By Umoh-Obong Kingsley
The Honourable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Charles Udoh, has disclosed that the Akwa Ibom State Government, under the leadership of Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, in his developmental drive, will not welcome chaotic, jumbled, disorganised or messy development in the state.
He said this during an interview on Inspiration 105.9FM, Uyo, on Saturday, 28 October 2017, while clarifying issues on the seeming and unending questions on the lips of Akwa Ibomites ranging from road constructions by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and other issues in the state.
Speaking on the inability of the NDDC to execute any project, and putting the blame on the contractor, Mr Charles Udoh noted that: “He who pays the piper detects the tune. If you engage a contractor, there should be modality. There should be some performance indications that you hold. Government of Akwa Ibom State also has contractors as well as other states and agencies.
“If the contractor is not performing, you revoke the contract and give it to someone else. It is not a case of awarding contract and the contractor disappears into thin air leaving the masses to suffer.”
“We don’t want a scattered-gun approach development. We want sustainable development that would drive the economic growth of Akwa Ibom State. Don’t forget we are on a developmental trajectory where we are looking to build a sustainable economy, where we are looking to turn around the compass of our economy from the government-focus economy that we had in the greater part of 30 years of our existence, to an economy that is private sector driven. That is more sustainable.”
On the issue of the alleged face-off between the state government and the NDDC in the state, the Information Commissioner further stressed that Governor Udom Emmanuel does not kick against anybody wanting to partner with the state. “After all, one of his five-point agenda is economic and political inclusion. The other was infrastructural consolidation and expansion. For you to do this, we are also preaching that we want investors and partners to help in this gigantic construction site that Akwa Ibom State is, because we want to arrive at that destination where we will become Nigeria’s industrial hub.
“Today, people are singing praise of Akwa Ibom State as Nigeria’s emerging football capital. Those are the things government is doing. If you can’t fix those things to support the government, then there is no point doing them.”
The Info Boss described the public perception that the government is antagonistic, propaganda, saying: “For me, the signals are clear. Examples abound where these projects are started and left halfway. The University of Uyo access road is a case in point. During the second anniversary, the government announced that contracts would be awarded and before you know it, the developmental agency got to the road and chased away the other contractor.
“The latest one was the Youth Avenue in Shelter Afrique. A few days before then, there was a thanksgiving service in the church where Governor Emmanuel promised to fix up that road. Three days later, some contractors turned up.
“There are different stages of fixing a road. You must first of all evacuate the residue soil to the point where you can have stable soil, and then start feeling, compact it, put hardcore before you can even think of asphalting. You wake up one morning and find a contractor pouring hardcore on the road without excavation. When asked where he came from, he mentioned a certain agency. The Commissioner for Works called the director of the agency only for the director to deny knowledge of the contractor.
“All we are saying is that these issues could have been avoided and the situations tackled only if there is courtesy. Akwa Ibom State has a government, if you have respect for the number one leader of the state, you should show that decency. Leader