As the second wave of Coronavirus hit Nigeria, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel has called on the people of the State not to leave anything to chance in stopping the spread of the novel disease.
Governor Emmanuel stated this during a media parley with the press community in the state today, 21st December 2020.
The Governor charged the people to adhere strictly to COVID-19 protocols by washing hands regularly, using hand sanitisers, observing social distances and avoiding crowded places.
Emmanuel said his administration had the forsight to prepare for the outbreak of COVID-19 by building and equipping a world class isolation centre and also revamping some hospitals in the state.
On the ongoing construction work in the state, Governor Emmanuel said rather than rush a project that could portend danger for Akwa Ibom people in the immediate future, he was resolute in ensuring solid infrastructure for the state.
He has also said that even as efforts are being made to ensure timely completion of projects, he was not going to be distracted on the issue of succession plan as only God can decide who succeeds him in 2023.
On who succeed him at the expiration of his tenure in 2023, the Governor said he had no intention of imposing a surrogate; rather he would focus on his blueprint and bring more meaningful developments to the state.
“As soon as I leave as Governor, I would not rule for a third term through a stooge, I will leave with my i-phone and laptop. So people should be patient and God alone will produce the next Governor for the state.”
He admonished journalists to think more of the state than their personal interest, and support his efforts in driving investments into the state.
“Let’s think about the next generation and forget about Udom Emmanuel. Once you write and sent one investor away because you don’t like the face of the Governor, it will take the next Governor 20 times more efforts to convince and bring back that investor.
He said the collective support of all the journalists would silence the naysayers and speed up development in the state.
He said the flyover bridge at Ikot Oku Ikono which was necessitated by frequent reports of accidents at the location was slowed down due to the adverse effect of COVID-19, but assured that on completion, it would be the longest in the state with durability for all categories of commuters.
“I don’t want to build a flyover that would be restricted to only certain light vehicles as that will be against the development model of the state.
On the essence of having salary consultants in view of funds expended in training civil servants in the state on how to operate the international public sector accounting standards, IPSAS, the Governor also explained that the salary consultants play a role different from the IPSAS administrators.
He said several softwares interface to ensure efficiency in the administration of the state financial system, and that those who faulted his administration, did so in error.
“The way payrolls are run differ from organization to organization; the recruitment, the gratuity and pension softwares are completely different. So there is no one person that can give you one package that can meet all the needs of the organization.
“Once you purchase a software package, you are expected to go and acquire other applications to handshake with that software and these things are handled by experts and they are not free.
“It is a soft infrastructure and one must pay for the application packages, pay for training, licensing and one must also pay for upgrade.
He said since Government has not developed any software or application that it has a right on, the only option available would be to go manual, but that, he added, would cost even more for the government.
Reacting to the ongoing Construction of the State Worship Center, Governor Emmanuel said he was led by Divine ordinance to build a central worship center for all Christians in the state, adding that it was not reasonable for a state named after God not to have a unique worship place.
He said the clarion call on corporate organisations, private individuals, and institutions cannot stop the state from playing its role, adding that even as Governor, he and his family have made personal donations to the center project.
“There are certain things a leader would do which is not for himself and his family but for the spiritual benefit of his people.
He cited the instance when Nehemiah was opposed by his people for attempting to build a temple, but once the temple was completed, the people came and celebrated with him.
“The center is called International Christian Center and not Udom Emmanuel Memorial Church, and is for the benefit of the entire state.”
“Anyone who donates above one million naira, would have his name on a plague in the center”, the Governor assured.