In 2007, when Senator Godswill Akpabio became the Governor of the oil rich Akwa Ibom State, he as a ‘prophet’ with anointing saw a vision for the people he wanted to lead. He was prepared spiritually, mentally and physically with a divine mandate to transform and reposition the state to greater glory and for the good of the people. Immediate he assumed office, Akpabio kick-started the massive infrastructural development across the state with the speed of light.
He stopped the payment of school fees in primary and secondary schools and also supported Akwa Ibom students in tertiary institutions studying Law and Medicine. He remains the first governor to have done so in Nigeria. These actions automatically stopped the house girls and house boys syndrome which was rampant in the State. There was exponential increase in school enrolment and massive explosion in educational activities. Parents were overwhelmed by the gesture.
Senator Akpabio as governor after touring Akwa Ibom State with his team saw the bad state of roads despite the fact that Akwa Ibom State enjoyed the status of being a major oil producing state. He became very angry over what he saw and the holy anger pushed him to start what the former president said was unprecedented transformation of road infrastructure in the country if not Africa.
Akpabio brought in Julius Berger against the fears of where money will come from to pay the construction giant. Despite this expressed fear, he was undaunted. Julius Berger moved into Akwa Ibom and the entire State became construction site. He supported and encouraged indigenous contractors from the State. The city was busy, the village was busy; emergency contractors emerged from everywhere but with a well distilled template for quality work. Equipment and material sellers relocated from Lagos, Abuja, Onitsha and Port Harcourt to Akwa Ibom State.
Akpabio also evolved a vision for sports and tinkered with how it could be used as an instrument of unity, peace and development, as well as a source of income generation to the State. Akpabio again called in Julius Berger to provide a cost analysis of building an international and perhaps the best stadium in West Africa. When the bill was presented in the State Executive Council, everybody said No; believing it wasn’t achievable and something that can’t be done. Where is the fund going to come from, they queried. But Akpabio laughed and smiled, like Jesus who laughed when the tax collector wanted to put Him on the spot on tax issue. The Bible records that account on how He commanded the fish to vomit money. Akpabio instructed Julius Berger to move to site. Today we can proudly say that Akwa Ibom State has the best stadium in West Africa. The visiting presidents all agreed that the stadium is one of the best in the world.
Akpabio! Akpabio!! The world saw your works but the blind whose eyes were closed with hatred, jealousy, never saw the akpabiomber! What does it mean? It means additional joy, laughter, extra food, miracle money for civil servants, Christmas dress and “unek ke usen usoro”. A beautiful Christmas that was what akpabiomber meant. The entire civil service structures enjoyed and celebrated it.
Because of the remarkable achievements of Akpabio as a governor, today we have a functional airport with the best facilities. Sorry, until you visit Akwa Ibom Government House in Uyo, the masterpiece built by Julius Berger, only then would you see how it fits into the world best with Presidential Lodge, Deputy Governor’s Lodge etc.
Akpabio, the story of your human resources development in Akwa Ibom State has been told around the world. Akpabio picked a barber and turned him into millionaire; turned a roadside mechanic into a very big car seller; changed the street hawker into a businessman. Akpabio took people from the streets and transformed them into leaders in politics. He pushed them into leadership positions in government, gave them freedom. He took up the role of a great teacher; yes a great teacher who ensured his students got the best that life could offer. But Akpabio like Jesus has been betrayed by the very people especially his students. Yet the Jews thought that the game will end as planned but God who is the beginning and the end did a divine turn around. Today Akpabio as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs is the minister in charge of nine oil producing states and all attempt to reverse the destiny with blackmail, hatred, divisiveness has failed. To Akpabio the prophet and visioner, welcome to the world where God rules in the affairs of men.