By Cletus Ukpong
Idorenyin Esikot, a special assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on small and medium scale entrepreneur, has resigned his appointment with the Akwa Ibom state government.
Mr Esikot resigned in September, he told PREMIUM TIMES, Tuesday.
He is one of six aides that have so far left the administration, ahead of the 2019 general elections which is expected to be a tough battle between the ruling party in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
One of the aides, Anietie Ebe, who resigned early in September, told PREMIUM TIMES that many of the governor’s aides would likely leave the administration before the general elections.
“I had to resign because there was no support from anywhere,” Mr Esikot said.
“Of course, you’ll need basic tools to work with. You don’t have an office. You don’t even have a chair to sit on,” he said, adding that he sometimes had to hold government meetings at his former office at the University of Uyo, or in some eateries in the city.
Most times he had to spend personal money to buy drinks and snacks for local business people he invited for government meetings, he said.
“Apart from my salary, I have never been given a dime by the state government. And the government didn’t for one day respond to all the proposals I presented to them,” he said
When asked if he had ever reported to the government that he did not have an office space to operate from, Mr Esikot responded, “It wasn’t something peculiar to me; almost 90 per cent of the governor’s aides had the same problem.”
The former aide to the governor said the state of businesses in Akwa Ibom is “pitiable” because, according to him, “the things that ought to have been done have not been done”.
“I keep asking the questions, how many heavy trucks depart Akwa Ibom for other states? You won’t find goods produced in Akwa Ibom move to other states, the reverse is the case.
“And when, for instance, you say you are empowering small and medium scale businesses and then you take N50, 000 and give it to market people.
“When you leave people in the real sector, I mean the small and medium scale businesses and empower the petty traders, you will still have the problem of capital flight because those money will still go out to other states for the purchase of goods and services,” he said.
He identified “lack of head starts for indigenous entrepreneurs” as one of the key challenges facing the growth of businesses in Akwa Ibom.
“It does not make sense for you not to promote what you have. It’s embarrassing sometimes when you go to public functions hosted by agencies of government and something as small as bottled water is imported from other states, while we have several indigenous producers of bottled water in the state.
“Why not patronise them? How do you want them to stand up?” he said.
Mr Esikot said he has left PDP and has since gone back to his former job as a lecturer in the department of philosophy, University of Uyo.