EKET – IBENO ROAD & THE POLITICS WITHIN
It was Nigeria’s comic star Ukwa-Achinaka whose real name is Nkem Owo that released a song titled “Know me when am poor, no be when am rich you come and claim relationship.” For the initiated, we all know the song.
This comes to confirm the adage that says failure is an orphan while success has many siblings and the likes. The success story of Eket-Ibeno road has brought out Exxon Mobil as a friend to the people. I am laughing such friendship.
The ongoing chants on the success story in the Eket-Ibeno road explain the scenario cited above. From time immemorial, Eket-Ibeno road was left unattended to. It was a death trap. It was an eyesore. It was abandoned, rejected and dejected.
Successive governments from the military refused to give attention to that road, even the civilian governments we elected ignored the road with an excuse that Exxon Mobil formerly known as Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited are the major beneficiaries of that road and that they are the ones to attend wholeheartedly to the problems of Eket-Ibeno road. This argument to an extent was not totally wrong.
When election time approaches, political parties and their candidates will use that road as a campaign tool and slogan. They always promised that when they are elected and sworn into office they shall certainly give first hand priority to the road. But unfortunately, they refused and ignored this road as soon as they get into office.
For those of us where there road is domiciled in our domain, we always cry blue-murder, we scream and protest. Yet the responses from government have always been that the road is for Exxon Mobil to fix. We waited in vain for Mobil, they never showed up. Things were very bad and terrible in those days. Angst was high, lives were lost, livestocks were killed
The people of Esit Urua, Edeobuk, Ebana, Afaha Eket villages and Ibeno Local Government Area who play host to the road always bemoan how rough and wicked Mobil have been. Akwa Ibom State Government as it was then was hardened and difficult. We needed a saviour. At least a Governor who will understand that Eket-Ibeno road needs to be attended to.
Thankfully enough, the dying days of Chief Godswill Akpabio threw up Udom for the Governorship of Akwa Ibom State and we saw heavy duty equipments moving into the road for a rescue mission. At first, it was believed that it was politics at play. It was the belief of most people that Government will in its usual manners abandon the road after it must have won election for her candidate.
To the public who understands government, it was however a sigh of relief when work on that road proceeded on an advanced level. All thanks to Mr. Udom Emmanuel whom at more occasions than one led some members of the Executive Council in Akwa Ibom, Federal and State lawmakers to site. This was servant leadership.
When at a point, construction giant CCECC handling the job abandoned the road and escaped, the pressure was on government and Udom’s administration through the Ministry of Works led by Ephraim Akparawa Inyangeyen was on hand for the rescue. The investment the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel has done in Eket-Ibeno road is sincere and modest.
We have never had it this good. This road has never breathed fresh air than now. All thanks, I say all thanks to Governor Udom Emmanuel and his Works Commissioner. It is indeed true that at the appropriate time, given a favourable atmosphere, the people will say a bigger thank you.
The much attention given to this road by Udom Emmanuel led government of Akwa Ibom State shows sincerity of leadership. But then, some persons will not see this as an achievement of Governor Udom Emmanuel. The argument that have rented the air in recent times that Exxon Mobil has contributed a large chunk of funds to the fixing of Eket-Ibeno road is deceptive.
Those who are peddling this information are mischief makers and confusionists. The argument that Exxon Mobil has contributed a big amount of money towards the fixing of Eket-Ibeno road is nauseating and disturbing.
It is a big lie peddled by jobless detractors who for sometimes now have not seen anything good in the Udom Emmanuel administration.
In any case, it is needless to state that ignorant people should do themselves the honour of not displaying their arrogance and ignorance in public. Otherwise how else can one explain a situation where the Government invests both human and material resources in a project only for some political jobbers to say the project is facilitated by an oil Company that is known for her selfishness and arrogance on her host communities. Exxon Mobil has over the years snubbed her host communities and therefore cannot wake up now to lay claim to whatever achievements that has been recorded on Eket-Ibeno road. It is to the credit of Akwa Ibom State Government led by Udom Emmanuel, no apologies.
