The Akwa Ibom International Airport has been renamed Victor Attah International Airport after the second civilian Governor of the State Arch. (Obong) Victor Attah.
This was announced at a Special Banquet held to commemorate the 80th Birthday of former Governor Attah at the Ibom Hotel & Gulf Resort.
The renaming of the Airport, which came on the heels of a resolution by the State House of Assembly, was to immortalise Obong Attah in view of his noble contributions to development of the state.
Making the pronouncement, Governor Udom Emmanuel eulogised Obong Attah for the laudable development programmes initiated during his eight years tenure as Governor of the state, and listed the development projects to include Ibom Deep Seaport Project, Ibom International Airport with Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility, Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort, Phase Two of the state secretariat Complex, among others.
He noted that his commitment to the state development was unquantifiable and commended him for his resilience to the development of the state, Niger Delta region and entire country.
Governor Emmanuel acknowledged the contributions of Obong Attah towards making the MRO unit of the Airport functional despite his exit from office, saying that such demonstration of zeal, patriotism and forthrightness was worthy of emulation by all and sundry.
While commending Arch Attah for his doggedness for the actualisation of true federalism and resource control, the Governor maintained that the vision had paid off well for the state and the south south region with the result being tremendous increase in the revenue accruing to the oil bearing states.
He congratulated the celebrator for making it to the age of eighty and prayed God to grant him robust health and more years of existence to enable him impact more on the society.
In his response, the obviously overwhelmed Obong Attah said that he would eternally remain grateful to Governor Emmanuel and the people of the state for the respect accorded him and prayed God to reciprocate such honour on the Governor.
Obong Attah who is generally referred to as the father of modern Akwa Ibom, recounted with nostalgia his bitter experience on the occasion of his seventieth birthday celebration where the then administration of Chief Godswill Akpabio denied him access to Le Meridian Ibom Hotel where he proposed hosting the event and playing on the Golf Course, and he resorted to celebrating the birthday at Eko Hotels at Lagos State.
Attah called on political gladiators to play politics devoid of rancour in all spheres of life.
In a goodwill message, President Muhammadu Buhari congratulated Obong Attah for joining the league of the octogenarians and particularly lauded his contributions to the development of the state and country over the years.
Speaking through the Minister of National Planning and Budget Senator Udoma Udoma, President Buhari commended Obong Attah for his pragmatic leadership prowess, describing him as a distinguished professional and Architect of global repute.
He spoke in glowing terms of his ingenuity in laying solid foundation for the development of the state.
President Buhari pointed out that Obong Attah had deployed his professional ingenuity to contribute immensely in making Akwa Ibom a state to reckoned with given the ambience of the state.
He added that former Governor Attah had during his administration set out development agenda for the state and had taken steps to launch the state into a pedestal of unprecedented development and spoke of his approach to the resource control where he single handedly took up the fight for the abrogation of on shore/ offshore dichotomy and commended him for his fearless disposition even in the face of daunting disposition.
He expressed appreciation to the Government and people of the state for celebrating Obong Attah while alive and wished him happy celebration.
Also, former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori acknowledged that Governor Attah has distinguished himself as an apostle of resource control having successfully won the resource control battle and given voice to the people of the Niger Delta region.