During the buildup to the 2015 election, I did not fall for the entire “Udom is right” noise, as far as I was concerned it was unnecessary hype of someone who was yet to prove himself in rendering service to his people. In a rejoinder to one his fanboys titled “WHY THE GANG UP AGAINST UDOM WILL FAIL”, I succinctly, stated my reservations about the idea of giving one candidate a free ride to become governor, while anyone not towing that line is seen as an ‘enemy of progress’.
Two years and seven months after, the entire hype has still not been justified. In the early days of the administration, all we heard were ‘ground breaking’ ceremonies. So rampant were these gathering of sycophants, that one began to fear the possibility of a tsunami! Well, when the dust settled, the first project that surfaced is the governors multi billion naira country home – oga governor even built a chapel opposite too, after all he is a Deacon!
When he remembered he had a duty to perform, he led another group of sycophants to commission a moribund Peacock paints.
Of all the numerous failings of the Udom led administration, the most unfortunate trademark is it’s lack of accountability. How a chartered accountant/banker can feel so comfortable running a secretive government, allotting and disbursing state funds as if it were his retirement benefits leaves one in shock; but then “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”.
On Friday 28th November 2017, the governor presented the 2018 budget christened “Budget of Consolidation on Industrialisation” amounting to N651.500 Billion to the state house of Assembly.
While those in government cycles saw the occasion as another avenue to make noise, the budget presentation was a sad reminder of the fact that the government of Akwa Ibom state has no idea of what it means to run a transparent government. As a matter of fact, it appears the hallmark of the present Akwa Ibom government is to ensure that by the time it leaves office, the phrase “transparency in governance” will no longer be used in Akwa Ibom state – the saddest part of this is the fact that the executive arm of government is led by, a financial expert and two former civil servants, who ought to know the importance of transperancy.
The 2017 budget was passed by the state house of assembly in March 2017(8 months ago), with less than a month to the end of the year, a complete break down of the budget is no where to be found. All we have seen are monies alloted to subheads; item by item cost, specific project sums are only known to the governor and whomever he has decided to show it to. How then can we evaluate that truly the monies the governor claimed(before the state HOA on friday) has been spent on projects in 2017 has actually been spent.
The governor on the occasion(presentation of the 2018 budget) claimed that monies from the 2017 budget was also spent in the “Resuscitation of Peacock Paint Industry”, unless there is another location where the paint industry operates from, other than that, the Peacock Paint in Ikot Ekan, Etinan LGA has not been resuscitated – facts are sacred.
A search for the 2017 budget on the official website of the State Government will prove my assertion that the state government has a lot it is hiding.
I also won’t be surprised if the 2018 budget also becomes a classified document like those before it.
Till date AKSG hasn’t stated how much it received from the Paris Club Refund – the reason for this is getting obvious.
The government should realize that it cannot keep telling us it has achieved things with state resources, without telling us specifically how much was budgeted and subsequently spent on achieving same.
Every financial expert ought to know the importance of transperancy and understand that it is a sine qua non to good governance but alas in Akwa Ibom the situation is different.
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice” – Proverbs 29:2
In Akwa Ibom we really don’t know who is in authority!
The new task before the state government seems to be getting endorsements from all corners, school children not excluded – I hope the endorsement of posterity can also be bought alongside.
While we arise to the faith of greatness, it is important the government of Akwa Ibom State realizes it cannot keep working in accordance with the old order.
The writer can be engaged on @EnenimUbon on social media platforms.