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Governor Umo Eno’s Vision: Redefining Akwa Ibom’s Future Through Ambitious Tourism Plans



In a Nigeria where political promises often fade into disappointment, Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State stands as a beacon of change. As a self-proclaimed technocrat and preacher in politics, he’s determined to reshape the perception of politicians. Having earned the people’s trust through a resounding victory, Governor Eno is resolute in delivering the true benefits of democracy. His campaign emphasized fostering peace, prosperity, and the transformative ARISE Agenda, capturing the attention of Akwa Ibom’s populace.


He has consistently mentioned that he is a technocrat and preacher in politics and therefore, people should trust his every word. He was trusted by the people with a massive victory, now he is set on returning that immense trust by delivering the dividends of democracy.


During his campaign, Governor Eno spoke candidly about furthering peace and prosperity, connecting the dots and the ARISE Agenda.


To get the people’s buy-in into this plan, Governor Eno hosted the Akwa Ibom Dialogue where experts, technocrats and various professionals from 17 sectoral areas were assembled for a thorough analysis and discussion of the ARISE document.


It was three days of intense intellectual discourse that culminated in the formal launch of the ARISE Agenda. Governor Eno was around all through and joined many of the sessions and contributed to the engagements.


He was particularly excited by the many of the presentation like that of the Tourism Committee where he immediately appointed President of Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Mr Nkereuwem Onung and President, Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), Mrs Ime Udo as Honorary Special Advisers on Tourism.


There should not be any surprise that the Governor has a soft spot for tourism, for those who don’t know, the Governor is himself an investor and practitioner and founded the Royalty Group which has a chain of hotels, apartments and hospitality outfits etc across Akwa Ibom State.


The appointment from the governor who had stated in his presentation that Tourism is embedded in A of ARISE Agenda,was a clear signal that this is one sector that he has set his sights on.


At the Dialogue, he had promised to immediately take action some of the ideas generated, therefore,  as a man who says what he means and means every word he says, a few days after , the Tourism Team was reassembled to implement one of its suggestion: An audit of tourism sites and facilities with a view to help shape government’s intervention and attention.




According to Ken Blanchard, an American Author and Speaker, “Leadership is all about making the goals clear and then rolling your sleeves and doing whatever it takes to help your people win”

The kind of leader described here is the one that Akwa Ibom State has in Pastor Umo Eno because having discussed the ideas and shared the vision, on the day that the audit, which was in form of a physical tour of facilities, was to begin, he was the leader of delegation. This Writer was also co-opted to join the Tourism team for this all-important exercise.


The first port of call was the Akwa State Council For Arts & Culture where the Governor addressed the staff about his vision to promote culture, arts, festivals, cuisine, music and languages. He described culture as a key vehicle that can boost tourism andturn the sector into a huge income earner.


 He urged the staff to get ready to showcase their talents as they will be required to perform at major state functions. He also revealed that in line with his rural development mantra, platforms will be created for talents from all the 31 LGAs to be properly developed.


The Governor asserted that tourism can assist in the preservation of cultural heritage and values. Indeed, he noted that developing tourism assets will create sustainable employment for the youths in the rural areas.


Ibom Unity Park/Museum was the next stop. Here, as he was being taken round the facility which hosts the Ibibio Union Museum, by the official tour guide, Ubong Ekpe, the Governor did not seem impressed  by what he saw but maybe in a split second, the picture of what the place will look like after its transformation, flashed on his memory, and a slight smile spread across his face.


It was here that he reaffirmed that the government will partner with the private sector to build an Amusement Park and other recreational facilities within the lush green Unity Park. He added that in fact, the plan will be to build a mini-Disneyland that will be one-of-its-kind in the country.


The team’s next stop was the iconic Tropicana Entertainment Centre where he hailed the businesses that have taken up spaces in the facility and also interacted with some children who were lucky to be around. I am sure those children who also posed for pictures will cherish that moment for the rest of their lives.


He also spent time listening to the facility manager on the challenges they currently face and what kinds of support they may need from government.


Governor Umo and the entourage then visited the Ibom Icon Hotel & Golf Resort where he was received by Mr. AdetopeKayode, the Managing Director/CEO, who incidentally is also a member of the Tourism Sector Committee, and Mr UsenobongAkpabio, President of Ibom Golf Club.


Apart from inspecting and finding out the state affairs of the golf facility, he also visited the Marina Boat Club, where the last Slave Merchant Ship in these parts is anchored by the waterfront.


