Projects Mr President Will Not See In Akwa Ibom
05 Jul 2011: Anietie Ekong
Barely one year after his last visit to Akwa Ibom State, President Goodluck Jonathan is billed for a one-day official visit to Akwa Ibom State on July 6, 2011. A peep into the official itinerary of the President during the visit shows he would be in for a hectic time while in the Land of Promise. According to the official programme of activities of the visit, President Jonathan is expected to be the special guest of honour at the grand finale of the Nigerian Army Day Celebration, NADCEL 2011 which will be held same day at Uyo Township Stadium.
But the Akwa Ibom State Government would also use the opportunity of the august visit to showcase and inaugurate some of the dividends of democracy that the administration of Chief Godswill Akpabio has delivered. After the arrival ceremonies at the Akwa Ibom International Airport which Mr. President had commissioned during his visit last year, he would depart for Ikot Ekpene to commission the Federal Prisons, Ikot Ekpene built by the state government complete with modern facilities.
The other projects that President Jonathan would also commission include the second phase of the Ekim Itam-Nung Oku Ikono dual carriage way and the first-in-Africa underground drainage project using the pipe-jacking technology which would tackle the perennial flooding of Uyo, the state capital. Later in the day, the Commander-in-chief along with the top brass of the military would be treated to ceremonial parade, march past and military displays at the Uyo Township Stadium to round off the 2011 Army Day Celebration.
Indeed the administration of Chief Godswill Akpabio is never short of projects for the President to commission whenever he is in the state. During his last two-day official visit to the state on Thursday July 15 and 16, 2010. President Jonathan had also commissioned several people-oriented projects.
These projects included the ultra-modern and state-of-the- art Governor’s Lodge built in a record 14 months, the first phase of the Ibom International Airport, Banking District road network, fly-overs 11 and 111 located on Atiku Abubakar Avenue, the 21 kilometer Ekid Itam – Idoro – Ekom Iman dual carriage way, phase 1. Other projects were the 25 – kilometer Abak – Ikot Ekpene dual carriage way, the 56 – kilometer Afaha Obong – Etim Ekpo – Iwukem road, Etim Ekpo bridge, the 12 – kilometer Top Faith road, the Police Secondary School, the Mobile Police base, the Independent Power Project access road among many others. Indeed for President Jonathan there was no dull moment while in Akwa Ibom State.
As widely acknowledged, Governor Akpabio is never short of projects to showcase. There are many other projects that the administration has embarked upon which are at various stages of completion which the tight itinerary of the President may not accommodate for him to either inspect or commission. Indeed, in different parts of the state construction works are going on at dizzying pace that Mr President would have needed to spend a whole week in Akwa Ibom State to see them.
While the President would commission the underground drainage project, there are several other flood control projects going on simultaneously in the state capital to check the perennial flooding of Uyo. From Nwaniba road to Abak road and Oron road several companies are working round the clock to put an end to the recurrent flood menace in the state. Though they are not as big as the underground drainage project which Mr. President will commission, they are no less ambitious.
A couple of weeks back, Governor Akpabio had shut the mouth of his critics with the opening of the Cineplex of the Tropicana Entertainment Centre, an ambitious project sceptics had given no chance of seeing the light of day because of its sheer magnitude. When fully completed, the Ibom Tropicana will have a 5 Star Hotel, 15 storeys high, with over 250 rooms.
In addition the massive project will have one of the biggest auditoriums in Nigeria with a capacity to seat 8,000 people. It is going to be a centre of international attraction. Modelled after the Michaelangelo Centre in South Africa, Governor Akpabio’s vision is to see the auditorium host international conferences such as the African Union and the Commonwealth. Sadly, the President will not have the time to go and watch movies in this internationally acclaimed leisure centre, but for sure, before the end of his tenure, he would have cause to attend a conference or summit there.
Unknown to many people, right in the premises of the Government House is another gargantuan project that is almost nearing completion. It is the state banquet hall with a sitting capacity of over 5,000 and some guest houses of international standard. Work too is going on there at frantic pace and President Jonathan may be hosted there during his next visit to Akwa Ibom State.
For easy access to the Le Meridien Hotel and Golf Resort, the administration of Chief Godswill Akpabio has also embarked upon the construction of dualised highway from the Ibom International Airport to the 5-star hotel. In keeping with his promise of infrastructural development of the state, simultaneously too there is the on-going dualisation of the Aka-Nung Udoe road which due to his busy schedule, President Jonathan may not have the time to inspect.
The first four years of the Akpabio administration was spent on laying a solid infrastructural base for the state. Before Governor Akpabio mounted the saddle as the Governor, the state of infrastructure was decrepit and common sense dictated that for sustainable development to be achieved in the state, this should be addressed. The last four years had witnessed infrastructural renaissance of sort.
But Governor Akpabio has clearly stated that he would focus on industrialisation in the next four years. Towards this end, plans are in top gear to revive some ailing industries in the state that would create employment opportunities for the teeming youths in the state. During his campaign tours of the local government areas, Governor Akpabio as part of his plans for industrialisation had promised to establish at least one industry in each of the 31 local government areas.
During the visit of President Jonathan to the state, the industries may not yet be ready for take-off. But being a ‘Promise-Keeper’ the Akwa Ibom people believe that the Governor would deliver on his promise to industrialise the state. Perhaps, President Jonathan would have a more hectic time during his next visit to Akwa Ibom State if he is to commission all the industries in all the 31 local government areas in the state. Indeed, good things are happening in Akwa Ibom State.