Mr Umo Eno, Governor , Akwa Ibom State.

By Imoh Etimudo

His chances of reconciling this are quite slim. Who will believe him? There are some things that are better avoided because one can see the end from the beginning. The best thing for the governor to do is to withdraw from it. Frankly speaking, the governor cannot settle this! People have already made up their minds! In fact, there is trouble!

Just that it is shocking, and many people never expected such from their Pastor Governor. Like William Shakespeare will ask through Julius Caesar: Even thou Brutus? Even thou Umo Eno. It is like Ayi Kwei Armah wrote the book: “The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born” for a time like this.

It is even more controversial that people will want to blame it on Senator Godswill Akpabio and Mr Udom Emmanuel. Trust Akwa Ibom people! But earnestly speaking, that is being unfair to them. As things have turned out to be, in fact, the duo have rather been vindicated! This is shocking, to say the least!

Yes, nobody is denying the fact that Governor Umo Eno has committed nearly 20 billion Naira for the payment of gratuities to retirees in Akwa Ibom State. That is not the bone of contention.

His aggressive rural development has found expression in diverse ways, including the 80 road projects either initiated by him or inherited from the immediate past administration, some of which are already inaugurated while others are on-going. Of course, these are there for everyone to see.

They include the recently commissioned 3.3km Idua Road in Eket and the emergency intervention works on the gully erosion ravaged Afia Nsit Road in Eket which had crippled business activities around the area, and stopped worshippers from accessing their places of worship. But Governor Umo Eno changed their story for good.
The completion of the 24km Airport Road expansion project (from Ring Road 3), internal roads in Shelter Afrique, – 1.8km Paul Ekpo Crescent, 1.0km Emmanuel Ekon Avenue, 0.8km Obot Emene Street as well as 160m span Nto Ide – Ikot Amba bridge with 800m approach road linking Obot Akara with Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area, corroborate this assertion. But considering the issue on ground, what explanation will the Governor give?

No doubt, the Phase II of the Victor Attah International Airport Parallel Taxiway and Rapid Exit are now ready courtesy of the governor’s commitment to aviation sector development which is more pronounced in giving more “wings” to Ibom Air. But Governor Umo Eno has a big question to answer.

Similar question is written boldly on the white boards of Christ the King Model Primary School and Ewet Model Primary School. These are models of how the governor wants primary schools and education to be attractive to the children. It is fitted with sports facilities and accommodation for teachers, while books, school bags, shoes and uniforms will be given to the pupils free to support their parents and guardians.

READ: How Akwa Ibom government is improving fiscal discipline

In the early hours of his administration, Governor Umo Eno had instituted a 100 Million Naira Education Trust Fund for students in tertiary institutions with physical disabilities irrespective of their States of origin. He has facilitated the payment of bursary to Akwa Ibom students in tertiary institutions. But the worry is how the people will believe his answer to their question.

Of course, Governor Eno has prioritised agriculture, crusading the sermon of everyone to return to the farm, as the only way to achieve food sufficiency. This necessitated his new policy of two Fridays public holiday within a month to allow civil servants go to the farm.

He had since flagged-off the Ibom Model Farms, modelled after the Shongai Farms which is like a modern day Garden of Eden. All of these are aimed at making food available, affordable and accessible in Akwa Ibom State, which is why agriculture is the leader of the pack in the acronym, ARISE Agenda, the governance compass of the Governor Umo Eno administration.

The Governor did not wait for the people to wait for harvest from the farm before they can eat. As a stop-gap, he launched the free food distribution programme which is targeted at the vulnerable, where each person captured in the social register is entitled to 5kg of rice, garri and beans respectively, and on a monthly basis. Facilitated through the Bulk Purchase Agency, the programme kills two birds with one stone – feeds the poor and empowers those in business.

A number of primary healthcare facilities are ready for the people. They include the primary health centre, Ikot Nkwo, among others.

In an unprecedented manner, Governor Umo Eno has launched a 400 Million Naira accelerator programme where 800 young entrepreneurs in the State were empowered with N500,000 each through the Ibom Leadership and Entrepreneurship Development (Ibom LED), a practical approach to hatching entrepreneurs and planting the seed of prosperity on a fertile soil and in the appropriate rainy season. As he said, the 800 people will be joined by 4200 others before the expiration of his first four years in office.

To complement this worthy initiative of the governor, there is the Dakkada Skills Acquisition Centre which is aimed at sharpening the skills of the youths to launch them into the big league of economic activities, equipped with relevant certification.

