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Umo Eno promises infrastructure maintenance if elected Akwa Ibom governor

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Akwa Ibom State has had 10 governors or administrators in its 35 years of existence, and ten of them have shown an awareness of the axiom that governance is a continuum with relation to infrastructure development.

Like a constructor would add bricks to a home, successive leaders have added building blocks to the structure known as the Land of Promise, which has continued to grow majestically into the distance.

With the establishment of the Fourth Republic in 1999, this initiative gained traction as the three democratically elected administrations focused more on urban renewal through the building of roads and bridges, the opening up of communities, the provision of health and educational facilities, the supply of power, etc. This is what’s behind the state’s quick development.

Pastor Umo Eno, who is contesting election to be the fourth governor of the state on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is not about to deviate from the path the past two elected governors and the incumbent have trodden. But in doing so, he would be different not just from those before him in Akwa Ibom, but the entire country, as well.

Indications from the governorship candidate suggest that, if elected, he would prioritize infrastructure upkeep over just building new infrastructure. This goal is clearly stated in the A.R.I.S.E. economic blueprint, which encompasses the four key areas that would receive priority attention under his leadership: the agricultural revolution, rural development, infrastructure maintenance and advancement, security management, and educational progress.

The widespread lack of value for public infrastructure and, in certain cases, a challenging maintenance culture for the same, are the driving forces for Eno’s choice to move beyond the provision of infrastructure.
This goes beyond Governments which are wont to see their responsibility as beginning and ending with construction of roads, bridges and structures for public use, without a well thought about maintenance plan which is the reason infrastructure decay is somwhat of a culture in Nigeria.

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The poor maintenance culture in the country often leads to a situation in which public funds are wasted in either rebuilding existing infrastructure and facilities, or building new ones, with monies that could have been channeled into other areas of need.

“Our challenge in Nigeria has never been the provision of infrastructure, but maintaining them”, Eno says, in his economic blueprint. “Infrastructural maintenance would be our priority, to ensure continued functionality and viability as done by the current administration. It is our belief that maintenance of existing facilities is far cheaper than building new ones. Building new facilities as replacement to mismanaged assets would amount to wasting our scarce resources that would otherwise be put into more productive use.”

This is one of the strategies the governorship candidate would put in place towing the line of consolidating his predecessors efforts. Many years of managing human and material resources in the private sector where he spent nearly all his adult working life, with outstanding success, has equipped him with the capacity to manage public resources in the position of a state governor. He showed a glimpse of his capacity to manage public resources during his stint as commissioner for lands and water resources in the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel.

The candidate’s promise to pay attention to infrastructure maintenance is a competence trait which stands him out on capacity to bring something new into governance. Many see the promise as an indication of his readiness to lead and serve not just Akwa Ibom state, but the country as a whole.

“We may see the end of the practice of deliberately leaving public infrastructure to fall into decay as a ploy for awarding resuscitation contracts and repairs, which may end up in private pockets as we have seen in some states” says Iniobong Ekwere, a Lagos-based, Akwa Ibom born lawyer. “From what is generally known of Pastor Umo Eno based on his antecedents, he will bring integrity into governance. And one of the ways to do this is to curb any wastage emanating from lack of maintenance which has stifled development in Nigeria”.

Eno has promised to look into the area of power supply for the people of the state, in view of its critical role in development. The government of Obong Victor Attah conceptualized and built a power plant in Ikot Abasi, to prepare grounds for an infrastructural renaissance in the state. But despite its ownership of a facility that should guarantee uninterrupted power supply for the state and its environs, Akwa Ibom as with every other state still grapples with the problem of inadequate supply of electricity due mainly to the fact that power generation, transmission and distribution is on the Exclusive Legislative List. This causes a situation which the state literally has no say in how it consumes the power it generates.

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However in May of 2022, the Senate voted to remove power from the Exclusive Legislative List into the Concurrent List. When amendments to the 1999 Constitution are eventually passed into law, it would be possible for states to generate, transmit and distribute power within and outside their territories.

The PDP candidate sees this as a welcome development – one that would give impetus to his administration’s effort at providing electricity to every nook and cranny of the state, if he becomes governor. “Good enough, power generation is now in the concurrent list; we will have to look at the issues involved and ensure that the project comes alive and serve the people much more than it is doing at the moment,” Eno says.

He said his administration would also look in the direction of “environment related, environmentally friendly but reliable off grid solutions that can power small-holder endeavours in the local communities.” This, he assured, would be part of his administration’s programmes to arrest rural-urban drift. He identified lack of basic infrastructure, amenities and facilities as some of the factors that encourage the drift. “People need not move from their rural communities to urban centres on account of lack of basic amenities like electricity and portable water,” he says. “The rural economy can have a major turnaround boost and great multiplier effect if these two facilities are provided. And we will focus our attention on those.”

Eno is campaigning to be governor of Akwa Ibom on the strength of his success as a private sector player with proven character, competence, capacity and compassion. His brief tenure in the current administration exposed him to the rudiments and intricacies of public office in the executive arm of government. The people of the state have a choice on March 11, 2023, to vote to go forward, or attempt a new experiment.

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A’Ibom Government Distributes Exercise Books in Uyo Senatorial District

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…announces demotion of one head teacher for extortion

The Akwa Ibom State Government has warned head teachers of public schools in Akwa Ibom state to desist from illegal charges on school children or risk severe penalties.

This comes on the heels of the announcement that a school head in the State will soon receive his demotion letter, on account of extorting illegal charges from parents of pupils in his school.

