Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has been admonished by an authoritative regional news platform, to be truthful about his administration’s claims on the development of the 34-year-old state.
Udom has been boasting of turning every local government area is not a construction site, and about the achievements of his administration since he assumed office six years ago.
During an Arise TV interview to mark the 34th anniversary of the state, the governor spoke glowingly about the success of his industrialisation agenda.
Governor Udom has been criticised for turning his village, Awa Iman in Onna Local Government Area into an industrial hub at the detriment of other locations that many believe are more perfect for such a designation.
For The Southern Examiner, the current faceoffs between his administration and the Oro nation over the location of the state-driven Deep Seaport project adds to the discontent over his administration’s insensitivity to the siting of industries.
According to the online newspaper in its current editorial, ‘’the truth, however, is that every local government area is not a construction site as Udom recently painted. There’s really no correlation between construction sites and the provision of employment to restive, unemployed youths. After all, road construction companies have a tendency not to employ locals as they tend to mobilise their own personnel to construction sites.
‘’On the contrary, his administration has left many local government areas with virtually no projects, and where he even attempted to do road construction, such projects had been abandoned for years with no hope of completion before the end of his tenure.
‘’And, there’s certainly no harm in creating an industrial hub. But, in a multi-ethnic society where the people are very sensitive to every government decision, it’s important to spread industrial projects to every segment of the state.
‘’For instance, he spoke about the wonder of a state government running an airline that serves the entire country, and the West African hub. Undoubtedly, Ibom Air as it is called has been a strong selling point of the Udom administration.
‘’In fairness, the Uyo flight route was almost totally abandoned by local airlines before the governor emerged with the magic of an indigenous airline that first and foremost, catered for the needs of the state.
‘’The mention of the airline venture is something that encapsulates his success story. But, that’s not the only success story his administration runs on. The Syringe Factory, the Metering Company, the Flour Mill Company, the Coconut Virgin Oil Refinery, the Plywood Manufacturing company, among other industries and critical projects in the making all, define the governor’s promise to set the state on the path of industrialization as part of his initial five-point agenda.
‘’Furthermore, the Dakkada Tower, a 21-storey building built and commissioned by the state government to attract companies to the state is a magnificent edifice that cannot be ignored, hoping that the building will find occupants and will not be allowed to rot.
‘’Udom is certainly building on the foundation for infrastructure growth built by his predecessor who made road construction his key agenda. Compared to past administrations before, many people feel that Udom has managed and deployed scarce funds effectively even in the midst of recessions and a ravaging coronavirus pandemic.
‘’Unfortunately, during the same TV interview, the governor could not explain the high unemployment rate in the state despite his much-touted industrialization success. He made the point about possible faulty statistics, and on many occasions, questioned how the National Bureau of Statistics arrived at the 45.2 percent unemployment figure for the state. In the bid to prove that his administration has created so much employment for the youths,
‘’Governor Udom falsely claimed that the unemployment rate couldn’t be that high because he has turned every local government area into a construction site. Of course, it’s in the character of politicians of Udom’s calibre to exaggerate on whatever projects they have been able to complete during their tenure.
‘’But when he claims to have turned every local into construction, that could potentially trigger from a section of the population who feel left out in a seeming cliquish industrialization roadmap. ‘