By Jackson Udom & Clement Ikpatt
Shortly after the conclusion of the 2019 general elections, for which he played a very prominent role, the former Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio wrestled through a lot of malicious plots and political intrigues to become a member of the Federal Executive Council (FEC). It was by the benevolence of President Muhammadu Buhari.
As the plots and intrigues massed, there were also special interest persons and groups within and outside Akwa Ibom State, Akpabio’s home and primary political base, to snipe away his political relevance and future. However, by being unassailable, with massive goodwill of supporters and strong support by President Buhari, Akpabio made the Ministerial nomination list sent to the Senate for mandatory clearance by the lawmakers.
Grandiosely, Akpabio, who left the Senate as its Minority Leader, had no problems scaling the screening exercise as he was made to take a bow, not before he was asked to make a brief introduction of himself.
Having been duly screened by the Senate, his traducers did not rest as they continued to sponsor and launch coordinated media attacks on his person, all in their bid to make sure that Akpabio was not sworn in by the President as Minister of the Federal Republic.
Despite all the campaign of calumny and media darts from very known and close quarters, Akpabio triumphed and, subsequently, was assigned the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs with Festus Keyamo, another cerebrally mobile son of the Niger Delta, appointed as the Minister of State. Keyamo has since been replaced with another Niger Delta son, Senator Tayo Alasoadura.
After his inauguration exactly 100 days ago, Akpabio moved swiftly to take charge of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. He told the workers that he is in the Ministry to make a difference by bringing his midas touch to successfully achieve goals and objectives of the President for the people of the Niger Delta.
Since 100 days ago, various leaders and stakeholders, including former militants and youths of the Niger Delta, have besieged Akpabio’s office. They go on solidarity and other visits, assuring the Minister of their unreserved support and availability to help turn things around in the region.
Akpabio is a purpose driven leader. He understands the importance of peace as a bedrock for growth and development in the oil producing region. In the last100 days, Akpabio has succeeded in reinforcing peace through multifaceted collaborations with Niger Delta leaders and stakeholders.
Akpabio is an effective and prudent leader. Within 100 days as Minister, he has resolved to complete the construction and commissioning by President Buhari, the permanent headquarters building for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) during the first quarter of year 2020. This effort will save the Commission its yearly rent of N300 million on the facility.
Driven by President Buhari’s order for a forensic audit of the Commission, Akpabio is on a mission to restructure the NDDC. Within 100 days as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Akpabio has embarked upon a comprehensive restructuring process that will not only reveal the reasons for 18 years of rot and failure at NDDC, but is set to fight corruption, reform the governance structure, bring about effective management of projects, render a bankable Commission and improve its quality of service delivery.
Akpabio is passionately driving President Buhari’s agenda for growth and development in the Niger Delta region. Within 100 days in office, Akpabio has decided to establish a post amnesty initiative that will create and sustain jobs for 3,000 ex militants and other youths in the region.
The former governor of Akwa Ibom State, is set to uncommonly transform the Niger Delta region. Since 100 days ago, Akpabio has developed the roadmap, complete with all necessary frameworks and collaborations, to actualize President Buhari’s Niger Delta agenda for economic development of the region.
As expected, the roll off phase for completion of the East-West road, infrastructure building, medium and setting up of small scale industries for employment opportunities is underway.
With the sustained support of relevant stakeholders and leaders in the oil producing region, it is expected that in the new couple of months, hitherto abandoned projects and programes for the overall benefit of the people, would be seen throughout all nooks and crannies of the region.
It can only be better, as the uncommon transformer trudges on.
Udom and Ikpatt, write from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State
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