…Refuses to review 8pm to 6am curfew
By Chioma Onuegbu – Uyo
GOVERNOR Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has expressed fears that the deadly COVID-19 pandemic has dragged on longer than expected.
Emmanuel who spoke during interactive session with the citizens aired by state-owned television and radio stations over the weekend noted that when the world market collapsed in March 2020, that the expectation was that the deadly virus would recede after three months and the economy starts bouncing back.
He explained that the prices of oil which has remained highly volatile since March the world market collapsed, indicates that the economic impact of the pandemic may not bounce back soon.
He expressed worries that first world nation like America has remained rattled by the economic impact of the pandemic despite trillions of dollars the country has so far invested to cushion the impact.
His words, “You know that the world market collapsed terribly on Monday morning of March 9. And when this pandemic started in March we were giving it like three months to recede and then the economy will start bouncing back. But it is dragging beyond the time we expected.
“And there is a whole lot of interplay of market forces. Everybody has a cause to be afraid. I am not a prophet of doom but it will get to a point where you will not need anybody to tell you that you need to adjust yourself because the economic impact may not go overnight.
“Everybody has reason to be afraid economically as far as COVID-19 is concerned. Things can never be the same again. Everybody must do something for us to move forward.
” If we just sit back and think the situation will adjust itself, God did not create the world that way. For God to feed the Five thousand people He had to look for five loaves and two fish. We must do something to get ourselves out of the situation we are in right now”
The governor explained that his political appointees sacrificed 20per cent of their salaries in order to assist in purchasing drugs and reagents for the treatment and testing of COVID-19 patients respectively, which costs the state huge fund weekly besides payment for other services.
He appealed to the citizens to cooperate with government to develop the state instead of using the social media to run their own state down and condemned a recent development where an indigene of the state wrote petition to the Minister of Transportation not to allow the state to go ahead with the Ibom deep seaport over false claims.
“We are trying to develop the state; we are trying to see how we can push ourselves so that we can create jobs for our people, but it is our people who are attacking what we are doing. So what we are seeing, is where we are trying to pull down what we have.
” As people continue to write such petitions it doesn’t allow us to make progress. There should be a mindset change. And there is something Akwa Ibom people must know, if we don’t swim in the same direction we will have ourselves to blame” he asserted.
On a question that the 8pm to 6am curfew was affecting business in the state, Emmanuel responded, “I don’t agree with that. I am not going to review that because I took time in the last media chat to explain why I allowed that curfew to run for now.
“I am a businessman. If I can discipline myself and wake up by 6am and go about my business from 7am to 7pm, that is 12 hours. Any business that I cannot do within 12 hours, it can wait till the next day. Unless you want to tell me that you are hungry to go for night club”
He, therefore, reminded the residents that the state government has not lifted ban on night club yet.