By Bernard Tolani Dada, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel says those who are hiding behind the cloak of cheap propaganda and blackmail to deride his administration, over his intentions to buildi a new governors lodge in Lagos have limited knowledge of economics and business.
The governor said those who desire the truth know that the total estimate in the budget for the new lodge is N1.2bn and since it is just a proposal, it can only be implemented if there is availability of funds.
Mr Emmanuel who spoke to journalists in Uyo said he is not surprised by the spate of falsehood against his programmes, maintaining that history has recorded that good intentions of world leaders have usually been misconstrued and misrepresented.
“From the days of Moses, great leaders are always misquoted and misconstrued but God can only give vision to one leader, and the people know that at any point in time there can only be one governor.”
Governor Emmanuel who reacted to the current state of the existing Governor’s lodge in Lagos wondered if the opposition elements wanted high profile meetings with consular generals and international business executives to be held in such a dilapidated building.
“This is a government that is trying to drive investments all over the world. Will Akwa Ibom people people feel proud of me to host so many consular generals and investors in that kind of dilapidated building, what will it speak of the state?”
“If in the course of looking for money, we have the money please allow us put this asset that can yield returns.”
“Some people are that the investments should not be done anywhere outside Akwa Ibom State. So do we sell off those assets that can actually generate return?”
He said it was so illogical to reason that investments should be restricted to the state, “are they telling me that Exxon Mobil should not have left America to come and invest in Akwa Ibom?
Following the limited funds available, he explained that the state is run by ideas and creativity that will bring out positive results. He said Lagos holds the highest return in property market in Africa and wondered why the opposition was focused on the slant of whether the investment was in Lagos or not in Lagos.
The Governor further questioned the negative criticisms, saying, “if I can put in N1.2bn in an asset that is worth N30bn and then I can get adequate returns on those assets now that I don’t have so much money coming from crude oil, what is bad in that?”
He said in a short time people will come to realize the gains in the decisions he is taking, maintaining that he takes every decision in the interest of Akwa Ibom and Akwa Ibomites.
He said Akwa Ibom state has a lot of prime properties in prime areas such as Broad Street, Victoria Island, Ikoyi and other areas in Lagos.
Mr. Emmanuel told journalists that premium should not be on the location of the asset, but on the return on the assets, and wondered why people would criticize him by saying, “have you finished building Akwa Ibom, why go to Lagos?”
He said the same set of people are currently criticizing the industries he is setting up in the state on the basis that they are concentrated in one region of the state, forgetting the basic rudiments of economics which harps on the essence of localization of industries.
He recounted that most of the projects such as the electricity sub-station in Uyo, and the flood control project that he has executed had been criticized at the point of conceptualization but now the Uyo residents are enjoying over 22 hours of power supply a day, while the flood on Nsikak Eduok Avenue is now history.
He said those peddling falsehoods on the social media are ignorant on how to play opposition, but reaffirmed that despite the tantrums only one governor will always reign at a particular time.
The Governor who lamented that the country was still behind time in the global economic trend, however advised people to key into his vision of development for Akwa Ibom State.
We are looking at Africa as the next stage of world development and inventions, Akwa Ibom will never be at the back, we will be at the frontline as a shining star,” the Governor concluded.