While the Governor took mental notes as he was being briefed, members of the team where taking down vital points vigorously.


He was impressed with the historical facts revealed about the Merchant ship and revealed that it will be restored and well-crafted information signage made available for tourists.


He also noted that he would have been very happy if the converted Club House was left in its pristine condition.


Just outside the back gate of the hotel nestled by the corner sat afish market and Governor Eno in his usual style walked from the hotel to the market. He promised to ensure that the traders are supported with equipment and an upgrade of their facilities, noting that if well-developed this area can be an attraction for visitors.


In commissioning the tour,  the Governor aims to see how these attractions can become viable destinations-and this fact was reaffirmed on DAY 2 by the Commissioner of Culture and Tourism, Sir Charles Udoh whose responsibility it was to become the delegation’s leader.


The team headed first to the Ikot Ekpene Plaza, a facility that stares at you as you drive into the famous Raffia City. The team was met by the Chairman of the LGA, Hon. Uyime Etim and other executives.


Though well-laid, the plaza, which was built as a recreation spot for those in Ikot Ikpene and environs, needs a facelift. The imposing TV Screen, water fountain and the little area designated as a children play area all looked abandoned.


It was not a very cheering site also at the famous Raffia Market. The arts and crafts being sold actually saved the day as many team members found many unique pieces that they bought.


It was probably because of the huge potential spotted at the place that the Commissioner told the craftsmen that government is committed to making the market more recognizable by relocating it to a befitting permanent site. He also revealed that they will be assisted with equipment within the hub when created to help them with finishing and packaging of products.


The team’s final inspection was a tour of the Four Points by Sheraton. The facility with 146 exquisite rooms and suites exuded the class and style expected of a top star hotel.


Many of the members showed a sense of pride as they were taken through the rooms including the eye-catching and picturesque pent house by the Commissioner of Special Duties and Ibom Deep Seaport, Engr. Bassey Okon and Mr YakoutAfia, the hotel’s General Manager.



From here, we drove to the Victor Attah International Airport where a brand-new Smart Airport Terminal, and a superb Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) is almost completed.


The Site Manager from VKS, the contractor listed key features of the International Smart terminal building to include: digital self check-in by a robot, pre-planned before Covid-19, Automated luggage screening and weighing, Video/Scene Analytics, Static object detection, suspicious packages, etc, foot traffic analysis, Queue detection, Facial recognition, Automation of Immigration Processes and Centres and more


The plan is to make this airport the regional hub of Ibom Air which is soon to launch its West African operations while the cargo terminal will complement the Agri-business plan of the Umo Eno administration. Everyone was buoyed by the remarkable potential that this facility has for tourism development in the state.

DAY 3 took the team to Ikot Abasi and we first went to the Ikot Abasi War Museum. The museum, we were told, was built by HE Senator Helen Esuene in memory of the 1929 Women Riot.

This was where we were told that the socalled Aba Riot was a historical misrepresentation and that the actual riot took place here in Ikot Abasi and the women died in this town and the facts are verifiable. A full description of what really happened is a story for another day.

And guess what? One of the leaders of the Ikot Abasi Women Riot was the grandmother of former Minister, former Senator and Technocrat, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma. Go and verify!

Many were teary-eyed as the tour guide regaled us with tales of how the women were shot at and harassed to their deaths by the waterfront.

The Commissioner promised to facilitate the collaboration between sought by the Museum’s Management with the NTDC. He also promised that the ministry will take it upon itself to weave the correct history of what really transpired..

Futhermore, we saw the vestiges of slave trade and the sad reminder of the dark days of colonialism here too. There was the Amalgamation House, the first known office of Lord Lugard and even the house he lived with his wife, Flora Shaw. Our hearts bled as we saw the condition of these buildings that should ordinarily been declared national heritage sites.

Though we breezed through Uta Ewa waterside, the day’s tour moved to Ibeno Beach, and the potential discovered here too are huge.

We also visited the oldest and first, Qua Iboe Church in Nigeria. The Church was established by a Christian Missionary, Samuel Bill and this particular building has been standing since 1887. There, we were even shown the Bible used by the late Bill to preach! What a treasure!

DAY 4 began at the Oron Museum which is run by the National Commissions for Museum and Monuments, the facility needs serious upgrade. The Oron Waterfront and Garden located around the museum are areas that would excite those who cherish the quietude of nature.

