It’s Painful We Never Had Gov Emmanuel When Money Walked The Streets Of A’Ibom – Ntukudeh

. . . Gov Emmanuel Has Awakened Spirit Of Industry, Supply And Production In Our People


  • A bold, courageous and polished politician, Akparawa Godwin Ntukudeh, Ph. D is an interviewer’s delight. Ntukudeh, Chairman, Akwa Ibom Roads and Other Infrastructure Maintenance Agency (AKIROMA), exudes deep insight on issues of development, political governance and wellbeing of the citizenry.

In an exclusive interview with Crystal Express, Ntukudeh, a former special adviser on political and legislative affairs, and former commissioner for transport in the Executive Council of Akwa Ibom State, and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), dissects the milestone garnered by Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel in the past five years.

In a tone depicting deep concern about Akwa Ibom, the chairman of the board of AKROIMA thundered: “It is painful that we never had a Governor like Udom Gabriel Emmanuel when money walked the streets of Akwa Ibom State.”

An entrepreneur and former international president of the foremost socio-cultural organization in the country, Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, Ntukudeh also speaks on the Completion Agenda of Governor Emmanuel, activities of his agency – AKROIMA – and other salient issues.

What is your take on Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration five years after?

I think Governor Udom Emmanuel deserves commendation and if I am to rate him, then I can convincingly award 95 per cent performance rate to him. The reason for this is domiciled in the fact that leadership is not gambling. If you approach leadership from the point of gambling then anything goes; it turns to copy and paste and whatever you hear you try to emulate.

You find yourself dancing to the gallery and as you move on, whatever ideology that did not emanate from you will never be sustainable. Governor Emmanuel is a square peg in a square hole. He is a multiplier, sustainable developer and through his activities men are now enjoying the dividends of democracy already manifesting in all sectors of our economy and his enduring strides are enough for our people to tap into for sustained development and life enhancement.

Therefore Governor Emmanuel’s focused administration laced with doggedness and consistency shows that he came with a great vision for the people of Akwa Ibom State.

Gone are the days they said the party was supreme, when the party came up with manifestoes in education, agriculture, economy, public and international affairs. Today, however, a party supreme syndrome is gone and the leader of the party is now the thinker who is the governor at the state and president at the national level. If any of them does not think well, nothing can work. So now it is up to a governor to develop his blueprint, vision and ideology into his road map for the state.

The road map is what his aides will have as a tool to achieve his vision and plan for the state. The policy thrust of Governor Emmanuel is superior performance which is geared towards giving the people sustainable development through industrialization. Nigeria is a consuming nation with little or no productivity, and if we continue only as a consuming nation, we will be swallowed by inflation. However, Governor Emmanuel came prepared with his developmental agenda for the state.

Top most was his desire to make the state productive and sustainable and less-dependent. Governor Emmanuelhas awakened the spirit of industry, supply and production in the consciousness of our people. He came at point zero, built an enabling environment which has gingered the interest of foreign and international investors and alsoarisen the awareness in our people on the need to establish industries here in Akwa Ibom. Government has not been a good manager of business from past records and experiences, thus the best the good government can do is to provide enabling and serene environment for enterprises and private business to thrive; that Governor Emmanuel has fulfilled.

Akwa Ibom is clean, green and attractive with great hygiene as the waste management board is doing a great job. The Road Maintenance Agency is working round the clock; power is available to all- both big time businesses and small artisans. The state is enjoying peace with adequate security. The governor has totally proscribed cultism and other allied agencies here in the state. The governor is a practising Christian whose hope and salvation rest in our Lord Jesus Christ. The governor clearly demonstrated his zeal for God when after taking oath of office in his first term took water, poured it and assumed leadership of both the physical and spiritual powers that inhabit the state, handing over Akwa Ibom to God. By that action, the governor detonated all other powers and vowed to punish anybody who commits crime against the state, not with standing the person’s level in the society.

The governor has developed our aviation industry with the introduction of Ibom Air with a good number of aircraft and also ensuring that the Victor Attah International Airport is managed by the state to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. He has also developed the tourism and hospitality sector in readiness for the influx of foreign investors to the state. Akwa Ibom is the only state in Nigeria that has attracted more foreign direct investments and tourism from the international community in the last few years.

There are about 18 viable industries operational in the state at the moment.Some of the industries who were skeptical about growing their investments in Nigeria are now very comfortable with the serene environment in Akwa Ibom and are planning massive expansion in the future. These industries will definitely transform into larger conglomerate which will create more job opportunities for our people and distributors will spring up, up takers will spring up, export will come and with the Ibom Deep Seaport, which is in its final stages of approval owing to the tireless efforts of Governor Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom State will never be the same again.

