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#BREAKINGNews!!! #AKHA PAYS SOLIDARITY VISIT TO GOV UDOM EMMANUEL

6 Aug
#AKHAwithUdom
-Grace Akpan
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In the light of the rumour making the rounds on the defection of former Governor and Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly members, today 6th August 2018, paid a solidarity visit to the state Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel at Government House, Uyo to reaffirmed their unalloyed support to his administration and his second term bid come 2019.
 
The members of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly were led by the Speaker Hon Barr Onofiok Luke on the visit.
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#Istandwithudom!!!
#AKHA4Udom!!!
#Akwaibomisworking!!!
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BREAKING: Buhari to visit London on a 10-day #MedicalCheckup Visit.

1 Aug
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President Muhammadu Buhari will begin another round of medical check vacation from Friday.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists on Wednesday.
Adesina said Buhari would be away for 10 working days.
He said Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo would stand as the acting President during the period.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari begins a 10 working-day holiday from August 3, 2018.
“In compliance with Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, a letter has been transmitted to the President of the Senate, and the Speaker, House of Representatives, to that effect.
“While the President is on vacation, the Vice President will be in an acting capacity as President.
“President Buhari will be in London for the holiday.”
An Aso Rock eye-witness said President Buhari fell twice this week while walking to a conference room for executive briefings and was rushed to the Villa clinic. And Buhari was visibly sick.

TEARS!!! Adams Oshiomhole Hides In Deep Shame, As 13 More #APCchiefsDefect Immediately To PDP

30 Jul

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13 out of the 17 Local Government Chairmen, elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Benue State, have decamped to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

This came barely 24-hours after the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, boasted that the APC was unshakeable in Benue State, despite Governor Samuel Ortom’s defection.

A total of 13 Local Government Chairmen and 276 Councillors attended the meeting, which was held at the new banquet hall of the Government House, in Makurdi, the State capital.

The Local Government Chairmen who defected are: Anthony Shawon (Guma), Justina Sorka (Buruku), Mwuese Ubebe (Konshisha), Blessing Unogwo (Ado Ado), Virginia Kpindi (Katsina-Ala), and George Alli (Otukpo).

Others are: Comfort Echeoda (Agatu), Francis Ayaga (Gwer west), Uaah Vitalis (Gwer east), Richard Nyajo (Logo), Ibellogo Tor (Tyokaa- Ukum), Adakole Abutu (Ohimini), and Peter Onche (Obi).

The PDP, is now the leading party in Benue State, since it controls two Senatorial Districts, 22 State Constituencies, over 13 Local Government Areas, and the Governorship seat.

BREAKING News!!! I Don’t Know My NYSC Exemption Certificate Was Forged. Someone Did It For Me. – Kemi Adeosun, Finance Minister.

18 Jul
Image result for BREAKING News!!! I Don’t Know My NYSC Exemption Certificate Was Forged. Someone Did It For Me. - Kemi Adeosun, Finance Minister.
Kemi Adeosun – Disgraced Minister of Finance

After about two weeks after the abnormalities surrounding the embattled Finance Minister, Ms. Kemi Adeosun, she has broken her silence. Adeosun narrated that she did not apply for the exemption herself and not aware that what the ‘agent’ gave her was not from NYSC.

I was born in London and also had all of my education there. I graduated at 22 and started working immediately. When I returned to Nigeria in the 2000s, I knew about the national labour law requirements, including NYSC participation or exemption, but didn’t know how to go about it.

I relied on 3rd parties to assist and it looks like they took inappropriate steps. I am shocked and equally embarrassed to learn about this. I should have checked before now and I accept the blame for their wrongdoing because they acted on my behalf.

I accept full responsibility for this incident and regret that it even happened in the first place. I am prepared to do whatever that is required to redeem these grave errors.

I regret any inconvenience that this may have caused the government which I currently serve and the good people of Nigeria. Kemi Adeosun
**********
The Allegation against her has now been proved to be true. Kemi forged her NYSC exemption certificate. She has only one option left and this is to resign.

Group moves against mother who burned daughter with electric iron for stealing N200

7 Jul

Comfort, as she was on Thursday 
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By Itoro BASSEY

A middle-aged woman, Aniedi Etim Akpan, is now talking to members of the Norms Restoration Movement, a group against child abuse, after inflicting serious injuries on her 10-year old daughter, Comfort Usen Okon, for stealing N200, the sum which is less than a dollar.

