By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel has said that his administration has so far, delivered on its campaign promises in all sectors of the state economy despite challenges of COVID-19 and that of the Nigeria’s economy.
Governor Emmanuel who stated this on Monday, while interacting with journalists in Uyo, explained that his government took the development of the state through three gate ways namely, air, water and road.
Mentioning his achievements in aviation sector, Governor Emmanuel said he has spent over N1.2bn to train a second batch of engineers and pilots from the state with aircraft manufacturers Airbus in a renewed move to reposition and increase the capacity of the state owned airline, Ibom Air.
He said, a first batch of trainees are already undertaking the training meant to provide needed technical personnel in Nigeria’s flagship airline, Ibom Air.
The governor who expressed joy at the strides of the airline within a short time, said the MRO facility at the Victor Attah International Airport in Uyo would be ready before the end of the year and would help in making the state the aviation hub of the region.
He said the inability of the airline to acquire more aircrafts was due to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine as most financial systems are linked to Russia with the former Soviet Republic however facing business and political sanctions and restrictions from many countries of the world.
“The state government is spending Billions of Naira to train and prepare the best hands of our indigenes for the growing opportunities in the aviation sector and particularly Ibom Air. We have already sent the first batch of engineers and pilots to Airbus and the second batch is preparing to go.
“We are spending Billions to train these people and that’s why I don’t care to know which part of the state any of the trainees is from. Airbus also does not know the Local Government the trainees are from and if they find out that there are sentiments in the selection of the trainees they may decide to pull out.
We are even praying that they will be able to scale through their tests.” Emmanuel explained.
The Governor however said that besides the acquisition of seven aircrafts for Ibom, his administration has commenced alternative moves to acquire more aircrafts to boost the fleet of the airline inorder to build on the gains already made by the airline in the country’s aviation sector.
Gov Emmanuel pointing out that after conquering the aviation sector Akwa Ibom has also become a pacesetter in road infrastructure.
His administration, he said, aside from urban roads, constructed more than 113 internal roads while major towns in the state have been linked with dual carriage roads making movement around the state easier and safer and increasing the ease of doing business and evacuating agricultural products especially from rural areas in the state.
“The kind of road infrastructures we are putting in place is such that incoming governments will not repeat what we have already done so they can channel money and efforts into other areas.” Emmanuel stated.
He said the inability of the state government to make envisaged progress in the construction of the Ibom Deep Sea Port was due to extraneous factors but announced that a Korean based developer would soon become an anchor tenant to help advance the development of the sea port.
His administration, he said has never played politics with the development of the state, the reason the state government has spent over $34M in the construction of the 8.4km IBB Avenue flood control project, a facility that transversed across 18 communities in three Local Council Areas of the state and carrying more than half of the flood water generalted in Uyo and environs.
On power Emmanuel maintained that no state government has invested up to half of what Akwa Ibom has invested in the sector pointing out that with the construction of five digital substations with a sixth on the pipeline, the state would achieve it’s power for all programme in the shortest possible time.
The Governor who expressed dissatisfaction with the inability of the PHED to distribute power effectively said the state consumes less than 70MGW even as the state’s power plant has been producing 115MGW adding that the state government has also obtained licence to increase it’s power generation to 640MGW of electricity.
“The good news however is that we have also obtained a distribution licence using a utility company so that we can distribute the power we generate effectively and achieve a 24 hour electricity supply to every part of the state in the shortest possible time.” He said.
On education, the Governor said that in addition to sustaining the free and compulsory education scheme, more than 5,000 education infrastructure has been provided in schools across the state in the last seven years but regretted that local vandals have continued to frustrate the efforts of the state government in this direction.
He maintained that the state government would not encourage the 21 storey edifice built for International Oil Companies to be rented below its value and expressed confidence that with a PDP adminstration at the federal level the reluctance of the IOCs to relocate to their area of operations would be a thing of the past.
Emmanuel called for support for the state PDP candidate, Mr Umoh Eno adding that his passion for youth empowerment, experience in business and the corporate world would brood well for the state in the coming years.
He described as unfair and immature, recent calls for the state government to pay compensation for property owners on the Odikpani-Itu highways wondering why Akwa Ibom, producing more than 35% of the nation’s oil would be considered unqualified to enjoy the full gains of the Petroleum Profit Tax of which it has remained a major contributor.
The Governor called on indgenes of the state to always rise to the challenge of protecting the interest of the state at all times adding that the state deserve more from the Federal Government considering it’s enormous contribution to the Nigerian economy.
“How do you expect a state to pay compensation to properties on a road being constructed by the Federal Government. Who did the valuation and is that the practice? The contract sum for that road could have been enough for me to take the road towards Aba.So I am calling on our people not to allow themselves to be intimidated by anybody. Always have the interest of the state at heart at all times.” He said.