Three Industries in Governor Udom’s Hometown: Is It Justified?

By Ekemini Simon



The thrust of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration has been industrialization. He made this known right from his electioneering and has reaffirmed this in several speeches as Governor of Akwa Ibom State.

In fulfilment to the industrialisation promise, the Governor has attracted the Metering factory, Kings Flour Mill and Jubilee syringe factory to his hometown, Awa Iman, and Okat, all in ONNA LGA.

Compared to other local government areas of the State, Onna Local Government Area has the highest number of industries. Now, ONNA is industrialisation.

However, there is Akwa Prime Hatchery and Poultry in Uruan. Cassava processing mill in Eket. There is an attempt to build Coconut refinery in Mkpat Enin, and a few others are still contemplated. Nonetheless, the governor’s hometown hosts the highest number of industries attracted to the State by this ONNA’s administration .

What Critics Say

The industrial privilege accorded ONNA local government area is not without criticisms. The Governor is said to be scheming his hometown to be more privileged than other local government areas. This is nepotism, critics say.

Groups, notably, Akwa Ibom Conscience, renowned for its anti- Lagos’ governor’s lodge protest says concentration of three industries in the governor’s hometown is the height of executive insensitivity. The action the group insists lacks a pinch of equity and justice to all.

The group notes, “To situate and concentrate about 70% of State facilities in the hometown of the governor at the detriment of other 30 Local Government Areas is the height of executive insensitivity unbecoming of an official elected to so manage public funds with an accountable sense of equity and justice to all.”

Probing the rational behind the decision, the group queries, “Are the funds/revenues of Akwa Ibom State generated by only indigenes of Onna Local Government? What happens to the rest of the civil servants who pay taxes, are they not deserving of any development in their communities?”. With this inquest, one may wonder if this tendency so described is a new narrative birthed by this administration.


This is not the first time a State Governor has attracted greater projects to his hometown than other places. During Senator Godswill Akpabio’s reign as Governor, besides the State Capital, Uyo, his hometown, Ukana, Essien Udim Local Government Area, had the highest number of federal institutions allocated to the State – Police Secondary School, Cottage Hospital, Federal Polytechnic, among others. Is Governor Udom Emmanuel adopting this from his “great teacher”?

Udom Clears the Air

While fielding questions from this reporter on the subject matter in a media interaction recently Udom said, one of the reasons is because Onna Local Government Area is close to a source of electricity supply- Ibom Power plant located in Ikot Abasi local government area. He also mentioned that the area of Ikot Abasi, Eastern Obolo, Mkpat Enin and Onna local government areas have been earmarked as an Industrial Estate for the State. This was also why the State chose Eastern Obolo, Mkpat Enin and Ikot Abasi for the Coconut plantation and refinery.

Still, why then were the three projects not shared across local government areas within the industrial estate?

Governor Udom Emmanuel’s answers were, “They [investors] said they can only come to my place because they know they will not have problems with the community. If they give me that condition, I will be too selfish to tell them to take it away instead of bringing it to my place.

“They are coming to me because we have known ourselves in the outside world. They are coming to me because we have met somewhere in one investors’ conference or the other. It is because we have been exchanging emails before I became a governor. It is because they trust who I am. So it has to do with who they trust “.

The governor added that the cooperation he received from the host communities as a son manifested in the donation of land without a demand for compensation had also informed the decision to situate those industries in Onna Local Government Area.

Judging his decision as not engendering imbalance among local government areas of the State, he posited ” it is not as if industries are not evenly distributed, I don’t have control over it. I don’t have money to build industries. I am the governor of Akwa Ibom State, anywhere these things are located, they are my own. It doesn’t matter where they are. Let them go to where they will feel safe and that will be okay for me”.

But is it really true that it doesn’t matter where they are located as expressed by Governor Udom? What are the economic implications? What is the stance of experts on this issue?

Expert Perspective

An Economist, Mr Iboro Ibara, said concentrating industries in a particular area is like a double-edged sword, it comes with is merits and demerits.

Commenting on its worthiness, Ibara a Fiscal Policy expert says such a decision could be undertaken because of “economics of scale”.

He said those companies will have a lower cost of production if they share facilities like power plant and will lead to low cost of production. “We have industrial hubs, layout and parks so that those companies can share resources.”

“If you have a power plant in that local government area, it can service these companies instead of having up to three power plant spread across three Local government areas if these industries were located in three local government areas”.

On the other hand, the polytechnic teacher said if the State is desirous of spreading development evenly to the entire state through industrialization, then it has lost out by citing three industries in a local government area.

Delineating his point, he notes ” if we locate each of those industries in different local government areas, then we would have had a situation where each of those companies doing its Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) in each of those places. If you have three industries in one Local Government Area, then you have shortchanged other Local Government Areas of that benefit.”

On other shortcoming, Ibara said such decision will cause imbalance in employment generation in the State. He points out that having a Syringe factory, Metering factory and a Flour Mill in one Local Government area will create a situation where a lot of employment will be generated for the indigenes of that local government area with other areas not being privileged.

Making clear his point he states “Most of these companies sign Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the host communities for certain categories of labourers they intend to recruit. So, It will also mean you’ve shortchanged a lot of communities from that particular development instigator.

“This is because everything revolves round income and it has a multiplier effect. Everyone like the carpenter will have their products bought and he produces more and you have the linkages to help the economy grow.”

To balance the issue, the expert says the fundamental question of industrial development blueprint must be answered.

“If we want to industrialize, there should be a blueprint. What and what is going to be cited where? And what and what is going to be committed to the development of what? The starting point is that if those industries so cited are not part of our overall industrial development blueprint, then of course, we are taking up on a wrong note. This is because we may not immediately see the negatives of their production processes.” Ibara explains.

He however noted, “if what we are witnessing is an aspect of that blueprint then we don’t have a problem because professionals that would have developed the blueprint would have looked at all these things. And we pray those industries are cited based on our short and long term expectations.”

Deducing from all perspectives, it has become clear that while pursuing the industrialisation goal of the State, the people expect the Governor to keep to his pledge to “do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will” while also striving to ensure the development of the State is all-round.

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