Thursday, Jan 2021

There is intense uproar about this issue in Akwa Ibom state, and it is becoming very contemplating in many circles.

The variables emanating from Governor Udom’s phantom projects are seemingly becoming the talk in town, and expediently need to be looked in to. In retrospect, what are the verifiable truths about Udom Emmanuel's nine industries for which he is substituting bold-face lies? Can we adjudge the following without being biased or judgmental?

Armoured Vehicle Assembly Plant in Itam

This has been DOA, dead on arrival. Misguided, misconceived, it has not gone beyond groundbreaking.

LED Lighting Factory in Itam

Equally misguided and misconceived. Equally is the DOA on ground-breaking.

Peacock Paints

Taking late Dr Clement Isong's achievement in vain, the purported revival of this iconic industry by Udom Emmanuel has been an excuse to plunder public funds. The so-called revival has not matched either in volume or range of output, what was achieved over *30 years ago. Even at that, the products are not in the market where even if it were, it would be competing, unfavourably we should add, with the output of over 300 local producers. A whole state government should do better but under Udom, it hasn't.

Toothpicks and Pencils Factory The less said about this disgraceful effort the better. Or perhaps more should be said to expose the abysmal incompetence of Udom Emmanuel. Fraudulently conceived and poorly executed, this factory is typical of Udom's so-called industrial development programme.  Inappropriate equipment was ordered without a thought to where it would be housed. On arrival, a warehouse was hurriedly borrowed without a proper lease agreement. The factory was commissioned and allegedly put into use only to be shut within a few months. Some 24 months later, the government is desultorily trying to put up a building for it in Itam. No prize for guessing: a failed project without any product in the market.

Syringe Factory

A mum and pop operation; probably a money laundering scheme, by Udom Emmanuel's Turkish business partners. For all the noise, this is a plastics company, pure and simple. Imported moulds are used to blow plastic resins for the plastic parts of the syringe. The hypodermic needles are imported and packaged for sale at higher than import prices. Even the packaging is brought in from out of state. Zero local content, limited employment generation. It is not doing well and may soon pack up shop.

Electricity Meter Factory

This nothing to do with Udom Emmanuel, as Godswill Akpabio set the stage for this investment by buying into Port Harcourt Distribution Company, during the privatisation of DISCOs. Owned by the operators of PHDC, the electricity distributors, this is an assembly operation, pure and simple. Not one component is manufactured in Nigeria. This is precisely the sort of industries we had before under our import substituting industrial programme in the 60s, 70s and 80s, that failed woefully. No self respecting leader should be advertising this sort of operation as an achievement. But that is Udom Emmanuel for you. Clueless.

Tomato Industry

A farm or industry, nobody can say. If a farm, it will be a high cost one, given the kind of sums we have heard bandied about as the cost of the imported green houses, imported equipment and imported experts. If the products are in the market, only Udom's cook is using them. As for industrial processing, we'll believe that when we see them in operation. We can hazard the view now that the present green house operation will not produce enough to feed an economic-sized plant. If in doubt, ask Dangote. As for the much-ballyhooed AKEES, tomatoes business, well, nobody is talking about the millionaires allegedly created by that exercise in public deception, alternative facts or no.

Rice Mill

A scam, as reported by Dr Dele Sobowale in a widely circulated on-the-spot assessment a few weeks back.

*9. Fertiliser Blending Plant in Abak* The biggest alternative fact of all. And that is saying something. A packaging operation commissioned and passed off as a blending one. At the cost of $5million in bank guarantee that exposes all of us in Akwa Ibom. Besides,Udom Emmanuel didn't facilitate that investment, Godswill Akpabio did.

Coconut Oil Processing

Misplaced, misguided and misconceived. Nothing exposes the quality of thinking and vision that undergirds Udom Emmanuel's government than this misadventure. And as if to prove it, the coconut plants have stubbornly refused to grow.

Mexican Cattle Ranch in Uruan

Another stop in Udom Emmanuel's reenactment of Don Quixote's tilt at windmills mistaken for heathen enemies. Again, more evidence of thoughtlessness.

Unlike Udom Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom people live in the real world of his nonperformance. They pay the price, a very high price, for living in that world. They need a governor that comes from the world of reality; the reality of poverty and joblessness, a governor who will relief them of these real burdens by building real industries, by creating real conditions for the people to flourish. Udom Emmanuel and his world of alternative facts must be done away with and the deadline for doing so is but a few months away.

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