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…As Ekong Samson Harps on Selfless Approach to Akwa Ibom Unity Project

By Aniedi UKOENANG

My song is a story of liberated people,
Held captive for eons
In the gulag of spite, neglect and inertia
Frustrated and desecrated
Marooned and kiwied
But now unfettered unto an effulgent
Glory of freedom and manumission

A surfeit of such melodious poetic expressions as above flowed freely from the lips of members of Uyo book club at last Saturday’s reading session as the club dedicated her September gathering to the Akwa Ibom at 33 celebrations.

Declaring the event open for the day’s reading session, the founder of the club and ace communicator, Dr. Udeme Nana in his opening remarks called for stock-taking on the journey to statehood and experiences so far in her 33 years of existence.
Nana opened the floor by reading a poem he titled, ‘A song for Akwa Ibom’, narrating the history, odyssey of the Akwa Ibom people and eulogizing the state and her past leaders for their efforts at rapidly developing the state.

He read, “ … at 33, Akwa Ibom is not in the threshold of draughts nor wildfires.
Akwa Ibom is not in the earthquake belt and landslides are rare while floods recede as soon as rains subside.
At 33
AkwaIbom , It wasn’t named after any river but
Christened to celebrate the vastness of the Almighty God or in remembrance of their homestead of antiquity ?
That historical point of dispersal at Ibom
A celebration that we are now owners of a larger space
Stands safe and Majestic
Rearing , roaring like a hungry lion.
Her potentials offer immense possibilities on land , Air and sea.
At 33
Akwaibom is safe like
An Oasis of peace
Promising like youth full of vigour
Poised to fulfill his mission”.

Also speaking at the reading session, the immediate past commissioner for Environment and Petroleum Resources, Rt. Hon. Ekong Sampson called for what he described as “selfless commitment to the unity and development of Akwa Ibom State”.

Sampson who is a patron of the reading club and regular attendee recalled the journey to statehood, eulogizing the heroes that fought for the actualization of Akwa Ibom state, and praised Governor Udom Emmanuel for rebranding the state during his tenure.

Harping on diversification, he particularly applauded the government of Udom Emmanuel for its efforts in industrializing the state and refocusing the interest of the citizens to agriculture.

In his words “we can diversify the various flanks of the economy, because a weak economy put pressure on democracy, but a buoyant economy puts a safety belt against rebellion, tension that forms of distraction, so we need to put in place a vibrant economy to serve as a safety belt for democracy. And the way to do it is to diversify”.

He continued that “the government of Udom Emmanuel is working very hard to diversify. Ibom Air is one strong statement that we have to take bold steps to diversify. And through Ibom Air, Akwa Ibom has won the respect of not just Nigeria but the world. Ibom Air is a very bold step at diversification, agriculture is also key because in times like this we must feed ourselves”, he added.

Other readers presented their songs, poems and eulogies to the state, including a senior citizen and retired permanent secretary, Elder Namso Umoren who also joined the book club to salute the state and her citizens on the occasion of the 33rd anniversary celebration.

Highpoint of the session was the celebration and cutting of cake to celebrate Rt. Hon. Ekong Sampson who marked his birthday few days before the Akwa Ibom day celebration.

Pending the approval of the Nigeria Senate, the government of Rivers State have received 78 billion naira from the President Buhari led Federal Government.

The sum Is another tranche of refunds to five state Governments across the country for Federal Highway projects carried out by the various state governors.

According to the letter, the refund would be carried out in form of promissory notes payable to five states for the rehabilitation of federal highways. A breakdown shows that of the said amount, Rivers State will collect the highest amount of N78.9 billion; followed by Bayelsa State with N38.4 billion. Other beneficiaries include Cross River to get N18.3 billion; Ondo State has N7.8 billion and Osun State with N4.5billion. The letter was titled ‘Request for Resolution of the National Assembly for Approval of the Reimbursement of N148.14 billion through the Issuance of Promissory Notes to Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun and Rivers State Governments for Federal Road Projects Executed by the States.’

According to the letter, “the Senate may wish to be informed that the Federal Executive Council, FEC, at its meeting of June 3, approved the reimbursement of N148.14 billion through the issuance of promissory notes to Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun and Rivers States Government for the federal road projects executed by the states. “The approval by FEC was subsequent to the recommendation by an inter-ministerial committee which reviewed the request for reimbursement made by the state governments for the projects.

