CRY, THEY BELOVED IBOM
Some (people) are born great, others achieved greatness, and yet others have greatness thrust upon them. As it is for humans so it is for institutions and states. Some states like Lagos have all the attributes, they were created great, achieved greatness, and also had greatness thrust upon them. Others like Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom were created great and also had greatness thrust upon them-what with huge revenue allocations for the oil got from their backyard.
So, one would expect a high quality of life and huge dividends of democracy to be bestowed on their citizens and residents generally. But is this the case, especially in Akwa Ibom? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Nearly four years of inept leadership and executive brinkmanship has left the state's economy in tatters and the people virtually groaning and groveling in penury and great disappointment.
For starters, the state of insecurity in the state is most frightening. Akwa Ibom, according to statistics, easily leads the rest of the country in serious and violent felonies such as murder, kidnapping and rape. Edet Akpan, a retired major general and onetime director of the Army Education Corps as well as commandant of the National Youth Service Corps, was abducted in church by armed hoodlums who shot two people during the nerve wracking kidnap saga. Indeed, the index of assassination and kidnap victims in Akwa Ibom State reads like Who's Who of prominent personages in the state.
Governor Akpabio once reportedly told his supporters: 'You must rise up and crush anybody who wants to bring down this government. You must crush any opposition with fire.' It bogs the mind to contemplate why anyone, least of all democratically elected governor, would direct his supporters to resort to violence in defence of a peacefully acquired mandate. Simple minded folks and staunch democrats as well, would be forgiven for imagining that a governor's best guarantee for returning to office would be his solid record of achievements.
Perhaps, Akpabio believes in this dictum. The orchestrated trumpeting of his administration's achievements in the state media should be adequate proof of this. Nonetheless, the governor'spolitical opponents point to certain half-truths and bare-faced falsehoods in these published accounts of his stewardship. Objective observers also cannot help but question the veracity of these statements.
Akpabio's publicists declare that the administration built 205 roads covering 600km. The simple implication of this statement is that the average distance of the roads is less than 3km. Common sense indicates that a road is a link between two villages, towns or communities. Though the state has a high population density, there is no sense in stretching the evidence to such absurd lengths.
It is also said that Akpabio rehabilitated 250 km of federal roads in three years in a state that has only 601km of federal roads. By definition though, a federal road is the arterial link between the senatorial zones in the state. These two examples are very clear models of how to mesmerize with statistics.
But the sail has been taken off the governor's claim that he established a dialysis centre at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital with 17 dialysis machines.
This, unfortunately, is a blatant lie as the only dialysis centre in the state has three dialysis machines all of which were established by Obong Victor Attah, his predecessor. The same goes for the claim that Akpabio built five new hospitals and a specialist hospital. The governor should make bold to publicize their locations because, these do not exist.
Allied to all this is the proud announcement that school enrolment has tripled since 2007. A good omen, if indeed it were true. But how may this number of pupils be educated properly without any expansion at all in infrastructure and teacher employment?