Ex-DG chides lawmaker for condemning A’ Ibom anniversary

Isaac Job, Uyo

Former Director General, Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party in Akwa Ibom state, General Etukudo (rtd) has lambasted the former lawmaker and ex-Minister of lands and Housing Chief Ndueso Essien for condemning the yearly celebration of the creation.

The former Minister had lashed Governor Udom Emmanuel for embarking on a full one-month celebration of the state’s creation in 1987 describing it as a waste of state funds.

However, Etukudo praised Emmanuel for making Eket community proud with the quantum of projects that have been commissioned as part of the anniversary.

Speaking to newsmen on Friday on the anniversary activities, Etukudo said the tremendous achievements of Emmanuel’s administration make the celebration worthwhile, noting that commissioning of the projects during the anniversary has made a bold statement to the world in terms of peace and developmental strides of Governor Emmanuel in the state.

Etukudo, a chieftaincy title holder of Atta of Eket strongly condemned the comments credited to a former minister of Lands and Housing, Chief Nduese Essien that celebrating the State’s anniversary is a waste of public funds.

He said Chief Nduese Essien is on a frolic of his own and dissociated the people of Eket from the former Minister’s comments.

According to Etukudo, celebrating the anniversary is “one of the ways of showcasing the State to attract development. Governor Udom Emmanuel is showing the world that there is peace in Akwa Ibom State.

“Some of those States Chief Essien alluded to cannot celebrate their anniversary not because they would not have loved to, but because they don’t have what to show for and they are faced with security challenges and cannot host such high-profile dignitaries for whereas Akwa Ibom is very safe for everyone courtesy of Governor Udom Emmanuel,” he said.

He expressed disappointment that a leader like Essien who has unhindered access to the governor could choose to send advice to him through the media, noting that his style and timing of communication with the governor is very suspicious.

” If he is sincere about the skewed advice, why did he not reach out to the governor privately except he has ulterior motives,” General Etukudo queried.
He added that: “Chief Nduese Essien should look for a better reason to stay back from activities of the State’s anniversary rather than blame his absence on the anniversary celebration.”

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Etukudo who did not show up at the anniversary celebration explained it would have been stressful for him to climb a storey building considering his old age but had sent in a goodwill message to identify with the state government during the anniversary.

“As a person who appreciates what Governor Udom Emmanuel is doing for the State, I could have attended the celebration on the 23rd of September but when I was told it was at the Nest of Champions, I considered that it will be stressful for me to climb up and down so I didn’t attend but I sent my best wishes to the governor for a successful programme. That doesn’t take away the fact that I love what the governor is doing in the State.”

He wondered why Chief Nduese Essien who is a beneficiary of several government contracts for the construction of internal roads and other projects in Eket and environs should be the person looking for where public funds are expended.

He remarked that the former Minister is giving an erroneous impression of the anniversary instead of applauding Governor Emmanuel for his achievements

.”The anniversary is not just about celebration. It is about thanksgiving; appreciating God for the gift of this State, and spiced with the commissioning of projects. This makes it justifiable for us to celebrate. Udom has invested in the State.

“Look at Ibom Air, industries, 21-storey smart building among others. He is still on course and will surely leave this State better than he met it. Udom is our own, and we are proud of him,” he noted.

The retired General wondered why a man who served in the National Assembly could not make laws to stop the federal government from celebrating Armed Forces Remembrance Day, Nigeria’s independence Day and other numerous global anniversaries but criticizing the celebration of the anniversary of Akwa Abasi Ibom State.

“His action has dragged the name of Eket in the mud. We condemn it in totality. He has chosen a wrong way to attract attention to himself. He should not take the peace in the State for granted, and should allow us to celebrate our anniversary,” Etukudo advised.

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