23 Years Later, IBB Justifies Creation of Akwa Ibom
03 Jun 2010
For Gen Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB), former military President of Nigeria, his decision to create Akwa Ibom State during his military regime 23 years ago has not been a wasted effort at all. The former president said that the government of Chief Godswill Akpabio has done tremendously well considering the level of growth in the state, adding that it is an assurance that there is hope in the horizon for Nigerians.
Gen Babangida who was in Akwa Ibom State last week to inaugurate the governing board of the Initiatives, a group of House of Representatives members promoting good governance, described his visit as “home coming” and stated that if given another opportunity he would create Akwa Ibom again.
IBB, who was the chairman of the occasion, said that from the little he has seen from the airport to Ibom Hall, his decision to create the state 23 years ago was justified even as he recalled the circumstances that led to the abrogation of the obnoxious onshore/offshore oil dichotomy several years ago.
The former military leader recalled thus, “I can still recall vividly the circumstances that led to the abrogation of the onshore/offshore oil dichotomy. I want to say here that when the demand was made by one of your illustrious daughters and other distinguished sons of Akwa Ibom, it was challenging for me at the time, but the leadership of my government had to hearken to the voice and yearnings of the people.”
He added, “I am proud to say that the growth and development of the state is a justification of our action for the people of the state at the right time. Akwa Ibom is a story that cannot be told in a hurry.” While he paid glowing attributes to past leaders of the state, Gen Babangida said that the state was lucky to have Chief Godswill Akpabio as governor, describing him as “truly God’s will for the leadership of the state at this critical time.”
He also added that the things he has read about the state in the newspapers were indications that Governor Akpabio has been able to aggregate the collective aspirations of the people with policies and programmes that bear meaning to the people of the state. His words, “when we initially created this state, it was almost unthinkable that only 23 years after, the state could pride itself with an international airport with the best facilities in the country, an independent power plant, good road network, among other achievements.”
According to the former president, “it takes the government that has the interest of the people at heart to embark on such people oriented development projects and programmes that has utility values. Governor Akpabio deserves our standing ovation.”
While advising public servants in the state, the former military leader charged them to be accountable, adding that it was only through the principle of accountability that the impact of government could be felt by the people. He further stressed the need for government to create equal opportunities for people irrespective of their tribal or cultural affiliations, adding that successes and failures of any country or state depends on the public servants.
Gen Babangida also said that accountability in governance was necessary in raising the hope of citizens for equal opportunities even as he also advised the youths to shun politics of bitterness, as 2011 general elections approaches.