Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has explained that he refused to accept the bailout fund offered to states by the Federal Government because he did not want to mortgage the future of the Akwa Ibom people.
Speaking over the weekend at a town hall meeting with journalists and other stakeholders in Uyo, the state capital, Governor Emmanuel explained that he would not borrow money he does not need and by so doing, leave a huge debt burden for future governors to pay.
He went on to deny spending N3.7 billion to celebrate the 28th anniversary of the state in September, stressing that that anniversary was the cheapest of similar events ever celebrated in the state.
Addressing newsmen for the first since he was sworn in as Governor on May 29, Udom said he never had such an amount to spend on the celebration, adding that “The money was not there. For the first time, we did anniversary without a state banquet in the evening because we were moving with the time.
“If I had N3.7 billion, I would use it to flood the state with industries. I didn’t have even N.7 billion; not even N.5 billion was spent,” Udom said.
While lamenting the negative media focus on his administration, he appealed to journalists not to be adversarial at all times, but “should applaud government when they do good and constructively criticize when they veer off the course. I am not saying that you should applaud everything we are doing; we welcome constructive criticism, criticism that is done without malice.
“Let us start a new narrative of constructive engagement devoid of the negative impulse to pull each other down, for when we pull our people down, we invariably pull ourselves down,” Emmanuel stated.