The making of a modern City, Top Places To Visit In Akwa Ibom State
Akwa Ibom is a state in Nigeria. It is located in the coastal southern part of the country, lying between latitudes 4°32′N and 5°33′N, and longitudes 7°25′E and 8°25′E.
The state is located in the South-South geopolitical zone, and is bordered on the east by Cross River State, on the west by Rivers State and Abia State, and on the south by the Atlantic Ocean and the southernmost tip of Cross River State.
Akwa Ibom has an airport and two major seaports on the Atlantic Ocean with a proposed construction of a world-class seaport Ibaka Seaport at Oron. The state also boasts of a 30,000-seat ultramodern sports complex. It is shaped like the allianz arena stadium and it has modern and world class facilities.
Akwa Ibom state is also home to the Ibom E-Library, a world-class information centre. In addition to English, the main spoken languages are Ibibio, Annang, Eket and Oron.
In the last couple of years, Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State in the Niger Delta region of the country has emerged as a modern city with a good network of roads as one of its major unique selling points.
This enviable status did not happen overnight. It has been a result of consistent planning, investment and implementation of physical and urban renewal programmes and policies observers say. This has seen Uyo being transformed into one of the most preferred destinations due to its excellent road infrastructure.
Prior to 1999 when the country returned to democratic rule, the master plan of the city had been developed by Obong Victor Attah, one-time president of Nigerian Institute of Architects who later became the governor between 1999 and 2007. This helped in no small measure in developing the bird’s eye view of the kind of roads that would be developed as well as the design for the three ring roads that the city has become to be identified with.
So When Obong Attah eventually became governor, it was not difficult for him to implement the master plan he had designed and thus began the process of developing the road network of the city. Seen as the father of modern Akwa Ibom State, it was Attah who built the airport road, began the construction of the airport itself and set the stage for opening up Akwa Ibom to the outside world as it were.
It was his administration that also started the construction of the Olusegun Obasanjo way which was then known as Abak road and successfully laid the foundation for the emergence of Uyo as a city that cannot be ignored in terms of good roads.
Though his administration adopted the philosophy of patronising local civil engineering contractors in road construction as a way of building their capacities, finally it paid off handsomely though with much criticism.
Enter former governor Godswill Akpabiowho came on board between 2007 and 2015, his programme of uncommon transformation brought a new verve to the development of roads with bridges and flyovers that had never been seen in the city before. With the money that was available due to the high prices of crude oil, it was not difficult for the Akpabio administration to hire five star contractors as he would say and was able to turn the city into a concentric circle of roads and flyovers.
Akpabio had served under Obong Attah as commissioner spending more than seven years as a member of the state executive council and using the opportunity to map out strategies on how the city and its network of roads would be developed.
So within one year of his governorship, Akpabio was able to turn the city into a delight starting first with a major highway linking the state capital to the Calabar-Itu highway. It must be noted here that prior to that moment, business travellers to Lagos, Abuja or outside the state had to travel to Calabar to board a flight.
And travelling on a deplorable road from Uyo on the tortuous Calabar-Itu highway which has not been constructed despite repeated promises by the federal government was never a pleasant experience.
So by first constructing the link road, Akpabio began his aggressive pursuit of road development and by the time left office in 2015, Akwa Ibom had become known for quality roads and the transformation that had been the trademark of his administration.
In same vein, enter governor Udom Emmanuel in 2015 whose five point agenda including infrastructure consolidation, he did not only continue with the construction of roads. He took it to another level by doing both inter local government roads and inner city roads. In fact, many had thought that the development of physical infrastructure would no longer take the centre stage. How wrong they were.
First, his administration saw to the completion of the abandoned Eket-Ibeno, a major road leading to the operational base of ExxonMobil in Ibeno, thus opening up the coasting axis of the state and putting paid to the controversy that surrounded the road.
Apart from development roads linking one local government area to the other, the Udom administration has turned its attention to the construction of internal roads within the city to the extent that areas that were never considered accessible have now been turned into cosmopolitan areas with good internal roads. For instance, the area around Efiong Udo Akpan street, behind Wellington Bassey way, the heart of the city, the area has now been fully transformed with good roads.
As the Udom administration marked its third anniversary, it seems to have acquitted itself in the area of roads and infrastructure creditably pointing out that it has completed over 700 kilometres of roads, 17 bridges and done the second runway at Ibom international airport as well as completed the state secretariat annex housing the ministry of works and other departments.
