THE UNTOLD STORY OF #IBOMTROPICANA: How over N68 Billion went down the drain under Akpabio’s watch

28 Jun

#IbomTropicana

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In September 2008, the then Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio had signed a N33 Billion contract agreement with Silver Bird Group for the construction of Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre. The centre was proposed to be modern class leisure and business resort that would provide employment opportunities for over 5000 Akwa Ibom people according to Akpabio. But 11 years after, the project has yet to see the light of the day even after billions of naira have reportedly been sunk into the white elephant project.

During the 2019 electioneering campaigns, members of the opposition party, APC instigated by their state caucus leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio had severally attacked Governor Udom Emmanuel of abandoning the Tropicana project. Defending the allegations levelled against the Governor by the opposition, an inside source privy to the transaction, said the Akpabio administration never wanted to complete the project, as according to the source, “That government was simply using the Tropicana Project as a Conduit pipe”. Another source further revealed disclosed that “based on available records, close to N68 Billion had been spent on Tropicana by the previous administration. So, you can imagine of such an amount of money had been spent on that project, yet up till now it hasn’t been completed”.

Akwa Ibom people in general and in particular members of the host community of Itiam and Afaha-Ibesikpo are worried that a project they welcome excitingly and gave out their land in anticipation of a facility that would change the economy of the area has not seen the light of the day, several years after.
The only component part of the project that is functional at the moment, is the cinema hall which is being managed by Silver Bird.Image may contain: 1 person

It would be recalled that the then President Umaru Music Yar’adua had performed the group breaking ceremony of the proposed entertainment village in October 2008 at a colourful ceremony. Modelled after the Sun City of South-Africa and the famous Disney land in the United States of America, USA, the uncompleted Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre which is located at Udo Udoma Avenue in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, lies on a land mass of 128,227 square metres, (12 hectares of land). It was meant to be a major investment in the hospitality industry complete with an ultra-modern convention centre with a multi-floor capacity of 5000, a five star hotel with 250 rooms, children park, a galleria with cinema, a 10,000 sitting dome, shopping mall, as well as a theme park with various dry and wet rides and many other attraction.

Findings reveal that construction work on the much talked about ‘convention centre’ which was a component part of the project was stalled mid-way during Akpabio’s administration after technical details showed that the foundation of the building was faulty. The contractor was directed to stop work, and nothing was done by that government to continue with the work which led to the contractor leaving the site.

A shopping complex is being built by the current government with a view to getting the shopping mall component of the facility underway.Image may contain: sky and outdoor

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