Important Visits

Seeing is believing

The infrastructure renaissance of the Akpabio administration has made Akwa Ibom State the destination of choice. Akwa Ibom, in the last eight years, played host to more conferences, seminars, workshops and retreats by professional, corporate, traditional and religious bodies, and even the military, than any other state in the country. Some came to confirm what they saw on television and read about in newspapers, with a view to having a practical feel of the infrastructure that Governor Akpabio has put in place, thus confirming the adage that says ‘seeing is believing’.

In order to address this monster [flooding], the administration embarked on the construction of the first- project using the pipe-jacking technology. This breath-taking initiative has inverts of 30-40 meters with self-cleansing gradient traversing 2.7 kilometers to an outfall.

The pipe-jacking technology deployed to tackle the flood menace around the Itam Junction area is a novel development to flood control and management in Africa. The project is a practical demonstration of Governor Akpabio’s resolve to deploy the most modern technology to solving the problem of flooding, once and for all.

Julius Berger, which handled the job, has completed construction of the Itam Junction, through the Calabar-Itu discharge drain of 2.7 kilometers, with a cross section of about 2-3 meters diameter of reinforced concrete aver in Africa underground drainage pipes, buried at a depth of about 40 meters. This technology requires low maintenance cost, with little adverse effect on the environment. It is also equipped with adequate gradient that is self-cleansing. A second of the Pipe-jacking drainage system has also been completed in Abak.

Some of the high profile events that the state hosted during Akpabio’s tenure include:

  • Retreat of the Nigerian Senate
  • Female Legislators Forum of Nigeria
  • South-South Governors’ Forum
  • Christian Association of Nigeria conference
  • Nigerian Society of Engineers conference
  • Nigerian Association of Women Engineers conference
  • Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stakeholders conference
  • National Council on Niger Delta stakeholders conference and maiden meeting
  • Nigerian Guild of Editors’ conference
  • National Association for Research Development conference
  • Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC) conference
  • First National Women’s Retreat on Peace and Development
  • National Working Committee of PDP
  • South South/South East Muslim Ummah

Top on the list of important visitors to the state is President Goodluck Jonathan, who visited the state more than six times within the eight years. And on each visit, the president has had to struggle to cope with the task of commissioning projects. He was accompanied by two sitting African heads of states-Ghana and Ivory coast to commission the Akwa Ibom International stadium complex. Vice President Namadi Sambo also visited the state on many occasions.

Some of Jonathan’s predecessors who have also visited the Land of Promise to see things for themselves are former military leaders, General Yakubu Gowon and General Abdulsalami Abubakar. Other notable personalities who have visited Akwa Ibom include Senate President, David Mark and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu. Among the clergy are Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, National President of the Christain Association of Nigeria; Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God; Dr. Gabriel Odutola, National President of the Apostolic Church and Dr David Oyedepo, presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church, Worldwide.

From outside the shores of Nigeria have come, among other dignitaries, President John Mahama of Ghana; former American president, George W. Bush; ambassadors of some countries to Nigeria, including Terrence McCulley of the United States; Ryuichi Shoji of Japan; Patrick Fay of Ireland and Chris Cooler, the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria. Mr David Macrae, the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States, also visited. International sports personalities have not been left out. Evander Holyfield, former world heavyweight boxing champion, was also here.