Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, yesterday carpeted Senator Godswill Akpabio, his predecessor in office, for alleged false claim about projects he executed while in office.
Emmanuel, who said he was not disposed to criticising Akpabio, however pointed out that he had to make few references to show the people that what the Senator, who recently defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress, claimed he did in the state was false.
He made the clarification at the Godswill Akpabio stadium in Uyo, when he declared to contest for a second term in office, next year.
Udom listed the Ibom Power, the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene federal road and the Four Point by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area, inherited from the immediate past administration of Senator Akpabio, as projects that the former governor claimed his administration completed but that nothing was done on them.
“Today people ask me how many federal roads have we done. Let me say something today, when we took over governance, the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road was awarded as a contract on December 19, 2011; how many kilometres were done.
“Today we have done up to 23 kilometres of that road. Don’t allow anybody to deceive you. It is this administration that has taken care of that road up to 23 kilometres. We have done 1,700 kilometres of road across the state in less than three years,” he clarified.
On the Four Points By Sheraton Hotel, the Governor said “it was just now that the state government incorporated a company to negotiate with Starwood Group for the name ‘Four Points By Sheraton Hotel.
“We watch people who do not know something about Akwa Ibom State talking about Four Points By Sheraton Hotel. Today I don’t want to answer them. Let me state the fact and the fact must turn to be truth
“It is just now I paid $7.2 million to Starwood Group so that we can retain the name that was surreptitiously put on the building called ‘Four Points By Sheraton Hotel’, who is telling lies?. Can they say there was electricity in that building?
“If anybody had ever done that, let him show the agreement he had signed. It is now we are doing electrical work in order to turn it into hotel. Can a building be a hotel? I don’t want to join issues, but the truth must be told.
“When we came into power, the Ibom Power was not producing. Today the Minister of Power has declared Akwa Ibom as power state of this country. The best digital power sub-station in Nigeria is in Akwa Ibom, built by me, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration.
“Somebody landed in the Uyo airport, he said are you sure that I am landing in Uyo airport. This is not how it used to look like. It had weeds/bush everywhere. Today when you are landing at the Uyo airport you will be wondering where you are landing. Very soon we are going to invite the federal government to commission the second runway that will carry a Boeing 747 and cargo plane.”
The declaration at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium attracted mammoth crowd with Paramount Rulers across the 31 local government areas of the state, former military governors of the state, former deputy governors of the state, religious bodies in attendance.
Also present were chairmen of Local government councils in the state, members of the State Executive Council, members of the State House of Assembly, Muslim, Igbo and Hausa communities and more than 200 uniformed groups, among others. These formed the crowd that filled the 30,000 capacity stadium.
In his declaration, Udom listed his achievements, within three years in office, in the areas of education, agriculture, healthcare delivery, road construction, youth and sports development, and industrialization, among others.
He reassured the people that their interest was the cardinal objective and centre of his administration, saying he had delivered on the five-point agenda he promised immediately coming on board in 2015.
The governor warned that any state or country that did not build the economy could not build politics because politics must be anchored on the economics of the country.
Udom, who submitted himself for second term, stressed “I am here to say that we are going for our second term to surpass superior performance of our first term.
“I submit myself for consideration by the youth, women, elders, Christian, Muslim community because power belongs to God. No man is God and one man in Akwa Ibom State cannot determine who governs and who does not govern the state.
“I submit myself for consideration to continue the good work your servant here has been able to achieve as your servant leader. I stand here to ask you to support my candidature on the platform of the People Democratic Party (PDP).
“Let us play politics not of hatred, let us play politics not of betrayal. Let us play politics and have the interest of our people at heart. Let us know that the unity of Akwa Ibom cannot be sacrificed on any flimsy political gain of a single individual. I heard that Akwa Ibom politics will be like war, the invasion of Poland by Hitler. Is that what you people want? How many people did Hitler kill, is that politics of development or injustice; is that what they are supposed to do. Whoever says Akwa Ibom will be like invasion of Hitler we say Holy Ghost fire.
“They want to come and kill our children and send their children abroad. Nowadays politics is about development, security of lives and property, not to come and kill our people but to develop our people.”
The Director General of Governor Emmanuel campaign organisation, the Divine Mandate, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, the chairman of the occasion, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Barrister Onofiok Luke, and the State Chairman of the Party, Obong Paul Ekpo said Governor Emmanuel was the choice of the people and would not be changed.
Luke, who stood with his colleagues from the State House of Assembly to endorse Governor Emmanuel for Second term, said the Governor had been tested and trusted.
He warned that nobody or political party should think of any plan to conquer the state saying, “we will resist anybody coming to conquer Akwa Ibom with the last drop of our blood.”