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Gov Emmanuel Has Positively Impacted Every Critical Sector Of The State – Inyang-eyen




Gov Emmanuel Has Positively Impacted Every Critical Sector Of The State – Inyang-eyen


Mr Ephraim Akparawa Inyang-Eyen, Akwa Ibom state Commissioner for Works in this Chat with Crystal Express speaks on Gov. Udom Emmanuel’s milestones in virtually all the critical sectors of the state’s economy. He also charges youths to rediscover their potentials in order to take advantage of the impending economic boom in the state. Excerpts.
Governor Udom Emmanuel is fours plus on the saddle, how has he fared in your views?
I will make a bold attempt to summarily analyze all the sectors of our state economy.
In the road sector, I think we have done very well and just like the Governor said its completion agenda. What we should be doing now is to make a very conscious attempt to complete what we have started.
I can tell you authoritatively that the dualised roads will give the state a better image. Today, there is a paradigm shift in project implementation as regards the completion agenda. Look at the Uyo – Ikot Ekpene Road in which people have embarrassed Udom’s administration. Today, we have advanced to Four Points by Sheraton. We want to take it up a little and discharge the road by the Ikot Ekpene Roundabout. We are very confident that by December, the much talked about Ikot Ekpene Road will be ready. The Ikot Oku Ikono – Etinan Road 20km dualised has a flyover in which we have started paying compensations. If you go there, work is in top gear with men working day and night. So Ikot-Oku-Ikono Etinan is on the agenda for completion by May, 2020. Then Etinan-Ndunuyo, you will see that we are just at 600 metres to East West Road and compensation has been paid on that road while the Bridge piling at Ekpene Ukpa has started. That road will certainly be ready by May, 2020. If you come back to Etinan-Eket Road, one of the projects we inherited that was virtually abandoned; as at today we have paid compensation and crossed Etinan by the General Hospital which was the major fear of the people. We will further link up that road after paying compensation from Afaha Nsit to Ndiya.
Eket remodeling. I can assure you, were to be completed by December but the rain has altered our plans. But I can tell you that by January/February, we will finish Eket remodeling phase I. If you look at other roads done by the Udom Administration like the one in Ini Local Government Area done by Particular Construction Company, the bridge the people said never existed is one we drive on during our last visit. Once the rains are over we will lay the final wearing coach asphalt on the road. If you go to Oro nation which didn’t really have good road network before now, the one Wizchino was given as intervention 2, as we speak they are doing their asphalt laying to the beach, remaining only Murtala Road which I have directed them to start earth work and drainage along the road. The dualised road from Airport to Okopedi has had some challenges, Renaissance company messed up road project and we terminated it, recovered part of our money and handed over to Aquatic who was recently removed from the job for DPL. I am still observing them and yet to give them pass mark. If they fail to perform, before December they will be out of that project. We need to mobilize CCECC to continue their job on Okopedi-Uyaoro Road. They have done about 10km even without payment. Okobo has a road now 5km and Udung Uko started with 9km and when we discovered that one of the legs will terminate in the bush, we extend it an the left by 3km to come to Eyoabasi in Oron. Just recently I also got an approval of the FGPC to extend the right leg to Mbo Council Area, a total of addition 4.5km.
So Udung Uko Road now can take you to Oron and Mbo.
The Etebi Enwang Road and bridge we inherited, we believe strongly, we will deliver by December this year. We will now compel the contractor to concentrate on the bridge so we are confident that by May, 2020, the road will be ready in totality.
If you go to Oruk Anam Local Government Area, which has a lot of defects in terms of road network in the last administration, the Ikot Akaide – Ikot Okoro Okot Ebritam 24.35km road is advancing after some setbacks from poor handling by initial contractors the last one was landsea. Total Engineering is on that road now doing a good job. That road is very important being the only access road to the community and I am impressed with the ongoing job done by Total Engineering. Government has paid them mobilization and they are moving from two different points form Uduawang – Ikot Okoro and also from Ikot Akaidem. Esit Eket road projects 18.76km is almost done. The road infrastructure as packaged by this government will have a different face by May, 2020. I want to guarantee that the major key projects that were awarded will be ready by 2020 and by May 2021 which will now signal the winding down of this government, the bulk of the road projects would have been fully done. So in the road sector people will understand the government intervention better by seeing the new network of roads and their interconnectivity. We are linking existing roads to new roads and new roads to existing roads, the picture will soon become clearer. And in the direct intervention on roads, Uyo metropolis has benefited immensely and about 40 roads in Uyo are at finishing points. When we are done, we intend to move to other major cities in the State. If you go to Ikot Ekpene the Governor has approved 5.3km road in Amayan community. He made a promise to them and he is fulfilling the promise. By and large we have virtually touched everywhere with both the road projects and direct labour interventions. However we have had massive rain this year virtually on a daily basis in Akwa Ibom and it has affected the speed of the ongoing projects across the state we cannot have well and quality roads construction under the rain.
On the Health Sector.
