Federal Government to construct Aba – Ikot Ekpene road next year according to Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel
By Tom Okure, Ph.D.
Mr. Udom Emmanuel, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State (AKS) indicates that the Nigerian Federal Government has included the construction of Aba, Ikot Ekpene and Calabar Road in its budget plans and that the road would soon be repaired in the coming year. The governor recently made the remarks while addressing the people of Ikot Ekpene and Essien Udim during the Silver Jubilee celebration of Christ the King Parish church in Odoro Ikot in Essien Udim Local Government Area.
According to Governor Udom Emmanuel:
“I have applied to the Federal Government to hand over the road traversing Aba, Ikot Ekpene and Calabar to enable me partner a Private investor who will repair the road and create toll gate to recover the investment. Instead of granting the application the Federal Government announced that the road has been captured in next year’s budget and has been earmarked for construction so I am calling for understanding as the road would soon be repaired as promised by the Central Government”
The Governor also denounced the loss of lives and properties in Ikot Ineme community due to the persistent communal clashes associated with disputed lands in the area and indicated that the Akwa Ibom State government has taken possession of the disputed land for agricultural purpose. He indicated that the government will not tolerate lawlessness in the community and urged Community Stakeholders to report crisis situations to the government for prompt intervention.
During the occasion, the Governor also drew the attention of the church to the rising level of moral decadence in society and urged the church to preach words of “salvation, morality as well as reinvent evangelism to direct the minds of the people towards the fear of God.”
Annang nation is blessed with many of these sand river beds and it provides a thriving business for the local economy where they are found. The mining of sand is historically and culturally significant for Annang people because it reflects the life blood of the native people prior to the rapid economic transformation of the Annang nation. Sand mining is historically significant for the Annangs since the colonial era. Today the industry employs hundreds to perhaps thousands of local indigenous people through a semi managed production and supply chain for sand.
The canoes filled with sand bring the sand to a predetermined open storage location near or far from the river for the business owner and the harvested sands are piled into dunes for sale to local customers. The increasing demand for sand has been putting more and more pressure on the harvesting of sand from major rivers like Mbiaso river in Ikot Ekpene . Typically customers are required to pay in advance for sand prior to loading a delivery sand truck for a customer. A truck load of mined sand is currently priced at between 10,000 Naira to 12,000 Naira depending on location purchased from or the nature of the sand type (shape or coarse sand) etc.
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By Tom Okure, Ph.D
(Dr. Okure is CEO of ICMS,Inc and a Nigerian indigene based in the USA.
Dr. Okure is a Writer, Commentator, Public Policy and Economic Development Consultant/Advisor)
Date: August 12, 2016
The Akwa Ibom State Government signed a management agreement with Starwood Hotels in 2014 to manage a (4 Star) Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene built under contract for the government by Renaissance Construction. In 2015 a large portion of construction work was finished and officially opened by the departing Godswill Akpabio’s administration, even though the hotel was not fully ready and operational.
Starwood Hotels, the designated manager of this hotel states that the Hotel will be fully open and operational by April of 2017. Starwood Hotels has experience managing hotels in Akwa Ibom State as it also manages the well renowned Le Méridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort in Uyo. Four Points amenities include a banquet hall, spa, meeting rooms, restaurants indoor and outdoor, swimming pool, tennis courts, club lounge and even a roof terrace.
Four Points by Sheraton Hotel is located adjacent to Ikot Ekpene City Center Plaza that was commissioned by the State government during the Silver Jubilee celebrations in the state. It is the tallest building in Ikot Ekpene city and an imposing structure which can be seen from many miles from the city center. It is a definite enhancement to the landscape of the city.
The hotel is situated at the old site of Ikot Ekpene federal prison which was located in the heart of the city. The federal prison was demolished and relocated out of town to make room for the Four Point hotel which the city planners believe was essential to accord the ancient town of Ikot Ekpene a befitting image, facelift and boost it as a tourist destination enhancement within Nigeria deserving of its status as the first experimental local government area created by the British colonial government in Nigeria and West Africa.
Ikot Ekpene is recognized as a commerce center and is reputable in the production and exportation of a variety of agricultural products including palm products such as palm oil, kernels, raffia and the cultivation of a variety of food crops likes yams, cassava, and corn.
Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene Highlights
Location: Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom;
Keys: 144 Standard Rooms, 2 Presidential Suites and 16 Regular Suites;
Total Gross Floor Area: 13,700m2;
Contractors: Renaissance Construction;
Expected Opening: April 2017
Read More: Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MESS AT IKOT EKPENE CONTROL POST?
By Tom Okure, Ph.D
(Dr. Okure is an Ikot Ekpene Indigene based in the USA
and a Public Policy and Economic Development Consultant/Advisor)
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ubong F Essien
Dated August 2, 2016
It would have been better to do nothing rather than turn this historic CONTROL POST location (Site) into the SORRY STATE depicted in the pictures within this article.
Someone should tell/advice the AKS government that this is appalling and very unacceptable. Control Post is the very heart of Ikot Ekpene and a very historical spot where the British Colonial Government began the mapping of the town and administration of the province. This is the locus point of Ikot Ekpene village (Usug Ikot Ekpene) which the town and local government derives it’s name. This is also the central point of the author’s village and a very important junction point in Annang nation.
Policy Advice on Construction Projects in Akwa Ibom State
Construction projects should never be started without a special dedicated budget fund to accomplish the task over a period of years. Budgetary revenues would be released annually as planned project targets are accomplished until the planned infrastructure/project is completed. The dilemma that Akwa Ibom State is facing as we witness the abandonment of many planned projects that the administration of Akpabio undertook like the Tropicana Plaza in Uyo and dualiization of Uyo/Ikot-Ekpene Federal road is the lack of capital planning foresight and the failure to build into the government capital budget for projects a contingency budget to accommodate unforeseen circumstances (like the fall in oil revenues) as we are experiencing throughout the country. Moreover, in civilized countries in Europe and the United States infrastructure projects are funded from dedicated funding revenue streams which in New York State budgeting is referred to as Special Revenue Funds (SRF). Initial funding for specific infrastructural projects can begin by issuing specific capital bonds guaranteed by the Federal government as a debt to the state. When the specific bond funded project is completed, it could be utilized to generate specific revenues to repay the long term bonds associated with the project.
The Need to Establish Dedicated Special Revenue Funds (SRF) in AKSG Budgetary System.
Special Revenue Funds (SRF) are dedicated revenues in government budgets to accommodate specific activities like road construction and maintenance, education, sanitation etc. SRFs are derived from sources outside the General Funds (GF) account of government budgets. In Akwa Ibom State, the government can institute a road tariff (or toll) and other user rates/fees (at the airport, parks, etc.) specifically aimed at generating dedicated budgetary Special Revenue Funds (SRF) to maintain and beautify the existing road networks in the state. The state is blessed with a good road network that are already in place which were built by the previous Akpabio Administration.
SRFs cannot be used for other than the purpose they are setup for. They can be established by the Executive governor or by the State Legislature to fund a specific project. Such funds are untouchable (outside politics) and cannot be used by the Legislature to pad the annual state budget. Over the years SRF can grow to enormous amounts and properly administered, can be employed to start, complete and fund magnificent projects. It is high time Akwa Ibom State should in earnest start generating significant internal revenues and reduce its dependence on federal allocations. In addition to creating industries in the state, focus should be placed on utilizing existing state assets to generate special revenues which should be utilized for specific purposes. The establishment of a State Lottery is a good example which can benefit the public and could generate a lot of funds for the state. Dedicated lottery funds in a SRF budgetary account could be used to maintain our primary, secondary schools and Universities. This is how proper state budgeting should work in a properly functioning state budgetary system.
Unless Akwa Ibom State policy makers start “thinking outside the box” and begin to explore setting up various SRF accounts to accommodate newly planned projects and the maintenance of existing projects like the abandoned dualization of Uyo Ikot Ekpene road, we will witness a slow and steady deterioration of the existing infrastructure which is already in place in the state, which is clearly exemplified by the mess we are seeing in Ikot Ekpene’s control post.
By Dr. Tom Okue
Date: August 1, 2016
On behalf of the family of Late Udo Udo Okure of Nto Umoton Abatekpe family of Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria, we congratulate and wish the Paramount Chief and his Royal Highness Okuku Engineer Assiak of Ikot Abia Idem a very happy 85th birthday celebration today.
