By Joseph Henry
The world over, Governments of Nations are key players to the economic development achieved by their countries. This they do by creating employment for her citizens through the establishment of industries, public- private business partnership as well as giving more autonomy to private investors, what may be termed an enabling environment.
Government of advanced Nations like the United States of America, United Kingdom , China and so on are more comfortable ensuring a conducive environment for businesses to thrive than establishing industries themselves. This gives government more time to focus on policy making, planning and implementation, while providing the necessary inter-states and International deals that will open up markets for greater growth.
The government of Akwa Ibom State, under the Leadership of His Excellency Mr Udom Emmanuel, has so far revolutionized the state industrially. This has yielded results that are rapidly turning the state from a civil service state to an industrial hub. From the Electrical Digital metering manufacturing factory to the largest syringe factory in Africa, the Akwa Prime hatchery and poultry, the rice processing company, fertilizer blending plant, coconut plantation and refinery project, the pencil and toothpick factory, plus the agricultural revolution witnessed across the state that has brought about food sufficiency Governor Emmanuel has successfully pioneered local investment and public-private partnership that has raised the Internally Generated revenue of the State and has given the State an index raise as the 2nd highest in terms of Foreign direct investment.
Mr Udom Emmanuel’s administration has not only established eye-catching and high income generating industries which have provided employment for the teeming population, it has fulfilled the most crucial role governments in the 21th century play in industrialising a state-Creating a conducive environment that attracts investors to invest massively in the state. It is this audacious effort of the governor in times of economic recession that was manifested in the report of The National Bureau of Statistics (NDS), rating the State the second most preferred investment destination just after Lagos(Former capital city of Nigeria). This achievement is not achieved overnight. The government has been able to put in place in the shortest possible time structures and the enabling environment to attract investors.
Every intelligent investor trades where he can make gains. Hence, a peaceful environment where his gains are saved is uppermost in his agenda. Udom Emmanuel has always had an upper hand in crime control. He has invested heavily in the area of security having understood as a technocrat the importance of a peaceful environment to economic growth. That Akwa Ibom state is winning in the fight against kidnapping, cultism and armed robbery etc., this is due to the maximum suppport the government has given security outfits. He has donated several vehicles for operations, supported the training of security personnels,etc. He has donated a vast area of land for the establishment of a military base to further enhance security. The last stroke that broke the camel’s back is the proscription of about 30 cults group that hitherto operated in the state. Every investor loves to know this.
Several companies have folded up and left the shores of Nigeria to neighbouring countries due to the endemic power supply the country experiences. Governor Udom Emmanuel understands that every business operates with Power. He has boosted power, AkwaIbomites now enjoy 18 hours of daily electricity supply. The introduction of substations across the state has also enhanced power distribution and supply across the State . The2 x 15MVA, 33 / 11 KV Injection substation, Edet Akpan Avenue, Uyo. The Ibom International Airport Power sub-station,Rehabilitation of PHED facility at Ekim, Mkpat Enin, Ikot Ekpene etc.
Interestingly the metering company supplies prepaid metres to homes and companies to regulate power usage.
In addition, the government has secured a license to generate 685 megawatts at Ibom Power Plant, Ikot Abasi; installed “dead bus” technology which allows Akwa Ibom to be an island of power supply during National Grid outages. Configured and commissioned GT 2 to enable IPP operate at 80 percent of installed capacity as required under the CBN-NESI fund, completed electricity distribution and asset evaluation to ascertain the number of transformers and customers and each transformer in every village, ward and community across the three senatorial districts. Even the most insincere critic will attest to the massive improvement of power supply in the state. It is not uncommon that Fashola, the minister for Power, Works and Housing commended the effort of Governor Emmanuel in his investment in improving Power supply in the state. The Vice- President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Prof Yemi Osinbajo has also affirmed that Governor Emmanuel is the cleverest Governor He has seen.
In the area of education, there can’t be a drive for industrialization without an increased focus on education. Investors are particular in finding the needed experts to man it’s different areas of production and business administration, Governor Udom Emmanuel has been totally commited to equipping the youths of the state both in soft skill development modules to infrastructures and the core of capacity building and human development.
To develop the teeming youths in formal education, the government still maintains the free and compulsory education in the state from primary to secondary level in public schools. This is to prepare the youths to having basic education in order to be equipped to function in an industrialized society.The government has paid Over N600 million WAEC fees for indigenes, procured & distributed free text books, laboratory equipment and other educational materials to schools. Paid tuition fees for over a 100 students in University of Uyo and have intervened in over 700 projects.
The Udom Emmanuel led administration has recorded the take over of seven community secondary schools, constructed and renovated over 400 schools blocks, upgraded Akwa Ibom State College of Arts & Science, Nung Ukim, Ikono, the College of Science & Technology, Constructed A-state-of-the-Art performance theatre auditorium and dance studio in Akwa Ibom State University. In collaboration with Exxon Mobil, the government is constructing the biggest and most sophisticated Faculty of Engineering in Nigeria at the University Of Uyo. Plans are ongoing to build 60 modular schools to further sharpen the educational capacity of the state.
In the area of Youth Development
Governor Emmanuel has trained over 20,000 indigenes in various skills acquisitions and provided funds and logistics to enable start up small scale businesses. Through Feyrep, the pet project of the Wife of the Governor, over 120 physically challenged indigenes have been trained in various skills acquisition. The state has been fully saturated with educated, skilled, qualfied, quality and ready- to -work, work force waiting to proffer global solutions to incoming investors as well as maximize their potentials.
In the area of road infrastructure,
Governor Emmanuel’s industrial drive is manifest in the good road network established by the government. Over 1700 kilometers of roads and 35 bridges have been constructed across the State to facilitate movements of people, production materials and goods with ease to different parts of the state and outside the state. Investors are certain that the break down of vehicles and unnecessary hold up of sales due to bad roads is eliminated.
For ease of transportation, it worthy of note that Akwa Ibom International Airport is the only International airport maintained by a State government in the country. There is an ongoing construction of the 2nd Airport Runway and the upgrade of the Airport Main Runway to Category 2 to enable for more safety and comfortability of transporters.
In the area of Health care, health care services has been strengthened. Over 50 Containers of state-of-the-art medical equipment have been delivered and have been distributed to various hospitals; the state has witnessed the construction and upgrade of secondary healthcare facilities across the State; from the reconstruction of the General Hospital, Etinan; and the ongoing reconstruction of Ituk Mbang General Hospital to the digitally driven Ikono General hospital. In a joint effort with Exxon Mobil there is also the Construction of the Best Trauma Centre in Nigeria which will come on stream in few months. Not forgetting the Renovation of Awa Cottage hospital. Training of 20 Biomedical Engineers; Provision of residential quarters for 48 House Officers in the State Hospitals and 50 in the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH); accreditation for Schools of Nursing, with 272 Registered Nurses; training and certification of 100 Doctors and Nurses in Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) with Medical Emergency Experts from the USA; procurement of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and Electrocardiograph (ECG) Machines for use in Emergency Response (now fitted in all ambulances in the state). Restoration of services at Ibom Specialist Hospital/ Engagement of new management CLINOTECH Group, Canada for the hospital. Reconstruction of Oxygen plant at Ikot Ekpene for supply of oxygen to other hospitals in the state.
The vision of the Governor is not limited.
It is bound to have immediate and long term impact in years to come. The vision has started materializing and it will continue beyond 2019. I stand with Governor Udom Emmanuel, our Mr Integrity and Mr Industrialization.