As Governor Udom Emmanuel marked his sixth-year administration on May 29, some politicians in Akwa Ibom have taken a hard look at the administration, giving him kudos and knocks over the period.
Speaking with Straightnews team in Uyo last week, Chief Nduese Essien, a former Minister of Lands, Housing, Urban Development, lauded Governor Emmanuel for excellent performance in infrastructural development in the state.
Essien who is also the Political Leader of Eket Senatorial District, listed the achievements of the governor to include: Floating of Ibom Airline, Industrialization drive in the state, employment opportunities for the youths and Ibom Deep Sea port project as remarkable exploits of the governor.
“The most outstanding performance of governor Udom Emmanuel is the Ibom Airline. This is a project that the federal government could not succeed but our governor who knowledgeable in investment gas made it happen in Akwa Ibom. Now Ibom Airline would fly in West African sub region,” he stressed.
In his remarks on the sixth anniversary of the governor in the state, the former Publicity and Organizing Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Anietie Okon extolled the development drive of Emmanuel’s administration.
Okon, PDP chieftain said Governor Emmanuel has sustained the Democratic dividend delivered to Nigerians by PDP from 1999 before the All Progressive Congress (APC) snatched power in 2015.
“To APC led government at the centre, democracy has failed. But governor Udom Emmanuel has sustained it in Akwa Ibom as the party delivered it to Nigerians since 1999.”
He said governor Udom Emmanuel has given hope to Akwa Ibom people contrary to the hopelessness deposition of the federal government at the centre.
But, assessing the governor in his six years’ reign, Aniekan Akpan, All Progressives Congress chief, who with our Straightnews reporter in Uyo, scored the governor three over 10 per cent owing to the volume of revenues accruable to the state from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) and from internally generated revenue.
Hear him, ”In the light of the monies coming into the state purse, we have not fared well. I score him 3/10% taking cognisance of allocations and internally generated revenue.’’
On the roads project, Akpan, a one-time Chairman of Eket Local Government Area, said there is a litany of abandoned roads in the state.
Looking at education, he said ”Before advent of the present administration, the state occupied 14th position in West African Examination Council Examination but under Udom administration, the state has slumped to 19th position and may have sunk below by now. Most primary and secondary schools are bereft of basic infrastructural facilities and classrooms. Well trained teachers are lacking and there is dearth of teaching and non-teaching in the schools.’’
Commenting on the health sector, Akpan lauded the governor for improving the health sector to some extent particularly for renovating some secondary health-care facilities and equipping some isolation centres used for COVID-19 treatment.
However, he said the governor has not built new secondary healthcare facilities in some of the local government areas that do not have. For example, he mentioned Esit Eket. Apart, Ukanafun General Hospital is still in limbo.
”Ex-governor Victor Attah built three, Chief Godswill Akpabio constructed four but Udom Emmanuel has not built any since inception of his administration. This is an area he has to act fast,’’ he opined.
On the security, the maverick politician scored the governor low owing to many security skirmishes in the state, adding ‘’He is not doing well. Let him sit up.’’
On the local government administration, Akpan noted that the system under his watch has died. ”The governor has not told us why he has collecting much on behalf of the local government councils, but will be remitting a pittance to the chairmen. At times, a local government chairman is given N2.5 million to manage. This is why most councils are filled with grasses and the chairmen could not hire people to cut them.’’
Assessing the state civil service, Akpan observed that the system is gradually dying under the present administration. ”The morale of workers is dampened. This means that the governor has not motivated the civil servants. He has not paid most of them leave grants, promotion arrears and other entitlements. Retired civil servants are not paid their gratuity while others are being owed pension arrears.’’
As a way out, the one-time council helmsman hoped since the governor has two more years to go, he will improve on the areas he has not performed, praying ”I wish he does well at the end of his tenure of office.’’