Akwa Ibom @ 26: What Is ‘uncommon’ About Governor Godswill Akpabio Transformation?
It is all well to copy what one sees, but it is far better to draw what one now only sees in ones memory that is transformation in which imagination collaborates with memory
I had gone to the one of this failing network office to sort out a problem; why I’m even hiding the name? Airtel, that network that deserves to be in the dustbin, had made their scratch panel so hard that I scratched it wrongly. When I placed a call to their customer care, the guy at the other end told me to go to their office, somewhere in the East to sort it out, since I could not give him ten visible number of the wrongly scratched pin. I was livid but what will I do than go there, since I needed to load my internet subscription for my phone.
Just when it got to my turn to be attended to, I received a call and when I said “Fejiro Oliver on the line”, some heads turned and I went out to answer my call. When I came in to continue my business, a lady walked up to me, introduced herself as a physician, working in one of the Federal Medical Centres. I felt honored meeting her, just the way she felt, expressing how her colleagues are wondering who this F.O is that has come to pour sand in their garri, with his consistent report on the health sector. I asked her of own opinion and to be candid, she wasn’t happy on the blunt reports, but was happy meeting me at last to vent her mind.
She asked me what I felt about the Akwa Ibom State Governor, and why I had not written anything to praise the Governor for his “Uncommon Transformation” in the state, especially as the State will be celebrating her 26th anniversary in a weeks’ time (as at when we met). I promised to get back to her. To you Anna Imebong; this little note from me to you is the answer to what I and millions of Nigerian think about Akwa Ibom State.
There is no disputing the fact that Governor Godswill Akpabio has done well in the governing of his state. We cannot argue the fact that he has raised the pride of the Akwa Ibom man to a high level, and taken away the housemaid mentality which they were known for from the minds of many Nigerian. It will be foolhardy to throwaway his political prowess among his fellow governors, just as it will be untrue to say that the man who self named himself ‘uncommon transformation governor’ has not done what Napoleon could not do. At least in the eyes of Nigerians as seen mainly through the media, Akwa Ibom ado ok! (A slang which means, ‘Akwa Ibom is Ok’)
But I refused to be moved by the media and I embarked on various trips to the State to see things for myself, asked questions and settled down, especially, when I have a little root in the state.
One major problem with Nigerian is believing that the government deserves to rule the way they want, thus when a governor builds a road or flyover just like Akpabio has been doing; they praise him to the high heavens from afar, even if what they see are only media propaganda. They forgot that the governor is only using their money to make life better for them. To make the state better is the duty they are paid to do and failure to do that should be a criminal offence. So lets stop the praises and challenge them to work.
This brings us to the question, what is uncommon about Akpabio’s transformation? Is it an uncommon transformation that over 125 persons have died and hundreds kidnapped in political related matters which have been linked to the governor himself? The state was one of the most peaceful in Nigeria, but I can recollect that when I visited during the last general election, I was warned not to mention anything bad about Akpabio, lest I will be declared a missing Journalist.
Is it uncommon transformation that Akwa Ibom State receives the highest Federal allocation, yet infrastructures on ground do not reflect the trillions gotten from her oil revenue? For crying out loud, we deserve an explanation on how our collective wealth is spent by Akpabio, and not sing his praises for merely doing what we elected him for. It amounts to praising a civil servant who is a secretary for typing the materials given to him to do. Let’s wake up.
What manner of uncommon transformation is it that the Governor develops his senatorial district and leaves out the goose that lays the golden egg (Eket Senatorial District), a place I have visited many times without any meaningful development? The only visible project there is the Akwa Ibom State University, located at Mkpa Enin. The uncommon transformation by the governor to me smacks of uncommon fraud?
Is it uncommon transformation that during the silver jubilee of the state, the state governor made various citizens of the state to play, to enable them win houses at the Silver Jubilee Estate, along Idoro Road, yet one year after, none of the winners have been given the keys to their houses? Calls which I placed to the various winners yesterday indicated that the governor in alliance with Skye Bank and Papi Events have just conned them of their hard earned money.
