Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday, said that the Federal Government spent N8.9 trillion on infrastructure in 2020.
The Vice President, who said this during the inauguration of the 21-storey Dakkada Towers and the flag off of the Dakkada Luxury Estate, added that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has invested more in infrastructural development than previous administrations.
According to him, the Lagos-Calabar rail project and the Ibom Deep Sea Port as well as the Dakkada Towers, among other projects executed by both the federal and state governments have positioned Akwa Ibom State as a major industrial hub in Nigeria and the rest of the African subregion.
He said: “Since the inception of our administration, Mr President has prioritised the development of infrastructure, roads, rail, power and despite the severe economic headwinds we have experienced in the first six years, we have invested more than any administration in infrastructure.
“As of last year, we have expended over N8.9 trillion on infrastructure. Just last month, the Federal Executive Council approved the Lagos, Calabar rail project which will pass through Uyo as a major station. At the end of last year, the Federal Executive Council also approved the full business case of the Ibom Deep Seaport, and of courses as a result of the active demands of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
“These infrastructural developments are set to establish Akwa Ibom State as a major industrial hub for not just Nigeria, but in the West African sub-region,” he stated.
Osinbajo, who directed International Oil Companies (IOCs) to relocate their administrative headquarters to Akwa Ibom State, noted that IOCs have no excuse not to relocate their administrative headquarters to the state as the problem of office accommodation has been taken care of by the Dakkada Towers.
He hailed Gov. Udom Emmanuel for keeping to his promise to build the 21-storey tower, noting that the investments in the Dakkada Towers was already yielding results and will attract more revenue to the state.
He described the Dakkada tower as the government’s efforts to create an enabling environment for investment to thrive in the state, adding that the tower is a catalyst for the private sector.
He said, “I recall in 2015 when the governor shared the vision of his administration to construct the tallest building in the south South and South East region in Akwa Ibom State here.
“Today, I am filled with joy and pride to witness the realisation of that dream as we gather to celebrate his commitment to excellence and vision as represented by this 21 storey edifice.
But this building is not just the tallest in the South-South and South-East region, it is certainly among the tallest in Nigeria and in West Africa. The completion of the Dakkada Tower will most definitely address the question of the paucity of world-class office accommodation for both local and corporate, international companies, especially oil and gas companies.
“This tower is a state-of-the-art smart building, combining architectural beauty with the latest technology developed for smart and efficient workspace. I hear that various expressions of interest have already been received from companies in oil and gas, banking and various sectors of the economy.
“I bring you the warm greetings of President Muhammadu Buhari who has said I should congratulate you on your 34th-anniversary celebration of the state.”
Also speaking Gov. Udom Emmanuel said the excuse of IOCs about having no office space to locate their headquarters in the state has ended with the commissioning of the building, adding that he was excited because when he started the building, naysayers had said it would not be completed.
He said his administration was spearheading innovations like the virgin coconut factory that would put the state on the world map, noting that many projects would soon be unfolded, adding that the state was very investors friendly.
He stated that he cannot be distracted with criticisms trailing his administration, saying that the government of Akwa Ibom was in safe hands and he would run it very safe.
“The oil companies were complaining that they don’t have office accommodations, that excused has ended today,” he said.
In his welcome remarks, the Commissioner for Special Duties, Rt. Hon. Okpolupm Etteh said the 21 storey was a child of necessity, born out of the desire of the Akwa Ibom people and the Federal Government directives to have IOCs operating in the state have their presence there.
Etteh said the smart building which is four metres high is sited on 48,000 square metres of land, has the capacity to accommodate 400 cars, has a sick bay, two inner and one open restaurant.
He mentioned other features of the tower to include advanced electronic and information technologies, interrelated structure, system, service and management, energy-efficient building and enhanced connectivity through wired and wireless networks and advanced sensor systems among others.
In their goodwill messages, former Governor of Cross River State, Mr Donald Duke said the success of the 21-storey was a testimony of leadership, and vision, adding that the occasion was the aspiration for the entire nation.
Former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswan said the infrastructures provided by Gov. Emmanuel represented the expectations of the Akwa Ibom people, adding that he was happy to associate with him and the people.
On her part, Senator Akon Eyakenyi representing Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District in the National Assembly said Governor Emmanuel was fulfilling his promises of leaving the state better than what he met it, adding that the developmental strides he has recorded were testimony to this fact.
Other dignitaries present at the event include the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, former Military Administrators of Akwa Ibom, Col. Bako (retd), Group Capt. John Ebiye (retd), former Governor of Cross River State, Mr Donald Duke, Mr Umana Okon Umana, Managing Director, Oil and Free Trade Zone, and Senator Gabriel Suswan, former Governor of Benue State.