.Gov Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom community

A socio-political group, Onna Unity Forum has flayed the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Solomon Enang over his alleged attempt to blackmail Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State on the location of the recently approved Federal University of Technology for the State.

While reacting to comments credited to the presidential aide at a press conference against the person and office of the governor, the group said such an atrocious narrative by Enang was capable of eroding the peace in the state.

In a statement issued in Uyo, the state capital and signed by the Chairman, Mr Efiok Bassey, the forum while thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for the approval of the institution, however, took a swipe at Enang, stating that it was not only unthinkable but unreasonable for the person of Enang’s status to use the media to incite the people against the governor over the choice the location.

According to the statement “ From all indications and facts leading to the approval, the federal government favours the citing of the University in the Akwa Ibom South Senatorial district to perhaps ameliorate years of deprivation, marginalisation and destruction of the natural habitat of the people.”

It noted such gesture was not unexpected considering that Akwa Ibom state and Eket Senatorial District contribute over 40 per cent to the finances of the Federal Government even with nothing to show for it for decades.

“It is however not only unthinkable but unreasonable that the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Solomon Enang could issue a threat against the person and office of the governor over the location of the institution.

“Such grandstanding to a sane mind is an ill wind that does no one any good rather than fanning the embers of acrimony and disunity among the local government areas that may be considered for the location”, it stated.

The Forum described Enang’s obnoxious tale as sheer blackmail and arm-twisting to put Governor Emmanuel based on a warped assumption and imagination that the governor may influence the location of the institution to favour Onna Local Government Area

“Assuming but not conceding that the state government in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Education favours the location of the University in Onna based on meeting certain favourable criteria for the location, the question is “is Onna not in Eket Senatorial District? Is Onna not an oil-bearing and producing local government Area? , it queried.

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Explaining further, the group said since Eket Senatorial District is favoured to host the University. It was pertinent to note that Eket federal constituency should be considered since there is no federal presence in the area let alone an institution of higher learning.

“For instance, the Oron Federal Constituency owns Maritime Academy which is on the verge of becoming a full-blown University of Maritime Studies while the state-owned University, Akwa Ibom State University is located in Mkpat Enin in Ikot Abasi Federal Constituency which also boasts of Federal Government Liberty Free Trade Zone, Ibom Power Company, ALSCON and arrays of other companies.

Furthermore, it is doubtful if Mr Enang who ignorantly claimed that there is an existing tertiary institution in Eket federal constituency truly knows the configuration of the federal constituencies in Eket Senatorial District.

The group said it was worrisome for Enang to be engaging in deliberate mischief and falsehood against the governor to achieve a dubious political mileage.

According to the statement “despite the fact that every investor has the right to decide where to locate his business, Mr Emmanuel as the state governor has been fair in ensuring that investors distribute their factories across the state.

“For instance, there’s the ongoing construction of Vehicle Assembly plant in Itu, St Gabriel’s Coconut Refinery in Mkpat Enin, Sterling Petrochemical Company in Eastern Obolo and the recently attracted OCP’s $1.4billion investment on fertilizer and ammonia plant to be sited in Ikot Abasi. Besides, the government also constructed a 2×30megahertz power substation in Mkpat Enin and facilitated Greenfield Fertilizer Company’s establishment in Abak and Ibom Agricon Rice Plant in the Ini local government area”, it explained.

The forum urged the state governor not to be distracted by the divisive antics of the likes of Enang but rather remain focused on his completion agenda as typified in the recent commissioning of the one-kilometre flyover in Ikot Oku Ikono in Uyo.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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