President of the group, Mr. David John, told Propeller Newspaper, Friday, that investigation had begun into the case, noting that Aniedi’s action was against the rule of law.

John vowed that his organization would do “everything humanly possible” to sanction those responsible for the “ugly and heart touching act”.

Propeller Newspaper gathered on Thursday that Aniedi, an indigene of Ibiaku Itam in Itu local government area of Akwa Ibom State, had plugged an electric iron and pressed the hot surface on Comfort’s body, injuring her on the right leg and face.

The incident was said to have happened immediately after the woman discovered that her money was missing early on Thursday morning.

Aniedi, it was also gathered, left for the Itam market for her trading business after committing the act, leaving the hapless girl to suffer the pains she inflicted on her.

It was the girl’s stepfather who took her to a nearby pharmacy along Calabar/Itu Road for treatment, the place where this reporter met her on the day of the incident.

“She beat me, stripped me naked and dragged me on the floor. The flat stick she uses to cut vegetables was the object she use to hit me on my face and I got injured by my right eye, Comfort said.

“She later plugged the electric iron and pressed it on my face and leg; she did this like four times”, she added.

When this reporter visited the house where Comfort lives with her mother, her step father, whose name could not be ascertained at press time, and a woman who said she was the little girl’s elder sister, said that the missing money was stolen by her, and that she deserved the “punishment”.

The victim, a Primary 5 pupil of RCM Group School, near Itam Itam Police Divisional Headquarters, was still dressed in her school uniform and had not taken breakfast as at 11.30 am on Thursday.

It was this reporter who bought a loaf of bread and a bottle Coca-Cola so that she could eat something before being administered with what the pharmacy attendant called “inflammatory injection” to stop the pain.

Although Comfort denied stealing her mother’s money, she told Propeller Newspaper that anytime money gets missing from her step father’s pocket or in the house, the theft would be attributed to her.

Comfort has an elder sister who is not of the same father as her. Other children who live in the compound had either gone to the market or school at the time this reporter visited.

Shortly after the minor treatment, Comfort willingly led this reporter to her biological father, Usen Okon Etukudoh, a bricklayer who lives just close to where his daughter lives with her mother.

As soon as the girl and this reporter approached her father’s compound at Ikot Ekang Item, very close to Ibiaku Itam, she stopped and pointed out Usen in the group of people who were there.

Usen was visibly angry with seeing injuries on the girl’s face. He said that his daughter had opted to stay with her mother after their separation some years back, but that he would stab his former “wife” with pieces of a broken bottle if anything happens to his daughter.

“Comfort is Aniedi’s second daughter, and the only child she has for me. We were never married. I used to live in her father’s compound as a tenant when her pregnancy occurred ten years ago.

“I have four children now with my current wife. If she comes to live with me, then they will be five altogether. I didn’t ask her to leave my house, she was the one who opted to stay with her mother.

“Whatever wrongdoing that caused her to be treated that way was what she learned from her mother’s house. I have previously warned the woman about this type of maltreatment, I will personally stab her with a broken bottle if something dangerous happens to my child”, Usen said in vernacular.

No one was found at home when this reporter, together with Mr. John of Norms Restoration Movement, visited both houses of Comfort’s parents on Friday morning at exactly 8.45 am. The girl was said to have gone to school at the time.

When the team arrived RCM Group School where neighbours said Comfort would be found, a picture of her taken with a smart mobile phone with the injuries covered with sticking plaster was shown to the headteacher for identification.

After identifying the child, the headteacher led the team to the school’s Primary 5 classroom, but Comfort was absent. It was a promotional examination period. Her classmates said she was also absent on Thursday.

The headteacher, who expressed sadness over Comfort’s condition, said it was not the first time he had noticed injuries and burns on her body.

He said his effort to look into the matter in the past had been unsuccessful because it was only her mother who usually brought her to school.

A request was further made to trace Comforts mother, Aniedi, and the school’s headteacher accepted and released a teacher and Comfort’s friend, the duo who led the team to where her mother trades in the Itam market.

When finally found in one of the shades at the market, Aniedi, after she was shown pictures of Comfort with injuries and plaster on her face, admitted that the girl is her daughter. She appeared unperturbed about the girl’s condition.

The woman who trades in the local gin known as ‘ogogoro’, mixed with herbs, told this reporter that her daughter had been stealing her money several times and that she had to teach her a lesson she would never forget.

Both Aniedi and Usen were served letters of invitation to appear at the Uyo office of Norms Restoration Movement for further findings.