He who fed the poor is also giving shelter to the homeless through the ARISE Compassionate Homes, of which the Phase I is ready. The project aims at building four hundred homes to widows and vulnerable members of the society across the 31 local government areas of State over four years.

Governor Eno has sustained the peace and security of the State, with the initiative of the Ibom Community Watch where thousands of Akwa Ibom youths are recruited into a security programme that complements the statutory security agencies, and serving them with actionable reliable information, and this has upped the ante of the security game in the State.

This is further enhanced through the regular donation of operational vehicles to security agencies, and other support necessities and initiatives. Yes, these are all lofty programmes, but the people are more interested in what he tells them. Otherwise, they will dismiss it as a lie.

This does not diminish commendation on Governor Eno for his magic-like action of the gully erosion Reclamation Project, where he is turning a lethal situation at Dominic Utuk Avenue -Etim Umana Street, into an attractive tourist centre.

The beautiful project has added to the long list of tourism development projects across the State, which has stenciled Akwa Ibom State on the tourism map of the world, and has already won the governor an award as the Tourism Governor of the Year, even when he is less than a year in office yet.

And then the governor’s bipartisanship relationship with everyone, irrespective of political party platforms. He is deservingly the Ambassador of Unity of Akwa Ibom State, building bridges of unity across the State and country. He has, in a loveable way, made every Akwa Ibom person a proud stakeholder in the Akwa Ibom project, where there are no Senior Partners nor second class citizens.

His style of political inclusivity is topnotch, and Akwa Ibom State is happy. In fact, he is not just building bridges, he is a bridge himself, and a formidable one at that. Akwa Ibom walks through this golden bridge to unite with hitherto perceived disconnects. But the governor is facing a critical problem.

The process of actualising Ibom Deep Seaport is on because the governor believes in the flourish of the freight sector with attendant economic gains. He is leveraging on his fantastic relationship with the federal government, from the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio to President Bola Tinubu, to achieve that for Akwa Ibom State. While the people appreciate that, they are eager to hear him on their concern.

Meanwhile, it important to recall that Governor Eno’s predecessor and former boss, Mr Udom Emmanuel had prophesied that Governor Eno will do more than him, the same way Senator Godswill Akpabio told journalists that he will love to be remembered as a governor who produced the best governor to succeed him. The rest is now history!

Or is Governor Umo Eno effectively utilizing this political genetical dominance? Is it a case of “complexion” of his “father” and the “height” of his “grandfather”? Or how else do we explain these inexplicable packed accomplishments by Governor Umo Eno?

Honestly, when one looks at these accomplishments of Governor Umo Eno, it is difficult if not impossible to believe that the Governor has been able to achieve all of this within one year. This is where he has the problem and needs to convince his people.

How will Governor Eno convince the people that his own one year is also made up of 12 months? Is it possible to reconcile the numerous achievements with just one year in office? It will look like a lie, erroneously though! The governor needs to be deliberate to convince the world that all of these were squeezed inside one year because of his passion and commitment to serving his people.

Otherwise, it will be believed that he “smuggled” more months upon months into the known 12 months that make up one year. This is unbelievable! This is a big headache for the governor!

Although he gave a 13th month salary to the civil servants in Akwa Ibom State, that was part of his workers friendly relationship, and cannot translate into the expansion of his own one year. How will it be explained to the world that this is the normal one year that they know? Governor Eno must need to reconcile this.

But from whatever angle one looks at it, there is a beautiful story in Akwa Ibom State told with the heart and hand of a great leader, model politician, and fantastic governor. The story is so pleasant to the ears, but the details are beyond the capacity of one year!

Governor Eno has succeeded in making people feel that either they have failed mathematics or mathematics has failed them in calculating the capacity and possibility of achieving all of these in one year. That will look like an overload for the year. Even the mathematician they call Calculus cannot calculate this load of good governance. It is truthfully unbelievable!

And because the situation is difficult to reconcile and convince the people, let the accomplishments be placed on a scale calibrated with development, prosperity and happiness. On that scale, the reading of the measurement will indicate that God loves Akwa Ibom State that is why he brought Governor Umo Eno for a time like this!

Since he is giving Akwa Ibom State the best leadership, he only deserves the best prayers from the people. Hence, let the prayer for Governor Eno be the song by Senator Godswill Akpabio during the State Banquet for senators in Uyo: “it is well with your soul today”.

Indeed, it is well with the political soul of Governor Umo Eno, and from one year, he will continue to give Akwa Ibom State the dividends of good governance till he does his eight years!

Happy first anniversary in advance to the Governor of the People!



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