One of the cardinal responsibilities of government is to give back to the people the mandate given them during elections. It is a give and take process of governance, feeling the pulses of the people and finding ways of mitigating their challenges. It works with the principle of natural law that people who give up something must expect to have something in return. But the nature and the degree of this compensation by the Federal Government has been considered unfair by the Eket people.
The unsatisfactory formula for the redistribution of the oil benefits and billions accruable to the Federal and state government is a source of concern to me and is the reason for this rhetoric.
In 2016, President Olusegun Obasanjo in the heat of violent agitations by the youths of the Niger Delta awarded contract for the construction of the East-West road. There was spark of joy in every quarter, as the economic benefits of these inter-connecting road networks linking the East, West and the South of Nigeria was enormous. Many thought the President conceived this project to quell the unrest in the Niger-Delta, but twelve years of immodest treatment of the said road clears the obvious puzzler that the project was conceived to fail as Mr. Godsday Orubebe, then Minister of Niger Delta did put it.
From the 200bn awarded the road by the Obasanjo’s administration to the reviewed 726bn by the Jonathans administration, none of the budgetary provisions could handle the 675km dual carriage way meant to open the entire Niger Delta region to completion.
Several calls by leaders of the area to the Federal Government and the Ministry of the Niger Delta for the completion of the road have fallen on deaf ears. Some parts of the road have been left behind to deteriorate to an impassable and very sorry state, creating serious havoc on motorist and passersby, rendering many fatherless; parents lost their children, children lost their parents from the numerous accidents that have swallowed so many supposed superstars…..yet, not even the Buhari’s administration that came with the “CHANGE” mantra could change the narratives and bring the perpetrators of the dastardly act that plunge the people to untimely death to book, and also change the face of the road.
Eket-Oron road section of the East-West road in Akwa Ibom state handled by GITTO CONSTRUCTION COMPANY fell prey to this mischievous act of gross impropriation, no one could really unravel the mysteries surrounding the “Stop-Work” status of the road. Is it that GITTO defrauded Nigeria, or some persons in government liaised with the company to defraud the masses? These and many more questions are begging for answers because the decayed portions cause traffic-jams, attempting to divert from the tattered lane by motorist also cause accidents that have claimed so many lives thereby triggering speeches that might be considered as “Hate Speech” by the Buhari’s led Federal Government from the people….Thank God Governor Emmanuel came to their aid.
Governor Udom Emmanuel’s intervention project on the Eket-Oron Road axis of the East-West road, supervised by Akwa Ibom State Road and Other Infrastructure Maintenance Agency (AKROIMA), secludes his administration from those who purposely subjected the goose that lays the golden eggs to suffering. It justifies the reality that Governor Udom loves Eket people and will do everything possible to ensure that Eket people are well fed to commensurate their contributions to the swelling height of the country’s economy, it further elicits hope among the electorates as they give their tale in perspective.
According to Samuel Imaben, the youth president of Okopedi in Eket, he decried the worrying state of the road to mean that the Federal Government has failed the Niger Delta. Imaben statistically recapped the number of deaths along the East-West road to be in hundreds and said that the Udom’s Administration is a responsive government.
“The Federal Government has failed us; we will tell them the pains we are going through with our voter’s card in 2019”
“May God bless Governor Udom Emmanuel for his swift response to the plight of Eket people….May God bless Hon. Frank Archibong for facilitating the intervention project” – He added
Mr. Samuel Akpe, a leader of the five villages, who own the land where Mobil Airstrip situates, said the five villages went to court sometime ago tying the Ministry of Niger Delta and the Federal Government in a suit that was kicked out by the court.
Akpe said the road decayed to an extent they went on their knees, praying for God’s intervention until the advent of the Udom’s administration. He thanked His Excellency for hearkening to the cry of Eket people.
The intervention project is synonymous to the biblical Manner to Eket people. Many have already forgotten that there were portholes along the road, no more traffic-jams, no more dodging of lanes because all the lanes are motorable.
Dr. Godwin Ntukudeh, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Road and Other Infrastructure Maintenance Agency (AKROIMA) while filling questions from journalist stated that despite the fact that the road is a federal government road, His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel, who is a passionate Governor, after hearing the cries of the people cannot fold his hands and watch his people perish because of Federal government’s neglect.
Ntukudeh said that the Governor would have helped the Federal Government in constructing the abandoned part of the road if there is a call for help, but since there isn’t, the Governor just wants the road to be motorable for his people who have suffered for long.
He further stated that the Governor is a man who is sick when his people are sick and strong when his people are strong, and he has commenced rigorous road maintenance across the state to ensure that operation zero porthole is achieved; be it Federal or state roads.
To further compliment the efforts of the Governor, Hon. Frank Archibong, Chairman Eket Local Government said the light is here.
He described the Governor to be the light that is shining across the shores of Akwa Ibom, Eket in particular. He however noted that Eket is really blessed with a passionate Governor in Mr. Udom Emmanuel, who has scribbled his name in the archives of developers and exceptional leaders.
The East-West road completion remains a source of concern to the electorates, as stated by Chief Nduese Essien, former minster of the Federal Republic that there is no provisions for the road in the 2018 budget, if it is so, is it therefore a need to conclude that there is no hope for the completion of the said road by the Buhari’s led Federal Government? This and many more questions will prove the Buhari’s “Change” mantra false and will go a long way to hunt the APC in 2019.
Let’s be true to ourselves even in the hazard of incurring others ridicule than to be false and incur our abhorrence.
Writes from ONNA
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