Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom has promised to expand the Ibom Air operations to cover other African countries to enhance the state’s economy.
The governor gave the promise in his state-wide broadcast marking the 33rd anniversary of the state, in Uyo on Wednesday.
He said that Ibom Air, which started operation with two aircrafts a year ago, now had a total of five aircrafts in its fleet.
The governor said that plans were underway to expand the operations of the airline to cover West and East African sub-regions.
“In aviation development, we have achieved huge strides. In June last year, Ibom Air began its commercial flight operations with two aircrafts.
“Today, a little over a year after it commenced operations, we have added three almost brand new aircrafts, bringing the total fleet to five.
“Ibom Air has become a national sensation and a testimony to a vision grounded in strategic planning. Just last week, we expanded our route to cover Enugu.
“Plans are afoot to expand our routes to cover our West and East African sub-regions, such as Doula in Cameroons.
“Ibom Air has proved the cynics wrong and it is an achievement every Akwa Ibom indigene should be proud of.
“We are determined to become the aviation hub in the Gulf of Guinea, and our terminal building, on which work is ongoing, promises to be a model in this part of Africa. Work is also ongoing on our MRO facility,” Emmanuel said.
The governor assured the Akwa Ibom people of improved infrastructural development to enhance their standard of living.
He said that the state government had built over 100 classroom blocks in the education sector to improve the standard of teaching and learning in public schools.
Emmanuel said that the state government was optimistic that the Ibom Deep Seaport project would be completed before the end of his administration, adding that government was working hard to ensure cooperation with all the regulatory agencies in fulfillment of this desire.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the grant of license for the Liberty Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone, spanning five local government areas in the state.
The governor urged journalists to be objective in their reportage in order to ensure continuous positive projection of the state to the outside world.
“To our dear compatriots in the fourth estate of the realm, our gallant journalists, I thank you for the cooperation you have extended to my administration since we came on board in 2015.
“I urge you to continue to exercise the utmost level of circumspection and objectivity in your reportage. We do not have any other state to call ours except this blessed land,” he said.
On the 2023 election in the state, the governor said that there was no need to heat up the system with ‘unnecessary and unhelpful agitations’ for the succession plans.
According to him, when the time comes, God will guide and direct the footsteps for 2023.
He said: “Let me use this opportunity to caution all those who may be showing devious political ambitions to refrain from some of the antics which we are already aware of.
“Akwa Ibom people will be monitoring you to see if you are executing the task for which you were selected out of the seven million people or you are busy using government’s time to indulge in a project which time has not yet come.”