Shortly after May 29, when new governments were sworn in at the center and in most states, it became clear that several states were in trouble. States were unable to pay the salaries of their workers or contractors and the price of oil continued to drop. Consequently, the federal government approved a bailout loan which, according to vice president Yemi Osinbajo, amounted to about N680bn.
While several states have started accessing the loans, the governor of Akwa Ibom, Udom Emmanuel,said his state did not accept the bailout because he did not want to mortgage the future of Akwa Ibom people.
Emmanuel told journalists and other stakeholders at a town hall meeting in Uyo, that he chose not to borrow money he does not need and by so doing, leave a huge debt for future governors to pay.
On allegations that the Akwa Ibom government expended the sum of N3.7 billion to celebrate the 28th anniversary of the state last September, the governor said, “The money was not there. For the first time, we did anniversary without a state banquet in the evening because we were moving with the time. If I had N3.7 billion, I would use it to flood the state with industries. I didn’t have even N.7 billion; not even N.5 billion was spent.”
Emmanuel complained about being unfairly treated by the media, appealing with journalists to avoid being constantly adversarial and focusing on the negatives. “Applaud government when they do good and constructively criticise when they veer off the course. I am not saying that you should applaud everything we are doing; we welcome constructive criticism, criticism that is done without malice. Let us start a new narrative of constructive engagement devoid of the negative impulse to pull each other down, for when we pull our people down, we invariably pull ourselves down,” he said.