The export of produce from the state will rake in revenue, more employment and a better society. In agriculture, it is on record that no nation or state can boast of greatness if it lacks capacity to feed itself. The governor from the outset promised to crash food prices by massive investment in agriculture and we are living witnesses to the dramatic turnaround in the agricultural fortunes of the state with our staple foods available in abundance and are pocket-friendly. The governor’s policy in agriculture is paying off through the massive investment in FADAMA 3, RAM and unparalleled encouragement to farmers by the provision of seedlings, loans, grants and establishment of fertilizer blending factory in the state.

The fertilizer is designed to help the various types of soils we have in the state to bring forth good produce.Whatever you plant in any part of the state will thrive since we have fertilizer suitable for any soil. Cassava is thriving, rebranded cocoa is doing well and will soon be in export market while also encouraging the siting of beverage industry here. Rice is thriving in Akwa Ibom with rice mills here. During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the garri and rice distributed as palliatives to the people of the state were locally produced in the state.Unlike before, we did not rely on our sister states as usual, that is vision and thinking ahead. Today in Akwa Ibom we now plant non-seasonally. Now once crops are harvested, the farmers replant immediately for the next yield.

Akwa Ibom is the first state in Nigeria to successfully establish and manage airline business, a feat Nigeria is still struggling to do. I will safely say that Akwa Ibom is the pride of the country and the way the governor has restructured the Ibom Air is such that it is designed to grow in leaps. The aircraft can be successfully managed.The bombardier with 90 seats is good for a beginner in the airline business before graduating to larger aircraft like airbus. Business life is about taking the right step. If you jump the stairs you will crash. Governor Emmanuel is a growth pole, an institution planted in an environment that radiates progress, water, food and life to all and suddenly he has become a multiplier index to the political and economic lives of Akwa Ibom State. Akwa Ibom women are having the best of their time presently.

Gone are the days they were mobilized to troop out for political activities in uniforms and headgears and return home with peanuts. Today there are well documented and interest-free loans and grants given to them to enhance their businesses. Market women and farmers in the rural areas are major beneficiaries.

The governor has laid a solid foundation for the people to rise to greatness. It is painful that we did not have a governor in the mould of Emmanuel when money was walking on the streets of Akwa Ibom.But it is a well known thing that the test of a real man is on how successful he can navigate through difficult and challenging times, moreso during scarcity. In the health sector, Governor Emmanuel as a visioner foresaw the coming of coronavirus and before the end of his first term; he travelled abroad and placed order for containers of medical equipment from overseas.

On arrival, he renovated the infectious disease centre in Ikot Ekpene preparatory to contain any pandemic, and not long coronavirus arrived. He equipped hospitals to ensure better health care services to the people. Etinan, Eket, Oron, Ituk Mbang, Ikono general hospitals were completely overhauled and fitted with state-of-the-art equipment. Today our hospitals are ICT-compliant with medical history of patients well documented to help doctors and nurses give them the best treatment. When coronavirus arrived, it met the state prepared. The governor,in complete show of his readiness to contain the pandemic,built an international isolation and disease control centre in a record of 30 days. This is a clear manifestation of his dream which he has packaged and translated to the glory of the state.

The manner he conceptualized setting up of the permanent disease control centre made the delivery of the job much easier by his works commissioner. The Governor Emmanuel government has shown due recognition to the elders. There are no cries of bias, favouritism or nepotism in his era in terms of road projects, social amenities and welfare and empowerment. He has carried the entire state along in distributing projects and amenities across the state.In the same vein, no elder has ever said the governor insulted them.He is humble and very respectful. Church leaders and fathers of faith have had it so good because a governor who knows God is on the saddle and has given them their rightful positions in the scheme of things and has also effectively engaged them to frequently intercede to God on behalf of the state. In education, the governor has addressed the rots and inherent imbalance to a very sustainable education in the state with the recent education summit in which all the challenges and obstacles inhibiting successful and sound education of our teeming youths were analyzed and properly tackled.

The state educational system is now ICT-compliant, which came to the fore during the lockdown with children having lessons and classes via social media platforms, radio and television. Governor Emmanuel has successfully placed Akwa Ibom on a new pedestal from spiritual to physical, from infrastructure to human capacity development and empowerment. He has done very well. Our elders have had best of medical care both within and outside the country courtesy of his benevolence. Several youths are now employed to eke out a decent living while our women are now very stable and our homes peaceful because they have been empowered.