By Aniedi UKOENANG

In the build up to the celebration of the fourth year in office of Governor Udom Emmanuel in May 2019, I wrote an article that I titled ‘Udom the Jinx breaker’. Before making that write up public, I dug a lot of information across the state, and through such data I discovered GOV UDOM EMMANUEL has debuted many feats either in Akwa Ibom State, the Southern region or Nigeria.

THE First Akwa United trophy in 30years is under Udom, first since 1999 to build and operate an industry, first Governor in Nigeria to launch a state owned airline, many more outstanding feats of his made that list.

With due respect to the respective Excellencies that have led this state since creation, especially from 1999, they also left behind footprints in the sands of time.

Then came Udom Emmanuel in 2015 as the 3rd executive governor of the state since the 4th Republic in 1999. During his campaign he made promises that are politically rare In Nigeria. In this clime, especially at the state level, nobody campaigns with a promise to build industries. Governorship aspirants usually promise to build stomachs, do bridge across the mountain, PROVIDE pipe borne water, street lights and other things that are VERY elementary and comic.

Alas, Udom Emmanuel has fulfilled the industrialization promise and has gone a step further to redesign the economic outlook of Akwa Ibom State by employing high level business development skill sets to the benefit of the people.

This Governor is doing to the state’s economy what Obong Victor Attah did to her PHYSICAL landscape, and the evidence of both are so glaring and the impact, undeniable.

Expectedly, his traducers will continue to wail about the absence of free cash on the street, and zero tolerance to the promotion of destitution, begging and political jobbing in Akwa Ibom by this administration, but the murmurings won’t stop the salaries of thousands of youths, working at the COUNTLESS industries built or attracted by the current administration.

One should wonder, why is it that more commercial buildings, enterprises and even international franchises are springing up in Akwa Ibom State now, despite the gloomy economy globally, as against when we sang ‘Akwa Ibom ayaya’ and ‘Akwa Ibom ado ok’?

For example, in August 2020, a franchise of Cold Stone opened their branch in Uyo, and while the joy erupted amongst fun seekers and those who will tap direct or indirect economic benefits from that establishment, Chicken Republic also exposed their brand to the public, to create awareness even without completing the building. The next big news within the same month was that Ibom Tropicana Centre, the supposed one-stop world class entertainment centre that was however left uncompleted and reduced to a mere cinema, has found favour in the sight of some investors who are currently working day and night to launch a world class mall, Ibom Tropicana Mall , with its accompanying potpourri of outstanding brands by December 2020.

All these goodies wouldn’t just fall on Akwa Ibom people at this time by a stroke of luck; they are evidence Udom Emmanuel meant serious business when he pledged to industrialize the state. And for the traffic of investments to Akwa Ibom State to remain uninterrupted since 2017 that NBS ranked the state second highest in Foreign Direct Investment, it means someone is doing a very diligent and technical job in the background.

Again, just recently, while Ibom Air was receiving her fourth and fifth aircrafts, the news of the contract signed by BUA Group in France to build a refinery in Akwa Ibom filtered in, the Federal Government also approved an oil/gas free trade zone for the state, still around the same period work began at the proposed vehicle assembly plant in Itu Local Government Area, is this not becoming miraculous?

Indeed, there is no other interpretation to this than the fact that this Governor, having attained the highest level of knowledge in business development has deployed this knowledge to inject life into the economy of this state, possibly through proper marketing of opportunities embedded in our land to the right people and throwing the right baits at the investors with peace and security being the number one bait.

His shrewdness also reflects in the fact that under his administration, government investments worth billions of dollars that were gasping for breath in economic ventilators, especially those initiated by the immediate past administration have now been rescued and are now operating with ease.
A quick example is the Ibom Specialist Hospital that recently announced their successes in multiple cases of brain surgery, kidney transplant and other medical exploits. Akwa Ibom people and indeed Nigerians are very familiar with the story of the near abandonment and scrapping of that edifice which was a mere building until this administration painstakingly worked out an operational plan, in addition to meeting very tough conditions given by world class experts, experienced in managing such facility. That hospital is now a 24hour referral centre, carrying out the exploits it was designed for, courtesy of Udom Emmanuel’s wizardry.

