By Darlington UDOBONG
Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Housing and Special Duties, Mr. Akan Okon, has said the responsibility and focus of his Ministry “is as wide as one could imagine and whatever we do is given to us by the Governor,” adding that the Ministry of Housing and “Special Duties is everything.”
The Commissioner, who stated this during interaction on an online TV platform, Passion TV, anchored by Nseabasi Valentine, further said Governor Udom Emmanuel has exceeded the expectations of the people of Akwa Ibom.
According to him, “It is on record that we are one of the few states that pay salaries to its workers promptly. In the last three years, industries have sprung out in the state.
The Governor believes that our revenue base should be diversified and that informs the reason why he is doing all what he’s doing. He has sustained the Free and Compulsory Education policy and has also paid WAEC fees for Secondary School students in the state. The report of the Bureau of Statistics has also shown that Akwa Ibom is the second state in Nigeria in terms of foreign direct investment.”
On the issue of abandoned projects in the state by previous administrations, particularly those under his Ministry’s supervision, the Commissioner said “Development is a journey, not a destination. I met a Ministry that was full of activities and ours has to build on the existing structure and development because government is a continuum. Work is ongoing at Four Point by Sheraton. Work is ongoing at the Ibom Tropicana and others even though the speed and concentration is tied to the availability of fund. The Oil Depot and Cottage Hospital in Ukanafun are also the priority of the Udom Emmanuel’s administration.”
When asked of his plan to run for elective position in 2019 as allegedly rumoured, Mr. Okon said “My plan for 2019 is to ensure that Governor Udom Emmanuel returns to the Hilltop Mansion successfully. He is my 2019 ambition. For instance, the Governor has attracted N13billion projects by ExxonMobil to the state. It has never happened in the history of the firm and in the history of Akwa Ibom State. The projects include a Trauma Centre, an Engineering Complex and a Technical Skills Acquisition Facility. All these have happened courtesy Governor Udom Emmanuel.”
“Being a Commissioner has afforded me another opportunity to offer service to humanity and it has been an ample opportunity to add value to the people. The downside of being a Commissioner, for me, is not having a private life. All thanks to my wife and family. They have shown clear understanding with me,” he added.
When asked on the progress of work at the Ibaka Deep Seaport project, the Housing and Special Duties Commissioner said “We have made significant milestone. Before the end of 2018, we would have finished all the processes and come out with the preferred investors. Again, one of the significant projects that Governor Udom Emmanuel has done is in the area of power. He has embarked on the provision of power sub-stations.”
While advising youths of the state to “have the fear of God, if they must realized the purpose of God in their lives,” he charged them to be hardworking, maintaining that “the success of any successful person is as a result of careful planning.”
He urged the people of the state to be committed in their prayers and support the Governor to build a state that will be the envy of others