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.
All rights reserved by Inter-Continental Mgt. Systems, Inc (ICMS, Inc). The information included in this publication may not be used, reproduced, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written permission of ICMS, Inc. (Email us at email@example.com).
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.
By Tom U. Okure, PH.D
In this article, the author argues that the reinterpretation of Annang history through the purposeful omission of the vital historical contribution of some past Annang leaders without factual justification is of general concern and a dangerous historical trend.
Context and Background
The Annang people are a distinctive cultural group within Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. The Annangs in common with many other tribal groups in Nigeria like to refer to their ethnic grouping as a nation. The word nation is used here to refer to a group of people (Annangs) living in Nigeria and constituting a single political and economic unit. The Annangs are indigenous to Abak, Ikot Ekpene, Ika, Ukanafun, Etim Ekpo, Obot Akara, Essien Udim and Oruk Anam local government in Akwa Ibom State.
A lot has been written about the Annangs, especially during the last 50 years. During the Civil war (the Nigeria/Biafra war) between 1967 through 1970, the Annangs suffered genocide and displacement from their towns and villages and lost a large number of its people and prominent leaders. The war front between the Nigerian army and Biafra stalemated in Ikot Ekpene and for more than two and a half years, many Annangs lived as refugees in their own state facing tremendous hardship and discrimination in the towns and villages they were forced to flee to. The catastrophe that the Annang Nation experienced did not occur in other areas affected by the civil war and has been ignored and misinterpreted in most current thinking and writing. There is a lot of historical revisionism taking place in the writings about Annang Nation today. In this article, this writer highlights that there is a current tendency among many scholars, policy makers and historical commentators to attempt to revise the major heroic achievements, contributions and sacrifices of Annang past heroes. It is argued that the purposeful omission by scholars, policy makers and historical commentators to reflect the contributions of some Annang past leaders in their writings, speeches and memorials indicates latent bias in favor of some leaders and constitutes a historical distortion of Annang history.
A new generation of social, economic and political elite has ascended to the top echelons of Annang society today and they want to be heard, seen and to be remembered. They also would like to leave a lasting legacy of their contributions to society for the next generation of Annang children. This is a good thing and we should all embrace upward mobility in society, especially because we are in a democratic setting in today’s Nigeria as opposed to the totalitarian and undemocratic environment that we faced during years of Nigerian military rule. Nevertheless, the attainment of a status of historical significance should not mean deliberately omitting, downplaying or down right discrediting the contribution of previous Annang leaders whose story and contribution to Annang political empowerment and social progress also need to be recognized, told and heard by the current generation.
The history of Nigeria and the Annang people is full of events such as the Nigerian civil war that we have to strive to pass on to our children so that they can fully understand and appreciate who we are and what we stand for as a people. There is a phrase by Sir Winston Churchill of Britain which states that “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” There are many among us devoted to telling the story of our historical circumstances and famous leaders and who try to depict the historical truth by thoroughly researching our past. On the other hand, there are many among us who are twisting our history in order to portray a historical past that benefits the quest by those seeking upward social standing among us. Many would like to cover up unfortunate circumstances in our historical past by suppressing undeniable historical truths. Perhaps some people need to enhance their present favorable political and economic circumstances by aligning themselves to famous past Annang leaders. Many of these acclaimed past leaders, when placed in proper perspective, lack historical significance as Annang heroes of their time. Whatever may be the motivating factor or underlying rational for this wave of revisionism, one thing is clear; world history is filled with this type of historical revisionism. Most scholars are familiar with the concept of revisionism and the positive and also dysfunctional negative consequences it can play in the interpretation of important world events such as the causes of World War I and II and the cold war between the United States and the former Soviet Union. In some circumstances, revisionism has its merits. Take for example the idea of Afrocentrism. This methodology to explanation is allegedly racist, reactionary, and also therapeutic. Its objective was to encourage Black Nationalism and ethnic pride as a psychological weapon against the deliberate destructive consequences of worldwide racism. It was a deliberate response of black scholars worldwide against Eurocentric/Orientalist racist attitudes about African people and their historical contributions. Afrocentric writers revisit their history with an African cultural and ideological focus and their writings seek to support the claim that the contributions of various African people have been downplayed or discredited as part of the legacy of colonialism and slavery’s pathology of “writing Africans out of history.
Analytic Observations on Annang Revisionism
A review of writings and public comments related to Annang people and their past leaders reveals significant bias in favor of some acclaimed past leaders. There appears to be either a purposeful neglect to mention, or perhaps deliberate omission or downplaying of the contribution of other prominent past Annang dignitaries. It is historical revisionism and a disturbing trend not just for the Annang Nation but for present day Akwa Ibom State as a whole when one sees scholars, writers and policy makers show bias in their public pronouncements, adoration and praise of the past contributions of certain Annang historical personalities over others.
Some writers, this author included, have called attention to the purposeful neglect by past and present policy makers to memorialize the death and the contribution of some of our past heroes. Of particular significance among our neglected leaders, who are also Annang martyrs are former Eastern Nigerian Government Minister Affiah of Abak and Commissioner Udo Udo Okure of Ikot Ekpene who were both killed during the Nigeria civil war noted earlier, simply because they were of Annang extraction. These Annang leaders contributed immensely towards the political, social and economic development of the Annang Nation which was a part of the then Eastern Nigeria region. By speaking out and standing up with their fellow colleagues in government against the then Igbo ethnic domination and marginalization of the Efik, Ibibio and Annang ethnic minorities of former Eastern Nigeria, they were able to extract concessions from the government in the form of infrastructural development projects. Examples included paved roads, water projects, electrification of towns, scholarships for indigenes to pursue higher education, employment of indigenes into high governmental positions in Eastern Nigeria government etc. One might point out that in the 1960’s through the early 1970’s before the devastation of the economy of Eastern Nigeria by the civil war, many things worked properly. For example, many older people can relate to the fact in Eastern Nigeria, that the supply of electricity and water and our schools etc functioned relatively well before the complete breakdown and pathology of development that we have been witnessing in Nigeria despite the huge inflow of old revenues.
