Grateful Hearts: Echoes from Beneficiaries of Awa-Nkana Road

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Grateful Hearts: Echoes from Beneficiaries of Awa-Nkana Road

Evelyn-A. Ibanga 

Gratitude. This word aptly described the feelings of the people of Onna and Etinan Local Government Areas, particularly, Awa Iman and several others through to Nkana communities, when Governor Udom Emmanuel led his Rivers State counterpart, Governor Nyesom Wike, to inaugurate the 10.9km Awa – Nkana Road with 2.3km spur in Awa.

As early as 9.00am, a large crowd consisting Community Leaders, men, women, youths as well as children, had converged on the venue, Nkana, in Etinan Loal Government Area, to receive Governors Emmanuel and Wike.

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Already, a large billboard with pictures of the two States Chief Executive, with a welcome message, alongside pictures of the  ‘Before’ and ‘After’ of the road to be inaugurated, was on display at the venue of the inauguration formalities.

A cultural dance troupe, musical group and the brass band were on hand to thrill the crowd with their performances and songs praising the Governor for his good works, while women groups adorned with different beautiful uniforms, were also spotted, singing, clapping and dancing to add colour to the event.

However, in the middle of the singing and dancing, suddenly the tempo increased, the shouting became louder and one could only suspect that something unusual was happening. A closer look revealed a rare spectacle.

Behold, the gentleman whose Ministry is saddled with the responsibility of interpreting the visions of the Governor Udom Emmanuel-led administration in infrastructure renaissance, the Honourable Commissioner for Works and Fire Service, Prof. Eno Ibanga, was spotted dancing amongst the women.

The amazing thing about it was the fact that the Commissioner was dancing in sync with the women as if it was a rehearsed performance and this made the women to scream at the top of their voices. It was really a beautiful sight to behold!

Meanwhile; clad in a pair of blue denim and shirt with a pair of canvas and ‘Divine Mandate’ bowler hat, Prof. Ibanga was at the venue of the event since early hours of the morning to see to all the arrangements and ensure everything was properly done in readiness for the arrival of the important guests and their entourage. 

One could only see the commitment and passion with which he was carrying out the task, as he was seen moving round the venue, checking one thing or the other, engaging in little conversations with his aides and a few artisans to, either do one thing or correct the other, all to ensure that the event was hitch-free.

The clock ticked away! The people waited! Reason? Governor Emmanuel, his wife, Martha and Governor Wike were in another part of the state to perform the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a Pettochemical and Fertilizer Production factory in Eastern Obolo Local Government Area, which will attract employment opportunities for the people of the state.

However, that was not all, from Eastern Obolo, the entourage moved to Awa, in Onna Local Government, to perform the Foundation-laying ceremony for the construction of Akwa Ibom State University Teaching Hospital, AKSUTH). 

These strides, already, had captured the admiration of the Rivers State Governor and attracted commendations to Governor Emmanuel.

Hear what Governor Wike told the crowd at that second event, “Governor Emmanuel has touched all the sectors and that has moved Akwa Ibom, not only forward but as one of the best performing States in this country. We all know that development in Akwa Ibom is not propaganda because we have all seen it, touched and felt it.

“I came in through the Airport Road and I can see that in terms of road network, there is a huge difference. Therefore, I am proud to identify myself with the performing Governor of Akwa Ibom State”.

Yes, back in Nkana in Etinan Local Government, the long wait could not wipe the excitement from people’s faces as one could see them radiating with smiles and this observation prompted a little interaction with some of them to hear what they actually felt.

Eteidung Udo Friday Ekpo is the Village Head of Ikot Nsung, one of the beneficiary communities and his response was, “As you can see from the billboard, the “Before” picture clearly shows how bad the road was. Moving from this Community to the .next was a very difficult task.

“Market women suffered the most. Transporting their goods to Nkana or Ikot Ekot markets posed great difficulties. Other people, too, could not pass to our community to buy goods from us. Our economic situation was so bad because of the terrible state of the road. 

‘This new road has changed our lives positively, so I thank God for our son, Governor Udom Emmanuel, he is a promise keeper and we are happy and pray God to bless him and his government”.

Eteidung Akpan Obong, the Village Head of Nkana, when asked how he felt about the new road, smiled and responded “I am so excited, even my subjects, too, that is why you see everybody coming out en masse, to celebrate our amiable Governor. We all are proud of him because the road was in a deplorable condition for years but with the advent of Udom Emmanuel as Governor, you can see how good the road is, now.

“You know this road links us with Eket, Ikot Abasi, Port Harcourt, even markets in Onna and Mkpat Enin, so our people will benefit a lot”.

Mrs. Peace Emmanuel Okon, from Nkana, could not contain her excitement. She narrated how she had to abandon her trading business to take up hair dressing because of inability to convey her goods to neighbouring markets. 

According to her, “Business was difficult for us because of the bad nature of our road but today, Governor Emmanuel has blessed us with a  beautiful road. We can now move about, people can can come to us and we can also go to them without having dirts on our feet. May God bless him and give him long life to continue in his good deeds”.

On his part, Elder Christian Ufot from another community benefiting from the new stretch of road, Ikot Itina, Etinan Local Government Area, expressed his feelings thus, “Iam a true son of this community and I know how we used to suffer before visiting neighbouring communities, especially during rainy season, it wasn’t an easy thing. 

“The people who suffered most, were those women who used to move their goods from one point to another. So, I want to thank the Governor for this marvelous work in our communities. We score him 100% because of the enormous benefits this road will bring. 

“We are sure that it will bring economic boom in our communities, in fact, Onna, Etinan and even Mkpat Enin, including Ekparakwa in Ukanafun Local Government because this road leads towards that community. This road will enable traders convey their goods to major markets along this road with ease and we are grateful to the Governor”.

Thus, the feelings of the beneficiaries were well captured and one could deduce nothing but gratitude from their utterances.

Finally, the expected Special Guests, Governor Emmanuel, accompanied by his wife and his Rivers State counterpart, Governor Wike, arrived to a rousing welcome. Irrespective of the many hours of waiting, the shouting, cheering and dancing that announced the Governors’ presence indicated the level of appreciation for the good works of the Governor.

Marveled by what he witnessed in Akwa Ibom throughout the day, the Rivers State Governor, who was introduced by Governor Emmanuel, to carry out the inauguration formalities, was moved to exclaim, “When you see someone who has performed more than you, say so. My brothers, Udom don beat me”. 

He was actually referring to the developmental strides of Governor Emmanuel in the state and publicly acknowledged that Governor Emmanuel has outdone him in developmental projects.

Indeed, Governor Emmanuel is not just building roads, he is connecting communities, enhancing lives and ultimately boosting economic activities across the state. Yes, the people are grateful.