Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, has urged the people to shun blackmail as such vices is inimical and counterproductive to economic growth and development with huge undesirable consequences.
The Governor gave this charge when he led top government functionaries to a special Inter-Denominational Thanksgiving Service held to mark the 6th anniversary of his administration on Sunday at Believers Assembly of Nigeria, Uyo.
Governor Emmanuel who reflected on the mercies of God which he acknowledged gave him wisdom to lead the state through a turbulent economic time occasioned by the outbreak of Covid-19, appreciated the support of Akwa Ibom people, and described them as partners in the success story of the state.
“We are standing here to give God all the glory, the psalmists will tell you, ‘O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good for His Mercies endureth forever’ we are thanking God for extremely tough six years economically, we’ve been challenged on all sides but we are not depressed. So we want to give God thanks for those six challenging years God has led us, he has helped us to keep faith.
“We thank Akwa Ibom people also for your support, I have not seen a government in Nigeria today that has enjoyed than I have enjoyed in Akwa Ibom, may God bless you all”, he stated.
He assured the people of delivering on all his promises to the state pointing out that his commitment to the development of the Akwa Ibom remains absolute as he will continue to serve passionately and diligently.
“I want to assure my people that we will continue to serve God through all of you and please we need everyone’s cooperation just to pray with us let God take us to where we are going. Let me sound a bit of warning, stop castigating the Governor that he has built an International Worship Center, you don’t understand what I am doing, I am raising an altar that will negate every other speaking. I am raising an altar that will take us to where we are going to”, he stated.
Speaking earlier on Saturday, in a state broadcast to mark his 6th anniversary, the Governor listed the many positive impact his economic and industrialization policy has had on the economy of the state, reiterating the determination of his administration to fulfill his campaign promises to the people with more vigour and determination, noting that he is in a hurry to industrialize and change the narratives of the state from being a purely Civil Service State to an industrialized entity.
Giving a sectoral breakdown of his achievements in office, the Governor said in the agricultural sector, he has kept his promise to ensure that the state produce enough food at affordable prices to feed the people. He recalled that his inauguration of the Technical Committee on Agriculture and Food Sufficiency have borne incredible fruits.
“Our staple food items such as garri, rice, yam etc are produced mostly by our people here. From the rice mill in Ini Local Government Area, to the numerous garri processing mills scattered all over the three senatorial districts, to our low interest loans given to farmers, to the cassava plantation through the FADAMA 3 scheme, we are working to ensure that our people have enough food to eat at quite affordable prices”.
“Our investments in this critical sector goes beyond making food available for all, we are also leveraging in on our comparative advantage in agriculture through the establishment of a fully functional Directorate of Agriculture and Agro-Allied Investments”, he stated.
In the health sector, the Governor noted with delight that when we came in, most of the general hospitals were derelict as patients and hospital staff were battling snakes and other reptiles every day.
“Today, because of our belief that a healthy population is a good measurement range of a working Government, we have refurbished, remodelled and equipped with the most modern amenities the general hospitals in all the Ten Federal constituencies. The ones in Ikot Abasi and Ikot Ekpene respectively are scheduled to be commissioned soon. From Etinan General Hospital, to the one in Iquita, Oron, to Ikot Okoro, to Ituk Mbang, to Awa, to Emmanuel Hospital, these general hospitals today can compete favourably and be compared with any such facility anywhere in the world”.
He stated that his administration has equipped the Ibom Specialist Hospital with the most modern medical facilities compete with an ICU and these huge investments came in handy during the challenging months of the Covid-19 pandemic as the highly trained medical professionals performed exceedingly well to stem the spread of the deadly virus.
In his words, “We had, also in the course of the pandemic performed what has been generally described as the ‘Miracle of Ituk Mbang’, when we constructed and commissioned in a record time the 300 –bed Infectious Diseases Control Centre equipped with one of the best PCR laboratories and an 18-bed ICU and HDU centres. Later today, I will commission the Medical Gas and Vacuum Plant, with the capacity to supply one thousand beds with oxygen and perform suction functions for one thousand patients at the same time. This facility I must add, is the largest in size in the nation as at today. A few days ago, we performed a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of Akwa Ibom State University Teaching Hospital in collaboration with ASR an BUA Group of Companies. Our medical professionals are scheduled on regular trainings to bring them at par with modern approaches in health care management”.
On education, he observed that his administration has on the recommendations of the first ever Education Summit held in 2020, and the recommendations of the Education – think tank headed by Professor Hilary Inyang, he declared an emergency in the education sector. He listed the construction of brand new school blocks with modern science laboratories, recruitment of one thousand new teachers and another one thousand through SUBEB, as some positive steps taken to reposition the sector.
Listing the achievements of his industrialization policy, Governor Emmanuel said, through the efforts of the Technical Committee on Foreign Direct Investments, he has attracted over twenty economically viable and employment – generating Industries to the state including the Coconut Virgin Oil Refinery, a digitalized flour mill which produces the flour we need for our confectioneries industry, the Metering company, the commencement of the Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone, the Ground breaking ceremony for the construction of Sterling petrochemicals and Fertilizer production factory, the $1.4 billion Ammonia and Fertilizer plant, and Ibom Air which he noted has become a national sensation.
“The colours of Akwa Ibom State now dominate the Nigerian aviation space. We were recently named the Best Airline in the Nation”, he stated.
On the issue of who takes over from him in 2023, the Governor explained that the priority of the people should be focused on maintaining the tone and tenor of governance which has changed from an all-knowing, all hectoring potentate to one based on humility in strength and Christ-centric disposition in execution and direction.
He thus urged the people to elect a successor who will not cancel the great strides in industrialization he has started, or undermine the peace the state currently enjoys or relegate God to the background and assume an all-knowing power or one who seeks cheap popularity but one who would utilize the resources and continue investing in projects with enduring value and not see Government as a cabal where the commonwealth would be shared among a privileged few rather than to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of the people and a successor who understands the economic dynamics that shape our globalized space and would utilize those skills to advance the people’s well-being.