…As Ikot Ekpene Political Elders Pledges Solidarity
Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Special Duties, Engr. Etido Inyang says even though Governor Udom Emmanuel has barely assumed office, he has hit the ground running beyond expectations and has instilled huge investment confidence in prospective investors in the state. The commissioner spoke over the weekend when the executive and members of Ikot Ekpene Political Elders Forum called on him to re-affirm their solidarity.
Engr. Inyang who used the opportunity to publicize the programmes of government stated that the governor knew about the problems of the state before he his inauguration as the campaign tours had afforded him additional opportunity to feel the pulse of the people as well as know their expectations. Speaking first on the Ibaka Deep Seaport, he said its terms of reference has clearly stated for its actualization to be achieved by 2018 and that from the rate at which the committee members have been working, the project would be realized. “Immediately after that, the governor inaugurated the Foreign Direct Investment Committee with a mandate to woo investors to the state. People may not really yet understand the import of what the governor is doing but when the results begin to come in torrent, he will no doubt be celebrated.
“During his campaigns, he promised that he is coming to industrialize the state, building on the infrastructural foundation laid by the previous administration. Now that money is only trickling into states from federal purse, the state needs a man like Governor Emmanuel to drive the wheel and bring prosperity to Akwa Ibom people. He has the will, he has the zeal and above all, he has the grace of God as his strength.
Inyang revealed that the Investment Committee is working hard and that the presence of Macavi Limited, an Israeli company, in the sate recently was propelled by this process. “This is just one of the many companies that will be investing in Akwa Ibom State. On Thursday last week, five companies from Germany were in the state. They are looking around the ailing industries and the concluding meeting was very promising. Shoprite will be establishing a mall soon at the Tropicana and they want to build the mall themselves. Rubber plantation industries are also in the offing and the governor will be doing groundbreaking of about five companies before the end of this year, while that of Shoprite is on August 6. These are just the few that are available for public consumption. There are many others,” he disclosed.
He hinted that the state will be leading the Nigeria-Singapore business forum in Singapore where investments will be attracted to the state. The state delegation, he said will be discussing the Ibom Deep Seaport and the Ibaka Industrial Park. “With this, we are analyzing the potentials of Akwa Ibom State and we are sure to come back with companies. We have finished elections, the right people are in the right place and the governor has begun fulfilling his promise of industrialization and so Akwa Ibom people must strategize to take advantage of this. Ikot Ekpene lands are very fertile and its people must strategically position themselves because a lot of investors will be coming in to do agriculture. If you have land, as a community you can tell the government, we have land, bring industries that are viable in our area to us”.
Responding to the request of creating an international market in Ikot Ekpene owing to its strategic location, the commissioner said Governor Emmanuel was already thinking ahead in that direction as there are plans to establish one international market in each of the three senatorial districts of the state. According to him, there is need to have industries to complement the markets. “We will need silos, warehouses, cold rooms and road network. There must be complementary facilities. Government is encouraging investors, it will provide land, it is ensuring adequate security and with the seaport, there is a serious network of opportunities. When the cargoes arrive our port with imports, they will be going back empty and we will have the opportunity to export our items. This will spur economic growth and development. Certainly, the governor is thinking along the lines of the expectations of Akwa Ibom people”.
While cautioning against disunity, he said the governor is averse to resistant to development and as such the people of Ikot Ekpene must unite and support the present administration to attract government patronage. On the issue of political leadership for the area, Hon. Inyang said it is a necessity and must serve as a fulcrum of rallying point for the people of the area on issues of politics. “I cannot say because I am a commissioner I should be the political leader of Ikot Ekpene, no. There are senior citizens who have paid their dues but the selection process must be credible and must reflect the general decision of the people. The political leader too should be willing to work with government appointee in robust partnership to support the government and draw benefits to the people and state in general. He appreciated the contributions of the Forum during the last elections, saying it was one of the foremost elders’ forums that was vocal and firm in its support for the governor.
“The governor is aware of this group. When some people were still undecided, you stood by the PDP, you stood by the governor. That was why we recorded the highest number of votes for the governor. I thank the governor for deeming me fit and seeing that I am capable of handling certain aspects of governance in his cabinet.
He charged the forum to expand its membership in the spirit of unity and reconciliation, adding that it is imperative to reach out to those still outside the group. “I respectfully charge you with the responsibility of recruiting more elders into the forum so we can always relate in groups and not on individual basis. If I err, I am human and I will always respect the corrections of my elders and those of others as well,” he submitted.
Earlier in his address, the forum chairman, Prof. Akpan I. Akpan referred to the commissioner as their “worthy son”, adding that their visit was a solidarity one. While praying for the success of Hon. Inyang, he listed what he called the problems of Ikot Ekpene to include poor roads is both rural and urban areas, non recognition of stakeholders in the scheme of things, and uneven spread of political appointments to reflect the geographical spread across the 11 wards. He appealed for the recognition of Otorobo clan, saying that there are three clans in the local government but only two are recognized even when Otorobo as a clan has been approved. He thanked Inyang for always partnering with them.
Also speaking, Engr. G. Udoumoh harped on the need to turn the market into an international one as the area is strategically located and people from other states come down to the area for economic activities and other forms of trade. “Most of the industries in this state got ailing because there was no market where raw materials could be gotten at fair price”. On Ikot Ekpene and the way forward politically, he asserted, “what creates and furthers disunity in Ikot Ekpene is the tendency where persons who held public office in the past sidelined those who disagreed with their divisive style of leadership. I appeal to that our son, Engr. Inyang to continue with his well known, cherished Christian values of embracing everybody irrespective of their differences against him. I trust that under your umbrella of accommodation and unity, we will be able to speak our mind and resolve issues as a family”.
Commenting, Engr. Sam Inyang recalled the significant role played by the commissioner during the elections. “We believe in you, we remember your contributions during the elections. We adopted many wards outside your own ward, financed them and ensured that they work for the electoral success of the present administration. This was possible because you are a man of the people”. He urged the commissioner to bring all appointees of Ikot Ekpene extraction in one direction to work for the success of the present administration.
A clergy and Exco member of the forum, Pst. Akanson described Etido Inyang as a lover of God, positing that it is the reason he has continued to enjoy supernatural blessings and elevation. God loves a man like him and we must continue to give him the support that he needs. According to him, Hon. Inyang’s current position is only a stepping stone as God will catapult him to the national and global stage. The clergy reminded that Ikot Ekpene has special sand that can be used for premium quality glasses with gold plating, and one of the best sources of water, which if promoted to the world, would bring huge revenue to the area and the state in general. He appealed for patience in expectations from the people for Engr. Inyang, saying he has only just assumed office and should be given time to settle in properly as he will redeem himself as he did in the past.