By Rachael Nse

The recent approval of the Ibom deep seaport by President Buhari at the last Federal Executive Council was received with joy amongst all AkwaIbomites and Nigerians at large.
The joy of this approval was short lived with the release of the official statement by the Commissioner for Information, Barr Ini Ememobong. Part of his statement which was filled with negative emotions read; “It will be recalled that previous administrations since 1999 have made several attempts at kick starting the seaport, without success”.

Government, we are told, is a continuum. It is akin to a relay race where batons exchange hands (or hands exchange batons), from one participant to another, with the overall intent of getting to the destination of the race which is to win the trophy.

In a relay race, there is not supposed to be any ambiguity. In other words, the rule – from one baton to the other – is simple. If anything, the sole common feature in a relay race is collective action which translates to collective victory. Suffice to say that the victory and the joy therefrom are shared by everyone.

Akwa Ibom state government under the leadership of Obong Victor Attah proposed having a seaport. The seaport was to be sited in Ibaka. A coastal community in Mbo local government area. The Attah’s administration designed the seaport. The administration also reportedly paid five million USD out of 10million USD for the design.

The Ibom Industrial City (IIC), which includes the Ibaka Deep Seaport, was conceived by the Godswill Akpabio’s administration and in that direction Messrs Worley Parsons, an International engineering consultancy firm, was contracted to carry out the feasibility study, the concept master plan and design. Before then a total of 14,400 hectares of land was acquired between Mbo, Esit Eket and Ibeno local government areas in 2009 and necessary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) conducted on the acquired site. Necessary licences were obtained from the Federal Government, which also agreed to partner with the State Government on the development of the Deep Seaport.


The project was to be built in partnership with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Federal Government.
Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Mr. Omar Suleiman and the then Transport minister, Mr. Idris Umar corroborated with the state government.

Governor Akpabio set up the Ibaka deep seaport implementation committee headed by Mr Umana Umana, the then SSG.
From Umana, a technical committee was set up chaired by Barr( Mrs) Paul Usoro.

Ini Ememobong’s attempt to dress Gov Udom with a borrowed robe which rightly belong to his predecessors shows his resentment towards previous administrations in the state.
As the chief information officer of the state, he should not allow toxic thoughts control him while exercising his official duties.

In the case of Ibom deep seaport through various administrations there has been a clear cut of out lined roles, responsibility relating and relationships between critical stakeholders.
That is exactly what government is expected to be, more so in a situation where the leaders understand their role in government vis-a-vis the rules.

Nse writes from Mkpat Enin Akwa Ibom State.

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