Governance all over the world is serious business in view of its strategic importance to the growth and advancement of any nation.
One can therefore safely conclude that it is not for nothing that citizens of most advanced countries take the issue of governance seriously.
This no doubt is one of the major reasons why they dig into the past of those who aspire to lead them because of the conviction that it allows them to make informed choices during elections.
Even the Nigerian constitution says security and welfare of the citizens is the primary essence of government.
Unfortunately, events of recent years seem to have turned that into a mere academic exercise only obtainable in other climes.
Curiously, these are places frequently visited by our leaders who are never in short supply of stories about good governance in these places.
They flaunt the names of such places which they and their ilk travel to even with tax payers money without bringing forth the lessons learnt there from.
All over the nation, stories about governors in search of foreign investors daily grace the pages of our newspapers and other media.
But the real question is how many of these governors have successfully brought such investors to invest in their states?
This question is instructive in view of the fact that there is hardly any state in this country whose governor has not travelled abroad in search of these elusive investors.
Is it impossible for a governor to perform without having to waste scarce resources on foreign trips in search of the so – called investment?.
Using Akwa Ibom state as case study, one would almost weep for the state considering the reverse gear it has entered in the last four years.
While states like Abia, Enugu, Imo, Rivers and others within the same axis are waxing stronger, “The Land of Promise” is no longer promising
Things are no longer like the Akpabio era when the state was the poster state of the PDP and reference point of “Uncommon transformation” for which it was noted. The question to ask is “What has suddenly gone wrong in the once promising state?
The governors of Enugu, Rivers, Abia, Cross River, etc came on board at the same time with Governor Udom Emmanuel, what are they doing differently?
Perhaps, those who say that the governor was overrated by his predecessor are right after all, in view of his woeful performance.
Curiously, this was a man who rose to the peak of his career in the corporate world and had the benefit of learning the art of governance under a successful administration. Four years down the line, instead of continuity of good governance in the state, the tale is that of retrogression.
Meanwhile, while his colleagues are doing well in other states, and President Buhari commended Governor Ben Ayade for providing good governance in Cross River State when he was invited to commission projects, instead of accepting his lack of vision, Emmanuel continues to blame his lack of performance on the exchange rate of the naira. He added a curious twist last year when he said it was out of place to compare his number of years on the seat with Akpabio’s eight years.
May be he has forgotten that within the same period, Akpabio had successfully written his name in gold through several infrastructural projects never seen in many states!
President Muhammadu Buhari’s latest visit to Boko Haram – ravaged Borno state where he went to commission some major projects should make Udom Emmanuel and lovers of Akwa Ibom weep.
This is a state that has constantly been under Boko Haram invasion in the last 10 years, yet has witnessed tremendous development in all critical sectors.
During the President’s recent visit, a visibly happy Buhari commissioned a number of projects, including a Solar Power Plant, waste recycling plant, tomatoes processing factory, onions and ginger dehydration plant, cassava processing factory, corn chips production plant, elementary school desks and chairs production plant and grains and cement sacks production factory. Others include two mega schools at Ngomari, Muhammadu Buhari , Yemi Osinbajo and Aliko Dangote Schools, eight kilometers road at Bolari, a general hospital, a drip irrigation production plants, the Ibrahim Ali industrial park, the 246 apartment legacy apartments, Maiduguri City Centre remodeling, a paste production company among others.
All these and more are spread across the entire State, so residents of Bama, Monbar, Mafa, Konduga, Damboa, Nganza, Maiduguri and more all have something to cheer.
For those who have followed the Ibrahim Kashim administration, it is a clear departure from what is been currently witnessed in Akwa Ibom state in terms of service delivery.
Aside embarking on projects that are most needed by the people, these are verifiable projects that are there for all to see, as opposed to the “newspaper achievements” of Emmanuel.
One would be on track to say the scenario painted is comparable with what we saw under former President Goodluck Jonathan and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Under Jonathan, the nation made so much from oil as the price rose astronomically.
Years after, what were the gains of that era, which could be regarded as “oil boom II”?
Despite all the revenues made, things went from bad to worse largely due to massive corruption as “stealing was not corruption” during that era
Today, even with lesser accruals from oil, Nigeria is been fixed gradually infrastructure wise across the country. From railways, roads and more, Nigeria is on the rebound.
Back to Akwa Ibom, this is a state that has collected biggest allocation and is even an oil– producing state, which means more bucks.
How can Emmanuel list regular payment of salaries as a major achievement in oil-rich Akwa Ibom? This is why the recent report by the National Bureau of statistics (NBS) which listed the state as having the largest unemployment rate in the country with 37.7 percent, has exposed the governor despite his claim of providing jobs
We must thank the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for unearthing and instituting the humongous corruption case in respect of Akwa Ibom State.
What the Akwa Ibom case is indeed telling us is that all hands must be on deck to rescue the sinking state.
Governor Kashim Shettima has even taken it further by showing that even with meager resources; a good leader can make his state an Eldorado.
The case of Akwa Ibom, a state blessed with human and natural resources should therefore not be different, if it is to be where it is supposed to be.
Are you not wondering why neither President Buhari or any former Head of State has not commissioned Emmanuel’s ‘projects’?
Was Former President Obasanjo not in the state? Did he commission projects?
The time to get thinking about how to take Akwa Ibom to where it truly belongs starts now.
Umohinyang, Social Commentator and political analyst wrote in from Lagos.