Governor Emmanuel has made the state so peaceful that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo once said that outside his state, he would love Akwa Ibom as his next home. President Muhammadu Buhari on his own sees the governor as a big asset to the nation. Against party politics, the president engages him on some important natural issues and tap from his vast knowledge and experience in economic matters. The governor too against party lines never hesitates to offer useful advice to the president on how best the nation can be lifted from its various challenges. So even the APC government has benefited much from the vast knowledge of Governor Emmanuel. The PDP Governors’ Forum has benefited from our governor’s ingenuity and wise counseling. He has also taken up abandoned and uncompleted projects from previous administrations notwithstanding the level of controversy or abuse surrounding the projects so far as their completion will be beneficial to the people of the state.


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


The Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene; Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road and even the Tropicana Hotel in Uyo are either completed or at various stages of completion. He is very much interested in projects that will bring ultimate good to the people of the state. It is difficult to see any area to fault the administration except a person who has vowed to remain blind to the transformation going on in the state. Some of them are mostly people in the opposition party who believe that once you are not in their party, you will be subjected to criticism.

Governor Emmanuel came into governance prepared and has solution to various problems confronting the state. His greatest asset is the peace he radiatesand which his administration has brought for us to enjoy. He is a great visionerand philosopher, a man who sees the end from the beginning and great lover of God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Do you see Governor Emmanuel still delivering on his Completion Agenda with the coronavirus pandemic which has sent the economy to the doldrums?

I believe the governor will accomplish his programmes and projects. I say this owing to his proactive steps in containing the pandemic in the state which has received accolades, commendations and ovations from across the country. He was the first governor to see the need to rearrange the 2020 budget to tally with the present day realities. He approached the State House of Assembly for a review moments the pandemic shattered the market for the economic mainstay of the country which is crude oil.

The whole idea was to handle the most essential projects in which most of the capital projects are still listed. The worst hit is the re-current expenditure. And handy with a restructured and reorganized budget, the governor then set up a think-tank committee headed by a renowned economist, Prof. Akpan Hogan Ekpo, to comprehensively look at the current situation and juxtapose it with the restructured budget and come up with a road map for the realization of the objectives of the governor for the people of Akwa Ibom State.

Today, borrowing from the Governor Emmanuel’s initiatives, the Federal Government and other state governments have returned to their various houses of assembly to review their budgets. Some other states are also copying the aspect of setting up economic committees to fund them into a realistic road map for economic recovery. However, note that for all those copying the Akwa Ibom example, it will take decisive political will to implement the outcome of the decisions to be taken by their various committees because I know that some of them don’t take external advice.

Governor Emmanuel believes in superior argument and will most likely implement the outcome of the committee’s work to the letter. I strongly believe that the end result of that will also accelerate the delivery of the Completion Agenda. Again, looking at the governor’s antecedents, his ability to manage the economy in difficult times and his passion for the growth and development of the state, I am confident that he will successfully anchor the completion for the benefit of the people.

AKROIMA has done well so far with the restoration of the dilapidated road infrastructure in the state. With the enormous damage to the economy by the coronavirus pandemic, do you see AKROIMA performing its restoration duties within the period?

We are a subset of the Governor Emmanuel who is the mega set, a believer in sustainable development who knows the great value of maintenance. The governor was at his best recently when he commissioned the Disease Control Centre in Ituk Mbang where he reiterated his administration’s belief in maintenance culture, promising to ensure that the new world-class facility is regularly maintained.

The governor has done so much through AKROIMA fixing failed portions, reconstructing others and intervening in so many roads and other projects across the state which is a strong indication that he is a believer in maintenance culture. He knows the uniqueness of maintenance culture and the maintenance agency he put in place remains the key in delivering this aspect of his vision. Till date, the governor is still sending us to intervene in many areas with urgent needs across the state which is an indication that he will fully utilise the agency to ensure the best for the people of Akwa Ibom against all odds. We have just finished work on Akpan Hogan Ekpo Road at Shelter Afrique Estate, a job made possible by the governor who mandated us to quickly restore the failed road.

We have not really done a great job there, we also did road marketing to make it neat. We are about to start Paul Ekpo Drive at Shelter Afrique, which will be done with side drains and asphalted. We have a stretch in Mkpat Enin Local Government which he wants us to go and restore immediately. We have just finished the Aka-Etinan Road. We have finished the Etinan-Ikot Ekang to the roundabout. The governor ensures we are working round the clock. He has asked us to go round the entire metropolitan towns in the state with statistics of potholes and failed portions so that they can immediately be fixed. We are ready to carryout the directives to the letter.

