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Akpabio’s Contribution to the Stability of Nigeria and the Evolution of the Next Constitution
26 Mar 2010

Recently, Akwa Ibom State Government played host to a powerful delegation of National Assemblymen and members of the constitution review committee, precisely 44 distinguished senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.  These men were in Uyo, the state capital for an all important retreat expected to help deepen democracy and reshape our constitution.

No sooner than the lawmakers settled down to business in Governor Godswill Akpabio’s territory, that one of the senators was quick to observe that whenever a comprehensive history of Nigeria’s political and constitutional development would be written, Akwa Ibom State must occupy a conspicuous place in the volumes. This, according to the senator is because Akpabio has elevated the once pedestrian state to a position where it can no longer be ignored in terms of infrastructural development, peace, unity, capital development and self worth.

This assertion was however confirmed by Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President and leader of the delegation, who added that the state was chosen for the retreat because of its serene and secure environment. Indeed, he should know as this was not his first visit to the state. A few months back, Ekweremadu had led a delegation of 5 Senators on an oversight function to the state and similarly expressed the senate’s pleasure at governor Akpabio’s people-focused leadership style.

At the time in question, Akpabio had spent over N81b on the construction of Federal roads in the state, aside state intervention in other federal institutions. Moved by what he saw on ground, the senate leadership had promised to ensure that relevant laws were put in place to enable the federal government to live up to its responsibility as it concerned refund of Akwa Ibom money. “We have seen a lot since we arrived at the Ibom International Airport and the quality of work done there. We thank you for the judicious management of the financial resources of your state. We have seen the new governor’s lodge. We have seen new roads that you are building, the various development projects in the different LGAs and are aware of the free education policy in the state” he said.

He continued by saying “we thank you so much for the good work you are doing. When a governor or government is doing well especially in an emerging democracy, it means a lot. The impressive performance is a good defense for our democracy. So when people are aspiring for a political office, they should know what they are looking for and how they will live up to the challenges of the office if given the mandate”, the senator added. According to him, the state governor has written his name in gold because of the people-oriented projects executed and that Akpabio’s performance was a strong case for the increased revenue for the Niger Delta region. “For Nigeria, it is important because your state is making proper use of money allotted to her being a state in the Niger Delta. By this act, you are making a strong case for increased revenue in derivation. In short, you will make it more difficult for anyone to challenge your second term bid”.

On the whole, the lawmakers who felt completely relaxed throughout their stay in the state, agreed that by ensuring a peaceful and accommodating environment which now attract numerous corporate and government businesses and retreats to the state, Akpabio has indirectly contributed to the stability of Nigeria and the evolution of the next constitution.

Promising to deliver a properly amended constitution that will help to engineer a process that will give the country a reformed electoral process, the Senate Leader and member of the review committee, Teslim Balogun, joined in the praise of the state governor for being a shining star among his peers. He told the governor that his performance provides a strong statement for enduring democracy in Nigeria, adding that he was not disappointed even during the short period of stay in the state. Then there was a repeated assurance of a good job on the constitution. “We will do a good job for Nigeria, at the end of the day, history will never forget us for the role we are playing now to ensure that we deepen democracy”.

But Governor Akpabio’s patriotism did not end with providing the senators with enabling space for ideas to thrive, he went on to assure the senate that state governors would work with state houses of assembly to return the resolutions on the Electoral Reform and Constitutional amendment received from the senate within one week. His words: “what the senate is doing is to deepen democracy and of course we all are beneficiaries. There is no doubt that the senate decisions will stabilize the nation, we have not yet reached the Eldorado so we still beckon on you sooner or later”.

The governor lauded the senators for choosing Akwa Ibom as venue for the retreat and assured them that the natural ambience, the peace in the state and the hospitable disposition of the people will enable them to have fruitful deliberations. He expressed the hope that the constitution when amended will help to correct the mistakes of the past administrations in the country so that more dividends of democracy can be provided for the people noting that “with the new electoral reform in place, it means if every vote should be counted in Nigeria, election results will no longer be predicted, it means that the people can be held accountable. In every situation, it should be what you have done for the people, it should be the totality of your being that should merit you for a political office and not the questions of carry go”.

Governor Akpabio stressed that going by the recent crucial decisions so far taken by the senate leadership and the clean credentials of the constitution review committee members, the people were confident that a functional document on electoral process will be evolved for the country. He alerted the senators that what has been achieved so far by his administration came out of the determination to fulfill the programmes of the ruling party. The areas mentioned as having been successfully met included the health sector with free medical health care services for the aged and pregnant mothers, the implementation of the Child’s Right Law, where the future of the average child is hopeful and guaranteed through education and empowerment of the parents.

Observers at different quarters have agreed that so far, Akpabio’s efforts aimed at reordering trends in development positively have attracted accolades and awards to his government in the last two and a half years. His modest contribution to the review of the nation’s constitution has been commended by political analysts.

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