By John Ekperikpe, Concerned Ibom Patriot
Today is Sunday, an appropriate day of the week to ask the Deacon of Qua Iboe Church, the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel, a question and rightfully expect a truthful answer from his church mind. The question is simple and should not detain for a second a governor who is also an accountant.
Dear Governor Deacon Udom Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom people would like to know what your government has done about the international terminal building for the Ibom International Airport, for which construction the Akpabio administration had awarded the contract to and paid Alcon Nigeria Limited the princely sum of Fourteen Billion (N14 billion) before that government came to the end of its tenure.
For the information of Akwa Ibom people, Alcon built Ibom Airport and erected the little temporary terminal building in use now just so that the airport could take off and save our people the trouble of going to either Calabar or Port Harcourt to take a flight to other parts of the country.
The ultimate plan was to quickly follow that up with a permanent terminal building befitting an international airport that was to function as the hub for aviation cargo transportation as well as aircraft repair and maintenance in its state-of-the –art Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility.
And so it was that in 2013 the Akpabio administration awarded the contract for the construction of the international terminal building to Alcon Nigeria Limited. Alcon was paid N14 billion to mobilise to site and begin the construction work. Up to the time of this writing, roughly four years on, the international terminal building has not been delivered, and nothing is happening there save for rudimentary work at the foundation level that was done at the time of the award of the contract.
So Your Excellency, why is the terminal building not built after it had been paid for? We would like you to address Akwa Ibom people on this project. The case of the terminal building is different from other projects that you have abandoned. This is a project that was fully paid for. What is left is to follow up with the contractor and make sure that the state gets value for its money. So tell us, Sir, why don’t we have the terminal building and yet there is no information that the N14 billion has been recovered from the contractor?
I refuse to accept the conclusion of those in the know who say that you have not bothered about this project that was already paid for because of your government policy to abandon all uncompleted projects that were started by the Akpabio administration in order to erase the man’s place in the development history of the state.
The governor must speak up on the terminal building. Akwa Ibom people demand a status report from the governor on the project.