It was observed late on Friday evening that the woman who earlier identified herself as Aniedi’s elder sister also sells ogogoro at the Ikot Ekwere-Itam junction, just by the Motorcycle Park.

one of her customers, unconscious of this reporter’s mission at her marketplace, alleged that Comfort might have been sexually abused in her mother’s compound.

NOW THAT SCAM-ARTIST ATA IKIDDEH HAS JOINED NDDC MEDIA TEAM…

5 Jul

 

Ata Ikiddeh 2

“Why are you dissipating too much energy on Ata Ikiddeh, he has never been a serious person. He was my classmate at the defunct School of Arts and Science, Uyo. While in at UNICAL too, he was course mate of former Governor Godswill Akpabio. He used to dance breakdance at UNICAL. It was on this strength that he won an award then called Mr. UNICAL.”

That was a message, crispy and clear from a concerned Akwa Ibom son who felt Ata Ikiddeh’s noise was not worth the attention. But then anyone who ignores Ata, does so at his own peril. This is moreso when so many amiable indigenes of the state, like former screen delight,Regina AskiaWilliams who reside outside the country, are yielding towards the emotions raised by his ilk. I remember the build up to the 2011 elections, the same desperation and blackmail were employed by the same guy and the next thing was his strong persistent clamour to take over the media team of the then Governor, His Excellency Godswill Akpabio. It got to a point that Mr Ikiddeh would sent message after another to the Governor on how the Commissioner for Information Aniekan Umanah failed to properly inform the people, and how he waded in to redeem the image of the governor on the social and global media. His pestering was uncontrollable and anyone could just imagine the volume of pressure he mounted on the former Governor, who characteristically refused to succumb to blackmail. Most of the text messages undermining the Aniekan Umanah-led information team were usually forwarded to the subject of the blackmail.Ata Ikiddeh scam artist

For close to two years, between 2009 to 2011, Mr. Ikiddeh was usually seen with a small camcorder, recording projects and posting them on his social media platforms. Perhaps it is instructive to note that in 2009, Ata first came to Uyo with a group of about six diasporans on a fact finding tour, and despite being shown round the entire projects locations in one week, he saw it as a Vista for endless all expense paid trips. Most times even when he got the clips from the information team, he won’t hesitate to forward a message to the former Governor as his personal efforts at salvaging the battered image of the governor. Almost a month would not pass without Ikiddeh arriving the state with his small camera, and the usual text messages to get support. That is the story of a tall bespectacled dude at the tarmac of the newly commissioned airport, with his brown Elizabethan checkered blazers. Although unsolicited, the State government made it a point of duty to always find him handouts. Of course I was the Special Assistant to the Commissioner and had a fair knowledge of most of Ata’s activities. On one occasion, he wrote a passionate letter about his rent expiring in his London apartment, and his children being unable to attend school.

It is obviously not a surprise that he found his way to the doorstep of very humble and listening Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rd.Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke. It takes a broad mind to imagine the pestering and harassment he may have meted on the peaceable number one state lawmaker. This aspect of Ata dates back to 2010 during the ‘Child Witch Saga’ that compelled the state government to intervene and rescue the children from the CRARN home in Eket. It was a very emotional moment, seeing the terrible condition of young children suffering from the ignorance of their parents. My involvement in the evacuation enabled Ata to have access to the process. He said he would like to join and we brought him along. When I received a call from the then Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare Mrs. Eunice Thomas, the following morning, I was shocked to hear that the same Ata in his usual nature had forwarded a text to the Governor on how he narrowly escaped dead while trying to rescue the children from their ‘captors’. He had painted a picture of a war scenario where he was the Rambo that helped wade of the savages that came out with machetes. The commissioner was upset with me, she said it was unfair for the Ata Ikiddeh to go a-lying to the governor. In the true sense of it, there was never a resistance from the center when the government team arrived and it took three trips to evacuate the inmates to the Divine Children’s home, built initially as the security village in Uyo.

Like I had said somewhere else previously, Ata is a lawyer by training, and his mates in the Nigeria Law School include the likes of Senator Godswill Akpabio, Senator Liyel Imoke, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Anyim, Senator Grace Bent, former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Chibudum Nwuche, among other notable Nigerians. He had no history of involvement in media services in any known media establishment or department, neither could he prove he had consulted for any reputable agency or government. These were obviously addendums to his penchant for blackmail, which probably accounted for his appointment as one of the numerous Special Assistants on Projects Monitoring, to the then governor in 2011, as against his crave for the soul of the information machinery. If ever someone exists who would have entrusted Ata Ikiddeh with the job of managing his image, it ought to have been His Excellency Godswill Akpabio. But he got a job of project inspection for all his troubles. It was like, let us find Ata something to do, and save ourselves the troubles of his harassments.

