Gov Emmanuel: A Bastion of Fiscal Transparency

The Evangelist
October 29, 2022
By Richard PETERS

Since assumption of office in 2015 till date, Akwa Ibom state Governor Udom Emmanuel has judiciously maintained his position as a bastion of financial prudence, transparency and accountability. With the recent stamp of fiscal transparency placed on him by the government of the United States through the US Consul General in Nigeria, Mr Will Stevens, Gov. Emmanuel is standing tall in the comity of leaders with the barge of integrity and financial prudence.

In the words of the US Consul General, “Akwa Ibom state under Gov. Emmanuel’s watch is one of the first partners in Africa that has improved on fiscal transparency. The state leads all other states in Nigeria in creating its public finance plan.” Will Stevens also extolled the state aviation pride, the Ibom Air, describing it as an airline to be desired for a next flight. This feat is staggering, to say the least.

With Gov. Emmanuel’s background from the banking sector, financial discipline and accountability have been his watchwords, as he had over the years been given the mandate to manage people’s financial records within and outside Nigeria, and never in the history of his stewardship in the financial institution has the governor been found wanting.

As governor of the state, he brought to bear his wealth of experience and financial discipline which has now been linked to his DNA, hence the myriad of achievements recorded so far, chiefly through his ability to manage scarce resources amplified by the dreaded coronavirus pandemic and global financial meltdown that hit the world as aftermath of the pandemic.

Despite these economic realities, Akwa Ibom state through the excellent leadership of Gov. Emmanuel was still initiating and completing projects, and this has remained a wonder to his counterparts from other states.

This explains why Gov. Emmanuel has literally played host to almost all the state governors and leaders across party lines who want to model his style of leadership and take a course in “Udomism”.

While institutions of financial integrity within and outside Nigeria are applauding Gov. Emmanuel, those within who have seen better, his ability to manage the state’s economy, by littering the state with industries and other sectoral achievements, in a bit to score cheap political point are accusing him of misappropriation of funds. This is quite preposterous.

Without sounding boastful, Gov. Emmanuel has remained one of the best in the country, in terms of making the state accessible to foreign investors. Ninety -five percent of all his foreign trips since he took over as the state chief executive had been on business partnership and investment.

He made the state economically conducive for business to thrive, as this is the first thing investors consider before deciding on whether to invest in a particular place or not. No wonder the latest ranking puts Akwa Ibom among the first four states in Nigeria with ease of doing business.

The latest ranking of Akwa Ibom on the fourth position among the 36 states and the FCT, is contained is the outcome of a baseline survey by BudgIT.

It could be recalled that the state maintained the same position in 2021 when the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council released the outcome of the “States Ease of Doing Business Substantial Baseline Survey”, undertaken by the Council.

In another show of competence and capacity, the governor made a strong case for Nigeria in the House of Commons, London, calling on foreign investors to utilize the huge opportunities in the country.

The House of Commons is a well known institution of British politics, and the London Political Summit is a major annual event in the political calendar in the United Kingdom. This was Nigeria to the world, and Gov. Emmanuel was one of the key speakers, and was equally decorated with The Governor of the Year Award.

The point here is that it smacks of sheer hatred and ignorance for one who has never contributed to the wellbeing of his immediate family to criticize a man who has brought global economic blessing to his people through direct foreign investment and other avenues.

In what is described by many as the joke of the century, Obong Bassey Albert is accusing Gov. Udom Emmanuel of collecting N280 billion from the Federal Government, excluding FAAC Allocations and Federal Roads Refunds, attempting to fault his spendings. Whatever his intentions were for making such careless comments does not really matter, as someone who is desperate for power may say and do anything.

But as the saying goes, he that must go to equity should go with clean hands. A cursory look at OBA’S records and financial misappropriation shows that a barge of financial indiscipline has been bestowed on him, and it is even in the public domain (Wikipedia).

Senator Bassey Albert over the years has been battling with the EFCC in court over money laundering. Money that was intended to build schools through Inter-ministerial direct labour project while serving as finance commissioner in the state was pocketed by OBA. How can an individual that destroyed the educational future of our children by denying them access to good learning facilities be talking where Gov. Emmanuel is?

Again, after the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in August 2021, OBA was accused of facilitating the bribery of federal legislators to guarantee the legislation’s advancement despite public opposition to parts of the text.

According to People’s Gazette, atleast $10 million was paid to legislators in payment organized by OBA.

Moreover, in June 2018, charges were filed against OBA for failing to declare his true assets after an investigation by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property which accused OBA of failing to disclose his ownership or the true cost of several houses. OBA in his usual way of life labeled the investigation a plot to tarnish his image.

This is the same person that is trying to accuse an accomplished administrator, financial manager and one who has the integrity to bring in investors to the state, using his connection.

Does OBA have the moral standing to bring investors to the state with such charges against him that are in public domain. The whites are very smart, before they do business with anyone, findings must be carried out against their prospects, and where he or she is found wanting, they boycott immediately.

With such poor image hanging in the public domain, OBA is a misfit for the Hill Top mansion, and would not bring any goodwill to the state.

On the other hand, Gov. Udom Emmanuel does not struggle to win the goodwill of investors because he already had a clean name. That is why many people believe there is more to Gov. Udom Emmanuel than just a state chief executive officer, a feature shared by the incoming Governor Pst Umo Eno.

This is a man who has run his business over the years with clean financial records. From just 5 rooms, the Royalty Hotels stands as a cynosure of hospitality and tourism in Nigeria.

This is why Akwa Ibom people should stand with a man who has the capacity to multiply limited resources, especially in times like this when the world is experiencing another round of financial crisis.

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