The Housing Security Programme of the administration of Obong Victor Attah as Governor of Akwa Ibom State succeeded largely in part because he was prudent, meticulous, engaged intelligent people and accepted superior opinions and judgements, his Commissioner for Housing and Environment, Arc Okon Obot has said.
He made the statement at the 2nd Obong Victor Attah Colloquium organized by the Uyo Book Club to mark the 83rd birthday of the former Governor who the founder of the Club, Dr Udeme Nana, at the event, described as “a book to to be read.”
Arc Obot listed the high brow Shelter Afrique Estate, Akwa Ima Estate and Legislators Quarters at Ikot Akpan Abia, Akwa Savings and Loans Estate on Aka Itiam, 50 3-bedroom Housing Estate in each of the 31 Local Government Areas, Ibom Icon Hotel and Golf Resort, Akwa Ibom Governor’s Lodge and new Akwa Ibom House in Abuja as some of the signages of the success.
On Shelter Afrique Estate, Arc Obot gave graphics details on how Obong Attah, himself and the project consultant, Arc Ezekiel Nya-etok, made sacrifices to ensure that the high networth residential estate came to be.
“We needed a loan of $2.5m from Shelter Afrique, the housing arm of the African Development Bank, ADB. After meeting with the project consultant who had contacts with them, I prepared a Memo and took it to the Executive Council. Thank God for Abom Tony Esu who introduced the young Arc Nya-etok to me and who helped us push the Memo to make sure Obong Attah received it well. The problem was that we needed to pay 25 percent as counterpart funds and we didn’t have such money. Due to his ingenuity, Obong Attah converted and valued the first Legislators Quarters that was built in the area and with the mass of land,invited the Shelter Afrique people from Nairobi, Kenya for inspection.
” When we went for our first meeting with them in Nairobi, the government could only afford N400,000 for me and the project consultant, Arc Nya-etok for transportation and other expenses. We had to shelf staying at the five star hotel booked for us by them for a hotel with no air-conditioning system to save money. Even when we went to sign the final agreement, I , Arc Nya-etok and the Attorney General, Senator Effiong Bob had to use what I call an air molue because we could not afford a direct flight. We stopped over at three locations, one of which was the then war torn Rwanda where we had to stay for three hours awaiting clearance to proceed on our trip again. Obong Attah pursued with vigour whatever he believed in and didn’t do it for selfish reasons. I and Arc Nya-etok did not have any allocation of houses in the Estate because Obong Attah was not a selfish leader”
The former Chairman of Abak Local Government Area further said Obong Attah surrounded himself with intelligent people who could interpret his vision for the state and always bowed to superior arguement because he had an “addictive passion for knowledge”
He said Obong Attah’s prudence in managing the economy of the state with only a N600m monthly allocation paved the way for the laying of a solid developmental foundation for the state.
He praised Governor Udom Emmanuel for naming the state airport after Obong Attah, saying it is psychologically satisfying for a man who made huge sacrifices for the growth of the state to be honoured while alive.