December 22, 2022
By Ata ETUK
Uyo and Uruan LGA’s today, hosted the Governorship Candidate of the NNPP (New Nigeria People’s Party) in Akwa Ibom State, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, Ph.D.
Both engagements, at separate venues, held in continuation of his Ward Town Hall Meetings across the State, ahead of the 2023 Elections.
Senator Akpanudoedehe was first at the Ifa Ikot Okpon Ultra Modern Timber Market, Uyo, where he met Executives and members of the Timber Market Association.
He then moved to Uruan, to interact with his loyalists from Southern Uruan Wards 1, 2 and 3; Party Stakeholders, and Officers; as well as others, at the Town Hall, Adadia, venue.
During both interactions, he introduced himself, narrating his proper academic, political, business, and other records.
This, he said, was necessary to counter false narratives spun by his political rivals to impugn his character and rally his loyalists against him.
“I’m a Development Sociologist with a Ph.D.; a Harvard-trained Leadership expert; and Chairman, John Silver Group (comprising nine companies with interests in Oil, Shipping, Finance, Real Estate, etc)”.
He notified the people at both engagements, of governorship bid, and intention to reset governance, develop the State, and empower the people, through a wide range of sound economic, social and other policies.
Senator Akpanudoedehe decried the Unemployment and Poverty rates of 52% and 75% indexed respectively, against the State, and its rating behind Kwara, as having the second-highest cost of living.
He lamented the abandonment of youths and the lack of policies to engage them profitably, save for election-related purposes as thugs recruited to serve selfish personal political interests.
He called for the revival of work and industry among youths; and of the ‘dignity of labour’, adding that positive reorientation of youths would be a key focus of his government.
He went on to list some of his policies and programmes as Governor, to address the problems of the State.
Senator Akpanudoedehe said to fast-track development in the villages, his government would introduce a Fourth (informal) Tier of Government, run by traditional authorities.
He said he would build Health Centers in every Ward; and set up
Boards comprising Village/Family Heads; Churches; Women; Youths; Party Representatives; and others.
“The Boards would administer the Health Centers and Schools; and respond first to their immediate minor needs; while Village Councils will get quarterly imprests of N3 Million to run the villages”.
He said “Village Heads would get
Security Votes of N500,000, and befitting official residences; while Family Heads would be issued Certificates of Recognition, and paid stipends”.
Senator Akpanudoedehe said his “Signature Programme” would be a Social Investment/Economic Stimulus Plan that will employ 31,000 people directly; and more, in a spill over.
“We will give 1,000 indigenes in every LGA, soft loans and grants of N1,000,000 each; train them; and send them to manufacturing hubs like China, India, Japan, etc, to import goods into the State.
“Government will pay the duties and clear the imports initially from Onne Port, while Ibaka Deep Seaport would be undergoing construction to take over.
“The imports will be warehoused in facilities to be built in major towns including: Uyo, Ikot Ekpene, Abak, Itu, Ibiono, etc; and sold out in wholesale quantity”.
The initiative, he said, would “create 31,000 millionaires in the pilot phase; create wealth; and break unfair trade monopolies trade against our people”.
In the area of urban renewal, he promised to create a Ministry of Uyo Capital City, headed by a Commissioner, to operate distinctly from the existing Uyo Capital City Development Authority.
He also unveiled his plan to reroute safe drinking water from the Atlantic Ocean through Water Treatment Plants into homes, as opposed to boreholes, which he described as “unhygienic”.
Senator Akpanuduedehe said his Urban Renewal Plan for Uyo, would “prevent the city’s decline”; and his Resettlement Policy would compensate those whose plots of land government had acquired for public purposes.
On insecurity, he said his Amnesty Initiative tagged ‘Money for Guns’, would aim at “divesting militant youths of weapons, in exchange for training and other opportunities to pursue noble livelihoods”.
He however warned that “any beneficiaries of the Amnesty who return to crime, will risk very dire consequences; because I will not tolerate insecurity of any form”.
To aid the fight against insecurity and address unemployment, he added: “We will recruit a 10,000 man strong Community Policing Outfit from volunteers in the villages.
“We will train them with the Police; and pay them special salaries to assist the Police in providing security in the villages.