We join with his children, family and all the people of Ikot Ekpene local government of Akwa bom State of Nigeria to wish Chief Assiak good health, wisdom and prosperity so that he can continue to provide good leadership and guidance for the continued economic development and prosperity of Ikot Ekpene and its inhabitants. May God grant Chief Assiak peace and happiness as he celebrates his special day.
History of African Paramount Chiefs
A paramount chief in the African context is used to describe a very powerful chief of the highest order. A paramount chief unlike that of a local chief has power which extends over an entire region. In British Colonial times, the term was used to designate the highest level political leader in a colonial regional or local polity or country administered politically with a chief based system. Such a ruler had great authority which transcended multiple chiefdoms or the rulers of exceptionally powerful chiefdoms that have subordinated others. The title of Paramount Chief was a convenient formal title established and used by the British colonial administrators during the 19th and 20th-century in Africa, India and Asian colonies to describe very powerful local rulers equivalent to “kings” in Europe. The term was coined and used as a substitute for King in order to highlight that only the British monarch was entitled to be called King. Since the title of chief was frequently used to describe local rulers and by British district and town administrators, it became necessary to add Paramount Ruler to a very powerful regional Chief in order to differentiate such a ruling monarch from a local aristocracy.
The video and pictures are courtesy of Hon. David Essien and Ekerete Assiak.
Nigerian Music Video by Perfecta Ekpo
Produced by Young D. Music video coming soon. Email contact : perfectaekpo@Yahoo.com
Born: September 26, 1958
Died: September 13, 2014
Udo Udo Okure Jr. was born in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria on September 26, 1958 and was the third son, and the last child of five children of late Hon. Chief Udo Udo Okure, B.A; O.B.E who was a Public Service Commissioner in the former Eastern Region of Nigeria (1960-67).
Udo Udo Okure Jr. (commonly known among his childhood friends as OCK or Original Captain Kid), was of Nigerian Annang tribal descent. He grew up with his brothers and sisters at 11 Park Lane in the government reserved area (GRA) suburbs of Enugu, the capital of the then Eastern Regional government of Nigeria. He attended All Saints’ nursery School in Park Lane, Enugu and continued his primary education in WTC Practicing School, Enugu. He then proceeded to the well renowned Government College, Umuahia where he finished with good grades.
After completing his high school education in Nigeria, he gained admission to study Architectural Engineering at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas in the United States of America. Upon the death of his mother Mrs. Umo Essien Okure in 1980, he relocated from Manhattan, Kansas to Albany, New York in order to be close to his brother Dr. Tom Okure and to continue his academic studies in Hudson Valley Community College and SUNY, Albany and obtained a bachelor’s degree.
After completion of his studies, he worked for a number of private engineering firms in New Jersey and the New York State Capital region including Foit-Albert Associates and engineering firm, Laberge engineering etc. He held many positions in the private engineering firms but was really excited about his work as a computer-aided drafting (CAD) specialist. The intensity and insecurity of working for private engineering firms combined with his health challenges led to his decision about seven (7) years ago to start a new career with the New York State government at the Department of Transportation (DOT) in Albany, New York. He was steadily employed and satisfied with his career at the DOT Design Quality Assurance Bureau, Engineering Technology Section in Albany, New York until his sudden life expiration (death) on Saturday September 13, 2014, just thirteen days shy of his birthday on September 26, 2014.
Udo Udo was married to his wife Suzanne Scott of Rochester New York on October 16, 1984. The couple lived together for some years in Lagos, Nigeria and later relocated back to the United States where they divorced. They had no children.
Udo Udo had many friends; he loved life, enjoyed cooking and playing competitive electronic chess games in the internet with friends around the world. He had many health challenges all through his live including polio at the age of two (2), diabetes, high blood pressure etc. Despite his health challenges, he was always happy, smiling and very optimistic about the prospect of a long life and future. Udo Udo a/k/a OCK will be dearly missed by close friends and family members. He is survived by his immediate siblings, Mrs. Helene Nne Bassey (or Nee Okure who resides in Abuja Nigeria), Engr. Christopher Umoton Okure (Manchester, UK), Dr. Tom Udo Okure (Albany, New York ), and many other cousins, nieces, nephews and relatives in The USA, UK and Nigeria.
Autobiography and Narrative Attribution: Mrs Helene Nne Bassey (Sister, Abuja Nigeria) and Tom U.U. Okure, Ph.D (Brother, Albany, New York USA).