Ibom Tropicana Centre, Ibom Hotels and Golf Resort also got rescued from comatose, while the supposed four Point by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene is on the queue waiting to be rescued through his craft, otherwise it may keep standing up there in the sky as a carcass of useless twelve-storey skyscraper that it is, serving only the function of providing beautiful background for photographs in Ikot Ekpene.

Indeed, through Udom Emmanuel’s wizardry in business development and managing the economy, Akwa Ibom people have been made prosperous even in a season of drought, the state is now the toast of investors, jobs are created, his dakkada message has made the people entrepreneurial, while the economic architecture of the state have been redesigned, to the benefit of the people. As Akwa Ibom celebrates 33 years of statehood as an economic force in Nigeria I salute the helmsman for both his wizardry in business development and statecraft.

(Aniedi UKOENANG, a PR enthusiast writes from Uyo. 08065566247)

The late former Senate President Dr. Chuba Okadigbo had described Politics as “a series of concentric circles of conspiracy” and I totally agree with him. Humanity have always naturally been inclined to fighting for freedom from perceived oppressors and this is what has played out in the case of Edo State…

I have followed political events in several states long enough to know that Edo State was going to be back in PDP. Especially when Adams Oshiomhole turned the election into a personal vendetta… The truth is, the whole idea of a governor imposing or choosing a candidate that will succeed him in office, hoping to extend his rule through a “surrogate” and continuing to be “in control” outside office is fast fading away in Nigeria.

The power and authority of the office of Governor is quite intoxicating… Yes. And it drives many sitting Governors to wrongly assume that everyone is under their feet and will remain so even after office. I have watched political battles between former governors and incumbents and 90% of the time, the incumbents triumph over the former. Yet some Governors are still not learning.

I watched Ex Gov. Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State, set up PPA in 2005/2006, and personally enthroned Chief Theodore Orji who was in prison in 2007 as Governor, only for him (Kalu) to meet his waterloo in the hands of Theodore Orji… Kalu fought Theodore Orji with everything and in everywhere he knew, but to no avail. Theodore Orji continually triumphed… So much so that, Kalu couldn’t get a senate seat in 2011 and 2015.

I watched George Akume fight Gabriel Suswam in Benue to a point that he (Akume) had to leave PDP for Suswam. In Anambra, Peter Obi fought Willie Obiano whom he personally enthroned unsuccessfully, instead Obiano won even better in his second term elections..

In my home state, the story of 2019 is still fresh in our memory. Ex Gov. Akpabio could not believe that despite his popularity, the people still choose to support Udom Emmanuel and PDP. He did everything humanly possible to assume that position of “God-father of Akwa Ibom Politics”, he lost woefully.

I can go on and on, it is only in Lagos, that I saw Governor Akinwumi Ambode chicken out like a baby… allowing the old, haggered Tinubu to feel like a super hero… The Seat of Governor is a public seat. No one owns it… No one can claim ownership of the seat. Ambode ought to have made history by fighting from outside the party with another ticket in his hand… That would have sent shivers down the spine of the Tinubu camp, and even if he lost, he would have lost a hero.

HE Gov. Obaseki has given hope to Nigerians. He has tamed a wild and ravaging God-father. Obaseki’s performance speaks for him. The people of Edo State have stood with him to demistify the Short Kaduna Tailor that has refused to respect his age. Obaseki’s victory has shown that democracy is indeed growing in Nigeria.

No one man should be allowed the power of “killing and making alive” in our polity, no matter how well he performed in office. When a governor leaves office, it is better to “leave” and “leave”… Remain in your honour. As a Governor, you don’t have to anoint and enthrone anyone. It’s not your job. Instead put your records straight, then allow a free and fair process so that a leader chosen by the people can emerge, so you can remain in your honour…

Edo 2020 is not just a victory of the PDP, but a victory for democracy, a victory over God-fatherism, A victory over the double-mouth of a Short Kaduna Tailor… Indeed, Power belongs to God, and God gives it to Whomever He Pleases

Congratulations Gov. Godwin N. Obaseki

Edidiong Eno Ekpo
Uyo

A man reported to be factional APC Chairman in Edo state just escaped death by the whiskers as youth who caught him in INEC Office demand explanation of his visit to such a sensitive office in this midnight hours just before the election.

