Governor Udom Emmanuel Has Inspired Excellence In Governance, Development – Akparawa Godwin Ntukudeh, Ph. D

… There's Necessity In Having Community Police To Safeguard Our Environment



Akparawa Godwin Ntukudeh, Ph. D is the Chairman, Akwa Ibom Roads and Other Infrastructure Maintenance Agency (AKIROMA) and former Commissioner for Transport in Akwa Ibom State. He is a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party and also a stakeholder in the Akwa Ibom Project. Ntukudeh speaks on the activities of his agency, the great milestones posted by Governor Udom Emmanuel, the Niger Delta challenges, lack of federal presence in Akwa Ibom State among other salient issues in this interview with Crystal Express. Excerpts

We are beginning to see positive changes within Uyo metropolis with the patching and filling of pot holes and bad spots to give motorists a sigh of relief. Is it also part of Gov. Emmanuel’s completion agenda?

The completion agenda of Governor Udom Emmanuel is a major programme. My micro understanding of the Completion Agenda is one who is already on his way out but the Governor has more than three years to remain in power. So the Completion Agenda is a package which shows that all projects already in progress will be completed and perhaps more added to it. People’s desires, expectations and visions will be met. The Governor will complete whatever he has promised. It is a macro programme and a total package. But for us as an agency, maintenance culture is the Governor’s best bet. He believes that maintenance culture must be awakened in the minds of Akwa Ibom people as individuals. To achieve sustainable development, maintenance is key. All infrastructure must be constantly monitored, assessed, evaluated and be renovated anytime there is evidence of deterioration. The Governor had earlier asked us to tell the people of Akwa Ibom State that the delay in cleaning up pot holes, failed portions, and intended areas for grading within the rural areas was because of the heavy down pour of last year. The citizenry should be patient with him as it will amount to waste of resources to constantly apply asphalt to cold environment or weather. As soon as the dry season sets in all infrastructural maintenance needs will be addressed. To that extent we are now in the dry season and the governor has directed us to ensure that every street and highway is kept motorable and comfortable for road users and that all failed portions should be restored and all pot-holes filled. As diligent workers, supportive of the governor’s vision, we have moved into the streets and Uyo metropolis, as the mirror of Akwa Ibom State, is currently taking its turn in fulfillment of the governor’s promise to the people. The people’s patience are now paying off.

Residents interviewed expressed satisfaction with the quality of materials and jobs done by your agency. Could it be traced to the enormous resources made available to your agency?

From inception the agency has taken time to study the terrain and our men have taken time to understand the rudiments of civil engineering and materials required to ensure effective and functional road construction. Therefore it is from that, we developed our own special asphalt and other special graded materials like bitumen and tar coats. All those materials, we have conditioned them differently to suit our purpose. Our major purpose is to ensure long duration of time for all rebuilt and restored road infrastructure before expiration. Go to Aka-Etinan Road and see the beautiful job going on there to complete the work we earlier suspended in the height of the raining season last year. The quality of tar is very glaring. We ensured that we have the highest quality asphalt on that road. The concentration of the asphalt and the thickness of the road will tell you we are building lasting and durable facilities. We cannot compromise quality to waste government resources. We have fixed Aka-Etinan, Ossongama, Udeme Sampson Street, Two Lane up to DSS Office. We have fixed Iboko Street. Ikot Abasi Street is ongoing, the street with Aqua Resort and De Angelo Hotels is also ongoing. We have gone virtually through all the streets in the Uyo metropolis. Ben Udo Street has been taken care of its pot holes. We are looking out for areas with pot holes and collapsed portions so that we can make the best of this dry season. The governor has further directed that we go to the Enen Nsit Road because everybody who plies the road knew that it has failed with several pot holes and failed portions and we will do everything possible to reclaim the road; reclaim Afia Nsit Urua Nko area of the road that links to Enen Nsit again. We have been also directed to move to Eket and start work on pot holes and failed portions in the area. Again in Uyo, Udoette and Nelson Mandela Roads are to be fixed soon. As we talk work is ongoing at Nelson Mandela. We are also working on roads at Mbiabong. We must ensure that the promise the governor made to the people is fully realized.

