Contrary to Akwa Ibom State government claims to growing coconut trees, a frontline Nigerian journalist has disputed that the coconut trees reportedly planted by the Udom Emmanuel administration are dying.
Speaking on Saturday, September 8 in a privately owned radio station, Inspiration 105.9 FM, Uyo, Anieitie Usen, a one-time assistant editor, defunct Newswatch magazine, Lagos, said ‘’I have passed through the area where the coconut trees are planted. They are not growing at all. I do not know why the trees are stunted.’’
However, the state government is said to have commenced the coconut plantation in 2016, stretching more than 11,000 hectares of land across Ikot Abasi, Mkpat Enin and Eastern Obolo communities to create more than 500 jobs.
The 11,000 hectares are said to be part of the two million coconut seedlings to be planted by the government to support its planned coconut plantation to feed the proposed coconut refinery company.
Already, the government had concluded plans for the take-off of the Coconut Refinery Project with the signing of a Partnership Agreement with a South African firm, H.O. Oil Food Consulting Limited.
Governor Emmanuel, who played host to the South African investors at the Government House, Uyo, said the signing of the agreement is the key to the industrialisation drive of the state government and a first step for the birth of an oil processing plant in Akwa Ibom State.
Emmanuel announced that 15,000 special breed coconut seedlings were to be air-freighted into the country within two weeks and that the technical team was expected to commence the management of the nursery and planting of the seedlings, which he said yields within three years.
Usen who once served as Director, Public Affairs Department, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Port Harcourt, said ‘’Governor is desperate to record achievements and he is anxious to work for results.
‘’He has done his best, but he has many chalenges due to his inability to think through some of the projects especially industries. I want to advise him to be focusedin completing his projects in case he is unable to return to office as a governor in 2019.’’
The award-winning journalist appealed to the governor to complete the ongoing Etinan-Uyo Road which passes through his village to avoid the road becoming abandoned if he fails to be re-elected.
On the defection of Senator Godswill Akpabio from Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to All Progressives Congress, APC, he described the defection as strategic and one that has brought balance to the political power in the country, noing that before this time most defections were against APC.
‘’ I think Akpabio’s defection will bring us- the Akwa Ibom people- to the centre instead of keeping us in the periphery.
‘’Akpabio is an influential politician. I think it will be difficult for his opponent- Engr. Chris Ekpenyong- to defeat him in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District. Two of them have pedigree in the district. The electorates would weigh on their performances before they are elected. In short, performance will be a major determinant in the election. At the end, Akpabio will triumph.’’
Commenting on the role of journalists in the national development, he enjoined journalists to be fair and analytical of events and activities and to inform properly and educate the populace well on issues, adding that reporters should not tell lies nor heap insults on other people.’’
Usen condemned the use of Facebook by many to tell lies and mislead many, noting ‘’There is rascality in the Facebook- young people using it to insult their elders. I am happy Mark Zuckerberg- the founder of Facebook- is making some reforms to check abuse of the Facebook by many.’’