I remember the day I called Ata when he started rolling these spiteful messages on the social media against the Governor, I was in my office and when he received my call, I explained to him that it was not fair for him, a beneficiary of the system to attempt pulling the ladder down. He started explaining to me that he has done his best to get the Commissioner to involve him and that he even got recommendation from the Speaker of the State House of Assembly. After submitting his proposal, the commissioner has failed to send for him, and has not also been picking his calls. It was an absurd thing to hear, that someone could tell me he has resorted to media attacks on the governor because his proposal didn’t meet favourable consideration.

Most people have gone on the social media space, urging the state government to respond to the calculated jaundiced smear campaigns by Ata Ikiddeh and brothers. Like I said, genuine and reasonable people usually ask questions before to conclusions except where there is a malicious intent, like in this case.
Everyone who cares to know, has seen through the various communication media that the Governor of Akwa Ibom state His Excellency Mr Udom Emmanuel has clearly made a bold expression on the health sector of the state. Governor Emmanuel clearly stated that the medical equipment being brought into Akwa Ibom are bought first hand from the manufacturers in the United States of America, and are being shipped in 100 containers to Nigeria. The administration, he echoed resisted the temptation of purchasing equipment from several third world countries to be guaranteed of their quality and durability. So far more than 25 of those containers have been received and deployed for use. The hospitals in Etinan and Ikono have been well equipped and furnished and were commissioned recently by the Vice President Yemi Osibanjo and the Governor respectively. These much information are in the public domain, produced and circulated by Commissioner Charles Udoh. Ata has access to these. Because his interest is in his personal gains than these information, he overlooks them and goes for the jugular of the Commissioner for refusing him his outrageous media consultancy.

Other hospitals like Oron, Okobo, Eket, Oruk Anam, Uruan among others are undergoing renovations and re-equipping. If Ata and his cohorts were sincere, instead of writing and publishing on rag tag sheets, they would review government projects and come down to inspect and access before going to attack the commissioner for information and the media team. I remember the day I personally called him to advise against towing the path of self-destruction, he took it in bad faith, went on the media alleging blackmail.
In summary, it is well to note that Ata disturbed the Speaker of the House of Assembly and out of compassion, the speaker opted to introduce Ata to Charles Udoh. Note, Barr Luke possibly paid his transport fares and lodged him in a hotel, and for Ata, this means that his proposal ought to be accepted at all cost. If Ata Ikiddeh wanted information on the achievements of government, he got it, more than enough. Others get it when they seek. Currently, the state government runs a whole lot of media programmes on the achievements of the governor. Discover Akwa Ibom, Update Akwa Ibom and Akwa Ibom Rising are documentaries that run both on local electronic media and cable TV. There is a feedback mechanism for citizens to access the government spokesman on SMS,whatsapp messages, social media platforms and even the state website. Today, we have a man who benefitted consistently from government for over six years, coming out with a threatening proposal including a clause for hotel bills, flight tickets and other expenses. Didn’t he owned a house in Uyo while working for the state government a year earlier? That is story for another day.

By his own admission, Mr Ata Ikiddeh has joined the media team of Mr. Nsima Ekere, the Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, who is neck deep in the 2019 governorship race against the incumbent governor. He said Charles Udoh refused to give him attention, Mr Ekere picked his call and accepted his offer. Ata has repeatedly expressed his prowess as a media expert, without whom nothing can work in a media team. Methinks he would have set out for work immediately to gain acceptance from the already existent team members of the Nsima Ekere crew who may see him as a gold digger. Don’t get me wrong, no one is against his being accommodated in Mr Nsima Ekere’s media team, but he should promote Ekere and NDDC and stop knocking Governor Emmanuel and his media team. He is expected to bring that media ingenuity and show the world those achievements of NDDC in Akwa Ibom that every other media hireling has unfortunately failed to showcase in the past three years. He should exhibit his media skills at his new duty post and stop crying over the job he couldn’t get at the Hilltop mansion.

(c) Essien Ndueso

Akwa Ibom: Former Gov Akpabio spends billions on #WhiteElephant projects, while its education system rots away.

