Iniobong Ekponta in Uyo captures the first 100 days in office of Governor Emmanuel and concludes there is still more hurdles to cross
Although a little over three months in the saddle, signs of what to expect from the Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel-led government in Akwa Ibom State have come to the fore.
At his inception on May 29, 2015, after the general elections held between March 28 and April 11, the new Governor had promised to consolidate on the achievements of the former Governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
And few months into office, the former Zenith Bank Executive Director, who later became the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), has given Akwa Ibom State and its people some hope for the future. With 58 percent shortfall in revenue accruable to the State in the last couple of years, the Onna-born Governor, according to followers of his strides since May 29, 2015, has built the foundation for growth and development of the State and its people. Recounting his administration’s achievements over the weekend, the Governor expectedly gave his administration a pass mark in terms of performance in the last 100 days.
It was at a prayer\ thanksgiving ceremony held at the Banquet Hall of the Government House, Uyo, as part of activities to mark his first 100 days as the fourth civilian Governor of the 27-year-old State. The Governor, swornin on May 29, 2015, came on the planks of poverty alleviation, wealth, jobs creation and human capital development, industrialization as well as infrastructural development.
And within this short time frame, the Governor, whose first stint in politics was his surprise announcement as the SSG to succeed Mr. Umana Okon Umana, relieved of his appointment by the then Governor Akpabio, said his administration has done well.
He listed such achievements to include creating the enabling environment that would transform the state from its current civil status to an industrialized economy, as well as developing the physical infrastructures to aid the drive towards becoming the centre of “economic tourism”.
His first major steps taken to drive the state into the comity of industrialized States in Nigeria, was the successful turn-around of the moribund Peacock Paint Industry at Ikot Ekang in Etinan Local Government Area, which he personally re-commissioned at the weekend.
With over N500 million Naira, the Peacock Paints Industry left to rot by successive administrations came to life again on Saturday, and the Governor expressed delight, saying the huge debt the company owed the bank has also been liquidated for the firm to operate freely.
Besides, the Governor, within the same period, awarded contracts for some rural and urban roads, training of hundreds of youths on agriculture, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and setting the tone for agricultural and industrialization policy to thrive.
Other areas of interventions by Governor Emmanuel include the up-to-date payment of workers’ salaries and gratuities to Local Government workers, repositioning of medical infrastructures at the old Anua General Hospital and its adjoining medical institution.
The Governor has also attracted fertilizer-blending company to the State with a view to boosting all-year-round agricultural activities and food sufficiency in the State.
From Israel and Europe, the Governor said investors under his administration’s Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) policy, have relocated to the State to inject international best practices into agricultural production, vehicles assembly as well as technical\ technological skills transfer. For these, the Governor had cause to give thanks to God and members of his cabinet, noting that, “without God and you, all these would not have been possible”.
While commending the people for their steadfastness and supports, Emmanuel assured that these were just a tip of the iceberg, as his administration was totally committed to spreading the dividends of democracy across all facets of the State.
With the conglomeration of foreign investors in the State, the Governor hoped the State would in the near future witness a flurry of business activities that would galvanise the people to engage in meaningful ventures for wealth and social development.
He, therefore, solicited the support of the people and the enabling environment for his laudable policies and programmes to be smoothly implemented. Corroborating him, the Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Investment, Hon. Emmanuel Enoidem; his Information counterpart, Deacon Aniekan Umanah, assured that “government has plans for everybody”, but solicited for patience and cooperation for them to blossom.
Though 100 days remain an intangible time frame to judge the performance of a government gunning to stay in power for years, all things being equal, critics of the system would want the Governor to also “inject some liquidity into the system”.
“The Governor has done well but he should be able to open the system by engaging the local contractors so as to free some cash into the system and that will increase the purchasing power of the locals and stem capital flights”, notes Dr. Effiong Akpan, a banker.
Other challenging areas for the administration, according to observers include job creation, rural development, security and human capital development.