At an event organised by the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Education for the distribution of ARISE branded exercise books for the pupils of all public primary schools in Uyo senatorial district, the State Commissioner for Education Mrs Idongesit Etiebet frowned at acts capable of frustrating the noble intentions of Governor Eno, saying the Governor is committed to ensuring a smooth and efficient education system in public schools in the State.

Addressing a gathering of teachers and school administrators, the Commissioner for Education and other educational stakeholders emphasized that there is no room for any fee in public schools as the state is sustaining free and compulsory education.

She stated “I want to use this opportunity to warn all head teachers to do your best, do not collect money of any kind from students or else you would be demoted with immediate effect through the appropriate disciplinary channels”.

“Next week you’re going to hear that we are sending a head teacher who demanded the sum of a thousand naira from all new intakes and also extorted five thousand naira from each pupil to give them their placement letters.

“This was a very unjust act and so he will face the consequences”.

A member of the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, John Udo, said his board has concluded investigations on the allegations and has begun the process of refunding the illegal charges to parents in that school.

“Education is free and fair in Akwa Ibom State, you have not been asked to collect money from any student”, he said and lauded the Governor for the prompt payment of counterpart funding for all Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC projects in the state

Recall that Governor Eno during the commissioning of model schools in Uyo recently, had announced one million copies of customized exercise books for pupils in all public primary schools in the state.

Further presenting the books to the head teachers in the respective schools in Uyo senatorial district, Mrs Etiebet highlighted the Governor’s achievement in education under one year to include payment of WASSCE and NAPTEB fees to the tone of 1.5bn naira yearly, payment of bursary to all students, infrastructural development of schools, institution of 100 million Naira Educational Trust Fund for students with disabilities, provision of free school bags, free shoes, amongst others.

In a bid to ensure the exercise books get to the targeted beneficiaries, the Education Boss admonished all Head teachers to ensure the distribution in all schools are done under the supervision of the Governor’s Personal Aides selected from the 368 wards.

Stressing on the Governor’s commitment to Teachers welfare as evidenced in the timely payment of salary and recently announced wardrobe allowance, Etiebet called on all Teachers to reciprocate the Governor’s gesture with passion, commitment and dedication to duty and assured of tough times for all erring teachers.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of education Mrs Stella Etukakpan while setting the tone, highlighted the governor’s proactive approach since assumption of office, including unscheduled visits to schools and regular spot checks to schools.

She also commended the Education Commissioner for her consistency and passion towards proper interpretation and implementation of the Governor’s vision for education advancement in the state.

Also speaking, the Senior Special Assistant on Research and Documentation, Dr Essien Ndueso, highlighted the comprehensive monitoring mechanisms put in place to ensure the effective distribution of resources.

He explained that ward Personal Assistants have been equipped with iPads to document and report on the distribution process, ensuring accountability and transparency.

In the same vain, an Education Director in the State secondary schools board, Akparawa Udeme Udofia, described Governor Umo Eno as a “talk and do” leader, whose actions have consistently matched his promises. He expressed optimism that the distribution of exercise books would significantly enhance educational activities and mentioned plans to extend similar initiatives to secondary schools in the state.

Reacting to the Governor’s sterling performance, Mr. Anthony, on behalf of the head teachers, thanked Governor Eno for his unwavering dedication to education. He highlighted how the governor’s initiatives have fostered a passion for education within the school community

The high point of the event was the symbolic presentation of exercise books to head teachers in Uyo Senatorial district with a directive further distribute them to all pupils within three working days.

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Muhajid Alhaji Abubakr Dokubo-Asari Felicitates Alabo Dumo lulu-Briggs on 60th Birthday

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Muhajid Alhaji Abubakr Dokubo-Asari, a steadfast advocate for the rights of the Niger Delta people has extended warm felicitations to Alabo, Dumo lulu-Briggs, head of the Oruwari Briggs Group of War Canoe and Chieftaincy Houses of Abonnema on his 60th birthday.

In a heartfelt message, Dokubo-Asari praised Alabo Dumo lulu-Briggs for his remarkable journey, marked by unwavering dedication to politics without bitterness, and his tireless efforts to promote peace and brotherliness throughout his life.

“I salute his penchant for politics without bitterness, promoting peace and brotherliness,” Dokubo-Asari said, highlighting Alabo Dumo lulu-Briggs’s remarkable ability to navigate the complexities of politics with grace and humility.

Furthermore, Dokubo-Asari commended Alabo Dumo lulu-Briggs for his outstanding philanthropic endeavors, particularly in Abonema, where he has made a profound impact on the lives of youths, the aged, and women through various outreach programs.

“Alabo Dumo lulu-Briggs has been outstanding in his philanthropic endeavors to touch and change the lives of youths, the aged and women in Kalabari kingdom providing succor and support to the weak and hopeless through various out reach programs,” Dokubo-Asari emphasized.

The Paramount Ruler of Edi Abali Group of War Canoe Houses of Kalabari kingdom also praised Alabo Dumo lulu-Briggs for his selfless life, which exemplifies love for humanity and service. “Dumo’s selfless life exemplifies love for humanity and service,” Dokubo-Asari said, acknowledging Alabo Dumo lulu-Briggs’ enduring legacy.

Alabo Dumo lulu-Briggs, a businessman, politician, and philanthropist, is the chairman of Platform Petroleum Ltd, a petroleum exploration company planning a 10,000 metric tonnes refinery. His remarkable life serves as an inspiration to many, and his continued service to humanity is a testament to his enduring legacy.

As he celebrates this milestone, Alabo Dumo lulu-Briggs is undoubtedly grateful for the love and support of his friends, family, and the people he has touched through his philanthropic endeavors.

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

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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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