The assessment of leaders in their first 100 days in office began in 1932, when the United States President, Franklin D Roosevelt, became the first world leader to be judged by his first 100 days as President.
Roosevelt was inaugurated into office on March 1932, with the American economy and unemployment in dire need of attention. Roosevelt confronted the economic depression with an aggressive presidential and legislative agenda that produced an unprecedented twelve laws in 15 weeks and by the end of his first 100 days, Americans were beginning to sense recovery in the air. Ever since then, it has become a practice worldwide.
In Nigeria, the practice is not restricted to the Presidency alone; the governors are equally assessed based on their performances, with accolades given where necessary. The administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State cannot be an exception to this norm.
In his inaugural address on Wednesday, 29th May, 2019, after being sworn-in to complete his mandatory second term, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, offered himself as a servant and a co-laborer before a large crowd of Akwa Ibomites who witnessed the swearing-in ceremony at the Nest of Champions in Uyo, the State capital.
Hear from the very mouth of the newly sworn-in State Chief Executive: ‘‘I stand here today, to promise you that since the God we worship and adore did not fail us, I will not fail you. I will continue to serve you as your Servant-Leader, in absolute humility and devotion to your needs and desires and will appropriate your resources to improve your living condition, and secure the future for our children so they too, can be as productive and fulfilled in their aspirations as their counterparts elsewhere‘‘, said Mr. Emmanuel.
The governor who was flanked by his wife, Deaconess Martha Udom Emmanuel, told the crowd at the 30, 000 capacity stadium that he will raise the bar of performance in the areas of Infrastructure, Industrialization, Aviation Development, Security, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, Human Capacity Development, Agriculture, and Rural and Riverine Area Development.
In an explicit commitment to rural development, Gov. Emmanuel had assured that his second term will open up the rural areas, create more urban centres, develop fresh economic opportunities and reduce pressure on the Uyo metropolis to boost socio-economic expansion and give rural dwellers a sense of belonging.
100 days down the line in the saddle, an unbiased Akwa Ibomite and resident is impressed to note that Governor Emmanuel’s administration in spite of the adverse effects of the economic recession in the country has been able to record remarkable feats in line with its promises to focus on infrastructure, develop rural, riverine and agrarian communities and as well alleviate the sufferings of the people who are the true heroes of democracy.
Recall that one of the policy thrusts of the current administration, as stated in the governor’s second term manifesto, was: “Rural and Riverine Area Development”. True to his words, Mr Udom Emmanuel has remained grassroots-oriented, focusing on developing the rural communities through concentration of massive infrastructural development in the most remote and neglected areas across the state’s 31 local government areas.
Checks reveal that the State Chief Executive will celebrate his 100 days in office with over 100 intervention/direct labour and major infrastructural projects going on simultaneously across the three senatorial districts of the State. While some of the projects have been completed and ready for inauguration, others are at the advanced stage of completion.
Within his first 100 days in office, the governor has completed the 3.0km Ebekpe – Ikot Eket Road in Eket LGA which was handled by Zerock Construction company, while the following massive road projects are nearing completion. They are: 2.7km Ikot Odiong – Ikot Abasi Road in Eket by Zerock Construction as well as the 13.5KM Ikot Ebiere – Ikot Edor – Ikot Iko Ibom – Akom – Ukpana – Ikwe Road with 15 metres span bridge by Ber Jin Construction Company (BJCC) to completed December 2019.
Others include: 15.1km Odio – Ndoneyo – Ikot Akpatek Rd by VKS Construction company. The road cuts across Eket and ONNA LGAs, Ikot Ukpong – Ikot Amba Road with a bridge at Mbiaso. The road cuts across Obot Akara and Ikot Ekpene LGAs by Seyang Construction Company, Nnung Obong Road with a bridge at Mbiokene River in Nsit Ubium LGA handle by Bulletin Construction Company, 3.3km Idua Road in Eket by Limech Development Limited, Etinan – Eket Road, handle by CCECC and 18.95Km Ikot Ibritam – Inen Ekeffe – Ikot Akpan Afaha road construction which cuts across Oruk Anam and Ukanafun LGAs by Almajdal.
Other ongoing projects are: 9.5Km Ring Road 3 by Hensek Integrated Services Limited, 25Km Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Highway by Julius Berger, 15.13Km Ikot Otomo – Azumini Road, which traverses over ten (10 villages); Ikot Akpan Okure – Ikot Esu – Otomo – Obio Ebenwang – Ikot Akpa Ofiong – Ikot Otong – Ikot Urom – Nto Udo – Nto Udo Enwang in Ika LGA by Cassels Construction Company, 14.1 KM Odoro Ikpe – Ikpe Ikot Nkon- Nkana – Obotme – Arochukwu Rd with two bridges by Peculiar Concerns Limited, 19.8Km Ikot Oku Ikono – Etinan Road handle by Julius Berger, a new flyover at Ikot Oku Ikono Junction by Julius Berger as well as other massive road projects.
However, the above are just tips of the icebergs of massive and verifiable infrastructural development going on in the rural areas and urban centres of the State under the watchful eyes of Gov. Udom Emmanuel.
Apart from the remarkable impacts in rural development, which is one of the focal points of his second term, Gov. Emmanuel’s administration has also made a mark in other spheres of development. These include education, agriculture, health, workers’ welfare, peace initiatives, security, mass housing scheme, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), employment generation, enhanced social services and good governance, prudent management of resources, etc. All these are consistent with the eight-point agenda of the present administration.
Gov. Udom Emmanuel’s administration has also made positive impact in upgrading infrastructure in Uyo metropolis, through rehabilitation of numerous urban roads, and maintenance of street lights and traffic lights as well as failed portions of roads built by the past administrations under the Akwa Ibom State Roads And Other Infrastructure Maintenance Agency (AKROIMA), initiated by the present government. The state government also made a significant intervention on the rehabilitation of failed sections of vital federal roads in the state to alleviate the pains, which road users had experienced in the past.
Under his first 100 days in office, Gov. Emmanuel’s commitment to the welfare of workers in the state and his sustained cordial relationship with Organized Labour has remained firm as evident in the regular payment of salaries and pensions on or before 27th of every month, while still executing capital projects even when most states are unable to do so.
The truth, no doubt, in the first 100 days of the governor remains that, there is excitement in Akwa Ibom State and the citizens are happy and at home with their visionary, unassuming and God-fearing governor for his selfless service and efforts at giving them qualitative and people-oriented leadership.
However, the State Commissioner for Works, Mr. Ephraim Akparawa Inyang-Eyen, whose Ministry supervises road projects and other infrastructure in Akwa Ibom, has described the first 100 days in office of Governor Udom Emmanuel as richly rewarding, saying the governor has exemplified excellence in governance since assumption of office.
According to the Works boss: “Ever since he assumed office for his second term, His Excellency (Mr Udom Emmanuel) has left no one in doubt about his capability and competence as a tested and trusted administrator and financial guru of repute in discharging his constitutional responsibility, creditably to the admiration of the good people of Akwa Ibom State who are delighted that they made the right choice at the polls on the March 9 governorship election”. Inyang-Eyen however, solicited the prayers, support and cooperation of Akwa Ibom people for the present administration in the state, saying that the governor was on track with his policies and programmes.
From the above assessment of Governor Emmanuel’s achievements in infrastructure in his 100 days in office which falls on Friday, 6th September, 2019, it is obvious that the State Chief Executive has hit the ground running and has set the stage for the advancement of the State Infrastructure, Rural and Riverine Area Development in line with his second-term campaign promises. It is, therefore, the responsibility of you and me, to give our dear governor the support to do more!
By Ubong Ntekim.