This is an indication that we are relevant and a key factor and index in the Completion Agenda mantra. We have also vowed to work assiduously with utmost commitment to ensure that we deliver on the governor’s vision to ensure that the people enjoy smooth and motorable roads across the state. The board members are united, focused, patriotic and always available to fully support the governor who elevated us to our current status.

You are one of the leaders of thought and politics in Uruan Local Government of the state. How has the administration of Governor Emmanuel affected your area?

When others were celebrating the impact of government projects during the previous administrations, Uruan people were waiting patiently for the God’s appointed time to celebrate glamorously. We were marginalized and totally neglected; we were not empowered or recognized. I remembered my days in the leadership of Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio and after, how I supported and promoted the various administrations at the time but the area called Uruan, or even myself, was not recognized or empowered. But fortunately Uruan people are hard-working and very loyal to the government.

God in His infinite mercies has provided them with arable lands and sea, which enable them plant and enjoy good harvests and also complement it with the best of seafoods and the best of fresh vegetables to enjoy good meals in their homes to keep them fresh, strong and healthy. So we are not really complaining. Perhaps God knew we will be so cheated and decided to give us respite until the arrival of the man Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, our governor. I recall a time a former governor of this state used a construction firm to deceive us in his bid to get our votes. He brought construction equipment and stationed them across the areas but moments after elections, they all vanished but we had voted him massively in that election. Some of us who openly canvassed support then for the ex-governor on the basis of the massive road project coming to the area became ashamed.

However, Governor Emmanuel came and made us shining stars when he started the Ishiet Anua Road that will take you to the popular Ishiet Market, the biggest crayfish, fish and other seafoods market in the state. We have the road linking Ekit Itam-Utit Ibiaku, Ndue Otong communities ongoing.We have Ekit Itam- Mbiaya, Ita-Ikpa Mbiakong-Idu Uruan, so that Uruan people from the north will be able to travel to the centre to their headquarters in central Uruan which is Idu without first coming to Uyo, the capital city. Today we have other roads that are springing up in Uruan. Above all, when history of coronavirus will be remembered, the legacy that shows how it was effectively contained and eradiated was cited in Ituk Mbang,Uruan.

This is after the moribund Methodist Hospital then infested with reptiles was restored, completely reconstructed and equipped to function maximally with completed ICT equipment. The governor knows that Uruan people are very hospitable and receptive, and they are a people after his heart. Remember also that the number three man in the incumbent administration is from Uruan, courtesy of the benevolence of the governor.

The governor also appointed a square peg in a square hole in the person of Okon Okon as the chairman, Board of AKIRS. The man’s performance has taken the state’s internally generated revenue to the zenith. I have always been a performer who turns around every situation positively. I am a go-getter from my days at Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, progenitor of 148 initiatives, special adviser onpolitical and legislative affairs,two terms commissioner in the Ministry of Transport and today chairman, Akwa Ibom State Roads and other Infrastructure Agency (AKROIMA). I am always turning bad situations to good ones, a turnaround expert- even the worst of situations. We have other appointees spread across the state courtesy of this government, Uruan has enjoyed the support and love of Governor Udom Emmanuel and we are very grateful to him.

Three years from now Mr Emmanuel will exit as governor after his second term.Where do you see Akwa Ibom State then?

In political science, we are told that success without successor is a failure.If the governor took over the state as a Christian desirous of sustainable development which foundation he has laid, for the greatest challenge of any project is the foundation, for it well laid, ensures sustainability, the governor must ensure a capable hand takes over from him to sustain the developmental tempo he has put in place. Having put the Completion Agenda in motion, the biggest challenge ahead is the successor. I mean a successor in his own mould and capacity, not one who will create unnecessary distractions or relishes in dancing to the gallery and lose focus to the essence of his election.

The governor, as the captain of the ship, leader and prophet of our time, will have to reveal to us who will succeed him when it is time because he, as the king, hears well and better from God. The Lord has given him the spirit of wisdom and grace to have been able to lead the people of Akwa Ibom successfully. So in the coming years Ibom Deep Seaport will come on stream to complement the ever expanding aviation industry.

People will cash in the numerous opportunities that will come with the seaport to better their economy and we will witness a new lease of life in Akwa Ibom State. The sports industry will be expanded with the emergence of sports academics to groom talents and produce superstars in various fields of sports.

Tourism and hospitality will be greatly boosted with the emergence of more tourist sites. Five-star hotels like Ibom Tropicana will still come on stream. The Four Points by Sheraton will soon be commissioned and others will make Akwa Ibom a destination.


Related Articles

Back to top button