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Akwa Ibom state is 30

ANIETIE UDOBIT,ABUJA

 

Akwa Ibom state known as the Land of promise was created on 23rd September 1987 by the military administration of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.  The state is the tenth largest State in the country in terms of landmass.

lts 129 km coastline is not only the longest in the country, but also a very rich source for a wide variety of fishes and sea food including catfish, barracuda, blue marlin, squid, sardine, croakers, shrimps, prawns, crayfish, snappers, bivalves and oysters.

The State is host to Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil Limited. Akwa Ibom is the largest oil-producing State in Nigeria, lt is also home of Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON); Nigerian Newsprint Manufacturing Company, both awaiting resuscitation, and catchments neighbourhood to Nigeria’s Premier Export Processing Zone, Calabar.

Located in the coastal area of Nigeria and populated by over 5 million people according to the last census, Akwa-Ibom is surrounded by Rivers State, Cross River State and Abia State. It also shares a boundary with the Atlantic Ocean, has a very rich cultural heritage and history among which are the Oron Museum, Ibeno Sand beach and the Mary Slessor House. It is divided into 31 local government areas and is dominated by three ethnic groups; Ibibio, Annang and Oron.

The State occupies a total land mass of 8,412sq kms, of Nigeria’s wealth basin, the South-south Zone or the Delta Region. Lying between latitudes 4’33’ North and longitudes 7’35 and 8’25 East, it falls within the tropical zone with a dominant vegetation of green foliage of trees, shrubs and oil-palm tree belt which holds the highest density of the cash crops in the world including rubber, cocoa and rice. Other dominant crops are coconut, citrus, cassava, yam, maze, cowpeas, plantain, banana, pineapple and kola nut, and just recently; tomatoe, cabbage, letus, cucumber, onion and 22 other species of vegetables and fruits.

Investment opportunities and other alluring features which makes the State an inviting destination for investors and tourists include: kaolonitic and ball clays; glass and silica sand; bentonite, limestone, grovals, sodium chloride, coal, silver nitrate, glass sand, salt and gypsum. Also, the state has over the years made tremendous progress in terms of road infrastructure, air transportation, hospitality development and improved electricity for ease of investment.

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The state founding fathers who laid a solid foundation for the Akwa Ibom of today, include, Obong SampsonUdo 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 and Dr Esin Anwana Esin

Also among outstanding leaders produced in the State was the outspoken representative of the people and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Nyong Essien; The great former president, Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, Justice Udo Udoma, First black Chief Justice and Acting Governor general of Uganda, Hon Ibanga  Akpabio.

At creation, Uyo, the state capital as generally accepted had the status of a glorified local government capital, but steadily and confidently, the state has overcome these challenges, and is indeed emerging as it has assumed the status of a destination of choice and fast on its way to becoming an economic hub in the Gulf of Guinea. The embers of hope and self-belief that energized the founding fathers of this enterprising state are everyday being ignited.

Although most of these founding fathers could not live to see the creation of the State, today, they have been vindicated for being the progenitors of state creation movement in Nigeria. They worked assiduously to ensure that what began as a dream in the second quarter of the 20th century and which came to actualization during the second half of that century, is gradually justifying the essence of that dream.

Blessed with ten governors, six military administrators and four civilian governors since creation, namely; Col. Tunde Ogbeha 1987-1988, Col. Godwin O. Abbe 1988-1990, Wing. Cdr. Idongesit Nkanga 1990-1992, Obong Akpan Isemin 1992, Lt. Col. Yakubu Bako 1993-1996, Capt. (NN) Joseph Adeusi 1996-1998, Group Capt. John Ebiye 1998-1999, Arc (Obong) Victor Attah 1999-2007, Chief Godswill Akpabio 2007-2015, and the incumbent Governor, Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel.

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The state has line up events to mark the 30th anniversary, from the first day of September 2017, while approaching the throne of God to seek His blessings for the 30th anniversary celebration of the state’s creation through prayers and fasting.

Speaking on Akwa Ibom at 30, Governor Udom Emmanuel thanked past military administrators and governors for their sacrifices to move the state to the level it is today, adding that everything in the state were achieved through past leader’s ingenuity and effort, as no existing road in the state was done by the federal government.

In his exhortation on the 30th anniversary theme “shine for thy light is come” drawn from Isaiah 60:1-3, Emmanuel identified deep hatred, Lack of respect for sacred places, disloyal Friends, families, holy brethren, lack of self-control (pride), lack of regards for God, mere foolishness, and lazyness as factors that work against or prevent one’s light from shinning.

He handed down Psalm 18:28 as prayer point for the 30th anniversary. Noting that 30 is a year of impact, “It was at 30 that Jesus began his ministry. Pray God to rid the state off hatred, abuse of sacred places and envy to enlighten every aspects of darkness in the state”. He exhorted

Highlighting the event as mentioned in a press conference by the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Charles Udoh,  would be the visit of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who is expected to commission the biggest Syringe Factory in Africa,  and an Electric Metering Plant in the state on the 23rd September which is the 30th anniversary proper.

Other engagements lined up for the Vice President are the commissioning of the refurbished General Hospital, Etinan and an inspection of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Exhibition.

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The line up of events continued from the September 1 fast and prayers with special government house monthly prayer meeting, Ibom Cultural Carnival and Golf Tournament Tee-off, scheduled for September 16.

September 18 featured Pictorial/Photography Exhibition, Essay and Quiz Competition, scheduled for September 19, while Dakadda Business Forum and Music Fiesta are scheduled to hold on September 20, 2017.

On Thursday September 21, FEYReP, the pet project of Mrs Martha Emmanuel will mark its second anniversary, to be followed by a Novelty Football Match by members of the state Executive council and members of the state House of Assembly. An evening with Generals and Akwa Ibom Anniversary Fashion Expo/Comedy Night/ Uto challenge is also scheduled for same day.

“Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprise Clinic and Miss Akwa Ibom beauty Pegeant are scheduled to hold on September 22, to be followed by the commissioning of the major projects by the Vice President on the September 23 which is the anniversary proper”. He explained

The state will on Sunday September 24 hold a special Thanksgiving service for the 30th anniversary of the creation of Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria’s 57th Independence. The month-long event is to be rounded up with the Swearing-in of new Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs on September 25.

The commissioner therefore called on Akwa Ibom people to define lines and divides, and roll out drums to pay glowing tributes to the founding fathers that helped plant and nurture the tree of statehood.

He said, “At 30 years, we have covered a million miles and we have recorded milestones. Obviously, Nigeria must get to the promise land, but with Akwa Ibom providing the illumination “.

Yes! Akwa Ibom has come a long way, and citing the advice of its last military administrator, Group Capt. John Ebiye, the aim should be to make it the best in Nigeria. “With the abundant human and material resources that abound, the state does not deserve any less”. He said.

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