2 Jul

, Premium Times

Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 3 _ Photo credit_ Mapio.netRelated NewsGov. Emmanuel presents N651.5 billion budget to Akwa Ibom Assembly Poverty killing Akwa Ibom residents, supporter tells Akpabio. How corruption and poor governance are killing Nigeria, By Godswill AkpabioAkwa Ibom people not free under Gov. Emmanuel — Ex-MinisterEx-Akwa Ibom deputy governor defies Akpabio, picks PDP Guber formIn 2008, the Akwa Ibom State government embarked on the construction of a multi-billion naira massive leisure and business complex, with the hope of turning the oil-rich Nigerian state into ‘Dubai’.The complex, named Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, sits atop 168 hectres of land in Uyo, the state capital.It has a 14-floor storey building, the tallest in the state, meant for a 258-room five-star hotel, a Cineplex (six cinema halls), shopping mall, 5,000-seat convention centre, and a theme park, comprising wet and dry parks.“My vision is to produce a small Dubai within the Niger Delta (region of Nigeria),” the then governor of the state, Godswill Akpabio, who initiated the project, said in early 2012.By then the cinema was already open to the public, while the other components of the ambitious project were still under construction.“I have given them Dubai standard Cineplex,” Mr. Akpabio had boasted in a government-sponsored TV programme aired on Africa Independent Television (AIT). “So, you walk in there to watch films and you think you are sitting down in Dubai.”The complex was scheduled to open for business by the end of 2012.But 10 years after take-off, and three years after Mr. Akpabio left office, the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, remains unfinished, despite the huge money sunk into it; except for the Cineplex and the bar close to it, the rest of the complex has been abandoned. The tall building and the area meant for the theme park look desolate.A popular retail business, Shoprite, in August 2015, laid a foundation stone for the building of its mall at the Tropicana. After a long lull, Shoprite just started work on its proposed mall in June 2018, PREMIUM TIMES learned.The Akpabio administration had said its construction would cost the state N33 billion, but three people familiar with the project said the cost was later reviewed upward to N120 billion.Aerial view of Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene _Photo credit_Skyscrapercity.com ” data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Aerial-view-of-Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-_Photo-credit_Skyscrapercity.com_-1.jpg?fit=349%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Aerial-view-of-Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-_Photo-credit_Skyscrapercity.com_-1.jpg?fit=604%2C604&ssl=1″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Aerial-view-of-Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-_Photo-credit_Skyscrapercity.com_-1.jpg?w=600&h=600&crop=1&ssl=1″ width=”600″ height=”600″ data-original-width=”600″ data-original-height=”600″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Aerial view of Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene _Photo credit_Skyscrapercity.com” alt=”Aerial view of Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene _Photo credit_Skyscrapercity.com” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 600px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 600px;”>But while the government shelled out such humongous amounts on white elephant projects, it left its schools decrepit.Hundreds of schools – primary and secondary – received little attention, a year-long investigation by PREMIUM TIMES revealed.In some terrible situations, pupils and students sit on bare floor to learn in roofless classrooms.Kids between the ages of three and four have been found sleeping on bare floor, in at least two schools in the state.The science colleges in the state are in ruin too. Same with the technical colleges. In one particular case, a top multi-billion naira technical college in the state have been closed down, strangely, and left for several years to rot away.Poorly-motivated teachers in the state, who sometimes go for several months without salary, are known to have resorted to corrupt practices, including collecting money to allow students cheat in examinations.Meanwhile, government officials and elites in the state send their kids to world-class private schools owned by one of them.The current administration of Governor Emmanuel, just like his predecessor, is yet to tell the Akwa Ibom people how much has been spent so far on the Tropicana project.The Commissioner for Housing and Special Duties, Akan Okon, whose ministry supervises the Tropicana, did not respond to calls and text messages sent to his phone line by this reporter.Mr Okon served for one year between May 2014 and May 2015, as commissioner for finance in the Akpabio administration. He continued briefly as finance commissioner under Governor Emmanuel before he was posted to the ministry of housing and special duties.The former governor, Mr Akpabio, who is the Senate Minority Leader, declined PREMIUM TIMES’ request for interview.Silverbird Showtime Ltd, a company owned by a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senator from Bayelsa State, Ben Murray-Bruce, was awarded contract for the construction of the Tropicana. (This was before Mr Murray-Bruce was elected