The chairman of Ikono Local Government Council has commended Gov Udom Emmanuel on what he described as 'his creative and pragmatic leadership' as seen in his providing about N500 mllion counterpart funds for the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects in two local government areas of the state. Mr Itoro Columba gave his words of commendation at Ikot Akpakpan Ukpom in Ikono, when he inaugurated a 12,000 litre, 1.5km reticulated water project, jointly funded by UNICEF, EU and the Akwa Ibom State Government, which was competed for and won for the community by the council chairman. Addressing Ukpom natives during the inauguration of the project, the Ikono helmsman said Ikono had a total of 26 water and 16 sanitation projects evenly spread across the eleven wards in the area. "This project is a product of peace and of pragmatic leadership. If Ikono wasn't peaceful, this wouldn't have come to us and if the governor wasn't pragmatic and people-centric enough to provide the counterpart funds, we wouldn't have been here. I therefore want to charge people of this community to place premium on and protect this water project. If we were to place a price tag on this project, we wouldn't spend anything less than N12 million to get each of the 26 units done while it costs about N6m to fix each of the 16 sanitation facilities. And, given the present economy of the local govern
ment council, we wouldn't have been able to afford such luxuries, he reasoned. "I'm elated to be part of this history where a total of 26 of these projects and 16 Sanitation projects are located across our wards, made possible by His Excellency. I cannot take the glory for this project, rather as you thank me today, I will direct all the eulogies to the governor for his decision to make this possible. Truth is, there are so many things Gov Udom Emmanuel has done which are grossly under-reported. One of them is this WASH Project. The other is the Rural Access and Agric Marketing Project (RAMP), another counterpart funded programme that would see to the construction of 500kms of roads across nine local government areas, one of which is Ikono. The story of counterpart funded projects wasn't this interesting until the advent of this government, Columba added. He said the project was another testimony of his love toward Ukpom people, stating that two more of the water and sanitation projects each were located at Okwe and Ukpom Usung Obom and enjoined them to cooperate with the WASHCOM, local committees set up to manage the projects, while urging natives of the area to make financial sacrifices where necessary. Earlier, while setting the tone at the event, the chairman on the occasion and village head of Ukpom Nung Eduo, Eteidung Ibanga Udo Akpan, acknowledged state government's presence in the area and thanked the council chairman for his love for Ukpom as seen in the projects he has attracted to them, assuring that the community would do everything to possible to utilize the borehore judiciously. Also speaking, the member, representing Ikono State Constituency, Mr Asuquo Nana Udo, represented by Mr Nsikak Onoyom, applauded the chairman's gestures and outpour of affection to the people of the area, stressing that "his wisdom to attract UNICEF projects is commendable and Ukpom people cannot take it for granted. He encouraged the locals to keep faith with expectations for more good things, while promising that the Nkwot-Urua Naria-Ikot Nseyen Road will be constructed in no time. On his part, the WASH coordinator in Ikono, Pastor Emmanuel Udoh said, "today is a special day for Ikot Akpakpan community to witness another stride of the local government administration. It is very rare, because successive leaders have come and gone, but this Columba-led administration decided to bless Ukpom with reticulated water project. Udoh pointed out, that "without water, life is zero. Where there is no water, no one can live right. That is why UNICEF has brought hygienic water close to you through undisputed bargain made by your chairman who won the bid. Goodwill messages were presented by the village head Of Ikot Akpakpan, Eteidung Macpheson Okonnah; Ukpom sanitation officer, Mr Iboro Udo; special assistant to the governor on project monitoring, Mr Inemesit Inyangette; chairman, Ukpom Council of Village Heads, Eteidung Peter Etuk; village head Of Ukpom Ita, Eteidung Ntok Ntok; ward chairman, Mr Joe Ekpenyong; councillor representing ward 5, Hon Ndifreke Ukpong. Highpoint of the event was the presentation of Award of Excellence to the council chairman in recognition of his excellent services for the development of Ukpom community by the village head, Eteidung MacPherson Okonnah. The train, led by the facilitator, Mr Itoro Columba, later inaugurated a two-block 5 compartments sanitation facilities at Methodist Central School, Ikot Akpakpan. The event was graced by the vice chairman of Ikono, Dr Idorenyin Etokobong; Leader of Ikono Legislature and ward 4 councillor, Mr Samuel Udo; the SA to the governor on projects monitoring, Prince Inem Inyangette; Ward 1 councillor, Mr Daniel Okoibu; Ward 3 councillor, Mr Asuquo Akpan; Supervisors for political and legislative affairs, Nsobom Ndifreke Itam; Supervisor for agriculture, Ukai Samuel Inyang; Chairman, Ukpom Council of village heads, Eteidung Akaniyene Obot and other stakeholders of the area.