By Henshaw Nyong.
When Nigeria embarked on the transition to democracy in 1999, the party that swept away most of the elective offices was the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) which not only had the Presidency and the majority of the National Assembly but also won 21 governorship seats.
One of the states the PDP took control of, was Akwa Ibom; a State in the South South, which was created from the Cross River State in 1987.
However, six (6) Military Administrators and four (4) democratically elected governors have piloted the affairs of the oil rich Akwa Ibom which celebrated her three decades of Statehood on 27th September, 2017.
Howbeit, Akwa Ibom ranks among the States in Nigeria, that can boast of a rapid transformation, as could be visibly seen, in the area of roads and infrastructure, health, education, industrial growth and peaceful co-existence, amongst its citizens.
In his inaugural address after being sworn-in as the 10th Governor of Akwa Ibom State, on Friday, 29th May, 2015, Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, offered himself as a servant and a co-labourer before a large crowd of Akwa Ibomites who witnessed the swearing-in ceremony at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.
In the very mouth of the newly sworn-in State Chief Executive: ‘‘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 as 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‘‘, said Mr. Emmanuel.
Two years after, unbiased analysts and keen observers of government activities in Akwa Ibom are of the opinion that, the financial guru-turned-governor has made gargantuan transformation in every area of governance in the State through what has overtime become to be known as the “Superior Performance” administration. Many have said that, Mr Emmanuel has succeeded in bridging the gap between the elite and masses as far as the delivery of dividends of democracy is concerned.
Under the Emmanuel’s leadership, Akwa Ibom State has experienced growth and development across all sectors. His administration has garnered immense acclaim for its strong determination to ensure even development in all sectors.
From power to roads and infrastructure, agriculture, health, housing and education, the present administration has recorded giant strides in Akwa Ibom State.
Evaluating the twenty nine months reign of Udom Emmanuel as Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Aniedi Brown, a Political strategist and commentator on contemporary issues, said: ‘‘Governor Udom Emmanuel has transformed Akwa Ibom State from a pedestrian state to an industrial hub’’. Brown, a politician and successful businessman further said: “The governor has been able to launch the State into the international globe by creating an enabling ground for investors to come in and invest in the state.
‘‘Take for instance, the coconut refinery in my Local Government Area; Mkpat Enin, it is a multi-million Naira project which will create over 5000 jobs for the inhabitants of Akwa Ibom state. Of course, you know that this project will reduce the poverty line and will also increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Akwa Ibom and place the State in front burner.
‘‘Don’t forget that, for the coconut refinery to function properly, the governor in his wisdom ensured that there is a power substation in Ekim, which will give constant power to over five (5) Local Government Areas.
‘‘The Governor within his two years in office has also gone into massive road construction and infrastructural renaissance in the entire ten federal constituencies, especial in areas that never benefitted from previous administrations. Places like: Oron, Udung