senator in 2015).Mr Murray-Bruce said during the flag-off of the construction in 2008 that the Tropicana would create up to 5,000 jobs in Akwa Ibom State when completed.For now, only about 45 persons, including casual workers, are employed at the Cineplex and the bar, which is far less than the 5,000 envisaged, a top-level administrative worker at the Cineplex told PREMIUM TIMES.Former Gov. Godswill Akpabi and the present Gov. Emmanuel Udom Having lunch with an associate ” data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/THETHE1.jpg?fit=473%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/THETHE1.jpg?fit=604%2C445&ssl=1″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/THETHE1.jpg?w=600&h=442&crop&ssl=1″ width=”600″ height=”442″ data-original-width=”600″ data-original-height=”442″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Former Gov. Godswill Akpabi and the present Gov. Emmanuel Udom Having lunch with an associate” alt=”Former Gov. Godswill Akpabi and the present Gov. Emmanuel Udom Having lunch with an associate” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 442px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 600px;”>An average worker in the two sections earns about N25, 000 ($69) as monthly salary, this newspaper learnt.Both the cinema and the bar are also run by Mr Murray-Bruce’s Silverbird.The company has not made returns to the Akwa Ibom State government since the Cineplex was open for business in 2011, according to sources within the Akwa Ibom government.The top-level worker at the Tropicana said lack of formal agreement between the government and Silverbird is the reason the latter has not been making returns.“Silverbird isn’t paying anything to government yet until there is a formal contract,” says the worker who did not want his name mentioned because he was not authorised to speak on the matter.The worker said Silverbird wants to “recoup millions of naira” they claimed they spent on fixing lightings in the Cineplex.He said Silverbird has been spending money to maintain the facility, as well as buy diesel to power it (the Tropicana was not connected to electrical grid, until May 2018).In addition, PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the state government would not want Silverbird to run the cinema in a businesslike manner, so as not to hurt the locals who may not have the money to pay for the services.Akwa Ibom, rich in oil and gas deposits, is among Nigeria’s richest states. But poverty and unemployment levels in the state are amongst the highest in Nigeria, largely due to corruption and mismanagement of public funds.The state occupies the second position among the states with the highest unemployment rate in Nigeria, according to 2018 data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).It is a low-income economy, where most working class people earn moderate salary working as government employees.At Silverbird cinemas in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and in Lagos and Abuja, moviegoers pay about N2, 000 for a single movie on weekdays, and N2, 500 on weekends.But at the Tropicana, Uyo, ticket is sold at N1,500 for foreign movies and N1,000 for Nollywood movies.Front view of Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo_ Photo credit_Skycrapercity.com ” data-medium-file=”https://i2.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Front-view-of-Ibom-Tropicana-Entertainment-Centre-Uyo_-Photo-credit_Skycrapercity.com_-1.jpg?fit=524%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i2.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Front-view-of-Ibom-Tropicana-Entertainment-Centre-Uyo_-Photo-credit_Skycrapercity.com_-1.jpg?fit=604%2C402&ssl=1″ src=”https://i2.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Front-view-of-Ibom-Tropicana-Entertainment-Centre-Uyo_-Photo-credit_Skycrapercity.com_-1.jpg?w=600&h=400&crop&ssl=1″ width=”600″ height=”400″ data-original-width=”600″ data-original-height=”400″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Front view of Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo_ Photo credit_Skycrapercity.com” alt=”Front view of Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo_ Photo credit_Skycrapercity.com” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 400px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 600px;”>In the past, a movie ticket was sold for as low as N250 and N500 at the Tropicana.With billions of naira coming into the state coffers as oil derivation fund from the nation’s Federation Account every month, it seems, clearly, that Akwa Ibom’s development challenge, unlike most other Nigerian states, is not really about paucity of fund, but how to judiciously spend the much they have.In five years alone, between 2013 and 2017, the state received N1.029 trillion (about $2.8 billion) from the country’s Federation Account.This is beside the revenue it generates internally.Comparatively, a state like Osun, South-West of Nigeria, receives less than one-tenth of what Akwa Ibom gets from the Federation Account.While construction work was going on at the 258-room five-star hotel at the Tropicana, the state government was also building a 144-room four-star hotel at the nearby city of Ikot Ekpene which is about 20-minute drive from Uyo.Besides these two, Akwa Ibom already has its premier 163-room five-star hotel, Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, at Uruan which is about five-minute drive from Uyo.A Turkish