“Another batch of 1,000 volunteers will be recruited and trained to man waterways alongside the Navy and Marine Police, as marine security agents”.
Senator Akpanudoedehe said he would reintroduce the palm oil business, and request for land from Clans, to plant special palm species that would mature in 18 months.
He also promised to re-establish the Palm Produce; and Agricultural Produce Pricing Boards, to ensure a stable market for farm products, and independence from foreign influence with regard to pricing.
He said to enhance the initiative, his government would construct good access roads to link rural and farming communities to the markets and provide electricity.
“More markets will be constructed” he added “and women empowered with non-refundable market money to trade”.
Senator Akpanudoedehe promised to pay retired civil servants their long owed pensions, gratuities and other entitlements; and open portals to register unemployed people, so government can identify and attempt to engage them productively.
He assured the people that the new Electoral Law provided several safeguards against electoral fraud, and so “votes would count, once validly cast”.
At the earlier meeting in the Timber Market, the President of the Association informed Senator Akpanudoedehe of the presence of Degree and Diploma holders in the Association; and expressed optimism that he would engage them in his developmental efforts.
He said the Association has over 3,000 members and several sections including those for Building Materials, Carpentry, Truck, Haulage, Drivers, etc; and that the body had such needs as engines, saw-blading machines, etc, for its workshops.
He added that the Association would gratefully welcome loans and grants; and the repair of internal roads in the Market.
In his Response, Senator Akpanudoedehe said he grew up with a lot of the people present, and that their warm reception and coordination had rekindled his hopes.
He went on to note that Uyo was built from the sweat of traders in the market and their businesses; but that the spirit of enterprise which had been greatly stifled, and had to be revived.
He promised to repair internal roads in the market, and better the lot of the Association, by including them in his business development plan.
He also promised that as Governor, he would give the Association a N5 Billion grant to buy equipment and machines to help expand their businesses, and business frontiers in the State.
In his Response, the President of the Association acknowledged Senator Akpanudoedehe as the first such high-profile candidate to visit the Association, and promised to support him for his humility and recognition of the Association.
In Uruan LGA, Senator Akpanudoedehe commissioned the NNPP Southern Uruan Ward 1 office, Ikot Akpa Ekang, before proceeding to Adiadia Beach.
There, he promised the fisherfolk boats, engines, fishing nets and other marine business related equipment, to break even, by owning tools of their trade.
He also promised to draft many of those versed in marine security issues into the marine wing of the community policing initiative, to discourage them from crime and point them into useful engagement for the good of the community.
At the Town Hall, Adiadia, where he met his loyalists, Senator Akpanudoedehe revealed that he was born in Ituk Mbang (in Uruan); and can be considered an Uruan indigene.
He said apart from being an Uruan-born Uyo indigene, he is from Atai Uyo (comprising Uyo, Uruan, Nsit Atai, and Ibesikpo Asutan LGAs); and an Ibibio indigene; and so deserves their votes.
Senator Akpanuduedehe said: “After touring 285 Wards in this State, I have come to see that poverty walks on two legs in Akwa Ibom State … and so we must develop a positive work ethic … we must employ people … our society must be restored.
In Senator Akpanudoedehe’s entourage were: Pastor (Mrs) Justina Akpanudoedehe, Ph.D., (his wife); Chief Godwin Afangideh his running mate and his wife; Dr. Lawrence Eyo Essien; Members of Glorious Mission Campaign Organisation.
Pastor (Mrs) Stella Effiom (former Chairman, Uyo LG) and her spouse; Hon. Emmanuel Hogan (House of Assembly Candidate, Uyo); Prof. Patrick Williams (Chairman, Glorious Campaign Mission); and Udoedehe Foundation members, among others, were present in Uyo.
In Uruan, the Party’s candidates were present including: Elder Joseph Lawrence (House of Assembly); Surv. Kufre Eshiett (House of Representatives); and Hon. Sunday Umoren (Senate).
Also present were Hon. Udeme Obo (Chapter Chairman); Eld. Okon Tom Ekong; Kufre Bassey; Eld. Essien Essien Asuquo; Otuekong Iboro; Mrs. Clara; and others.