The residents are not happy at all. They feel abandoned by their governor. Even their representatives do not seem to bother about them. Once it begins to rain, the people fidget. They wail and agonise, that flood waters would harass them. The place is called Nkwot. The local government is Ikono. The state is Akwa Ibom. And they have said that they need the urgent attention of the governor, Deacon Udom Emmanuel.
Some of the residents who expressed their ill feelings about what they called the annoying state of affairs in Nkwot urged the state governor to take immediate steps to address their concerns, especially the flood saga.
One of them, Sir Tony Afia, in an interaction with journalists said the people were really suffering. Afia said: “I cry when I see the plight of my people. I started struggling for this road construction in 1987 with the help of the then Cross River State government who directed Sen. Ndoma Egba who was the commissioner for works, to assist me with some materials, since then till the return of democracy in 1999, series of governments, including Gov Victor Attah, to that of Gov Udom Emmanuel have been paying lips service to our plight.
“There is no year that I have not written to Gov Udom Emmanuel for assistance on the road but to no avail, even when we put in all our effort for his two-term election, last he referred me to meet with Prof. Eno Ibanga but till date, his commissioner for works is on the avoiding page which I will soon write him back.”
According to the natives, apart from the havoc caused by flood whenever it rains, the two bridges in the village – one linking the access to the community from Ikot Ekpene LGA known as Nkwot Nung Imo/Ikot Akpa Isiak bridge secured by an individual from the area, are no more motorable, apart from the road connecting the community from Ini LGA, known as Nkwot Iton bridge which is made up of planks from a palm tree. No car can use the monkey bridge. Not even motorcycles or tricycle can use the bridge, except bicycles.
A visit to the area shows utter neglect. From the deplorable state of schools to the bumpy roads, you can touch anguish in the land of Nkwot-Ikono. This was underscored by Dr. Emmanuel Akpanobong who said Nkwot was facing extinction. “Another project that cannot wait is education. You can approach it from any angle. To say education is everything is not an exaggeration. It can open every door. It can take one to any part of the world. It makes people humble, governable, peaceful and development-conscious. My dream is to see every Nkwot child and youth acquiring reasonable education between now and the next 20 years.
“My first idea is for us to look into the state of affairs in St Mary’s Secondary School, Ikot Nseyen, and any other secondary school in Nkwot and see how to help. For St Mary’s Secondary School, I remember with nostalgia how the school was in our days; with a large students population, good teachers, boarding facilities, accommodation in the compound for the principal, his vice and other teachers, rich libraries, science laboratories, sports facilities and the exploits we were making in inter-school competitions in sports, cultural dances and schools challenge competition.”
The commissioner for information, Mr Ini Ememobong’s phone was not reachable when TNN tried to reach him for comments.