" /> A TESTAMENT TO GODSWILL AKPABIO'S UNCOMMON TRANSFORMATION OF AKWA IBOM STATE. | Hallmarknews
Published On: Fri, Dec 18th, 2015

A TESTAMENT TO GODSWILL AKPABIO’S UNCOMMON TRANSFORMATION OF AKWA IBOM STATE.

As a chronicler of history, I have to testify that a man who became governor of Akwa Ibom State in 2007, Godswill Akpabio, did what many people who become governors in Nigeria don’t often do. He actually impacted on his environment and left a legacy for posterity.

The first time I went to Uyo, it immediately dawned on me that I would have to tell this story in the course of my duty as a reporter. I knew Godswill Akpabio way back when we were both students at the University of Calabar in the 80s. I recall he was studying to become a lawyer, and I was studying to become a grammarian in the Department of English and Literary Studies. Our paths never crossed but I knew I saw him once in a while in Malabo, the students’ hall of residence, always impeccably turned out then, very neat and organized. Since 2010 when I first visited, I have been a cheer leader of the diverse groups of Akpabio’s fan club spread all over Nigeria. The area that now comprises Akwa Ibom and Cross River used to be regarded as a backward state; chronically underdeveloped, laid back, lacking in rigour, and self-confidence.

A one time Vice Chancellor at the University of Calabar, Professor Emmanuel Ayandele, once made an infamous remark that Cross River State as it was then, was an atomistic society perpetually at war with itself.

Even though that statement rankled, it captured the salient truth of the state and its perennial problems with political squabbles and poor leadership.

In the University of Calabar, we had a running rivalry between National Association of Imo State Students (NAISS) and the National Association of Cross River State Students (NACRSS). There was among the Igbo students at the University, a certain arrogance, a superiority complex, a tendency to look down on Cross River State students on account of the backwardness of the state. 

So to come from that background, the way Akwa Ibom has in a generation is really amazing. Nothing anybody can say or write can do justice to what Akpabio achieved in Akwa Ibom.

One needs to visit the state for an eye witness account. The roads are well paved, with new ones constructed not just in Uyo but also in various parts of the State. Akwa Ibom became the regional headquarters of Julius Berger. But one can see in the various parts of the state signs of greatness. The futuristic structures like the state of the art e-library etc point to a tomorrow that offers hope to millions of people within the state and beyond.

The stadium, the hospital, the Le Meridian Hotel which was initially built by Akpabio’s predecessor, former Governor Attah,  but completed by Akpabio etc, have turned Akwa Ibom to a marvel.

In the course of assessing Akpabio, I have heard so many people challenge me with the fact that his successes were attainable because Akwa Ibom derived a lot of funds from the Federal Government. That does not tell the whole story and certainly does not do Akpabio justice.

Another Governor who is not given to excellence and who is not given to service may have utilized that money differently.

It is also possible as some of his critics have alleged, that he could have used that money more efficiently, I don’t know.  But what I know is that what he achieved on ground is a monument for posterity. It cuts straight to the heart of the matter; the psyche of the people, their emotional and psychological being and their world view.

Time was when if you heard the name Akwa Ibom, the image that immediately came to the mind is the proverbial house boy or ‘okada’ rider, but not so anymore. In one generation, Akpabio has succeeded in recreating the Akwa Ibom personality and character and positioning it to be at the centre of a national re-awakening. You cannot but feel tall and proud if you are from Akwa Ibom State. I’m not from the state, I come from Abia. My home town Umuahia is close to Uyo.

When I go home and I need a rest, I drive straight to Uyo, and check into the Le Meridian hotel.

Godswill Akpabio has affected the lives of Akwa Ibom State indigenes for a generation. His achievements may not be without blemish, but he stands tall and proud, and it is my privilege to identify with him.

It is so sad that because of his own strategic limitations, his success did not achieve the national resonance it ought to have achieved. He got bogged down in the politicking of the era.

But the truth remains that in the governorship class of 2007 -2015, there is hardly anyone who can rival Godswill Akpabio. So much has been written and said about my former governor, Babatunde Fashola. But between him and Akpabio, with the evidence on the ground, Akpabio will take the top prize.

Fashola did well for Lagos and what he did not achieve in concrete terms, he achieved in his unique philosophy of leadership. But Akpabio belonged to a different class.