What appears to have worked significantly well for the Udom administration in this sector seems to be the commissioner in charge of the ministry of works, Ephraim Inyang who has been able to translate the vision of the state government in the area of roads construction into reality.
The commissioner virtually traverses all the nooks and crannies of the state supervising the construction of roads in all the three senatorial districts of the state, from faraway places like Ini local government to the coastal areas of Oron and Ibeno, he has been the driving force behind the vision of the governor in the development of the basic physical infrastructure like roads and bridges. And so the new face of Uyo as a city with good roads can also be due to the hard work and drive of the commissioner.
Inyang believes the state is not only constructing roads but doing roads meant to link economic centres and help in the evacuation of goods and services from the hinterland so that all the local government areas could be linked good roads.
Inokootong Emmanuel, a businessman in Uyo says the contribution of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) with Nsima Ekere, an indigene of the state as the managing director has also helped in more ways to turning the city into a modern city. Though there have been issues on the need for better coordination between the commission and the state government, nothing seems lost in getting the best for the state.
“The construction of road is a continuous process, from one administration to another, I would like to score Uyo high as having one of the best road networks in the south south region of the country,’’ he said.
His remarks appear to support a view expressed by a recent visitor to one of the states in the south east of the country who came back screaming that, roads in that state capital are like hell, saying that motorists go tough time commuting daily in the city centre.
The beauty of the good road network in Uyo is that it is possible for people to commute from many local government areas to the state capital on well paved and tarred roads.
A recent visitor to Uyo who came to attend saocial event while driving from the airport to the city did not fail to be amazed by the array of roads connecting one part of the town to the other and particularly the beauty of the airport road which is complete with street lights. “This city has good roads,’’ he said.
From the quality of roads in Uyo, it seems Uyo residents and indeed the people of Akwa Ibom State are taking for granted what others in other state capitals mostly those in the oil producing region of the country are experiencing in terms of bad roads.
While there are some who would want the state government to play down on the construction of roads and focus on other sectors, it is highly unlikely that this would be the case as several other major road projects including the dual carriage way from Uyo to Eket and another from Etinan to Ndon Eyo linking the east west road are already set for completion. There is also an ongoing road project from the airport road to Oron.
If one were to take his mind back to 1986 about three decades ago when Uyo was the state capital of the then Cross River State, one can appreciate the rapid transformation that has taken place in the city. Though it is said that Rome was not built in a day, the transformation of roads in the last few years had been quite noticeable. Thanks to good road network.
Top Places To Visit In Akwa Ibom State
Nigeria is endowed with natural sites bestowed by mother nature for our and enjoyment and adventure.
Akwa Ibom state has many sites to explore from natural sights to man-made places. It is a beautiful state that has a peaceful and clean environment with good road network. And rarely has heavy traffic grid like other cities.
Here are places that should be on your list for the next vacation.
One of such captivating sites is the longest beach in Nigeria. It is a wonder to know that such an exotic location exists right here in Nigeria.
The Ibeno beach is in Akwa Ibom state and stretches for 45 kilometres to Jamestown. It is a tourist attraction for families and fun lovers. The sand is picturesque and beautiful it looks like something from a fantasy film.
The bridge of no return
During the slave trade era, this was the final place were slaves were discharged before shipping them to their various destinations. As the name suggests, once a slave got to this bridge there was no returning.
This place has dungeons were slaves were kept, the dungeons are made up of small containers made from concrete with small holes at the end for air.
This place reminds us of our history of the slave trade and how far we have come.
Godswill International stadium
This edifice is a must see. It has everything a stadium in any developed country has. It is well equipped with 30,000 capacity main bowl, well-equipped media room, a helipad as well as 30 emergency exit points. It is quite grand and has hosted a lot of international football matches.
Akwa Ibom Airport
This airport located some distance from the state capital services the whole of Akwa Ibom air needs. Done with its second phase of construction, with the addition of a MRO facility, an international terminal and expanded taxi-ways, it now truly serves a higher proportion of business travelers and visitors journeying to and fro the state.
As the Ibom International Airport gears up for international flight operations, the terminal building and other facilities are to be redesigned to accommodate the expected influx of local and international passengers-Governor Udom Emmanuel