Some reports accused the man of being in the office on the instruction of Comr. Adams Oshiomole.

Video of the APC Exco Being Harrased

Nwoba Chika Nwoba, APC Publicity Secretary in Ebonyi state has raised alarm, accusing the Federal Government of quietly giving 700 million naira to each House of Reps member for onward distribution to their Constituents.

Mr. Nwoba took to his Facebook page to allege that the monies, quietly received by the legislators are supposedly meant for onward distribution to farmers in the Federal Constituencies across the country, warning constituents to hold their House of Reps members accountable.

In the Facebook post, he wrote

“The sum of N700,000,000 (seven-hundred million naira) has been dolled out, each to the House of Representatives members in Nigeria to share to their constituents for Agricultural purposes. Principal officers of the House got more. This was done few days ago unannounced. Each beneficiary in a constituency is expected to get one million naira, which must be for agricultural use, only.

Hold your House of Representatives member by the jugular. Some have gone away with the money completely- while others are preparing to present it in the form of personal assistance or empowerment to their constituents- with them sharing N100,000 each to the benefitting constituents after what they may choose to call a workshop. And you’ll be clapping not knowing N900k has been made away with.

They just communicated themselves. Just like that. No open debate. When it comes to this, partisan dichotomy doesn’t crop up. Everybody is one. You won’t hear bickering. Nothing unites Nigeria politicians more than corruption. No racism. Nothing at all. *Ndi uwa!

Take note of this!

NCN.”

Efforts to speak to three House of Reps members that our reporters contacted did not succeed as they were not picking their calls nor respond to text messages.

Nigerians have expressed fear over COVID-19 safety protocols as the Federal Government orders all bank account owners to go to their respective banks and fill forms.

A notice released on the official Twitter handle of the government says that “the Federal Government of Nigeria has directed Nigerians with accounts in any financial institutions to obtain, complete and submit Self – Certification Forms to their respective financial institutions.

The financial institutions comprise of banks, insurance companies and others”.

The forms, according to a tweet thread from the verified account of the Government of Nigeria explained that the forms are required by the relevant financial institutions to carry out due diligence procedures in line with the Income Tax Regulations 2019.

Nigerians are more uncomfortable that despite the existence of BVN and biometric systems, account owners are required to visit all the banks they have different accounts for the exercise.

Celebrity Nigerian singer and boss of DMW, David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido got Nigerians talking over his Richard Mille Watch that worths 58 Million Naira, as reported on Instagram.

The Instagram post that got Nigerias talking reads, “@davidoofficial wears a @richardmille RM030 Automatic in rose gold and titanium with light blue strap. It features the classic tonneau shaped case with a self-winding automatic skeletonized movement displaying hours, minutes, seconds, date, and power reserve. This timepiece has a list price of $120,000.00 and on market it goes for around $150,000.00 dollars. #RichardMille”, and a photo of the sky blue strapped wrist watch with a gold bar has got Nigerians asking “apart from time, does it do any other thing “?

Another fan with a username SOLMUS who reacted online described the purchase as continuous slavery.

He said “Foolish Africans making an oyinbo jewelry company owned by one oyinbo Richard fvcking richer

How much is a bar of solid gold for a watch made of gold , glass and rubber to be worth 58m

The major thing Bill Gates snr insisted his son did was sponsor charity”.

Another person called TOPHUMBLE “So it will tell him about tomorrow

The amount used to buy it can be used to create job for over 1000 people”.

The member representing Ikot Abasi, Mkpat Enin and Eastern Obolo Federal Constituency of Akwa Ibom State, in the Nigeria National Assembly, Rt. Hon. Francis Charles Uduyok has continued to deliver key infrastructural projects and interventions to the benefit of his constituents.

In his latest interventionist project, the two time House of Reps member, who is also the leader of the ten member Akwa Ibom caucus in the red chambers recently handed over an eight classroom storey building to Methodist Secondary school in Ete, Ikot Abasi Local Government Area to cushion the negative impact of class room shortage in the foremost school.

