Much Ado About AKS Lagos Lodge
By Micheal Joseph Okon
I must confess that I was in shock when I read that government was investing about 9.1 Billion in a lodge in Lagos, sincerely, I blew the roof off my head.
Yet, I have learnt overtime to seek clarification on issues especially if the whistle blower and wailer is a consistent critic of the enigmatic administration of Mr Udom Emmanuel.
My personal findings show that only N2 billion has been budgeted for a befitting Lodge in Lagos, the commercial hub of the Nigerian Economy. Its not practicable business wise to talk of Nigeria without mentioning Lagos because of its strategic International waterways and economic importance.
If you live in Lagos and you are proud of the obsolete and defaced location of our state Lodge then you are nothing but an hypocrite. You can’t be proud of a location where flood constantly submerges our pride.
I can not thank Bar Emmanuel Enoidem enough for opening up further on the Economic value chain of having such a Lodge in a better location and it will suffice to note that Government is a continuum and that the proposal for relocating the Lodge was never Gov Udom’s concept rather, a pending resolution of previous administration.
As for Bar Inibehe’s ranting, its quite unfortunate that he thinks only in terms of protest, yet he is yet to protest when Mr President’s iill health is taking hundreds of millions of naira via a packed jet beside his hospital bed. It’s a clear case of misplaced priority to protest against a long term value that will benefit even the APC government, if they will eventually win over Akwa Ibom State as they envisage.
One thing is certain, those crying wolf are APC loyalists, who know that the Lodge is not a private property of Mr Udom Emmanuel, it is for Akwa Ibom State government beyond 2023.
Let’s not allow political interest frustrate lofty intentions, building the Lodge might not put food on my table today, but it sure reduces government over blotted hotel bills in the long run. Building and owning a Lodge in a serene environment at the reasonable cost of 2 billion is smart thinking compared to paying hospitality managers in Lagos to host meetings with investors seeking to come and add value to our state.
The Lodge is our collective patrimony, it’s out of place to argue that since we want ExxonMobil to relocate to Akwa Ibom State, we should not have our presence in Lagos, its a complete show of mundane thinking that must be discarded.
Kindly Peruse through Bar Enoidem’s position without biases and endorse the Lodge for our future:
“Good morning to all.
My tips on the raging controversies concerning the plans for the AKSG to do a new lodge for the Governor in Lagos.
I feel constrained to offer some information on this discourse in the hope that it will throw more light and help us to understand the subject matter properly.
Firstly, the idea of a new lodge was actually mooted by my memo to the then state executive council on the need for a new lodge in Lagos sometime in 2010 or thereabout.
The memo was actuated by the fact that the entire Victoria Island had dramatically over night turned into a big commercial centre as against the reserved status it enjoyed which attracted almost all diplomatic missions, commissions embassies and almost all states lodges to the area.
As a matter of fact directly opposite the Akwa Ibom lodge on Koffi Abayomi street there is an expansive shopping mall built.
Furthermore, the lodge was in a very bad state of disrepair yearning for immediate overhaul that could have probably culminated in a total reconstruction.
At the time I inherited a budget which provided for the renovation of the lodge.
It was then my advice that instead of reconstructing or renovating the old lodge in Victoria Island that Exco should approve the purchase of land in Ikoyi with the money budgeted for the renovation through virement.
This memo was approved and a land was acquired for a new lodge in Ikoyi which still, to a very large extent, enjoys some serenity much more than Victoria Island.
In the same memo I had proposed that we put up the property housing the lodge in Victoria Island for sale so we can use the proceeds to construct the new lodge in Ikoyi.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am sure no one here is at a loss as to the need for Akwa Ibom state to have a befitting presence in Lagos state. Lagos is the commercial headquarters of Nigeria officially.
It is the nerve center of Nigeria till tomorrow. There’s no state in Nigeria that does not maintain a lodge in Lagos. Most of them too, like Akwa Ibom is planning, have since relocated to Ikoyi or some more serene locations of Lagos or are in the process of relocating.
There’s no country that has a diplomatic relations with Nigeria that does not have significant presence in Lagos.
So the case for Akwa Ibom to have an office or a lodge in Lagos is overwhelming.
I don’t know how many members of this platform have visited the current Akwa Ibom Lodge in Lagos lately. You will be ashamed to identify that with our dear state. It’s totally unfit and unrepresentative of Akwa Ibom state of today.
I believe the need to have a befitting lodge in Lagos state for our state can’t be a waste as variously described and argued here. No it is not a mis-priority.
Utitofon called it a “fraud” apparently because according to him N9 billion is budgeted for it. This was taking the argument too far.
The use of the word “fraud” was most uncharitable, most inappropriate and totally out of character, especially when the premises for such conclusions are not only very speculative but baseless.
I do not know where he got the sum of N9B as being the cost of the project. The figure seems strange and alien to the budget on the project.
Did he fabricate it to weep up sentiments to prop up his case? But I know he’s too responsible to do that.
Please I will plead that am not handy with or seen a copy of the budget but when I read your piece I had to make some enquiry about the project and I am reliably informed that 2 billion is the estimated cost of the project and that it is clearly stipulated in the budget.
If this be the case won’t it be fraudulent for a respected member of our forum to deliberately set out to deceive, hoodwink and lie to us in apparent bid to make the government look irresponsible.