From Oron, we headed to Itu Hill where we saw many remains of the missionary work done in the area by the Presbyterian Church.

We began from the Mission House in Oku Iboku and then moved up the hill to the very grounds where the famous Mary Slessor walked in 1902. From the house where she kept twins that she rescued, the Leprosy Colony, the Stream which we were told had medicinal power to the church she used to preach, everywhere we turned looked, we saw a treasure trove of history.

Mary Slessor did most of her work here and it was therefore surprising that just last month, the Aberdeen Royal Mission in honour of Mary Slessor hosted the Olu of Warri for his work, like they say, wetin concern Agbero with overload, what has Mary Slessor who lived in Itu got to do with Warri. This is why there is an urgent need to tell our story as well as promote the history and significance of these sites.

The tour , without any doubt, was an eye-opener and the good news is that with the transformation that is going to happen in all these sites and more, Akwa Ibom will soon be irresistible: So get ready to come, play, work, invest and even live!

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Akwa Ibom NMA Chairman and Vice Chairman Impeached Amid Allegations of Misconduct




In a dramatic turn of events, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Akwa Ibom State chapter has impeached its Chairman, Prof. Emem Abraham, and Vice Chairman, Dr. Aniekan Utuk, following allegations of gross misconduct, high-handedness, and misappropriation of funds.

The impeachment took place during an Ordinary General Congress held on Wednesday at the NMA Secretariat, Kilometer 8, Nwaniba Road, Uyo.

The impeachment motion, supported by 71 members present at the Congress, marks the end of Prof. Abraham’s administration, which began on July 16, 2022, and was due to conclude on July 17, 2024. Following the impeachment, Dr. Usenobong Morgan Akpan, the Association’s Secretary, was elected as the Acting Chairman, with a vote of 61 in favor and 13 against.

During a press briefing at the Doctor’s Mess, Udo Udoma Avenue, Dr. Akpan outlined the reasons for the impeachment, citing financial mismanagement and procedural breaches. “The embattled Chairman and her vice were impeached for running the NMA Akwa Ibom State for five months without a budget while expending millions of naira, and presenting to the State Executive Council a financial statement for a free medical outreach accounting for only N6 million out of N34 million questioned,” Akpan explained.

Additional grounds for impeachment included breaches of the NMA National Constitution and Akwa Ibom State Bye-laws, unauthorized ejection of members from the association’s WhatsApp group, and high-handedness. Dr. Akpan called for the immediate withdrawal of privileges and recognitions previously accorded to the impeached officials.

“As the Secretary of the NMA, I was made the Acting Chairman by virtue of hierarchy; with the Chairman and Vice Chairman being impeached, I am next in line. We request that all forms of recognition and privileges accrued to the suspended persons be withdrawn,” Akpan stated.

In a counter-statement, Prof. Emem Abraham declared the impeachment null and void, insisting she remains the Chairman of the NMA Akwa Ibom State chapter. She accused Dr. Akpan of acting unilaterally and stated that the association’s ordinary general meeting (OGM) on June 2, 2024, was disrupted and recessed for security reasons, with no impeachment process initiated.

Prof. Abraham emphasized, “There was no impeachment process against me or any officer of the Association. The NMA AKS is intact, and I remain in charge as the Chairman.”

The Public Relations Officer of NMA, Dr. Unyime Ndoh, echoed this sentiment, urging members to disregard the impeachment claims and stating that the OGM would reconvene soon.

Further investigations revealed that the crisis in the NMA Akwa Ibom chapter intensified after the kidnapping of Dr. John Robbin Esu in Oron local government area on April 30, 2024. Following a 15-day ordeal, Prof. Abraham called for a strike to expedite Dr. Esu’s release, which led to internal conflict and the eventual impeachment.

The unfolding situation highlights deep divisions within the NMA Akwa Ibom chapter and raises questions about leadership and governance within the association.

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Workers Protest at Federal Polytechnic Ukana Over Salary, Welfare Issues




Workers at the Federal Polytechnic Ukana have launched a protest following a brief congress meeting at the institution’s TETFund auditorium.

The protesters voiced their dissatisfaction with the management’s handling of their demands, which include the non-payment of the 38% balance of salary shortfall, non-payment of promotion arrears, and the forceful conversion of staff.