company, Ronesans Holdings, handled the construction contract for the four-star hotel in Ikot Ekpene whose value government insiders put at about N50 billion.Photo showing the five-star hotel section of the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo _ Photo credit_ Mapio.net ” data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Photo-showing-the-five-star-hotel-section-of-the-Ibom-Tropicana-Entertainment-Centre-Uyo-_-Photo-credit_-Mapio.net_.jpg?fit=262%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Photo-showing-the-five-star-hotel-section-of-the-Ibom-Tropicana-Entertainment-Centre-Uyo-_-Photo-credit_-Mapio.net_.jpg?fit=604%2C805&ssl=1″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Photo-showing-the-five-star-hotel-section-of-the-Ibom-Tropicana-Entertainment-Centre-Uyo-_-Photo-credit_-Mapio.net_.jpg?w=600&h=800&crop&ssl=1″ width=”600″ height=”800″ data-original-width=”600″ data-original-height=”800″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Photo showing the five-star hotel section of the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo _ Photo credit_ Mapio.net” alt=”Photo showing the five-star hotel section of the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo _ Photo credit_ Mapio.net” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 800px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 600px;”>The then governor, Mr Akpabio, said in January 2015 during an interview with AIT that he was “struggling to make sure” both hotels were finished and ready to host visitors expected in the state then for a friendly football match between Nigeria and Brazil.The friendly, which was to take place on March 29, 2015 at the 30,000-seat stadium built newly then by the Akpabio administration, was later called off by Brazil.“Akwa Ibom can’t afford to put additional money in Tropicana”Governor Emmanuel is frustrated with the “mega” projects initiated by his predecessor, Mr Akpabio.In a leaked audio clip of Mr Emmanuel’s meeting with some leaders in the state, the governor is heard explaining his frustration and what he intends to do with the Tropicana in Uyo and the Four Points by Sheraton hotel, in Ikot Ekpene.The meeting most likely took place at the Government House, Uyo, but the date is, however, unknown.“We are in recession, we can’t manage Tropicana,” the governor said, in the audio.“I am going to lease out that place, people will run it, they will give me money and I will use that money to do something. Whenever they run it and take their money, we take back our asset in the future.”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State ” data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-1.jpg?fit=465%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-1.jpg?fit=604%2C453&ssl=1″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-1.jpg?w=399&h=299&crop&ssl=1″ width=”399″ height=”299″ data-original-width=”399″ data-original-height=”299″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State” alt=”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 299px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 399px;”>Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 3 _ Photo credit_ Mapio.net ” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-3-_-Photo-credit_-Mapio.net_-1.jpg?fit=465%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-3-_-Photo-credit_-Mapio.net_-1.jpg?fit=604%2C453&ssl=1″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-3-_-Photo-credit_-Mapio.net_-1.jpg?w=197&h=147&crop&ssl=1″ width=”197″ height=”147″ data-original-width=”197″ data-original-height=”147″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 3 _ Photo credit_ Mapio.net” alt=”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 3 _ Photo credit_ Mapio.net” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 147px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 197px;”>Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 2 ” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-2-1.jpg?fit=465%2C349&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-2-1.jpg?fit=604%2C453&ssl=1″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Four-Points-by-Sheraton-Hotel-Ikot-Ekpene-Akwa-Ibom-State-2-1.jpg?w=197&h=148&crop&ssl=1″ width=”197″ height=”148″ data-original-width=”197″ data-original-height=”148″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 2″ alt=”Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State 2″ style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 148px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 197px;”>The governor said an incredible amount of money is needed to complete the Tropicana. “I can’t afford it,” he says.He says of the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, “That building is not yet a hotel!”Continuing, he says: “I can’t help it; we must still put in more money. I have heard a lot of people make noise that the governor has refused to open the hotel. Sorry, building is different from hotel. I need $7.2 million to turn that building into a hotel. As at today, I have paid a deposit of $4 million. It is remaining $3.2 million.”Governor Emmanuel also talked about the premier five-star hotel in the state, Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort, which he said has not been making returns to the state government.“Unfortunately, Le Meridien has not been audited in the past 10 years, and they don’t render account to the government. I have just discovered they don’t give even one naira to the government from all the money that is made in the hotel.