Umo Eno’s First Anniversary And Matters Arising
Governor Umo Eno

Umo Eno’s First Anniversary And Matters Arising

4 weeks ago
3 mins read

Congratulations to Gov. Umo Eno on the occasion of his first anniversary in office. I have just read the speech the governor gave at the anniversary celebrations at Uyo township stadium. It contains a long list of things he has done and those he plans to do in the next one year. I commend him for being focused and clear-headed in articulating his future agenda.

However, I wish to make a few comments:

1. Tropicana Hotel: I thank the governor for planning to sort out the knotty issues bedeviling the commencement of operations at the hotel located at the Tropicana Complex. That hotel was built, completed and furnished by the Akpabio administration over nine years ago. It has not been open for business for one day. The economic loss is colossal. Putting the hotel to use will create economic multipliers and save the state the loss. I commend the governor for this. I should note that I was equally vocal in urging the previous administration to open the Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene.

2. The Songhai Farm: On my way to Ibeno on Tuesday, I drove past the site for the Ibom Farm & Resort in Nsit Ubium, which is being built in partnership with the Songhai Farm of Benin Republic. It’s quite massive. I am equally pleased that the governor is planning to complete this in the next one year. But what of the other LGAs, or is the one in Nsit Ubium the only one the government is working on?

3. Arise Shopping City, Uyo: The government hopes to build “an outlet mall where certified licensees of global brands will be attracted to operate.’’ I guess the success of Ibom Tropicana Complex is the motivation for this. When Gov. Akpabio conceived the idea of the Tropicana, it met with trenchant criticisms from many, including former governor Attah. I supported it. Today, the Tropicana is a major tourist attraction and a remarkable shopping center in the city, thanks also to Gov. Udom Emmanuel’s value-added modifications and modernizations of the place. The Arise Shopping City should therefore be designed to be an improvement to the Tropicana.

4. Commercializing Akwa Ibom properties in Abuja and Lagos: The governor plans to convert “our existing strategic facilities in those cities into commercial use for the benefit of our people.’’ Our state has a lot of property in Abuja and Lagos, and most of them are either in disuse or redundant. They should be given out to reputable estate firms for rent. I ask the government to be open, transparent and honest in these transactions. To start with, we need a comprehensive list and descriptions of these assets for the purpose of accountability and openness. Early this year, I stayed in a hotel on Femi Okunnu Road, Ikoyi, Lagos (formerly Coopers Road), and down the road is the Akwa Ibom Governor’s Lodge. Udom Emmanuel built this lodge at a very exorbitant cost, but of what value is it to our people? The former governor told us that he needed it as a sanctuary to receive foreign dignitaries and ambassadors. That was as specious as claiming that the 21-storey building in Uyo was built for ExxonMobil as the sole off-taker! For the two weeks I stayed in the hotel around the lodge, the lodge was under lock and key. It is a non-earning asset and should be commercialized immediately.

5. Security: The security situation in the state should be improved upon. High-profile kidnappings, especially in Oron axis, should be stopped completely. Whatever happened to the tracking devices the Akpabio administration acquired?

 

READ ALSO: Managing Political Disappointments: Lessons From Akwa Ibom State

 

6. Urban Renewal: I was surprised that the governor did not include urban renewal in his to-do list. Obong Attah remodeled Uyo; Akpabio took it a notch higher and went on to remodel Ikot Ekpene. Udom Emmanuel did a marvelous job in Eket. I was in Eket yesterday for the first time since July 2017. The city is unrecognizably beautiful, thanks to Udom Emmanuel. Umo Eno should go to Oron and overhaul, remodel and modernize the place and turn it into a new city also. Just to be clear, I am not from Oron as many people think, perhaps because of my name. I am from Nung Udoe, the headquarters of Ibesikpo-Asutan LGA. But the whole of Akwa Ibom State is my constituency. I have friends from all over the state and I love to see the whole state evenly developed. This is the time for Pastor Umo Eno to remodel Oron town just like Eket, Ikot Ekpene and Uyo.

Overall, I thank God for our former governors. They’ve done far better than what I see in other states. I congratulate Mr. Umo Eno and I wish him the very best in the next year.

Etim Etim
Etim Etim

ETIM ETIM is a journalist, banker and author. He has been a member of the Editorial Board of The Guardian, a Regional Manager in Access Bank and is currently a Columnist in Prime Business Africa, The Cable and Businessday newspapers.

He is also the Chief Executive of Stein Meyer Communications, a major media consultancy and the author of the best-selling book, "Akwa Ibom Heroes: Inside Story of the Fight for Abrogation of Onshore-Offshore Oil Dichotomy" and co-author of another book, "Osinbajo Strides: Defining Moments of an Innovative Leader".

ETIM ETIM is a journalist, banker and author. He has been a member of the Editorial Board of The Guardian, a Regional Manager in Access Bank and is currently a Columnist in Prime Business Africa, The Cable and Businessday newspapers.

He is also the Chief Executive of Stein Meyer Communications, a major media consultancy and the author of the best-selling book, "Akwa Ibom Heroes: Inside Story of the Fight for Abrogation of Onshore-Offshore Oil Dichotomy" and co-author of another book, "Osinbajo Strides: Defining Moments of an Innovative Leader".

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