Emerging from the congress, the protesters marched to the Rector’s office, holding placards and chanting solidarity songs while demanding the full implementation of their demands. Placards bore inscriptions such as, “SSANIP says no to unnecessary transfer of members,” “No to forceful conversion of staffs,” “Pay us our 38% balance salary shortfall (2016–2018),” and “Pay us our correct salary placement arrears (2015-2018).”

Mr. Tamunosiki Daka, chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Polytechnics (SSANIP) at the Federal Polytechnic Ukana, addressed the protesters, emphasizing that their actions were not confrontational but a plea for their welfare.

“We are not here to fight anyone; we are here to demand our rightful dues,” Daka stated. He expressed disappointment over the management’s indifference to their issues, including salary shortfalls dating back to 2015, despite numerous reminders.

Daka elaborated, “Over the years, from 2015 to date, we have been crying for salary shortfalls. When the visitation panel came, they promised to address it, but nothing has happened. We have met the management, but they did not provide any substantial reason for us not to go on strike. We wrote to the acting Rector, but she did not attend to us. The current Rector, Dr. Uduak Ndaeyo, attended to us, but still, no concrete answer was given.”

Highlighting the union’s procedural adherence, Daka noted, “We issued the necessary ultimatums—21 days, 14 days, and 7 days—before embarking on industrial action. Despite our pleas for the past six months, no action has been taken.”

Daka also criticized the appointment of a teaching staff member to the position of ICT, questioning its appropriateness. He announced that the workers would shut down all offices, including the Rector’s, if their demands were not met by Monday.

In a broader appeal, Daka called on President Bola Tinubu to investigate the personnel salaries of the institution from 2015 to the present, questioning the claims of full payment under the IPPIS platform.

“We urge the President to investigate all personnel salaries from 2015 to date. They claim they paid all shortfalls, but we have seen nothing,” Daka added.

The protest highlights ongoing frustrations and calls for accountability and prompt action to address the workers’ grievances.

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Ibom Air Celebrates 5th Anniversary, Announces Ambitious Future Plans




Ibom Air, the Akwa Ibom State-owned airline, marked its 5th anniversary on May 7, 2024, celebrating a significant milestone in its mission to provide reliable and exceptional air travel services across Africa.

Since commencing commercial operations on June 7, 2019, Ibom Air has demonstrated a strong commitment to world-class operational standards, gaining the confidence and loyalty of passengers throughout the region. The airline’s remarkable growth includes expanding its fleet, increasing its route network, and enhancing the overall customer experience. Notably, Ibom Air has maintained industry-leading on-time performance, a hallmark of its operations.

Reflecting on the airline’s achievements, Chief Executive Officer Mfon Udom expressed pride in their journey. “We are incredibly proud of what we have accomplished over the past five years. Our success is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire team and the unwavering patronage of our passengers,” Udom stated. He also extended congratulations to the shareholders, the government, and the people of Akwa Ibom State for their committed ownership and strong support from the start, which have been instrumental in the airline’s focus on excellence in connecting people and places.

In celebration of its anniversary, Ibom Air unveiled ambitious plans for the future, including positioning itself as an ESG-responsible company with a clear sustainability vision. The airline plans rapid fleet and route expansion to tackle connectivity issues within the African region, alongside a focus on leveraging advanced technology.

Chief Operating Officer George Uriesi highlighted recent technological advancements aimed at improving customer experience. “We have recently unveiled cutting-edge technology and infrastructure to improve our booking, check-in, and in-flight services while enhancing our self-service portal on the website to make it more user-friendly. Similar attention will be paid to one of our most critical touchpoints: our call centre. We plan to make it a 24-hour service very shortly,” Uriesi commented.

In the area of sustainability, Ibom Air is committed to reducing its environmental impact through sustainable practices. The airline introduced the fuel-efficient Airbus A220-300 aircraft, with an expected fleet of 11 aircraft to ensure its carbon footprint aligns with global best practices. Additionally, the airline’s corporate social responsibility program will focus on giving back to the less privileged and vulnerable, positively impacting its communities.

To further commemorate this milestone, Ibom Air will recognize staff who have been with the airline since its inception, celebrating their dedication and contribution to the airline’s success.

“At Ibom Air, today and every day, we appreciate our customers who have stayed with us and have been unwavering in their commitment to building this brand. As a result, we pledge to continue to uphold the highest standards of safety, comfort, and convenience for our passengers,” affirmed Uriesi.

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