Leadership is not devoid of criticism and so is responsibility. Every one saddled with the mantle of leadership is often faced with countless criticisms in their rawest, baseless and even false forms yet, they must stand firm in their resolve to deliver on their agendum.
For Governor Udom Emmanuel, the story is not different when the array of criticism against his administration is considered, one of which is an article: “The Looting of Akwa Ibom: How Gov. Udom’s office Spent N8.85bn in one year”, written by an anonymous identity and published by PointBlankNews.
First of all, the weight of this caption which is not only insultive is indeed laughable when one brings to the table, the person of Udom Gabriel Emmanuel. Do people living down have any fear of falling? Or do people who are low by status and intelligence have any need for pride? If these questions can be answered correctly, it would imply that people who have grown to the echelon of success and have tasted power as well as financial affluence, are not moved by petty monies and allocations, one of which is Governor Udom Emmanuel whose unpolitical contacts, exposure and references are scattered across the length and breadth of the economic sphere.
The writer of the said piece lost his gravity when he made recourse to an amount of money spent in 2016 and acclaimed bank documents seen and captured; were these monies to have been looted truly, would those records have been seen? Recall that the year in mention was the year after Governor Emmanuel was sworn-in as the State Chief Executive. Bearing in mind the recklessness of the immediate past administration and the need to save the then revered image of one we have now come to understand has none, would the innocent successor had done otherwise than to immediately commence the payment of debts which were running into billions? Gratuities and contracts inclusive?
Is the APC in mention not the same Party harbouring the same person who stocked up this debt profile high up to the heavens? Or how do you explain giving approval for the release of N72billion naira for the construction of only 3km of the 25km Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road? How do you explain fully releasing over N150 billion for the uncompleted Tropicana? How do you explain the release of N19.5 billion for the uncompleted Etebi-Enwang road that was originally valued at N5billion naira? How do you explain the release of billions of naira meant for the construction of the 8-lane Goodluck Jonathan Boulevard on papers whereas in reality the road is 4-lane?
Should one mention the N42 billion paid for Ibom Specialty Hospital he left uncompleted or the N25 billion fully paid yet uncompleted Four Point by Sheraton?
What about the uncompleted Airport project? What happened to the N18 billion terminal building? Is the International soccer pitch (stadium) worth the reported $360 million dollars it allegedly gulped? Of what use today is the E-library to the common Akwa Ibomite? And out of the over 3trillion naira that accrued to the state in Akpabio’s terrain, how much investment dividends do the state derive today?
Is it not true that Akpabio left the state with huge debt, uncompleted white elephant projects and over N30billion pension arrears despite huge revenue?
If these facts are true, what would stop one from borrowing if that is the only option available to make people-oriented projects?
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, even the blind has seen and the deaf, heard how States and nations were emptying their treasuries to ensure that the harsh effects of the lockdown is cushioned.
This was even made more manifest in Akwa Ibom with the reel out of palliatives and the building of a state-of-the-art isolation centre which stands out amongst similar structures worldwide today.
From where then comes this notion of the state money being looted? Can anyone refute the governor’s claim that he still drives the car he came into power with? Or has anyone seen a house he his living or building which was not acquired before he came on board?
Today in history, we recall Akwa Ibom being declared as best performing state in the south south by the World bank, who is behind this?
The World Bank at its 2019 fiscal year congratulated the State government for also being recognised by World Bank Task Team Leaders on its performance in project implementation, while commending the commitment of the Governor Udom Emmanuel-led administration for earning the award. What else do we need to hear for us to know that we are doing fair enough?
Truth is, no one values a thing when they have it until it is lost. The same can be said of this administration. The hidden truth will have its say someday!