Hurray!!! Akwa Ibom Is 24
23 Sep 2011
Akwa Ibom State is 24 today, September 23rd, and there is rejoicing in the air. From when Akwa Ibom was created by combining the Uyo, Ikot Ekpene, Eket and Abak divisions of old Calabar province in 1987 by General Ibrahim Babangida through Decree 24 there has been an overwhelming desire of the people to institute development and average a robust state able to build up her people. There is rejoicing in the air, from Ini to Ibeno, Ika to Oron, Itu to Ikot Abasi the message is the same, the people rejoice for the life long dream nurtured since 1927 by the founding fathers and pioneers of the state. Once again the people are celebrating the euphoria that greeted the first proclamation of the state creation giving Akwa Ibom people a new political identity to come together to build a prosperous state and a Land of Promise.
To jump start the development of the new state the Federal Military Government appointed Tunde Ogbeha as the first military administrator of the state. The state then had no befitting office to even accommodate her first administrator and had to make do with make shift offices and accommodation. So bereft of infrastructure was the state then that the single most pressing challenge of the state was infrastructure. Every administration that came in became judged by the people on how they solved the infrastructure puzzle as that was what was capable of lending expression to a fledging state like Akwa Ibom to define her functionality and capabilities.
The moods of the people as expressed around the state today are in the following words: Ibibio Isongo! Annang Mmah! Ojei Ojei Badi Akpakip Oro! Ojei Badi ooo Uruan Inyang Atakpo! Eket idiodiong o! Ibeno tieghi! Abasi Ulok Ulok aye.......Ikot Abasi Ino! Ibesikpo Asutan isim ayara enang isongho! Uyo isongho, Ini isongho, Ikono ntikpe Ibibio isongho, Itu isongho, Oje Oje bari afang ki, Oje bari afid Akwa Ibom. Isong Ima, Isong Emem, Isong Edidiana kiet, Isong ndukokpo. Akwa ibom ima ki bono oh.
A People of Common Heritage
From when her own people started handling state administration three years after creation of Akwa Ibom, Air Cmdr. (rtd.) Idongesit Nkanga put up a sterling performance, delivery of a magnificent 18 units 4-storey jumbo buildings interlinked and well landscaped state secretariate that accommodates all the state’s civil servants comfortably, to justify the creation of the state, from September 5, 1990 to January 2, 1992, to demonstrate how knowledgeable the state's people were of their demands and administrative dexterity. He however handed over to Akwa Ibom's first elected governor, His Excellency Obong Akpan Isemin, who managed the state till November 18, 1993. Obong Akpan Isemin succeeded in persuading then military government to abrogate the obnoxious on-shore off-shore oil dichotomy which was to later benefit the state's revenue profile from federal oil derivation.
After a military coup that seized power from elected civilians there were three military administrators after Obong Akpan Isemin in persons of Yakubu Bako, Joseph Adewusi, and John Ebiye. An opportunity to build on democracy came again in 1999 with the people electing His Excellency Obong Victor Attah as governor till 2007. Obong Attah pressed for appropriate remuneration from oil revenues to the state following from the outcome of Obong Isemin administration’s move for abrogation of on-shore off-shore oil dichotomy in a strategy widely referred to as Resource Control. Obong Attah being an intelligent architect dreamt big for the state and commenced several projects in view of the anticipated increase in oil derivation revenue to the state.
The incoming administration of His Excellency Chief Godswill Akpabio in 2007 was however to focus on multi-sectored infrastructural development and had a cardinal agenda of continuity where almost all of Obong Victor Attah's projects had been masterfully taken to the finish line. Godswill Akpabio's administration, being a people-built, people-oriented, and people-focused administration has showcased the best of Akwa Ibom ideals and by building on the tenets of good governance, accountability, and empowerment has made government very close to the people and indeed for all cadres of the state's people. Governor Akpabio, reknowned as Nigeria’s formost development oriented politician, has reeled out not just support infrastructures but services and people development strategies and processes as well all over all corners of the state, on land, underground, in the waters and in the air. Particularly, the governor has developed even the minds and psyche of the people. Perhaps the only part of Akwa Ibom that may not have felt the Akpabio Midas touch may merely be thousands of Kilimetres beneath the crust of Akwa Ibom soil.