Your agency is also into massive grading of the roads in rural areas. Will that not force council chairman to be more dormant since it is their functions?

They have their own areas to also handle as local governments have many roads begging for grading. The ones we are doing are ascribed to us while those they are doing, they take credit. However the entire state is under the control of the governor.

AKIROMA, upon establishment, crawled for so many years without any visible achievement. Now what accounts for this sudden efficiency, performance and dexterity in its activities?

It is not the office that performs, it is the officer in charge. It doesn’t matter whether it is a toilet that you are asked to transform, your content value is very important, level of awareness on the needs of the people you are serving is very important when you occupy public office. The Governor has so much inspired us to ensure results in all our undertakings and we also see the burning desire in him to ensure that things are done well, that the people are satisfied, and that their pains and sufferings are reduced. We are indebted to the governor who engaged us and assigned a part of the corporate responsibility he promised Akwa Ibom people to us expecting that if all segments do their part, and bring it along then he will have a successful account to render to the Akwa Ibom people who elected him. Therefore it is incumbent on us to ensure that the promises of the Governor on sustainable development and infrastructural renaissance be achieved for him to succeed. Therefore the board members are working round the clock daily with assurance that with all we are provided for, we can effectively do the jobs with great patriotism. We are poised never to disappoint the governor on our sectoral responsibility which is part of the larger completion agenda package. In fact for damming all consequences to come out en masse to reelect the governor for second term, the people showed faith, truth and hope for a better tomorrow and we can never dash such hopes from the good people of Akwa Ibom State. You can trust that since we assume duties we have increased our tempo in working both day and nights and the speed with which we respond to distress calls. For us we are ready to also imprint our legacies on the sands of time. We believe that every problem has solution.

One of the cardinal programmes of this government is industrialization. With three years still remaining for the governor, do you think he is also succeeding in this area?

The Governor is succeeding beyond the hopes and expectations of the people. Every rationale thinker should check how much the governor has seen compared with the previous administration. What are the challenges posed by the national policies which mitigate against the confidence of the investors? What is the implication of the insecurities we have across the nation and all these will impact negatively on rationale and seasoned investors. But if against all odds, a gentle man’s name and goodwill is able to bring in 15 industries ranging from syringes, metering, plywood, flour mills fertilizer plants and other industries and also ensure that there is availability of power with insecurity reduced to the barest minimum deserves good commendations.

Today Akwa Ibom is being mirrored through the successes of Ibom Air another legacy of the Governor Emmanuel’s administration. All those industries are growing, the agricultural sector is booming. The governor did not promise 31 industries across the 31 local government areas but promised to industrialize Akwa Ibom State. If he can achieve these under very difficult and harsh national policies with apparent insecurity in the country then he has proven that he is a good manager of human and material resources. The outstanding years are still a long time to go and this body language shows that there is still much in the offing for the people.

In the same vein how would you rate federal presence in Akwa Ibom, an oil producing state especially the roads linking it to other states among other infrastructure?

The Federal Government cannot even assist, maintain or support itself, how then would you expect it to assist a state very far from the seat of power at the centre. The federal road linking Akwa Ibom and Cross River was constructed in 1978 and has long expired. The government at the centre is one of deceit with fake promises. That is why we must commend our governor for not getting involved in deceiving the people too. Akwa Ibom people should come back and support the governor. They are usually being used to get their support after which they are dumped. The operators of the system dreams today are to fulfill the aspirations of their own section and our people are not part of the agenda and will not become overnight. Therefore let our people not be deceived that the country, Nigeria as it is presently, has any good thing to bring down here. That is why we must work in unity and support and work with our governor and forget about what is elusive and not readily available. There is no federal presence in Akwa Ibom and if they cannot work on Calabar – Itu Road, where else will they work? The other day we had to work on the part of the East-West Road by Eket roundabout and bridge head to restore the failed portion. The governor has to spend so much through us to fix that road. How many years has the East-West Road been in their budget without completion? That is enough to see you are not important to them. If they said they like the state, let them show us the budgetary allocations made to the state in 2020. The sooner we realize that we are only good for them to be used during elections and dumped after, the better and those involved with them should return home and team up with the governor to develop the state. We must treasure what we have at home.

