By Joseph Ekpo
Local Government Areas in Akwa Ibom State may take a long time to develop due to the mass exodus of local government chairmen and other government officials from their homes as they chose to live in Uyo, the State capital, despite the level of underdevelopment and expectations from their people.
A greater percentage of the chairmen as well as other functionaries in the local government system in the state go to work from Uyo. Some of them hardly show up in their offices except at the end of the month when they receive allocations from the federal government.
Some natives of Ukanafun who confided in TNN said it was unfortunate that their chairman, Pastor Godwin Inyieng, as well as most other chairmen, were not resident in the local government where they were elected to govern.
He said the chairman “doesn’t live in the village and he goes to work occasionally from Uyo, the state capital. He spends lesser time with the people of Ukanafun.”
In the same vein, Mr Michael Itongeto, an indigene of Ukanafun who also spoke on the issue blamed the trend on godfatherism. “What do you expect from someone who is a product of selection rather than election?
“Some people who have become kingmakers by chance have resorted to using local government council seats to compensate street boys after doing dirty jobs for them, without considering the economic implications of using wrong hands to run the affairs of government.
“They keep taking us backward despite the resources at their disposal. So once they access our funds, they wouldn’t hesitate to change their place of residence by prioritizing environment where they can find better hotel facilities, good and motorable roads, uninterrupted power, and uptown girls so they could lavish our money on.”
A respondent from Oruk Anam Local Government Area who preferred anonymity lamented that up to 70 per cent of the money meant to develop the various local governments were spent in Uyo, a preferable environment where public servants compete for ownership of assets. “They would buy properties and forget the oath of office they had taken.”