Displaying 1 Comments
Have Your Say

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Recent posts

  • Nigeria lacks leaders with moral compass – Amb Keshi

    By Obinna Ezugwu Former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Joe Keshi has decried what he called the lack of moral compass among Nigeria’s political elite, noting that poor leadership was the country’s biggest challenge. Keshi who bared his mind in a chat with BusinessHallmark in his Lagos home recently, regretted that virtually all […]

  • Non Yoruba in S/West inaugurate forum, vow to take rightful place in zone’s politics

    By Obinna Ezugwu Political and cultural leaders of various ethnic groups resident in the South West, Saturday last week at Ota, Ogun State, came together under the aegis of Non Yoruba Indigenes Empowerment Initiative, to seek ways of working together for a fair deal in the zone’s polity ahead of the 2019 general election. Various […]

  • Don’t celebrate yet, agitation for restructuring not over- Uko warns presidency

    By Obinna Ezugwu Founder, Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) and Secretary General, Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA), Evang Elliot Uko has warned against any suggestion that the South East geopolitical zone has been “forcefully” and “violently” pacified as according to him, such is false. Evang Uko who is also the Deputy Secretary of Igbo Leaders of Thought […]

  • Nigeria’s Debt Service ratio falls to 45%

    Nigeria has made significant improvement in its debt-service-to-revenue ratio as it dropped from 66 per cent to 45 per cent. This is coming on the back of improved revenue mobilisation from both domestic and foreign sources. The government has been aggressively driving its tax reform with the introduction of Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme […]

  • Banks’ NPLs reach 10-month high in Q3

    FELIX OLOYEDE Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) in the Nigerian banking industry hit 10-month in September, latest data from the the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has shown. The report quoted by CNBC states that NPLs in the Nigerian banking sector reached N2.42 trillion at the end of Q3 2017, which is 10-month record high. Muyiwa Oni, […]

  • OPEC Crude Output Drops to Six-Month Low

    Crude production from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries dropped again in November to a six-month low. Total production fell 80,000 barrels a day to 32.47 million a day last month, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts, oil companies and ship-tracking data. That was the lowest level since May, when output was 32.29 […]

  • Lagos revives abandoned waste to energy resourcing projects

    By ABATAN ADEWALE JOSEPH Lagos state government is exploring every available opportunity to ensure power supply in the state in view of the dwindling performance of the energy companies in the country. As the business and industrial hub of the economy, Lagos has suffered huge economic losses on account of poor power supply. Governor Akinwumi […]

  • FG appoints Abdul Zubair to replace suspended SEC DG

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday announced the appointment of Abdul Zubair as acting Director General. The commission while making the announcement, also reassured the investing public of continued stability of the Nigerian capital market following last week’s suspension of its Director General, Mounir Gwarzo. It would be recalled that Gwarzo was directed […]

  • Kano spends N9bn monthly on salary payment, says Ganduje

    The Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, has said his administration spends N9 billion monthly on payment of workers’ salaries. He added that this effort was commendable in a period where most state governments have not been able to pay salaries as a result of the economic situation in the country. He spoke  in Kano state […]

  • FG’s Npower scheme derailing, faces imminent collapse – Investigation

    By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA The N-Power scheme, introduced by the Federal Government, as a social safety net to reduce the rate of graduate unemployment afflicting the country, is fast derailing from its original objective, and faces imminent collapse, Business Hallmark findings have revealed. While the Federal Government, particularly its major proponent, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, had […]

  • Gwarzo: The many troubles of a regulator

      By FELIX OLOYEDE These are unpleasant times for Mounir Gwarzo, Chief Executive Office, of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as he was placed on suspension last week by a previously gun shy Minister of finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun. Gwarzo’s position as SEC boss became shaky as a nongovernmental organisation,   Centre for Anti-Corruption and […]

  • 2018 budget: High on hope, low on prospects

      .           Promises of growth and development may be unattainable The 2018 budget will go down in history as the most vilified and repudiated by the legislature that is supposed to give it a stamp of authority. Last week, the two chambers of the National Assembly took a perfunctory appraisal of the budget and consigned […]

  • Anxiety rises over health of banks

    …as recent Fitch downgrade poses new questions BY TESLIM SHITTA-BEY All may not be as well with Nigerian banks as the domestic regulator, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), would have many believe. Buried in a heap of poor quality loan assets in the guise of high none performing loans (NPL’s), a growing number of banks […]

  • Maina’s can of worms

    By OBINNA EZUGWU At the hearing conducted by the Hon. Aliyu Madaki-led House of Representatives adhoc committee investigating the reinstatement of former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina into the federal civil service last week, Nigerians were treated to a show of childish buck-passing. One could draw a parallel between […]

  • Resurgent Equity market signals stronger economic recovery

    By OKEY ONYENWEAKU Investors in the Nigerian equity market have every reason to be happy as the year gradually winds down. Those of who invested early in the year and carefully mixed their portfolio based on the NSE 30 Index would have made a kill should the market close bullish. This is reflected in the […]

  • (Editorial) APGA, a future in jeopardy  

    The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) fought a good fight to retain power in Anambra state last month. Should the result have been different, and it easily could have been, it would have marked the beginning of the end for the party. Power of incumbency, emotional attachment to APGA among the Igbo, rifts within the […]


Visit us on Google+