“At the same time they didn’t even remit their technical management fees to their home office, so they want me to come and pay those technical fees for 10 years.“But in order to keep them, so they won’t leave, I just remitted $900,000 to them, so that they can stay for us to audit them,” Mr Emmanuel said.The governor said he eventually insisted that Marriot, the managers of the hotel, must leave.It’s not clear, however, if the state government claimed any money from Marriot.Interestingly, building of white elephant projects in Akwa Ibom has become a relay race where one leader hands over the baton to another; Mr Emmanuel, taking off from where his predecessor stopped, is currently building a second Akwa Ibom governor’s lodge in Lagos, and an international worship centre in Uyo, despite huge opposition from the people.The design of the International Worship Centre, Akwa Ibom State ” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/The-design-of-the-International-Worship-Centre-Akwa-Ibom-State.jpg?fit=526%2C296&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/The-design-of-the-International-Worship-Centre-Akwa-Ibom-State.jpg?fit=604%2C340&ssl=1″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/The-design-of-the-International-Worship-Centre-Akwa-Ibom-State.jpg?w=600&h=338&crop&ssl=1″ width=”600″ height=”338″ data-original-width=”600″ data-original-height=”338″ itemprop=”http://schema.org/image” title=”The design of the International Worship Centre, Akwa Ibom State” alt=”The design of the International Worship Centre, Akwa Ibom State” style=”margin: 2px !important; padding: 0px; border: none; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 14px; font-family: georgia, “times new roman”, times, serif; vertical-align: middle; height: 338px; background: 0px 0px; box-shadow: none; max-width: 100%; width: 600px;”>Mr Emmanuel’s administration is also constructing a 21-storey office building project in Uyo. The cost of the project has not been made public by the government.Some people in Uyo who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES said the administration is “strategically” preparing office accommodation for Mobil Producing Nigeria, in order to put pressure on the oil company to relocate from Lagos to Akwa Ibom State where it is drilling oil.PREMIUM TIMES could not verify the information, as government officials in Uyo declined comment on the matter.Inibehe Effiong, a Lagos-based lawyer from Akwa Ibom, travelled to the state to lead a street protest in March 2017 against the building of the new Akwa Ibom governor’s lodge in Lagos.“Mr Governor, you took an oath of office as the governor of Akwa Ibom State. You did not take an oath of office as the governor of Lagos State,” Mr Effiong said to the crowd.“You took an oath of office to protect Akwa Ibom people, not Lagos State. Mr Governor, you do not need another lodge in Lagos!” he said.In the tension that ensued, several government officials were dissing out conflicting figures as the project cost. One senior government official said then that N10 billion was budgeted for the new lodge, while another said it was “less than N10 billion”.In responding to the criticism, Mr Emmanuel said the government was going to spend a “paltry” N1.6 billion for the new lodge which he said is meant to host people who would want to invest in Akwa Ibom. The old lodge in Lagos is dilapidated, he claimed.“Will Akwa Ibom people feel proud for me to host so many consular-generals, investors in those kinds of dilapidated buildings?” Mr Emmanuel said.Akwa Ibom State also has a governor’s lodge, said to be one of the most sophisticated, in the nation’s capital, Abuja.“Lagos State is a commercial capital of Nigeria, no doubt. But it is not the only entry point into Nigeria. It is also not a mandatory stop-over for potential investors, especially the ones who are interested in investing in Akwa Ibom State,” said Uyo-based lawyer, Imo Akpan, who was among those who protested against the building of the new lodge in Lagos.“The best place to receive an Akwa Ibom bound investor is Akwa Ibom. This is where to exhibit our rich cultural background; this is where to showcase our potentials; this is where to discuss and negotiate hands-on the deals that will move this state forward.“If you have investors who are attracted to the Lagos skyline, chances are that they will not invest in Akwa Ibom.“But if you have serious-minded entities that are committed to genuine business and must be hosted in Lagos, the best place will be to welcome them into the existing state government-owned Liaison offices in Lagos,” says Mr Akpan.How Funds Sunk Into Tropicana, Other Projects Would Have Helped EducationN120 billion Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, UyoIbom Tropicana Entertaiment Centre, Uyo _Photo credit_ Ubong Ephraim ” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Ibom-Tropicana-Entertaiment-Centre-Uyo-_Photo-credit_-Ubong-Ephraim.jpg?fit=526%2C296&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Ibom-Tropicana-Entertaiment-Centre-Uyo-_Photo-credit_-Ubong-Ephraim.jpg?fit=604%2C340&ssl=1″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/media.premiumtimesng.com/wp-content/files/2018/07/Ibom-Tropicana-Entertaiment-Centre-Uyo-_Photo-credit_-Ubong-Ephraim.jpg” style=”max-width:100%;” />

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