This government operates with data. When Governor Udom Emmanuel came, the only functional hospital was the Teaching Hospital at Abak Road which was converted into a Secondary Health Centre instead of Tertiary Health Centre. He came and took pains to bring back secondary health centers with the overhauling of St. Lukes Hospital, Anua. The first day we visited Etinan General Hospital we had more snakes than human beings there. Today the hospital is working at optimum level. When we visited Methodist Hospital, Ituk Mbang in Uruan, it was the same story. Today it is a digitalized hospital. When we visited Iquitta General Hospital, Oron, everything had collapsed. But today it is in top shape. If you go to Ikono, you will find a rebranded general hospital, if you go to ikot okoro, Oruk Anam the hospital is working, Emmanuel Hospital in Eket is almost ready. The general hospital in Onna is set to go. I will say that Governor Emmanuel has done well in the health sector. The governor will soon storm the Ikot Ekpene General Hospital to clean it up and turn it to a training centre for nurses and midwives. The governor has also ensured adequate personnel to run these hospitals as the facilities there are world class. I am very convinced that soonest all the 10 federal constituencies in Akwa Ibom will have theirs. I recall with nostalgia that when we visited the Ikot Okoro Hospital in Oruk Anam, the place had already turned to a cassava farm. But today outside parading the best facilities, it is completely digitalized. So if each of the 10 federal constituencies has a functional digitalized hospital then you should be convinced that the Emmanuel Administration has taken the health of the people into big consideration.
On the Education Sector.
Education in Akwa Ibom up to secondary school level is free. The government also pays WAEC, NECO and virtually all other major fees. Several structures have been put in place for pupils and students. If you take over a decaying system as the Governor inherited, restoration takes a process. If the Governor met 200 dilapidated schools and in four years was able to do between 150 and 180, some people will avoid the 180 that have been rebuilt and go take pictures of the remaining 20 in bad state and post on the internet. These structures took time to collapse and same people kept quiet and overlooked them. But now we have a listening governor, they want to make mockery of the system. The governor has maintained the free education policy. NECO fees are paid as at when due same with WAEC and as we have more enrolment yearly. Some mischievous people are saying the intakes are going down. We have our statistics and don’t listen to such distractions.
On Aviation, Ibom Deep Sea Port and Other Specialized Projects
I think Akwa Ibom is doing extremely well. We are the only state in this country today that is not just running an airline but a very effective one. The report from Ibom Air so far is excellent. When the Governor mooted the idea, the people described it as a scam but the same people are using the airline and I don’t know whether people can fly with scam. The truth is that Governor Emmanuel has broken the jinx in that sector in the entire country. Even the Federal Government of Nigeria till date is unable to have a national carrier but we have one in Akwa Ibom because of the calibre of the Governor on the saddle.
The Airport will soon have a digital terminal building and upon completion the Airport will be compared with the best in the world. The second runway and taxi way are also of the quality which you will only see again Abuja Airport. These are all efforts of the state government. The deep seaport is on course, the governor had directed me to resume the construction of the Ibom super highway which will serve as direct access to the Ibom Deep Sea Port and that is what emboldens me to call out my people in Eket Senatorial District to get ready to take advantage of what comes with a seaport of that magnitude. If you check well the wealth of most nations are domiciled in the ground and the sea. By the time the deep sea port comes on stream, the entire economy of the state will witness a boom to the point that there will be less emphasis on federation allocation. Akwa Ibom will be next to Lagos in economy.
On Housing Estate Project.
Government is interested in the actualization of the Housing Estate in Uruan and efforts are in top gear in this regard. Work is ongoing there. In the same vein, the low cost Housing Estate along Oron Road is making progress among others. The ongoing estate for civil servants in the state is also nearing completion.
On Industrialization.
I have said at different forums that the industrialization is not only real but the industries are there working for all to see. The location of the industry is simple economics 101 in which we are thought that nearness of raw materials and other factors are the major consideration in siting the industry. You see that the industries are concentrated around a particular belt to enable them share facilities in addition to nearness to their raw materials and guaranteed peaceful co-existence with their various host communities.
For instance the power substation in Mkpat Enin will ensure substantial energy to the Flour Mills among other companies in that axis if one of the industries is sited for instance in Ini Local Government Area, they will be operating on generators because they can’t share from the energy from the concentrated power substation in the Mkpat Enen Area.
So the industrial revolution in Akwa Ibom is real.
Another instance is the newly commissioned ply wood factory which is so critical to furniture making if someone hopes to start a furniture factory, he will like to site it close to the ply wood factory to take advantage of both the raw materials and the power. The Governor came prepared for industrialization and by 2023 when he will leave the stage; he would have made the state an advanced industrial hub in Africa. These companies are ones that will contribute to the economy via employment, contribute to our IGR and further carry out their corporate social responsibility.
By the time the seaport is ready do you know what the multiplier effects will be on our economy? The hotels in the entire Eket Area and beyond will be over patronized by those who will come down to drive the seaport project. Again I must emphasize here that with God on our side and more money in the hands of the Governor, Akwa Ibom will likely have the best road network in Nigeria soon.
On Agriculture .