In a telephone interview with this reporter, Hon. Uduyok describes the school building project as a key infrastructural intervention that is aimed at boosting the intake capacity of the school, especially as ‘the new normal’ occasioned by COVID-19 may not permit over crowding of students in classrooms.
He added that such was in fulfillment of his promise to deliver tangible dividends of democracy to the people of Ikot Abasi Local Government Area just as he is doing same in other LGAs in the constituency.

Civic centre project in progress

In his words, “the Methodist secondary school Ete project is one project after my heart. I had promised the people of Ikot Abasi that I will give them more infrastructural intervention in my second tenure in House of Reps. That secondary school is a foremost community school attended by children from up to five rural communities, we hope that with the addition of the storey building, we must have helped the institution to increase her capacity. The project is also timely as it will help the school to check overcrowding in classrooms in line with the new new normal occasioned by COVID-19”.

Away from the Ikot Abasi School project, Uduyok, known for his silent impacts in delivering beneficial programmes and projects in his constituency also has his footprints of development across the Federal Constituency.

Within just one year of his current mandate, he has carried out at least ten massive infrastructural projects and programmes including; the renovation of secondary school Ukam , reconstruction of Group School, Ikot Obio Nso and construction of Odoro Ikot Community Hall, all in Mkpat Enin LGA.
Okoroette people in Eastern Obolo Local Government Area are also enjoying their legislative impact as the member is constructing a town hall and also carrying out massive water reticulation project in their communities.
The member has also carried out three empowerment programmes as well as Covid-19 economic welfare campaigns to help his constituents minimize the negative impact of covid19 on their wellbeing.

Another silent achievement of Mr. Uduyok is the facilitation of employment for his constituents in the Federal civil service and armed forces. The Member is always showing commitment in linking youth of his Constituency to available opportunities in the Federal MDAs and armed forces.

While delivering dividends of democracy to his people, the Chairman, Sub Committee on Maritime, Education and Administration, has also ensured a perfect juxtaposition of his duties on the floor of the House with the relaying of impacts to his constituents.

On the floor of the House, he currently has fourteen bills and two motions to his name, and is also handling multiple vital assignments meant for experienced and trusted legislators, as given to him by the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajiabiamila.

The latest of such assignment is his recent appointment as Chairman of House of Rep’s Ad-Hoc Committee on Unspent Budget Fund amongst other sensitive assignments.

…Says NBS Unemployment rating is laughable

By Aniedi UKOENANG

The upsurge on the influx of investors and investments to Akwa Ibom State has been linked to Governor Udom Emmanuel’s integrity, knowledge of the economy and business savvy.

The Executive Chairman of Mkpat Enin Local Government Area, Hon. Ekanem Brown made this assertion when he paid a working visit to the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Trade and Investments, Barr Prince Akpabio in his office.

Ekanem Brown, known for his drive to domesticate Governor Udom Emmanuel’s completion agenda in his Local Government Area, said that the aim of his visit was to market the economic assets of his Local Government to the Commissioner and in return explore opportunities for collaborations in the Trade and Investment Ministry for the benefit of Mkpat Enin people.

Briefing newsmen shortly after the visit, the council boss also reacted to the recent controversial rating of NBS on Akwa Ibom State, positing that “As a Chairman of the host Local Government to at least four (4) key employment stimulating investments of Akwa Ibom State Government, I find the recent report of Nigeria Bureau of Statistics against Akwa Ibom state as both questionable and laughable”.

He said “I was in the Commissioner’s office on a very official visit. You know that Barr. Prince Akpabio is manning an office that is very vital to the completion agenda of the current administration in the state, so as a follower of that agenda, I came here to market what Mkpat Enin has that might be of interest to him, and to also seek possible frontiers that my administration can explore in form of collaboration, for the benefit of my people.

“I also applauded the Commissioner because his ministry is at the centre of the recent influx of investments into Akwa Ibom State. While we analyzed these goodies, I quickly pointed out that nothing else could be responsible for the flow-in of these investments other than the integrity of the Governor, his knowledge of the economy of this state, his savvy in managing business opportunities and the peace that his administration has ensured.

“ For example, the Federal Government has just approved a Free Trade Zone for the state, Ibom Air is making waves, Ibom Deep Seaport is having headway, an agreement has just been signed for a refinery in the state by BUA Group, many others in the process.
” These things don’t just happen, the Governor is definitely doing a great job” he concluded.