AKPABIO SETS KADUNA AGLOW AS NDA CELEBRATES AKWA IBOM GOV
Akpabio was awarded a doctorate in management sciences (Honoris Causa) by the institution for his uncommon contributions to the development of the nation.
To the discerning resident of Kaduna, right from the previous day, it had become clear that the city would witness an unusual event. Wherever you went, traffic hold-ups punctuated your every move. And for the thick crowd, seeking to make their way into the celebrated military institution, it was war.
Heavily armed soldiers turned back uninvited guests. Since the line of vehicles was unbearably long, many people elected to use their legs. Even that did not provide much respite for many who were turned back by the eagle-eyed security guards.
The event soon got underway with the arrival of President Goodluck Jonathan. He immediately inspected a guard of honour mounted by the graduating cadets.
The crowd was also treated to several other parades.
However, the main thing was still to come. Soon, it was time to honour some prominent Nigerians by the authorities of the institution. Among such distinguished individuals was Governor Godswill Akpabio.
Within and outside the institution, thousands of people, who had come to rejoice with the governor, dazzled with their music and dance.
The day took an exciting dimension when Akpabio was invited to the podium. The entire hall virtually erupted with the loud noise that followed the governor's invitation and as the governor made his way to the podium, many people admitted that he, indeed, deserved the honour.
Among those who insisted that Akpabio merited the honour was President Jonathan. According to him, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, having done the nation proud with his performance in office since he became the first citizen of that state, was worthy of the accolades and the doctorate. Jonathan described Akpabio's award as a reward for hard work and great accomplishments.
The institution itself noted that Akpabio, the first civilian governor to be so honoured, earned the doctorate with his verifiable accomplishments in office. Unable to hide his admiration for the governor, Dr. M U Eshiett had noted: 'Akpabio's exemplary leadership qualities are excellent research topics for doctorate degrees by budding and future political leaders in Africa. With the vision, action, selflessness and focus on developing those projects that would enhance the quality and wellbeing of our people, he has endeared himself and his excellent team of achievers to men, women and organisations all over the world.'
The NDA, it was noted, did not dispense awards for political considerations since it isn't a political institution. Akpabio was picked for his feat in the areas of education, roads, health and other infrastructure as well as for his leadership style, it was gathered. It was, indeed, ironic that Akpabio was honoured by the military institution. In his younger days, the governor had applied for admission into the Nigeria Military School, Zaria. Since he had one of the best results, he had believed he was already a student of the school. Unknown to him, it didn't really work that way. Never did it cross his mind that the nation's foremost military academy would later single him out for its highest honour.
It wasn't the first time that the Akwa Ibom Chief executive was being honoured by an academic institution in the North. In 2009, Akpabio became a Fellow of the Hussaini Adamu Polytechnic, Kazaure, Jigawa State. Showers of praises have for long been raining down on Akpabio's head from all quarters, even from his political adversaries. Recently, many were pleasantly surprised when a notable member of the Lagos State House of Assembly and a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Ipoola Ahmed Omisore, described Akpabio as one of the few governors genuinely committed to the development of their states, even as he applauded the governor for his prudent management of the resources of Akwa Ibom State since 2007.
Hear him: 'Let me publicly commend the governor of Akwa Ibom State for his uncommon transformation of the state in the last four years. I had thought performance in government started and ended in Lagos until I visited Akwa Ibom State last year. I then came to the conclusion because of what I saw, that the governor is one of the very few with passion, commitment and determination for the judicious use of state resources for the good of all.
'If Lagos State is number one in terms of infrastructural development, Akwa Ibom is number 1A.'
Joseph Duke, an indigene of the neighbouring Cross River State, was also effusive in his praises for Akpabio, noting that unlike other governors, Akpabio has tarred all the federal roads in his state.
The governor was also applauded recently in the United States. At Houston, Texas, Ms Sheila Jackson Lee, a member of the 18th Congressional District of Texas, while conferring Akpabio with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition on behalf of the Speaker, said: 'Governor Akpabio's shining example of leadership is truly worthy of respect, admiration and commendation of the United States Congress.' Akpabio's wife, Ekaette, was also honoured for her charity works for widows, women, poverty eradication and the disabled
The certificate read in part: 'In just a year, a web of modern road network was deplored across all the 31 local government areas of the state for greater accessibility. The state now holds world-class events. The focus is industrialisation and to do that, His Excellency, Governor Akpabio, has placed the state's resources in the right baskets – the baskets of air transport, seaport, tourism, skills acquisition, education, agriculture, among others.'
Lee said Akwa Ibom, under Akpabio, is a state with limitless opportunities. 'With so many projects delivered, over 300 of them, and a lot still in the works, Akwa Ibom State now stands out as a foremost state in the Niger Delta, not embroiled in tribal wars, militancy or crime,' she noted. Even Wikileaks, which has hardly leaked any positive thing about anyone, has described Akpabio's leadership style as exemplary.