The Governor came and decided to severe the over dependence of our people on food from neighboring state. He introduced massive farming in cassava which brought about the availability of garri everywhere in the state. He also admonished us his aides to go into farming, a directive which all of us have adhered to. I have about 7 acres of plantain farm which I took time to visit every weekend to monitor its progress. What the Governor is telling us is that until you are able to feed yourself, you are not doing well. We must be able to cultivate on our own the staple foods. For instance with 7 acres of plantain, if we harvest, there is no way we won’t think of bringing in a small factory that produces plantain chips or flour. That ensures the things we buy from other places are now produced here and about 10-20 people will be employed too.
The governor also has his personal farm and several of my colleagues are beginning to talk about their farms. As you know, the Governor said it publicly recently that all rich men the world over are owners of farm either as an investment or a passion. The state is also into massive production of cassava, rice, cocoa in different council areas across the state, massive farms are littered everywhere courtesy of the state government. These among others are some of the milestones of the Governor in agriculture and I believe strongly that he has impacted heavily in the agricultural sector of the state.
We have other massive farms along the Airport road, in which tomatoes, cucumbers etc are grown. The revolution in agriculture will soon explode for everybody to see but for those who know already, a lot of things are going on inside.
You have carefully selected youths from Eket Senatorial District for Mentorship and Entrepreneurial Training to give them the basics for a better life tomorrow. This is a departure from the past of mere giving out “hand outs”, how did you conceive this?
Whenever things are done over a period of time, I look at the results overtime, I have seen the culture of youths relying on “hand outs” and also the culture of “landing” anytime you have interface with them as very trivial and I specifically called the youths of my village in Ikot Ebiere and they came. I challenged them to account for all the “landings” they have received and what they achieved with it. They were all shocked and looked in amazement. I sat down and think deeply, if you need a good plumber, tiller, mechanic and many other skilled laborers, you hardly found an Akwa Ibom son. We use virtually outsiders to give us quality jobs on things ordinarily our youths should be doing.
And the question is, where did we get it wrong? the answer is that nobody has told this youths that outside going to school, somebody can still learn a trade and specialize in any craft and make a decent living out of it. A very successful Artisan may actually earn more than those doing white collar jobs. Those who have built good houses know what they spent on their plumbers’ electricians and tilers. If our youths who keep waiting for “landing” should go and learn these trades it will help better their lives. Nobody is saying that they should not be involved in politics but politics should be a second address according to the Governor. If you are in politics and have other jobs you will not be desperate. So my idea is that instead of spending all our resources to do “landing” let us put the resources together and begin to train our people. My pastor told me that he will like to be part of the thing that starts in a small way and grow. The youths in clusters can take to different trades while the ones with good proposal will be supported too.
Three or four men can come together with good proposal in which they can invest N5 million and multiply it in no time and have SMEs and other institutions support which will help them grow bigger. I believe that if we change the mental orientation and the perception of our people about life to be positively engaged in a good trade the better for their future. I have charged those young men from my village that they must learn a trade or skill, so that in the next two years I should be having them do jobs like electrical, plumbing and many others outsiders do for us.
Do you know that in all the supermarkets in our city here about 95% of them are controlled by our Igbo brothers. Our people should shun the consuming habit and opt for investment which will prosper them, family and the state.
Our people must be strategic in planning and have a clear cut idea of things to invest on or what to use money for before getting such funds. This is because if you stumble into money accidentally then money will depart from you accidentally. Money shies away from people who don’t use them to produce more money. So money is meant to be invested not for outright consumption. Money goes to where money is not threatened. Money chases men with great idea and skills while those in hot pursuit of money hardly get it.
I want to also advise that We must work with passion so that whenever we leave any job assigned to us, we will be remembered for our contributions of quality performance. In my ministry we have structured things in such a way that if anybody gets there tomorrow and brings in mediocrity, Akwa Ibom people will rise against him.
I thank God and the Governor for this great opportunity to serve. I was appointed to work for the state notwithstanding my shortcomings as a mortal. However I want to be remembered when I leave the stage as one who gave his best to the service of his fatherland. I will love to drive through the good roads we are building today and beat my chest that I never compromised in ensuring quality, time tested and best road projects for our people when it mattered most. I am happy that I have never and will never compromise my conscience for any materials gain.
The truth is that in foreign countries hardly will any white man accept gratification to short change his country and secondly they will always give you peanut out of their people’s money so why should we sell out cheap.
We should make decisions to stand firm always and do the right things at all times. If in the projects we do, we compromise our integrity we leave strangers to cart away our funds and leave our people to suffer the effects of such wicked acts.
Any hope for communities whose bailey bridges collapsed recently?
The one in Nsit Ubium is actually from the main alignment and I have visited them and directed the immediate restoration of any alternative bridge. The Governor has also released money to the contractor to commence job immediately.
The one in Obot Akara, fortunately enough, the Governor got information during the campaign that the bridges were bad and had asked the ministry to start the design. We are almost through and will present it for approval in the next FGPC. In the interim the governor has directed me to engage Seyang Engineering to construct a temporal bridge to ease transportation and movement in the affected communities. Seyang has already started work.

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