By Rebecca Ini Nworah:
Members of Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial zone of Akwa Ibom State have urged the Senator representing the zone to seek re-election. Distinguished Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio is the senator representing the zone. He won the election to represent the zone as he was stepping out of Akwa Ibom government house as the governor.
The call for him to re-contest stems from the fact that he has excelled as a first timer in the red chamber. He became the Minority Leader in the senate irrespective his being first timer. That fit showed his mastery of dynamics of lawmaking; thanks to his training as a barrister.
For majority of the people from a zone to decide to ask an incumbent to re-contest shows he has surpassed expectation. As a governor, Senator Akpabio impacted tremendously on the lives of people from his senatorial zone in particular and Akwaibomites in general.
The reason for him to continue is not far-fetched. His supporters are basing their argument on his achievements during his two terms in office in Akwa ibom State. The chronicle of his achievement started when he took over the construction of the Ibom International Airport which he met at site-clearing level. The first phase of airport construction began in 2006 and was completed in 2009. It was officially opened on September 23, 2009, and the first scheduled passenger service commenced on December 2, 2009, with Arik Air offering flights to Abuja and Lagos.
Simultaneously as he was working on the airport project, work was going on at different parts on various projects. As he embarked on massive road construction, he put into consideration the issue of flooding in the state. He introduced the pipe jacking method, under which water is channeled into well lubricated huge pipelines buried 40 metres under the ground, passing through the discharge drain at Ekim Itam-Ikot Oku road, Uyo.
Flyover is one project that not many states can afford but the Akpabio administration was able to do close to ten flyovers in the state.
It will be recalled that he took ”UNCOMMON TRANSFORMATION” as guide for what he intended to do in the state.
During his tenure, the state government, constructed the 29th Anniversary Hospital, and in partnership with John Hopkins University Hospital, U.S.A., trained about 150 doctors from Akwa Ibom for the running of the hi-tech Hospital capable of undertaking major transplants and surgery.
Senator Akpabio introduced free and compulsory education, from Primary to Senior Secondary Schools in Akwa Ibom State, including non-indigenes. His administration eliminated all fees in public schools, constructed and renovated public Primary and Secondary Schools, supplied textbooks and other materials and paid examination fees for all pupils and students, to boost the free and compulsory education programme all over Akwa Ibom State.
Akwa Ibom State under Senator Akpabio boasts of the first e-library in West Africa. The project is a component of the free and compulsory education policy in the state. It is the first library in Nigeria with a multi-media conference hall with a capacity for 200 guests. It has 70 million downloadable e-books and 30 million books in print with in-built alarm system to prevent pilfering.
The sports loving senator did not forget his pastime and hobby when he was developing his beloved state. He constructed a state of the art stadium “The Nest of Champions” for youth development and recreation. Since it was commissioned, it has been hosting most of Super Eagles home matches.
On staff welfare he introduced the payment of a thirteenth month bonus salary every December, called “Akpabiomber” to workers in the state. Unarguably, he was the first Governor in Nigeria to begin implementation of the N18,000 minimum wage. The least paid worker in the state, during his reign received over N21,000 monthly, a feat which reportedly moved the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to declare him the most Labour-friendly Governor in the country.
It is noteworthy that the African average of electricity coverage is five percent while the national average stands at 17 percent. But beyond this, Governor Akpabio promised that there would be no community in Akwa Ibom State that would be in darkness by the end of his tenure in 2015.”
Senator Akpabio completed the construction of Ibom Power Plant which he met at 65 percent level of completion. The project generates 191 megawatts of electricity. He was able to raise electricity coverage in the state to nearly 90%. The project made it possible for over 1600 communities in the state to be linked to the national grid.
Numerous and uncountable are the best terms to use in describing the works of Senator Akpabio as the governor of Akwa Ibom. He executed over 4,000 life-touching projects spread across the 31 Local Government Areas of the state.
By the time he was leaving office, an appraisal of his achievements made the people to give him the alias “Uncommon Transformer”.
People might be asking of what distinguished Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio has done as a law maker to warrant a second term. Good! He has sponsored a couple of bills, prominent among them is the famous “fake lawyer” bill. The purpose of the bill is to repeal the Legal Practitioners Act Cap C11 LFN 2004 and all amendments with it, which include the Legal Education (Consolidation etc,) Act Cap. L10 LFN 2004. It would also enact the Legal Profession Regulation Act which shall regulate the legal profession.
Another of his bills is the bill for an Act to establish the Federal Polytechnic, Ukana, Akwa Ibom State to provide for full time courses in technology, Applied Science Management and other Fields of Studies and to make provision for the general administration of such Polytechnic and for other related matters connected therewith,
Mr. Imeh, an Akwa Ibomite resident in Abuja is of the opinion that Senator Apkabio deserves more than a second tenure judging by his achievements in the state. ”His Excellency has set the pace for good governance in the state, so he should be allowed to stay as long as his conscience permits him. I know he believes in equity”, said Imeh.
Mr. Ekemini who is a contractor in the state and has his office on the famous Umuahia Road, says that the people of Akwa Ibom North-west Senatorial Zone need to at least compensate him with more tenure for all the development he brought to the area during his two terms as governor of the state.