Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Saturday, arrived at Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo for the inauguration of some signature projects undertaken by Akwa Ibom State government.
The presidential jet that brought the Number 2 citizen touched down the airport at 2.20 p.m.
On hand at the airport to usher Osinbajo to the state were Udom Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom governor and wife, Martha; Senator Bassey Albert Akpan representing Akwa Ibom North East in the Senate and Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta, among others.
Among projects lined for inauguration are King Flour Mill, Mkpot Okat, Plywood Factory, Awa Onna all in OInna local government area as well as Digitalised Power Station, Ekim in Mkpat Enin local government area.
The Vice President is expected to attend a state banquet on Saturday and preach at the state Inter-denominational service at Ibom Hall, Uyo organized to mark the 32nd of the state creation anniversary on Sunday, September 22.
However, Senator Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs was conspicuously absent at the airport reception for the Vice President.
Straightnews reliably learned from one of Akpabio’s aides that the state government did not officially invite him hence his decision to stay away from the reception to avoid embarrassment.
This may not be unconnected with the frosty relationship between Governor Emmanuel and his former political godfather, Senator Akpabio.
In the heat of the worsening ‘cold war’ between the two political heavyweights in the state, the governor did not send a congratulatory message to Akpabio on his appointment and subsequent swearing in as a minister in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Straightnews was told.
Meanwhile, Mr. Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice President, has lauded the effort of Governor Udom Emmanuel in driving industrialization policy and declared Akwa Ibom State as his second home.
Speaking at the site of Flour Mill Factory, Mkpok Onna, Osinbajo was impressed with the pace of growth in the state, and congratulated Governor Udom Emmanuel on his strides, describing the project as a product of foresight.
Osinbajo who had inaugurated three landmark projects to mark the 32nd anniversary of the state’s creation, said he was satisfied with Governor Emmanuel for sharing in the vision of rapid transformation in the state.
“I want to commend the Governor for providing world class infrastructure and for attracting investors to this state. Your people are warm and hospitable and that’s why a lot of investors come here. I am from Ogun State, but whenever I think of a second home, I come to Akwa Ibom”.
“I was in this State in the last two years to commission the Syringe factory. That was a very thoughtful and foresighting project and today I am here to commission another even more foresighting projects,” Osinbajo said.
While welcoming the Vice President to the Flour Mill, Governor Emmanuel thanked Prof. Osinbajo for rising above biases, a message his administration has preached through the Dakkada creed.
His words, “I thank you sincerely for choosing to be with us against all odds to commission these projects. Thank you sir for rising above biases, like we recite in our Dakkada creed. We share a common destiny, we share a common understanding that political party is just a platform for you to seek office. Once you are in that office, party drops and governance begins.”
He described the flour mill as a project anchored on development of the State, adding that the new industries are fulfilment of one of his campaign promises.
Mr. Emmanuel promised that “before the end of my administration, eighty percent of food we eat here would be what we produce here. Akwa Ibom State is going forward ever and backward never.
“There are some of us that came into politics, not for selfish interest but for the interest of the downtrodden. That is why, whoever we know on the face of the earth, wherever our a signature is recognized, wherever our email can be read, our duty to go out and bring those people to come and help us develop our place.
He added that the industries now dotting the landscape of the State, is another hope that students of Akwa Ibom State would no more travel to Lagos and Abuja for their educational and research projects.
“Before now, if someone had to write a project in our university, he had to travel to Lagos because he could do so. But now, that has changed, and before we leave office, all research and academic projects will be carried out here.”
The State Chief Executive maintained that he was not deterred by cynics who launch media attacks on his government, maintaining that, “people try to deter us but we are not distracted. When we started Ibom Air, they said it was the money we wanted to take out of the country. And that when they caught us, we were given the airplanes in exchange.
“That Ibom Air was a scam and will never take off. But when the airline took off, even the critics said well, this is a major breakthrough ”
The Commissioner for Trade and Investments, Prince Ukpong Akpabio in his opening remarks urged the business community to take advantage of the peace in Akwa Ibom State for investment.
Later, the Vice President inaugurated the Lion Plywood and Timber Factory before proceeding to turn on the Digital Power Sub-Station at Ekim in Mkpat Enin local government area, where he launched the Power for All by December 2021, a scheme that the Governor said would see to the steady provision of electricity power to every household in the State at affordable rate.