Philosopher, John Maxwell, posited that ‘a leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.’ The foregoing excerpt perfectly fits into the leadership template of the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel.
On May 29, 2015, the governor in his inaugural address promised to “set Akwa Ibom on a strong industrial footing through a well-thought out five-point agenda of job creation, poverty alleviation, wealth creation, economic and political inclusion, infrastructural consolidation and expansion.”
He also aptly declared that his administration’s “commitment to industrialization is irrevocable. We know that through industrialization, we shall rewrite the Akwa Ibom story in employment and wealth creation.” Today, that declaration has evolved into concrete manifestations in the industrialization sub-sector of the state.
Two years down the line, Governor Emmanuel has not only demonstrated that he is ably steering state’s affairs but has also proved beyond reasonable doubts that his vision of transforming Akwa Ibom into a model state is realistic. His agenda of masterminding an industrial revolution is reaping dividends.
The governor marked his second year in office with the commissioning of projects including a pencil/ toothpick factory, a flour mill, a coconut factory and a syringe production factory.
Checks reveal that the pencil and toothpick factory is a first of its kind innovation in Nigeria. The factory will reverse the trend of importation. Nigeria has over the decades been a notorious importer of almost everything. The factory is a viable business opportunity which bodes well for the state.
Another inaugurated project, Kings Flour Mills will produce 60,000 tons of flour yearly when it begins production next year. The governor hinted that when operations commence, over 250 persons shall be engaged in the first phase.
Available information has it that the coconut plantation/refinery project which is situated on a 20,000 hectares of land spanning Mkpat Enin, Ikot Abasi and Eastern Obolo Local Government Areas has an installed processing capacity of 200 tons of copra as well as 200 tons of coconut and palm kernel oils per day for export, industrial and domestic uses.
Once again, quoting the governor: “the coconut refinery will rejuvenate the palm produces industry in Akwa Ibom State, incentivize the development of private coconut plantations, create 5000 direct employment and 5000 indirect employment within and outside Akwa Ibom State, increase the Gross Domestic Product and Internally Generated Revenue for the state and aid the generation of four megawatts of electricity for use by the factory and the host communities.” Such a laudable innovation!
The Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Limited located in Onna, according to the Managing Director of VKS Group, Onur Kumral, is the first ever syringe manufacturing company in sub-saharan Africa.
According to Kumral, “the country loses huge amount of dollars daily through importation and there must be deliberate efforts to stop it hence the reason behind the establishment of the company.”
He, however, hinted that when the company commences production, Akwa Ibom will become the largest syringe producer in Africa.
The revitalization of Peacock Paints Industry in Etinan during the early days of the present administration also underlines the commitment in ensuring that companies dots the length and breadth of the state. The company had ceased operations for almost a decade prior to 2015.
Today, despite baseless cynical postulation that the resuscitation is a sham, the products are very much available and selling fast at depots scattered across Nigeria.
While some industries have commenced operations, others are at conception stage. These projects include: automobile assembly plant in Itu, Blue Marine -Light Emitting Devices (LED) factory in Itu, Shoprite at the Ibom Tropicana and the Ibom Electric Metre Assembly Plant in Onna.
To pen that the Udom Emmanuel administration has relentlessly nurtured the industrial agenda to fruition is an understatement. Even the doubting Thomases have realized that this administration has performed beyond expectation.
Beginning from clear germane policies which have snowballed into tangible dividends, there is no denying the fact that the past two years have been a harvest of success.
Verily, Akwa Ibom State’s status as Nigeria’s fastest growing industrial hub is undisputed. Our identity as a civil service state is fading away for good. This and many more are the harvest of good governance as exemplified by Governor Udom Emmanuel.