For those who may not know and would wish to know, Exxon Mobil has been very unfair to Akwa Ibom State. Make no mistakes; this Company does not have the interest of Akwa Ibom people at heart. They come across as the most insensitive Oil Company operating in Nigeria. Can we compare them to Shell? No! In terms of Coporate Social Responsibility, they come very low on the scale of services and honesty.
So, it is very simple to agree that this Company even if it has contributed money towards the construction of this road, may have given a paltry sum and may not have even paid complete.
It is sickening, nonsensical and an act of dubiosity for any man to credit the success story of Eket-Ibeno road to Exxon Mobil. Even the most naivety of men will have no excuse to credit Exxon Mobil with such glory or dignity.
Okay, Let us even agree that Exxon Mobil like they are saying contributed 8billion naira as part of her counterpart funds to the Eket-Ibeno road. But the question is, in a project that is well over about 45billion naira, they gave a paltry 8, how far can that 8 go? Exxon Mobil just has to spare us the inglorious boast of how much they have contributed to Akwa Ibom State. They must allow us to remain in peace and bemoan their harsh treatment of us. Because in terms of Corporate Social responsibility, Exxon Mobil’s contribution is always so infinitesimal. Infact their efforts are always so demeaning.
There is no justification for Exxon Mobil to come now and boast of an 8billion naira contribution to a project of over 45billion on a facility they are the most beneficiary. If for anything’s sake, Akwa Ibomites and Exxon Mobil should be grateful to Udom Emmanuel who decided to take the bull by the horns and break the jinx of successive governments’ denial of attention to that road.
Reason is because it is the Governor’s dexterity that even made Mobil agrees to contribute the controversial and greedy 8billion, it is the moral and political will that Udom Emmanuel invested that made that road come to the reality it is presently enjoying today.
Afterall, Exxon Mobil precedes Governor Udom Emmanuel, the road before now equally precedes Governor Emmanuel, so what are we saying? Exxon Mobil should leave us alone.
We have always shouted and shouted for attention to be paid to that road but we were shunned. Successive Government, NDDC and Exxon Mobil were full of excuses. Now that a Governor have come, listened and fixed this road, Mobil is coming to claim it. This is not only greed, but a fraud.
In fact for daring to insult the sensibilities of the people, Exxon Mobil should go and remove that annoying signpost otherwise we will help them remove it. We don’t want to fight anyone, company or institution. And they should never contemplate bring up that annoying signpost again. If Exxon Mobil is a political party, they should tell us, if they are now operating as a political party, they should tell us so we know.
And the most offensive part of this Exxon Mobil politics on Eket-Ibeno road is the hypocritical silence of the authorities of this Company. Their PRO or Public Affairs manager is not saying anything. This is Fuelling the rumour that is indeed Exxon Mobil that has paid heavily some sum of money to some partisan individuals to go ahead and discredit the efforts of Government on that road.
Well, whether they remain silent in the face of this argument or not, the Oil Company should bear in mind that Akwa Ibom people are too enlightened to be deceived by a few very sponsored and misinformed individuals who terrorize the pages of the cyberspace and or print media and electronic media with lies induced by the funds of Exxon Mobil.
The Company should understand by now that their job has blown and if they thought by paying some mischief makers to discredit the State Government on Eket-Ibeno road, they will take the shine, then shamefully, it failed on arrival. It was a poorly executed blackmail.Exxon Mobil should bury their head in shame.
However, with the signpost of Exxon Mobil positioned deliberately structured to mislead the people, Exxon Mobil should tell us if they are a political party or a branch of it so that they can be treated accordingly like a political entity. Hiding under the guise of an oil company to play politics on development is totally unacceptable and uncalled for, we shall reject it vehemently.
The success story of Eket-Ibeno road is made possible by Governor Udom Emmanuel and so Your Excellency, we thank you. Please expect more thanks; let Mobil go and sleep.