It was a cool evening of September 22, 2018, at the Akwa Ibom Governor’s lodge at Asokoro, Abuja, when I was ushered in to the Governor ‘s presence, by two stern looking DSS officials, where I finally sat with Governor Udom Emmanuel at close range.
It was a rare privilege meeting with the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, after weeks of trying to have an appointment with him in Uyo. Fortunately, I was in Abuja when I learnt of the Governor’s presence, and that was how the magic happened.
After exchanging warm pleasantries with the Governor, we sat back to engage ourselves in what is today, the fulcrum of this piece. There was an old Barcelona replay football match showing on the television set, where he told me about his bias for watching football, that he was a football lover, supporting Arsenal football club. I asked myself, could that be the reason the Governor was investing heavily in sports development in the state?
We have witnessed the transformation in Akwa United, who have won laurels, and competing in the African continent. We have also seen grassroots development in the state, through the encouragement of youngsters in tennis. Basket ball, etc.
Governor Udom said, that, he has always been known for peace, hence, since his assumption of office as the State’s helmsman, Akwa Ibom has enjoyed so much peace. He also told me that, it is only peace that brings whatever level of development any state can wish for. According to him, his mission is to leave Akwa Ibom United in 2023, better than what he met.
I had attempted to inquire from the Governor, his relationship with his predecessor, and he said it was cordial, despite the later defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He went further to inform me that he had greater plans for Akwa Ibom, in spite of what they have achieved in the first term of his administration. His plans to build model schools across the state, increase funding in the health sector, invest in human empowerment, and create more jobs to Akwa Ibom people, through the establishment of more industries, and private partnership investments to the state.
Governor Udom told me that, he intends to increase funding of security in the state, that when he leaves office in 2023, Akwa Ibom should be ranked as the most peaceful state to reside and invest on, in Nigeria.
I inquired from the Governor about Pensioners, he said, he understands what Pensioners go through it getting their pensions in time past, and as a Governor, his mission is to correct that societal anomaly, and make sure that all Pensioners are paid in time, as he is currently doing.
His Excellency said, he is not going about making so much noise, that his projects and programmes were visible, even to the blind. After my second term, Akwa Ibom will look back to be proud that they had a Governor in Udom Emmanuel. He concluded.
We retreat to have launch, thereafter, he bade me goodbye, as he was departing to attend the state’s anniversary the next day.
The above piece is written by Eneh John, a creation of FOUR MORE YEARS 4 UDOM.