2023 is around the corner and as a stakeholder in Uyo Senatorial District how prepared are you people for the coming change?

2023 is still very far, not around the corner. Nigerians should learn not to spend days and weeks thinking of election because you will hardly have time to see the people’s predicaments if all that blindfolds us is election. Politically I believe we just finished election in 2019. This year should be completely dedicated to good governance, service delivery, brotherhood, good neighborliness and togetherness, so that as a team when the time comes, arising from brotherhood and togetherness, we can pick the right candidate who will enjoy massive support. So as far as I am concerned, Uyo has the capacity, the human resources to deliver. But going into details now will be total distraction to good governance and service delivery which our people needed now more than anything else. Akwa Ibom State electorate deserve a little peace and period of rest to calm their nerves and start getting empowerments, good governance and dividends of democracy from their participation in the last election. For the commitment, patriotism, fear of God, dedication, self-actualization they showed in 2019 election in which they withered the storm, braved all odds, dared the devil, the ‘war saw’ proponent and federal might and stood firm for what they wanted without being influenced, they deserve the best in return for their efforts. That election was one man, one vote; free and fair as confirmed at the tribunal, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

Governor Udom Emmanuel came prepared for the election having wrapped himself around God, soaked himself in His words and led the battle with the name of the only Supreme God. His style of administration is godly, transparent and devoid of deceit. He was very honest with the people, kind and very sincere and that is why we decided to swim and win or sink with him and God showed up for him and the rest is now history.

Therefore the governor is committed to ensuring that those who stood on the side of God with plain hands, no AK 47, without any instrument of force or coercion but stood their ground in the face of life threatening threats need to be compensated; their lives need to be improved and that is why some of us are completely against any activity that will turn this year into political activities.

This 2020 must be committed to governance service delivery, love and sharing of goodwill and dividends of democracy and blessings of God. This will reinforce their belief and strength that the era of deceit has gone in our political lexicon and equally make them to stand their ground when time comes for the election of a new government. If we build upon the virtues of good governance, good followership, love, kindness, empowerment and togetherness, it will be easier for the leader when it’s time to show a new direction.

Could the mantra ‘Only God’ which was the campaign slogan of the incumbent government in 2019 be the major weapon that brought about the victory?

I will say vehemently, yes. Anybody who is on the side of God is a miracle in the making and could be unpredictable. Many things that happens in the lives of children of God are very unique but normal. There is no way all the people’s mind would have worked in unison to support and re-elect Governor Udom Emmanuel if not God. He has no federal might, no connection, no AK 47 and neither political godfather nor mentor. The Bible says when your father and mothers abandoned you, God takes you up. With God everything is possible. When God is your stronghold, you can break any obstacle, surmount any mountain and penetrate anywhere. The fallout of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s election is a big lesson to all and sundry that it is good to trust in God and Him alone. Do not start now when you have political interest to trust God. Rather let Him acknowledge that when you are nobody and without any ambition, you made Him your all and all.

You must have followed your father to church in worship of God or have abandoned their idol worship in search of the true living God and God will always be with you. It is good to embrace God today for those who are yet to do so. But those who did it as a child, a youth, or Elder are the ones with strong foundation in God and have existing covenant with Him. God will remember the past when He sees their heart. But those who will pretend to be godly because they are looking for something, God also sees their heart. I can tell you authoritatively that Governor Udom Emmanuel won election because he came from God. People who knew him from childhood said he is a devout Christian and a strong believer of God. Anybody that will re-enact the feat Udom achieved must be one who is completely dedicated in the ways of the Lord. Akwa Ibom State has been dedicated to God and God has taken over the affairs, no other altar outside that of God Almighty will prevail here. There is no room for unholy acts or other gods in Akwa Ibom State. You either believe in the Lord Jesus Christ here or forget about it.


