Udom Emmanuel, the governor of Akwa Ibom, claims that his state’s residents have access to a number of essential services that will help them succeed as local business owners.
Emmanuel was asked to remark on the ease of doing business in Akwa Ibom and access to education that would allow people to prosper in their industries during an exclusive interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.
The governor observed that many residents of the state would cite access to a reliable electricity source as their top issue.
In response to the challenges facing the power industry, he stated that the state government had taken a number of factors into account before entering the power producing business.
Emmanuel added that he ensures that basic education is free up to the point where residents’ fees for the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) are covered, at which point they are able to enroll in vocational schools.
In his words, “If I go that far, I make sure I generate and now I want to make sure they have light, I want to make sure they have access roads, I want to make sure they are trained, and if I get that now as government, I think the onus is on them, individuals, to rise to that occasion.”
“Today, I’m one of the very few that generate electricity in this country, and I generate, on average, every day, 150 MW,” he added, asserting that there is a problem at this stage of the value chain.
“I don’t own the transmission; I create 150 MW. Where is that going to lead me? The distribution firm is a type of semi-privatization that wasn’t really a concept but was created as a result of the African environment.
This is why he chose a utility firm rather than a distribution company: “Whether it’s an IMF model or whatever model you’re using, it wasn’t tied to our sociocultural systems, so it did not work,” he said.