Achievements Since Creation
Since creation Akwa Ibom State has remained a peaceful and vibrant state in Nigeria. The state has contributed enormously and sacrificially to the economy, peace, stability, and unity of Nigeria. Akwa Ibom in spite of a large population, put at about 5 million, has been able to encode a common mark of industry and excellence on her citizens and frequently reach out for the best, to the best, and to be the best.
The state's people have attracted so much pride to themselves through the passion that flows from their minds which are expressed in their skills and have been involved in so much to make people of other parts of Nigeria jealous. Even though things had to be done from first principles the people of Akwa Ibom are quick to grasp the rudiments and are involved in several levels and chains of industry.
The people of the state have been trailblazers in many spheres of endeavour and have indeed been pioneers in most industries that Nigerians take for granted today. This is because the Akwa Ibom personality is a stickler for perfection and is always moving on.
What other Nigerians have seen as undoable has been turned into a success by the Akwaibomite. Today, the transformation agenda of the federal government would have ended as one other federal buzzword as usual if not for the independent redefinition through Governor Akpabio's Uncommon Transformation of Akwa Ibom State since 2007.
In recognition of the enormous selfless contributions of Akwa Ibom men and women the entire Nigeria and indeed foreign institutions are falling on themselves to recognise us through our leader and governor, His Excellency Chief Godswill Akpabio. Every award that has been given is well deserved and is for all Akwaibomites everywhere.
Importance to Nigeria
Today, Akwa Ibom remains a valuable state in Nigeria's federal configuration and a key player in Nigeria’s nationalist consciousness. Akwa Ibom is the largest oil producing state with most of the oil coming from off-shore oil fields accounting for enormous revenue to the federal government and indeed other states in Nigeria since 1970.
In spite of the enormous economic contributions to Nigeria, Akwa Ibom State promotes peaceful co-existence with all her neighbours as witnessed in regular inter-marriages, commerce, and support for regional integrity.
From inception of state creation, Akwa Ibom people have redefined what constitutes good governance and showcased this in consensus and people oriented leadership, participatory governance, promotion of rule of law, effective and efficient administration, accountable stewardship, transparent transactions, responsive conduct, and equitable and inclusive administrations.
Akwa Ibom occupies the largest clean coastline in Nigeria at 129Km offering the country enormous beach development opportunities for tourism earnings and adequate landscape to generate renewable electricity through the use of off-shore wind turbines to power about one half of the entire country. On-shore, Akwa Ibom has the highest concentration of oil palm trees whose output could drive several industries and generate a lot of employment for Nigerians.
At the moment, Akwa Ibom is plugged into the aviation industry in a big way with the on-going construction of the international terminal of the airport, the cargo facilities, and the Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) section of the state’s thriving airport. With the completed Le'Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Course as well as the on-going Tropicana Entertainment and Business Complex Akwa Ibom at 24 has danced into the tourism arena and at the same time has completely redefined Nigeria's tourism industry, particularly on how government foresight and accountability could help boost modern tourism infrastructures able to support several classes of tourism industry operators.
With electricity being a nagging challenge in Nigeria, Akwa Ibom has shown Nigeria the way to go by being the first Nigerian state to futuristically look into end-to-end strategies of generating and taking electricity to consumers by not only completing a 191MW gas turbine but also reforming the process of attracting investment in the gas processing industry to supply gas from Akwa Ibom in Ibeno which now drives the gas turbine on a non-stop basis rather than depending on the less efficient Nigerian Gas Company. Besides, Akwa Ibom State government is seeking license from the federal government for home grown and workable strategies for independent powerline transmissions and last mile distribution of electricity to consumers.
How We Are Changing Nigeria
Akwa Ibom at 24 has shown uncommon commitment to the high ideals of nationhood. With Nigeria also celebrating 51 years in a week's time it is noteworthy that Akwa Ibom has indeed been a driving force in realising the ideals of modern Nigeria. Akwa Ibom as a more matured member of the Nigerian family has taught the people of Nigeria several languages. We taught Nigerians how to speak the language of state creation through the Ibibio Union that was formed in 1927 and helped many people of Nigeria enjoy states of their own.
We taught fellow Nigerians the language of empowerment as the first Nigerians to promote communal integration for development and financial contributions towards award of scholarships even to study abroad. At a time when Nigerians were almost spending every kobo on imported meals Akwa Ibom taught Nigerians the language of home grown culinary culture, a culture that has made Nigerians proud of their meals in any part of the globe they find themselves and reduced dependence on foreign processed foodstuff.
