Governor Udom Emmanuel’s footprints in Akwa Ibom State in the past seven years of his administration, are glaringly ground-breaking. The story of the state under his administration is an interesting story of good governance. Governor Emmanuel is performer, who has convincingly displayed selflessness in transforming the ‘Land of Promise’ from a civil service state to an industrialized one.
In his inaugural speech in May 29, 2015, Governor Udom Emmanuel declared: “I stand before you today not as a master but as a servant and not as a boss but as a co-labourer. I accept, with great humility and sense of responsibility, the mandate you have freely given to me to hold power in trust for you are your Governor. You have kept your part of the covenant and I intend to keep my part by executing the programmes I enunciated to you during my official declaration to run for the office of Governor” Emmanuel fondly called ‘the people’s governor’ has kept his promise to Akwa Ibom people.
The crux of the matter is that the time for the selection of a presidential running-mate to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar – 2023 presidential candidate of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party – is upon us. Which is why the electorate and strong stakeholders in the party are agog and have identified Governor Udom Emmanuel as a formidable choice of running-mate to PDP’s Presidential flag bearer, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Given Emmanuel’s track record as governor of Akwa Ibom state, in the last seven years, one can say without fear of contraction that he possesses the know how and acumen to serve as a result-oriented vice-president. This assertion has become absolutely necessary because political observers maintain that he would go to any length to assist the president in articulating his cardinal focus of economic revival, provision of welfare, security for the people and what have you, should the PDP emerge victorious. An Emmanuel Udom as vice president, will surely complement Atiku Abubakar in the quest for peace, unity, overall development and progress in Nigeria.
The decision for the choice of a running-mate could be tasking; with deadline pressure from the electoral umpire on all the 2023 elections contesting political parties. The National Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in streamlining the election timetable recently declared that names of presidential candidates and selected running mates should be submitted on or before Friday June 17.
As the PDP’s presidential candidate along with party leaders zero in on the preferred choice for the running-mate, the gargantuan achievements of Governor Udom Emmanuel enumerated below, stands him out as a potential formidable and resourceful choice.
First, is Ibom Air – which currently has a fleet of seven bombardiers CRJ 900 aircraft, and covers 6 destinations of Uyo, Lagos, Abuja, Calabar, Port Harcourt and Enugu; and makes 22 flights daily. The airline is considering domestic expansion in its travel routes. It may soon add the newly inaugurated Bayelsa International Airport to its domestic route network after the Bayelsa state government approached the Government of Akwa Ibom over partnership possibilities. Furthermore, the airline will soon expand its operations into Gambia. In addition to this feat, he created an aircraft maintenance workshop in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital for the much needed maintenance of the fleet and others.
As is a technocrat with experience in human and resource management, he didn’t hesitate to kickstart the industrialization of the state which has continued to attract foreign investors – complemented by a conducive atmosphere for investment in the state; the goal being to make Akwa Ibom the industrial hub of Nigeria.
In line with his industrialization’s drive, some of the ongoing and already completed job providing projects include the following: Coconut Plantation and Refinery, Quality Ceramics, Eket International Market, Eket, Phase 1, Ibom Airlines, Uyo International Market, Oron International Market, Tropicana Shoprite Mall, Ibom Deep Sea Port, Ibom Industrial Park/Jetty, Plywood Manufacturing Factory, Power plant, Jetty, Refinery, Gas processing plant, Waste to Wealth Plant and many more.
Furthermore , the silent revolution in the education sector is a strong pointer to the governor’s developmental focus. This revolution, best described as war in the education sector, comes with a physical revamp of infrastructure, retraining of teachers, employment of new ones and security of facilities.
In the health sector, Governor Emmanuel is on top of his game to revamp the sector for effective healthcare delivery for Akwa Ibomites. While the state government has intensified efforts to establish new hospitals across the state, the already existing ones are receiving a facelift. For example, General Hospital, Etinan, has been reconstructed and equipped with cutting edge medical equipment.
What is more, his administration has done so much to ensure a peaceful and secure state. It has attained the status of the most peaceful state in Nigeria. Nigeria Police Force ranked Akwa Ibom as the lowest in crime index in Nigeria for the year 2017. In 2020, Governor Emmanuel donated 30 new patrol trucks to security agencies.
Furthermore, his administration has carried out sensitization Campaign against Child Abuse, Child Trafficking, Child Abandonment and Baby Factory in the State. It has also granted amnesty to numerous militants in the state who are undergoing rehabilitation. The superb manner in which the administration handled the security challenges arising from the #EndSARS# protest is noteworthy. Aware of the fact that no meaningful development can take place in an unsafe atmosphere, Governor Emmanuel has galvanized the people to embrace his campaign for peace and security in the state.
Equally commendable is the high premium placed on Sports by Governor Emmanuel. No wonder he bagged the National Sports Award in 2017 for his relentless contributions to sports in the country. In the same year, the Akwa Ibom State was voted best in Sports infrastructure, best in grass root sports development and best in fans supporter ship.
From the inception of the administration in 2015, it has been from one story of success to the other in sports. Within few months of his administration, Akwa United won the FA Cup in 2015, a record in the 53 year old history of the prestigious tournament. The same feat was repeated in 2017. In that same year during the National Youth Sport Festival held in Kwara State, Akwa Ibom emerged first runner-up.
In the last seven years of his administration, he has consistently delivered dividends of democracy to the electorate. His love to serve his people knows no bounds. He believes in laying good footprints on the sands of time. That was why he desired to obey the clarion call of his people and resigned as Secretary to the State Government to contest the Governorship election of 2015, which he won overwhelmingly on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party. He launched a moral rebirth and self-motivation initiative, the dakkada campaign, urging Akwa Ibomites to rise to the occasion and make Akwa Ibom a great state.
In view of the mandate of the Governor Emmanuel consolidate on the gains of uncommon transformation witnessed across Akwa Ibom State today and his commitments to industrialize the state, keen watchers believe he can help replicate same in the center as vice-president.
Finally, in the field of agriculture, some notable achievements of Governor Emmanuel would suffice. This includes the establishment of a large hybrid rubber nursery at Ebighi Anwa, Okobo L.G.A in partnership with Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria, for distribution to rubber farmers at highly subsidised rates; the refurbishing of Cassava Processing Factories at Ikot Okudom, Eket L.G.A; Nung Udoe, Ibesikpo/Austin LGA and Ikot Ekang in Abak L.G.A and leasing to private operators for the production of high-quality garri, odourless fufu, and cassava flour; Procurement and distribution of 30,000 Hybrid Plantain Suckers to 700 farmers as well as Installation of Maize Preservation/Shelling Machine at Nung Udoe.
The establishment of demonstration plots on various agricultural technologies for the transfer of improved technologies to farmers through Akwa Ibom Agricultural Development Programme (AKADEP); planting of 500 citrus seedlings, 600 hybrid plantain suckers, and 1,000 pineapple suckers at the Horticulture Garden in Uyo places the state stands the state in good stead to be a leading player in agricultural productivity in the country.
The governor has demonstrated across the length and breadth of the country that he is a detribalized Nigerian. His tenure, so far is one of the most peaceful in the history of the state. He is a bridge builder, a quality that will go a long way in complementing the president. Emmanuel is widely loved by the Christian evangelicals in Nigeria, and has the capacity to attract an estimated 40 – 50 million votes of the Christian evangelicals, not to mention votes from the orthodox Christian groups. Udom Emmanuel possesses the wherewithal to be an outstanding vice-president.