By Harris-Okon Emmanuel
UYO- Akwa Ibom State Government has cleared the air on its award of contracts, saying that the processes are in tandem with the international best practices.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Charles Udoh, made the disclosure against the backdrop of allegations that the state government contract award was shrouded in secrecy and not through competitive bidding.
Udoh said: ‘’our award of contract follows due diligence, due process and international best practices. That is why we have a Special Adviser on Due Process and that tells you how serious this government takes the issue of transparency. We also have a Special Adviser on Direct Foreign Investment and we publish our annual report detailing how much we spend on a given project and that is a pointer to the fact that this government is transparent and accountable.
‘’There is no one way in awarding contracts. The most important thing in awarding contract is that you follow international best practices.’’
On why the state government does not publicize the contract sum, the Commissioner said: ‘’There are no standard costs because construction of roads varies from size to size. The road you construct in Mbo cannot be the same amount with the one you construct in Uyo because of their peculiar terrain.
‘’The annual report is a clear indicator how we spend Akwa Ibom money. There is no hidden agenda. And how many states in Nigeria publicize theirs? So, Akwa Ibom is very transparent and this is why we publish our annual report with audited financial statements for every year.’’
Udoh maintained that the roads constructed by the government were built to international standard and specification even as he allegedly accused the federal government of not building a single road in the state despite the fact that the state produces the highest oil quantum to the nation coffers.
The Commissioner affirmed that the state government takes into consideration the economic value when building roads.
‘’The governor is transforming the state in a sustainable manner beyond political line. And without blowing our own trumpet, Governor Udom Emmanuel is celebrated outside the state and Nigeria. The federal government found him fit to be given an Integrity award and Akwa Ibom was only the state invested to speak at an investment in 2018 in London’’, he said.
He, however appealed to the federal government to step up work on the portion of Itu-Calabar ravaged by gully erosion, otherwise the menace would cut off Akwa Ibom state.