As a child, this writer witnessed his late father Udo Udo Okure travel frequently overseas in his capacity as Public Service Commissioner of Eastern Nigeria government to Europe and the United States to recruit Eastern Nigerians in the diaspora. Some of these recruits had their relocation expenses back to Nigeria fully paid for by the Eastern Nigeria government and many included prominent Annangs, Ibibios and Efiks who became important policy makers in former South Eastern State which was renamed Cross River State of which today’s Akwa Ibom State was excised from. Some of these individuals are still alive and can testify to the fact that it was the tireless advocacy of our vocal minority Annang leaders like Minister Akpabio from Ikot Ekpene,
Minister Affiah from Abak and Public Service Commissioner Udo Udo Okure from Ikot Ekpene, echelons in the then Eastern Nigerian governmental structure that paved the way to our statehood which we all today jubilate about. The contributions of these past Annang leaders are enormous and neglect or omission of their sacrifices towards Annang empowerment cannot be overlooked. Let the Annang historical record be set straight and reflect, for instance the fact that it was Udo Udo Okure from Ikot Ekpene, who single handedly organized the diverse families which constituted Ikot Ekpene village to start what is today commonly celebrated annually as Ikot-Ekpene day. Let the record also reflect that in recognition of his outstanding government service to Nigeria and the former British Colonial Government, Queen Elizabeth 11 of England awarded Udo Udo Okure the high honor award of OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire). The Order of the British Empire recognizes distinguished service to the arts and sciences, public services outside the Civil Service and work with charitable and welfare organizations of all kinds. One might also point out that Udo Udo Okure significantly contributed towards the translation of the English bible into our native vernacular.
It is a shame that after more than forty five years of the unjustified killings of our heroes like Okure and Affiah and many other prominent Annangs, there has not been a Commission of Inquiry into their death, no legislative proclamations or resolutions remembering their sacrifice or honors highlighting their contributions towards our statehood. These Annang leaders are dead and either by deliberate conspiracy to erase their historical significance from Annang history or by unintentional omission, they are completely forgotten and rarely mentioned in the many revisionist history of Akwa Ibom State and Annang Nation.
Instead, what we read about and hear are exaltations for individuals who were unknown in the higher echelons of the then Eastern Nigerian polity. As a people we seem to fail to take stock of our history and do not think it necessary to investigate the crimes that were committed against Annangs as a people and to examine why our heroic leaders like Commissioner Okure and Minister Affiah were murdered.
This article concludes with a question. Does suppressing the names of our heroes from our historical records and public recognitions make sense? Annang martyrs such as Commissioner Okure and Minister Affiah may be dead but they are not forgotten by those who witnessed their sacrifice and cherish their memory and who desire to keep the Annang historical record straight. It is important that the silence be broken for the sake of truth and justice and that we write and speak against the negative trend of Annang historical revisionism for as long as it takes and until the alarm is sounded in the corridors of state power that our forgotten and neglected heroes are important and their contributions towards our current political empowerment and economic wellbeing matters and cannot simply be set aside in favor of revisionist viewpoints of our history.
All rights reserved by Inter-Continental Mgt. Systems, Inc (ICMS, Inc). The information included in this publication may not be used, reproduced, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written permission of ICMS, Inc. The author Dr. Tom Okure is President of ICMS, Inc, a multifaceted business and management consulting firm with its head office in Albany, New York. Dr. Okure is a writer, author, business/management consultant, public policy commentator and change advocate.
I’ve executed 565 projects in Ikot Ekpene — Akpabio
Date: May 29, 2014
Source: Vanguard (Published on April 05, 2014)
A total of 565 inter-ministerial projects executed from 2007 to 2013 have been inaugurated in Ikot Ekpene Federal Constituency.
Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio who stated this yesterday during a town hall meeting and constituency briefing at Ikot Ekpene Council Hall for Ikot Ekpene Federal Constituency, enumerated that Ikot Ekpene got 189, Essien Udim, 266 and Obot Akara, 110 projects.
Akpabio dressed in traditional attire further mentioned roads in the constituency to include dualised portions of Abak – Ikot Ekpene Federal Road, Uyo – Ikot Ekpene Federal Road, Ikpe Annang – Ukana, Umo Obot, Ibo, Market and Adadia roads, among others.
He hinted that a Turkish company has taken over the running and management of Sunshine Batteries Industry, Ukana, which is to generate employment opportunities for many youths in the State.
On the citing of a three-star hotel in Ikot Ekpene, the Governor, flanked by his wife, Ekaette Unoma, announced that the 12-storey hotel with 150 rooms, 12 suites and two presidential halls to be run by Sheraton Groups would be inaugurated before May 2015.
He recalled, “In the year 2007, and again in 2011, you loaned me to our dear state to recreate, reformat and reboot the state. In all these years of my labours for our dear state, you have remained a bulwark of support and encouragement. For this we owe you a debt of gratitude.”
According to him, “This ancient city holds a lot of memories for me, some of which stretch back to my childhood. I still remember the narrow paths we used to take to school and to the markets.”