Opinion: Four Points By Sheraton Hotel: An Indictment of Governor Udom ; By UduakAbasi Ikpat

Three years after the Four Points by Sharaton Hotel located in the heart of Ikot Ekpene Town in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State was commissioned by former Governor Godswill Akpabio, the luxury hospitality edifice is yet to be officially put to use.
With Governor Udom Emmanuel handpicked by Akpabio as his successor in 2015, many thought Udom will consolidate on the achievements of his predecessor and benefactor.
However, the reverse has rather been the case as Akpabio, now a serving Senator, has expressed disappointment over the Governor’s refusal or inability to complete projects started before 2015.
The Governor has however cited reasons why the Four Points by Sheraton isn’t operational.
According to him, some auxiliary facilities must be put in place and outstanding debts cleared before the hotel opens for business.
In November 2017, Udom, at the monthly government house prayer session, said that on the contrary, what the former Governor commissioned was just the building, which does not amount to a hotel.
He declared that his administration needs $7.2m, about N2.577bn at the current exchange rate, to turn the already commissioned building into a hotel.
In an apparent bid to complete work on the project, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly passed a supplementary budget of N114.5bn in 2017.
According to the Assembly, the supplementary budget will be used to fund 19 projects including completion of the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene.
Despite the huge cash injection, the effect remains unfelt even as the structure suffer wear and tear due to underutilization.
With the second quarter of 2018 arriving, hopes of putting the hotel to use before 2019 remain a mirage.
Several assessment tours to the hotel by government functionaries have failed to reap desired results. No concrete actions have been taken to actualize findings made during such assessment visits.
With such infrastructure lying waste, Udom’s much hyped consolidation and industrialization agenda is very much a farce.
If Akpabio, according to Udom, had built “block work”, Udom should show Akwa Ibom people one life touching project he has built since he came into power.
The zero maintenance culture is counter-productive to the state. With projects and humongous funds spent by past administration left to wither, foreign investors will continue refusing to invest in the state. Other negative effects of negligence culture abound.
As the Udom governorship enters the last lap of its four year tenure, hopes of consolidaing the antecedents of his predecessor remain rather slim.
Courtesy of Udom, the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel which started with a bang is withering.
What a loss!

Author: News Editor

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