By Dan Udoh
Something very disastrous and repugnant is going on at the highest level of governance in Akwa Ibom State and it will in the end stifle the development and impoverish the people.
The state government apparently trying to slow down the pace with which the Niger Delta Development Commission is doing projects in the state and have justifications for accusing the Federal Government of not doing anything for Akwa Ibom, is devising ways to block the NDDC from carrying out any project in the state without its expressed permission.
With the way the governor of Akwa Ibom and its officials are mixing politics with development and trying to sacrifice the interest of the people on the altar of politics, the people will suffocate because investment in infrastructural development and rebuilding of communities will be far off the mark.
Of a truth, Governor Udom Emmanuel is desirous of transforming the 30-year state to a modern society with facilities that can drive investments but he is also aware of the paucity of funds at his disposal, thereby necessitating the active support and collaboration of the NDDC, a federal intervention agency that has shown an unprecedented desire and commitment in developing Akwa Ibom, especially since the appointment of the former deputy governor of the state, Obong Nsima Ekere, as Managing Director of the Commission by the Buhari administration.
Since coming in Board about a year ago, the NDDC has broken the record in constructing of roads hitherto in impassable state at local and state levels and has in the processed won the accolades of the excited benefitting communities and leaders.
But that acknowledgement of the good work being done by the NDDC in many parts of the state is what the governor does not want to hear and spread abroad by anyone in his cabinet and the Peoples Democratic Party, which believes by sounding the achievements of the APC-led NDDC, Nsima Ekere, who is being rumored to be keen contesting the governorship of the state in 2019 against the incumbent, would become very popular among the electorate.
For that lame political reason, Emmanuel has consistently challenged the mandate of the NDDC, accusing it of crossing the borderline and embarking on projects without due consultation with the state government.
The Emmanuel administration has severally accused the interventionist agency of delivering poor quality jobs, project abandonment and even distorting the state’s development plan.
The recent of the governor at the South-South Security Summit and Public Lecture organised by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, held in Uyo, was the height of the governor’s open confrontation with the management and board of the NDDC
Udom in his address at the security summit warned the NDDC that they have crossed the borderline as they have no right to embark on any projects in Akwa Ibom or any of the state covered by the mandate of NDDC.
Ondo, Bayelsa, Abia and Delta State governments all have pacts with the commission as they are already partnering to develop the region.
If the antagonistic action of the Akwa Ibom State government against NDDC and its Managing Director is not immediately checked, it has the dangerous potential to jeopardize the state drawing maximum benefits from the agency as other stakeholders.
- Udoh, a public affairs analyst, is based in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.