RELATED: Gov. Udom Emmanuel is Tactful, Calculative and Prayerful-Dr Godwin Ntukudeh

NDDC’s activities in Akwa Ibom and other states of the Niger Delta are still subjects of discussion. The agency is under investigation with directive from the Presidency for forensic audit. Do you see a better agency after now?

I don’t believe anything good will be achieved from the process. It’s like father, like son. As far as Nigeria is concerned we are still among the most corrupt nations. According to the Transparency International, our current position is 146 from 144. It shows there is problem at the top. Once a leader provides untainted leadership, subordinates will queue in line. If those who rule the country operate a corrupt free administration, it will trigger down the entire system. So to that extent when you consider the NDDC as a subset of the larger set, then what will the subjects do? When you look at those appointed into NDDC serially over the years, the question will be, were they appointed based on competence? Or that they were the people’s choice and have the pains and challenges of the people at heart which they hope to address without fear or favor? Therefore even from the choice of who mans the NDDC, it is enough to tell you that there is no hope for the commission. The composition of the board is always based on political considerations and who appointed them sits back to receive the spoils of office. Therefore in such circumstances, the aim of establishing the agency is already defeated. As far as I’m concerned there is no hope there or anything good coming out of it. That defines the character of NDDC until we have men, who are well trained and groomed with impeccable character to manage the agency.

They must be men who have deep knowledge of how things work and are ready to deploy them to help the people of the region. The people must be committed patriots and the leadership at the federal level must be sincere by ensuring that what is due for the NDDC is given to the NDDC. It is painful to see that what was meant for the commission never gets to them.

When you hear of forensic auditing, that to me is another distraction in the air, confusion in the polity because both those who are appointed to audit and those who are supervising the auditing are answerable to a cartel; they must show working and report progress. And it is laughable when you see who is coming to investigate others is a man who is due for investigation. What would he arrive at? The sooner Nigeria embraces transparency, accountability, and justice, the better for the country. It is sad that lack of fair distribution of common patrimony has made those in government the only people who decide the destiny of others. It is sad when the entire citizenry looks up to one man. It makes the person feels like super human with oversized ego. If there is fair distribution with people having access to common wealth through genuine efforts, we will have a better society. Concentration of common wealth in the hands of a public officers alone creates unfortunate air of arrogance and pride which creates unnecessary ego which shouldn’t be at all in an atmosphere we canvass for justice and equity. The resources of the land is meant for everybody down to the unborn child but the distribution strategy remains the problem and once we correct this, it will be very easy to change the narrative. If the resources of this country are well applied from the federal to the councils, they are enough to take care of everybody to live a decent life and not being a dependent beggar.

The South West regional security outfit is here to stay code named “Amotekun”. Do you advise other regions to follow suit for their protection?

I must advise every region to immediately follow suit with community police. What the South West has done is appropriate, good and timely because you cannot fold your hands and watch your people killed, kidnapped and farmers killed or chased away from their farm, a royal king kidnapped and missing among many atrocities. The royal institution has been desecrated and the governors who are the chief security officers as stated in the constitution remain helpless. But their primary duty is to secure lives and see to the welfare of the people. Therefore it can only be political mischief for anyone to come against people who have risen to assist the police force in securing their community. Their job is to help fish out criminals from the nooks and crannies of their society. In a terrain they are familiar with better knowledge than even the police force. So why can’t we encourage such idea? I personally endorse it. I also encourage other states to emulate them. The number of police officers are not enough and more so a police officer from the north cannot effectively police a state like Akwa Ibom because the names of the villages and characters in the local areas cannot be easily ascertained and understood by them, even before they commence the work of studying the environment and learning the local routes, they are transferred to other states. We must have community police to secure our society and if the name community police is not yet comfortable for those in power, the people should form vigilantes and volunteer groups that will complement the efforts of the police in securing their communities against insecurity.

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