The Land of Promise, Akwa Ibom State has gradually evolved into a cynosure of an economic renaissance, with the Governor Udom Emmanuel carefully bringing to fulfillment the promise that came with the creation of the state when the then Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida announced the name on September 23, 1987.
Thirty-three years after the historic pronouncement of the state, Akwa Ibom is today steadily seated and cruising on the turf of greatness, revered as a model of good governance, transparent leadership, and true democracy.
From the first military Governor Tunde Ogbeha to the first Civilian Governor of the state, Obong Akpan Isemin, and successive leaderships, Akwa Ibom has been meticulously nurtured to survive the challenges that come with the development of a new state, finding new paths and trails.
The tenure of the first indigenous military Governor, Idongesit Nkanga which was however short-lived as a result of political realities, brought about notable developments to the state. Famous among his signatures on the development volume of the state is the popular Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat, which houses a greater percentage of the ministries and Parastatals in the state.
Then came Obong Victor Attah, the second civilian Governor of the state, an Architect. He drew and magnified the blueprint that successive administrations have followed to make Akwa Ibom what it is today. No wonder Arc. Victor Attah is often referred to as the Father of Modern Akwa Ibom.
Some of the projects initiated by Obong Victor Attah include The Ibom Airport named after him; Ibom Power Company; Akwa Ibom State University of Science and Technology (AKUTECH), which was later renamed AKSU and Ibom Science Park, an idea that Gov. Udom Emmanuel has resuscitated.
Since Gov. Emmanuel, the fourth civilian governor of Akwa Ibom took over power, he has systematically brought about the rebirth of a new Akwa Ibom, setting up a cascade of transformation in security, agriculture, aviation, rural development, marine exploration, entertainment, education, entrepreneurship, industrialization and still counting.
As a man of vision, Gov. Emmanuel came with the foresight to bring to fulfillment the dreams of the State’s founding fathers. They include among others: Obong Sampson Udo Etuk who pioneered Educational Development in the State, Obong Sampson Udo Idiong who was the first indigene to work at the colonial government office in Calabar, Professor Eyo Ita, former premier of the Eastern Region, Dr. Esin Anwana Esin; the outspoken representative of the people and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Nyong Essien, Clement Isong and Justice Udo Udoma, and other past military administrators and leaders.
Bearing in mind the words of a famous speaker and social influencer Helen Keller, that the worst thing that can happen to a man is to have sight without vision, Gov. Emmanuel amplified his vision with a focused and result- oriented leadership style.
Because of his consistency and expertise in vision execution, today we can boast of Akwa Ibom with an Airline with five aircraft in its fleet within the space of 4 years; Flour Mill; Automobile Assembling Plant; Syringe Manufacturing Factory, Electric Digital Metering Solutions Manufacturing Factory, and Rice Mills.
Akwa Ibom is equally decorated with other industries like Plastic Production Factory, Fertilizer Blending Factory, Pencil Factory, Toothpick Factory, Starch Manufacturing Company, Cassava Processing Mills, Tissue Paper Production Factory, among others.
The aforementioned are visible signatures of a visionary man who was on a mission to birth a new narrative for Akwa Ibom, from a civil service state to an industrial hub and incidentally fetched us a noble place on the global industrial map.
Today, every Akwa Ibom child has a sense of belonging and pride anywhere in the world as the incumbent Governor has made Akwa Ibom be synonymous with transparency, integrity, accountability, peace, intelligence, creativity, and hard work.
With the amplification of self-independence and entrepreneurship through the Dakkada Initiative of this administration, coupled with various empowerment programmes and training within and outside Akwa Ibom sponsored by the state government, Akwa Ibom sons and daughters are reference points in different fields, from sports to aviation, engineering and marine, as well as business.
At 33, one can say with certainty that Akwa Ibom has taken its pride of place within the ranks of other outstanding states in Nigeria in terms of industrialization, good roads, foreign investment, entrepreneurial development, electricity, economic policies, and opportunities and seaport development.
It is therefore incumbent on Akwa Ibom people to continue to support the administration in order to consolidate the already existing social structures for the overall good of the state and posterity.
Let everyone roll out drums and celebrate the superlative performance of Gov. Udom Emmanuel even as the state cruises steadily on the turf of greatness.