Akwa Ibom State may well be Nigeria’s deliverer from overdependence on Crude Oil as the Udom led administration has been, in the past seven years silently carrying out an industrial revolution in the state, that would no doubt impact on the national economy and some neigbouring West African countries.
The oil rich state under its current governor, Udom Emmanuel, has come to the realization of the need to reduce dependence on oil as the mainstay of the economy and has embarked on an aggressive establishment of industries across the state.
Created out of the then Cross River state on September 23, 1987 by the Ibrahim Babangida-led military administration, Akwa Ibom, has a vast deposit of oil and gas, and is one of Nigeria’s richest states because of its earnings from the country’s crude oil export.
Since its creation, the state has made meaningful progress in its 35 years of existence, so much so that anyone who has not visited the state in the last few decades may find it difficult to navigate around it.
Governor Udom Emmanuel is the fourth civilian governor of the state which has over 6 million population.
At its creation, Uyo, the Capital City was essentially a glorified village filled with dusty streets, which the Emmanuel Udom led administration has wholesomely raised it to a point and place where it is now seen today as Nigeria’s best-kept secret.
“The dusty streets have given way to beautifully manicured boulevards and modern road network. The thatched houses that once dotted the landscape today, have given way to magnificent homes that can rival those found in the exotic zip-codes around the world,” the Governor had pointed out in one of his broadcasts.
The governor, who said Akwa Ibom has achieved a lot to be proud of at 35, thanked his predecessors and members of his administration for their contributions towards the growth of the state.
Top officials of the administration, among them Secretary to the state government, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, Commissioner of Special duties, Engr. Camillus Essien Umoh and the governors Special Asistance on Sport, Paul Bassey, who led some journalists to see the industrial facilities and infrastructure and the vision behind their conception and establishment.
The industries and infrastructure which the administration has eventually lined up for commissioning, this week to mark the states 35 years since its creation include the St Gabriel Coconut Oil Refinery at Mkpat Enin, Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Industry in Onna, the Ibom Green House, which produces several farm products for local consumption and export, a New International Airport Terminal, and the Repair and Overhaul (MRO) aircraft hangar project which is about 95 per cent completed according to officials.
These are besides the Ibom Air which is making raves as one of the front line airline organisation in Africa and contributing to the Nigerian economy.
The MRO has the capacity of carrying two 747 aircraft series, eight A-220 300 series and all the CRJs, and when fully operational, will enhance the economic growth of the State.
The Hangar project will also serve both Nigerian and African continent for the repair and maintenance of their aircraft.
There are also the state-of-the-art smart Dakkada Tower, a 21-storey building that provides office space for oil and the banking industry, the reconstructed Eket 18000-seater stadium to compliment the one already constructed in the state. The Eket stadium is the site of a football field once used by Mobile Oil.
There is also the reconstructed General Hospital in Ikot Ekpene and one of the first Covid 19 testing and quarantine centre in the country and the Flour Mill Company. These are besides the construction of several roads, some of them dualized and bridges across the state. In all, over 17 key projects slated for commissioning this week to mark the 35 years of its creation.
The Akwa Ibom Green House company is a social intervention project that produces tomatoes and pepper which it sells at subsidized rates and hoped to raised its production level to 300 metric tonnes. The objective is to stop Akwa Ibomites from travelling distances to buy tomatoes and peppers from other parts of the country.
The Akwa Ibom hangar, which will be handed over for operation in December will ultimately employ 300 workers, and be able to handle aircraft maintenance for airlines across the country. About 100 Akwa Ibomites are already working at the Hangar.
Governor Emmanuel said the Akwa Ibom new airport and the Hangar project are no small projects to be undertaken by a state as they compare with the best in Africa.
The St Gabriel Coconut Oil Producing Factory is touted to be the biggest in Africa, and one of the 7th biggest in the world, according to officials who explained the industry when fully operational in few weeks’ times would increase the revenue of the state and the economy of the country considerably.
The Coconut Oil Factory has capacity to process one million nuts a day has been inaugurated in Ikot Akpan Okop, Mkpat Enin Local Government, Akwa Ibom State.
It has the potential to produce 66 tonnes per day and has supporting coconut plantations across the state.
The Jubilee Syringe manufacturing company has been endorsed by the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria and the Medial Association of Nigeria.
Another pillar project commissioned by the Governor, Udom Emmanuel is the $34 million, 8.4km IBB Avenue flood control project, an 8.4km project which transverse across 18 communities in three Local Government Areas of the state.