By UbongAbasi Ise
“You can fool some people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time” – Abraham Lincoln
Yes! It is very true that a chick that would grow into a cock could be spotted the very first day it is hatched. Likewise a government administration that would leave unparalleled bequest to posterity could be discerned from the manner it begins its steps towards addressing the questions and complexities of development. But for about three years now, it becomes unfortunate that Mr. Udom Emmanuel and his administration are dancing around industrialization in a very funny, confusing way. It dances in such a way that one can’t tell the dance steps, whether it is makossa, suo or shoki or perhaps, a new kind of dance; the government is just dancing along without knowing that its back is positioning awkwardly.
There is one popular cliché that says one good turn deserves another. It becomes clear that Governor Udom Emmanuel is fixated on a second chance he doesn’t deserve – I need to state the obvious because there is no point to turn the truth on its head. There was another round of grand rally on Saturday 26th May, 2018 at Uyo Township Stadium organized to endorse the governor for the second term. This time around, the endorsement thing was not done under the appellation of Ibibio Nation as happened last year, but conducted by Uyo Senatorial District still comprising of nine predominant Ibibio local government areas. It becomes apparent that endorsement serves as one strategy perfected by fast-thinking Akwa Ibomites to get something from a tight-fisted government that has become extremely economical with the dividends of democracy. Hence, they would devise endorsement scheme from time to time by the same collectivity but with different appellations. One comical observation is that at all these numerous endorsement settings, one would only see same faces, same characters, repeated lines of speeches, same line-up with very minimal changes on the protocol list.
Udom rode on the back of industrialization to power in 2015, but today the breeze of industrialization is not blowing unless on the social and mainstream media platforms. To aid this argument, genuine industrialization stride could have manifested in stopping Akwa Ibomites from travelling in droves to Aba, Lagos, Onitsha and some other places to buy common products including some of them said to have been ‘assembled’ or ‘mixed’ in the state. If industrialization drive was in good faith, by now traders, all over the country, would have been thronging into the state to purchase some quality products emitted by our numerous industries. But the reverse is the case.
If Udom cannot fulfill his numerous promises hinging on uncommon industrialization, then what is the need of these incessant endorsements?
Let start asking questions:
Where are those 1000 youths promised the training in Oracle Database Software Management? Today, such is not told again.
There was a clamour about 100 youths sent to Israel to be trained on mechanized farming. Where are those youths today? To what extent have they contributed in revolutionizing agriculture in the state? Why are we still getting bulk of our foodstuff from Cross River State and Northern Nigeria? This begs urgent answers.
There was a ground-breaking ceremony in 2015 for the establishment of the Automobile Manufacturing and Assembling Plant in Ikot Ukap Itam in Itu local government area. We were told that the project is in partnership with an Israeli company, MIMSHAC Merkavim Transportation Technologies. Today, how many vehicles have the plant emitted?
Let’s still ask: where is the Blue Marine-Light Emitting Devices (LED) factory that was inaugurated at Ikot Ebom Itam, in Itu local government area?
In August 2015, a ground was ceremoniously broke for the construction of DAAR Communications PLC Broadcast Complex at Midim Waterside in Abak local government area. Is the company active today?
There was a flag-off ceremony of ShopRite shopping precinct at Ibom Tropicana Complex, Udo Udoma Avenue, Uyo but this proposed project was to be eclipsed by another flag-off of International Worship Centre at the same area. What a confusion?
Even these small firms set up today in Akwa Ibom that are doing assemblage, mixings and packaging, how many Akwa Ibomites have they absorbed to reduce the high rate of unemployment which has assumed endemic proportions?
If the numerous efforts put in carrying out copious groundbreakings were exerted in the development of Ibom Deep Seaport, it would have been better off for Akwa Ibom people: Uyo, the capital city, would have been depopulated because matrix of industries could have emerged on their own independent of government capital and resources. A lot of young people would have gone there in search for opportunities. Nobody would have begged the investors to come over because they could have easily discerned the potential.
Maybe it is the secret agenda of this state government to maintain the perpetual high level of joblessness for the sake of officials’ political gains. Of course, I am always of argument that massive unemployment is an article of luxury for the political class. Where would they get sycophants to massage their ego? The same reason they are able to get mammoth crowd comprising predominantly of those of productive age to feature in their hollow political carnivals.
But why the endorsement of a governor who reneged in his promise? Prior to his assumption of office, there was general expectation that Udom Emmanuel would be running the state with sophistication while recording achievements unprecedented in the history of Akwa Ibom. But sadly, the administration has degenerated to the level of mediocrity. Instead of commissioning Automobile Manufacturing and Assembling Plant, Ibom Industrial City, Ibom Deep Seaport and the like, the state governor is now busy commissioning ‘bush tracks’ like 1.4 kilometer Concrete Hotel Road, the 1.2 kilometer Atlantic FM access roads at Nsukara Offot, and the Youths Avenue at Mbiabong Etoi, to mark his 3rd anniversary – some activity that could have been conveniently done by a local government council chairman. Was this the reason Uyo Senatorial District endorsed the Governor for another term? This is enthronement and entrenchment of mediocrity in Akwa Ibom system.
It is sad that the much touted Industrialist administration is reducing itself to average. The only vision it has is the continuation beyond 2019. There is absolutely nothing special about Udom’s administration; no clear-cut direction in the running of the state. But for how long are we all going to be fooled at the same time? It is time to rethink our future.
Yes! I am UbongAbasi Ise. For comments, send SMS to 08189914609 | firstname.lastname@example.org