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Opinion:Uruan The New Deal
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Opinion:Uruan The New Deal

By Joe Iniodu

The Udom administration has instituted and commenced a comprehensive process to change  the transportation narrative of the people of Uruan Local Government through the construction of roads totaling about 53 kilometers and cutting across major economic hubs within the local government as well as providing access to the largely agrarian settlement which is bounded by Uyo, Itu, Nsit Atai and Okobo Local Government Areas.

It goes without disputing that as a local government area, Uruan has for long been enmeshed in the dearth of road infrastructure. Most of their roads had become craters with erosion helping to exacerbate the environmental damage. The level of decay accentuated to the point that vehicular movement into Uruan, especially the hinterlands was not only considered as a nightmarish experience but an impossible task

Arising from this unwholesome experience, Uruan people took to the trenches against successive regimes in the State. They wore the label of opposition largely for what they saw to be neglect by the successive governments. The anger of the people raged more having once been part of Uyo Local Government which has not just enjoyed mere facelift but unprecedented transformation. As an instructive saying notes, when the eyes notice lopsided disparity in a sharing, a tendency to be jealous becomes compelling. Uruan people, a neighbour to Uyo and an adjoining local government therefore watched with searing rage as Uyo morphed from the local government they knew and once shared to a mega city of national acclaim. As a people, they took solace in playing opposition either as a result of anger or a way of attracting attention.

Well, either way, if it was a strategy, it has paid off handsomely as the Udom administration is paying special attention to Uruan Local Government Area. Uruan being one of Uyo’s closest neighbours, the government of the day can be compared to a vision that has come at the appointed time as captured in Habakkuk 2:3. Government is not only expanding the State capital but also ensuring that access to the city of Uyo by the neighbours is not cumbersome or made difficult by bad road network. And having seen Uruan to be mired in that challenge, Governor Udom decided to tackle the menace and give the people a true sense of belonging for the first time since the state came to being. The case of Uruan, therefore, is like a prayer finally answered.

Governor Udom Emmanuel’s new deal with the people of Uruan is an enviable package. It covers the gamut of road to encouraging investors and improving economic activities in the area. Perhaps, the one with the most telling effect with direct bearing to the people is the ongoing construction of 53 kilometers of roads  spread across the local government area which was flagged off recently on behalf of the governor by the Honourable Commissioner for Works, Akparawa Ephraim Inyangeyen. During the flagg-off, Inyangeyen stated that the construction of the road was in line with Governor Emmanuel’s tradition of keeping the promise. He said that the governor during campaigns had promised to fix the road to encourage private investments sited in Uruan as well as improve the economic activities of the people of the area. Inyangeyen submitted that the roads would link up communities within the area and enhance accessibility with other local government areas.

The roads flagged-off for construction include Mbiatok Itam – Mbiaya – Idu road totaling 4.8 kilometers. It is the road that has the Akwa Prime Hatchery; an already booming concern that has generated engagement for Akwa Ibom people and stemmed capital flight from the State. The road is therefore a strategic economic road that would impact in no small measure on the activities of the people of Uruan in particular and the general public who access the area with less difficulty to seek business opportunities.

Another critical road is the Mbiaya Oku- Mbiakong-Idu road which is 9.1 kilometers. This road connects all of Uruan together. Roads in Uruan had become so dilapidated that communities within the local government were cut off from one another. With such isolation impeding integrated economic activities as well as building mistrust among  the people of that community. It is heartwarming that this administration has considered it important to rebuild them into a cohesive social unit by linking the communities through road infrastructure. This is not only socially expedient but also a moral imperative which only true leaders exercise. Constructing the road is therefore a salutary undertaking.

The 8.5 kilometers Nduetong Oku- Ibiaku Uruan – Ekid Itam road is another road project that the governor should be commended for many reasons. The first reason is the courage. This is a road project that would cost government humongous sum because of the terrain which is not only erosion prone but has already suffered huge ecological damage. The second reason is the benevolence inherent in supporting two major private investments on that road to wit: Uyo City Polytechnic and Planet FM. The road which has a 19 meter span bridge is both an encouragement and a message to investors that the government is determined to build an enabling environment that would help investments and initiatives to thrive.

Atlantic FM, a federal government agency sits askance on a small hill with cruel access to its station. Vehicles get stuck sometimes as they make to access the station from the main road. Ofcourse, in addition to the eyesore of the acess roads, the roads there have become a source of constant embarrassment to guests who visit the station. The Akwa Ibom State Government under the leadership of His Excellency, Mr. Emmanuel has decided to be a good landlord by extending his benevolence to the area where the facility is located. Government has decided to construct the 1 kilometer access road to the station. Also, to be constructed is the Mbak-Anua – Ishiet road which is 18.4 Kilometers. The road which has the popular Beach market that is a major economic hub would be spurred from Mbak to Idu. With these roads, Uruan is certainly set for a new deal.

But it is not in road construction alone that Uruan people have begun to feel that there is a government. The people of Uruan who are largely fishermen with many of them also engaged in the distilling of local gin currently has the Akwa Prime hatchery at Mbiaya in Uruan. It is believed that the presence of such a project in the area would encourage them to venture into poultry business and be part of the myriad of value chain the Hatchery yields. The Ranch in Adadia is also another business venture the Udom administration has facilitated and encouraged to be sited in Uruan. There is also the Green House which is also in Uruan and the proposed Unity Estate at Ibiaku Eshiet. All these are what would turn the economy of Uruan around and bring the people a new phase of prosperity

It bears adding that just as it is said that no one can stop an idea which time has come, it is clear that a governor that was meant to turn the story of Uruan around had come and no one can stop him. In his period, about 64 oil wells which were identified in Uruan since 1974 are set and ready for operations. The company, OLPLOMO has constructed 3 onshore oil rigs at Adadia, Esuk Odu and Anakpa to commence exploitation of oil and gas. Study has ascertained that the oil and gas deposits found in the area would last for about 100 years.

But would Governor Emmanuel’s new deal with Uruan change their political idiosyncrasy expressed perennially in its long romance with the opposition? Life is a quid pro quo. It would be disheartening for any Uruan person not to commend Governor Emmanuel and his administration for bringing upon their landscape a new dawn. As they say, to whom much is given, much is expected. Now is the time for Uruan people to show that they are indeed a grateful people.

Joe Iniodu is Public Affairs Analyst

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