The Governor of Akwa Ibom State ,Mr Udom Emmanuel has opened up on the controversial new Lagos lodge, saying that it will cost the government N1.2 billion to build and not N9.1 billion as being maliciously claimed in some quarters.
The governor said those who were hiding behind the cloak of cheap propaganda and blackmail to deride his administration, had limited knowledge of economics and business.
He added that those who desired the truth know that the total estimate in the budget for the new lodge was N1.2bn and that since it was just a proposal, it could only be implemented if there was availability of funds.
Emmanuel, who spoke with journalists at the Government House, Uyo said he was not surprised by the spate of falsehood against his programmes, maintaining that history had recorded that good intentions of world leaders had usually been misconstrued and misrepresented.
“From the days of Moses, great leaders are always misquoted and misconstrued but God can only give vision to one leader, and the people know that at any point in time there can only be one Governor.”
Emmanuel, who reacted to the current state of the existing Governor’s lodge in Lagos wondered if the opposition elements wanted high profile meetings with consular generals and international business executives to be held in such a dilapidated building.
“This is a government that is trying to drive investments all over the world. Will Akwa Ibom people people feel proud for me to host so many Consular Generals and investors in that kind of dilapidated building, what will it speak of the state?”
“If in the course of looking for money, we have the money please allow us put this asset that can yield returns.”
“Some people are that the investments should not be done anywhere outside Akwa Ibom State. So do we sell off those assets that can actually generate return?”
He said it was so illogical to reason that investments should be restricted to the state, saying, “are they telling me that Exxon Mobil should not have left America to come and invest in Akwa Ibom?”
Following the limited funds available, he explained that the state is run by ideas and creativity that would bring out positive results. He said Lagos held the highest return in property market in Africa and wondered why the opposition was focused on the slant of whether the investment was in Lagos or not in Lagos.
The governor further questioned the negative criticisms, saying, “if I can put in N1.2bn in an asset that is worth N30bn and then I can get adequate returns on those assets now that I don’t have so much money coming from crude oil, what is bad in that?”
He said in a short time people would come to realize the gains in the decisions he was taking, maintaining that he took every decision in the interest of Akwa Ibom and Akwa Ibomites.
Emmanuel said Akwa Ibom state had a lot of prime properties in prime areas such as Broad Street, Victoria Island, Ikoyi and other areas in Lagos.
He stated that premium should not be on the location of the asset, but on the return on the assets, and wondered why people would criticize him by saying, “have you finished building Akwa Ibom, why go to Lagos?”
He said the same set of people were currently criticizing the industries he was setting up in the state on the basis that they were concentrated in one region of the state, forgetting the basic rudiments of economics which harps on the essence of localization of industries.
The governor recounted that most of the projects, such as the electricity sub-station in Uyo, and the flood control project that he had executed had been criticized at the point of conceptualization but that now, the Uyo residents were enjoying over 22 hours of power supply a day, while the flood on Nsikak Eduok Avenue was now history.