephant projects, a statement many people have interpreted as taking a dig at his predecessor, Senator Godswill Akpabio. But what exactly did he mean by this? A veteran Journalist and his Onna kinsman, Mr Udo Silas posits: “The governor is also reported to have said that his government would not embark on white elephant projects. He is also reported to have disclosed that he staked his personal assets to secure a N250million bailout for Ibom Specialist Hospital.
“So what culture of waste is Udom referring to? Who instigated the culture of waste? Was it Attah or his predecessor? Who was udom referring to when he talked about sharing money? Who in Udom’s hallowed analysis is responsible for the unfortunate mentality of sharing money in Akwa Ibom? Was it Attah or Akpabio?
“What does Udom mean by white elephant projects? Is that an apt description of projects his predecessor started but did not complete or the ones that Attah started? Is Udom telling Akwa Ibom people that monies put into such projects are gone for good alongside the projects?
“By staking his personal assets to resuscitate Ibom Specialist Hospital is Udom telling Akwa Ibom people that the idea of Ibom Specialist Hospital is not economically viable? Or is Akwa Ibom state so broke and has no collateral worth its salt that the governor would have to stake his personal assets to breathe oxygen into Ibom Specialist hospital? If indeed the governor did as he asserts, what good if any would a mention of it, add to his often-touted business school profile? What really is going on here?” He asked.
It is the psychology of non-achievement and insecurity that makes Governor Udom Emmanuel to always flare up and go into a fit of anger each time he is asked some questions by the media. Recently he mobilized his media aides to castigate the commendable gesture of the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Mr Nsima Ekere when he donated a generator to save Ibom Specialist Hospital from collapse, which Mr Emmanuel has vowed to shut down as this is his idea of white elephant project.
But this is the same hospital that saved the lives of his aides and countless other Akwa Ibom people during the unfortunate Reigners Bible Church collapse. Countless brain surgeries were done here and many people wondered aloud what would have been the fatalities if there was no such hospital. Instructively this is the same hospital that the Minister of Health, Prof Adewole said with the equipment in place no Nigerian would be justified to travel abroad for Medicare. But instead of commending Mr Nsima Ekere, the Governor chose to play politics with it.
Akwa Ibom people won’t accept the psychology of non-achievement from Governor Emmanuel. Flagging off of one kilometer roads and inspecting old roads that he passes through on a weekly basis as part of activities to mark his second anniversary is an admittance of failure. Lesser endowed states than Akwa Ibom are busy doing signature projects like establishing state universities and airports but our own Business School Governor is here jubilating about roads built by ill-equipped local contractors that will be washed away during the next rainy season.
Indeed it is so obvious that Governor Udom Emmanuel is not the economy whiz kid he presented himself to be. In fact, there is no depth to his knowledge of governance, there are no focused policy directions, he is owing so much unpaid gratuities, some if not all foreign medical professionals employed at the Ibom Specialist Hospital have angrily left because of non payment of salaries and benefits, etc.
One wonders what Udom is using statutory allocations for other than pay some civil servants and, perhaps, localize a handful of foreign direct investments in his Onna backyard.