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
Political Cartoon and Satire depicting a recent pension law for Akwa Ibom State Governors and their deputies.
Political Cartoon and Satire depicting a recent pension Law for Akwa Ibom State governors and their deputies.
Political Cartoon and Satire depicting a recent pension bill for State governors and their deputies passed into law in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. The bill has many controversial provisions including N100 million annual medical allowance for every past governor; N30 million for a former deputy governor; N5 million monthly allowance (N60 million annually) to a former governor for his domestic staff and a 5-bedroom mansion in Uyo or Abuja for every former governor.
Many Nigerian state legislatures are rubber stamp legislatures operating to please the Executive Governor of the state. Nigerian state legislatures do not appear to assert their legal authority as it relates to the “power of the purse” vis a vis the Executive Governor. As this Akwa Ibom State pension bill proposed by the governor and passed into law clearly reveals, the Akwa Ibom State Assembly failed to exert its legislative oversight function and prerogative over executive spending of state funds. This bill is alleged to have received a record accelerated hearing by the state Assembly through a May 15 letter with reference number GHU/AKS/S/104/338, and passed 10 days after. On record, this bill is alleged to be the fastest bill ever passed by the Akwa Ibom Assembly and was fast forwarded for consideration before it was first read. The pension law will become effective on June 1, 2014.
In any civilized society, a state governor cannot impose its will on the legislature or judiciary which are coequal arms of the state government. The weakness of state legislatures in Nigeria to effectively perform their oversight function allows state governors to spend huge amounts of unmonitored public funds without accountability. Having control over the state purse, many Nigeria state governors spend public funds as if it is their personal funds. They are unilaterally able to freely spend state budgetary resources as they lavishly like and siphon huge amounts of public funds through their cohorts into their personal accounts overseas for their personal use and self-enrichment.
Weak State Unicameral Legislatures with Inadequate Checks and Balances in Place
The Legislature is especially weak at the State and Local Government level in Nigeria. This may be in part due to the fact that it is unicameral as opposed to bicameral in nature. In a bicameral legislature there are two houses in place — the House of Representatives (or Assembly) and the Senate. In a unicameral Legislature there is only one House of Representative. The unicameral legislature has a tendency to be weak especially when it is dominated by one party and the Executive (Governor) is also from the same party. In this circumstance, most legislation and resolutions introduced by the Executive simply sail through without much opposition. The inherent and difficult challenges that an Executive would typically face, for example, in trying to pass a state budget or get legislation approved is lacking in the unicameral legislature. This is because in a state unicameral legislature, there are insufficient checks and balances from the opposition. Under these circumstances, an Executive could seek and obtain approval for a dubious budget without stringent budgetary scrutiny and legislative spending oversight.
In this spoof of P square’s ” Personally”, G.E.J promises to square it out with the enemies of his regime
Our correspondent reports from the National Conference where delegates are more concerned about kola nuts and their daily nap than the future of Nigeria.
President Goodluck Jonathan Undecides to run for re-election in 2015 in his interview with Christiane Amanpour…
Naija celebrates its Centenary tonight, come on!
Explosion rocks Abuja shopping plaza
BY KAMARUDEEN OGUNDELE AND OKECHUKWU NNODIM
Date: March 28, 2014
Residents scampered for safety on Thursday as explosion rocked Shagari Plaza on Moshood Abiola Way, Garki-Area One, Abuja. The quick succession in which the explosion occurred made customers and neighbours to scamper into safety. Many expressed fears that it was a bomb explosion. But an eyewitness account said the first explosion occurred at about 5:17pm.
Nigerian Military and Civilian Rulers
President Goodluck Jonathan’s visit to Rome and the Vatican on Saturday, March 22, 2014 with Pope Francis
Pictures of Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan’s visit to Rome and the Vatican for talks on Saturday, March 22, 2014 with Pope Francis and Monsignor Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State.