Is it uncommon transformation that one the contract awarded for the flyover at Itam called Goodluck Flyover was inflated by the governor and the money siphoned to foreign bank accounts? Excuse me Nigerians, lets learn to hold our leaders accountable than allow them spend millions on publicity. Personal investigations reveal that the governor has wasted over 380 million Naira for publicity stunt since 2007 when he was elected. Tell us; is that the uncommon transformation?
Is it uncommon transformation that Akwa Ibom State is filled with the Keke Napep, while the gold cabs which was bought by the governor has suddenly disappeared into thin air with many of them in the houses of his commissioners and cronies in Ewet Housing Estate? Is it part of the uncommon fraud that the Tropicana project which was started by former Governor Victor Attah is now solely the glory of Godswill Akpabio?
What manner of uncommon transformation that a governor like Akpabio will rig a national election in Ikot Ekpene senatorial district and no law enforcement agencies raise an eyebrow? Do we call it uncommon rigging transformation? Akpabio may have built roads in Uyo, but is Uyo the only resident area in Akwa Ibom State?
We all cannot be deceived and if all are falling for such, I just refuse to be blinded! The alleged 3 billion given to the tribunal judges to impose him on the people has not been forgotten. No one forgets the Ikot Ekpene-Abak road which was a true transformation of the governor, but we do not also forget that there was an agreement by the company that constructed the road, that they will take Nna-Eninites land for sand and gravel while in exchange they will build an access road from Abak-Ikot Ekpene road to the village and this would include a bridge over stream that divides the road into two. Instead, the company built a makeshift bridge to allow their heavy duty vehicles transport construction materials from the bank of the stream to the main road. When the rain came, the bridges washed away, while the people now have their source of water polluted for consumption. Is it an uncommon transformation of giving with the left hand and taking with the right hand?
The AMAKPE refinery project at Eket was shut down by the governor on October 27, 2007 by the governor, without minding the millions of dollars the principals of AMAKPE in America has spent on the project. Is this also a case of transformation agenda, by denying over 2000 people jobs which would have been created by the company? Is it part of the uncommon transformation mantra that the governor build a mini residential estate in Abak but its overgrown with bushes, as no one is living there?
The Tropicana project was initially contracted for 33 billion Naira, but was raised to 40 billion Naira; do we call it also part of the uncommon transformation? Same project cost 12 billion Naira in Abuja and was funded by Silver Bird entertainment group, not the Federal Government. The case of inflating project is not a new culture in Nigeria (though I loathe it), but most Akpabio inflates his so much to the detriment of the citizens? This to me is a case of uncommon high level looting.
And I ask again; while Akpabio has many journalists in his payroll, was it part of the uncommon transformation agenda to throw into prison Mr Essien Ewoh who distributed Fresh Facts Newspaper, which published a negative story against the governor? Lest I forget, the publisher, Mr Sam Asowata was arrested in Abuja and tucked into the truck and driven to Uyo, a distance of 500 kilometers. His daughter was also arrested in the raid. .
As the state continue in their celebration of the 26th anniversary, may I ask the uncommon transformation governor of the whereabouts of the 31 industries he promised to build while campaigning for his second tenure? And may I also ask on whose account this man of uncommon creature has been spending the millions he is using to prosecute the anti governor Rotimi Amaechi war?
As the governor set straight to hand over the baton and celebrate one more year of the state anniversary, we of the progressives urge you to straighten your path and mend your ways. Till we see personally; one on one, I wish you and the state a big happy birthday.
These little things matter…
Fejiro Oliver, a Journalist can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org and +2348026797588 (sms only please). Engage him on twitter @fejirooliver86 and Facebook; fejirooliver86. Like our Facebook page- secretsreporters