While other Nigerians are always at war and tearing themselves apart with confiscation of properties of other Nigerians owing to sentimental attachment to titles and properties, Akwa Ibom taught Nigerians the language of hospitality, respect for human dignity, and being one another's keeper.
Most importantly, at a time Nigerians are demanding accountable leadership, Akwa Ibom has taught Nigerians the Language of Uncommon Transformation, showing that all facets of government can be concentrated to wipe away tears from the faces of Nigerians and bless them with smiles which they deserve, but has been elusive for so long, through the provision of workable infrastructures and efficient services.
Our Common Enemy
As strong and ebullient as the youthful Akwa Ibom is today at 24 we are still confronted by the common enemies of human trafficking, crimes, and terrorism. One of the main interests in instituting free and compulsory education in Akwa Ibom is to combat human trafficking and crime. So far we have made tremendous progress in fighting human trafficking and crime in the state as several empowerment strategies have become major deterrence against these crimes. Ordinarily, the state's people are generally peace loving and the state also implements massive social re-orientation which involves all citizens to talk our people out of trafficking and crime.
On terrorism, basically from fundamentalists, the state has become vulnerable on account of her enormous wealth which has attracted deceptive personages that manifest as wolves in sheep's clothing. The state continues to educate the masses and in turn the people have a role to play in protecting resources deployed for their benefits and their glorious future and as such should take responsibility for rooting out destructive elements of society by exposing our common terrorist enemies and criminals by using the communication channels released by the government for such purposes.
A Time To Count Our Blessings
Akwa Ibom at 24 is today a number one state in Nigeria. Everybody says Akwa Ibom people are doing well. There have been several blessings for the people of Akwa Ibom State. The Akwa Ibom people feel it right in themselves that there have been changes and they are everywhere they turn. There is something for all classes of people.
At 24 Akwa Ibom can boast of a successful statehood. At 24 all elder statesmen need to take stock and resolve to support the present administration in building a state for the next generation.
If you ask a child in any of the state’s beautiful primary schools today what he wants to be in future there is every likelihood that he will say he wants to be the state governor, this is largely because the most successful personality in their eyes today is the state governor owing to what he has given 'freely', free education. However, with the ubiquitous nature and boundlessness that Akwa Ibom State government has grown into there is bound to be more successful personalities as the people raise their achievement ceilings and targets. While Akwa Ibom institutions are waxing stronger there is bound to be growth in the trade groups and service orientation outside the civil service.
Come And See
On a day of celebration like this, Akwa Ibom people everywhere need to come out in their numbers and tell the world what they see. There is a lot that has been deployed for the people's benefit, there are those that the people do not know exist but they are there to be seen. There are also a lot that government has brought in for the benefit of the people and I dare say that even the government also does not know they have brought such in for the people, they are there to be seen as well.
However, all true Akwaibomites need to personally come to Akwa Ibom and see for themselves. There is a lot for the people because they deserve it. Come and see.
Felicitations From Our Neighbours
While we continue to receive felicitations from our neighbours in other states, we continue to say, together we shall make it into a modern state. For some states it is to be the highest bidder in the transfer of Gov. Akpabio to their state when his tenure expires in 2015, for some it is to continue enjoying Akwa Ibom hospitality, for some it is for Nigeria's highest oil producer to keep her borders open to outsiders. To all Nigerians, Akwa Ibom is committed to building a state for all Nigerians.
We are not alone in our celebration. In the past four years the world has been celebrating with us and has been pointing Africa to the rapid growth taking place in Akwa Ibom, a growth that demonstrates practicality and sustainability.
There's a lot of hope today in Akwa Ibom. In Akwa Ibom today, there is a lot to celebrate. Things are definitely looking up. Every new day in Akwa Ibom keeps springing up better.
The people need to celebrate because the state has witnessed giant strides. Yes the people should celebrate because Akwa Ibom State has been throttled on graceful overdrive. The people need to celebrate because they can now stand tall as global citizens.
Let there be celebration in the Land of Promise and let that celebration dovetail into Nigeria's 51st anniversary. Happy 24th anniversary to all people of Akwa Ibom State and to all Nigerians for being there for us.