Well, I try to keep quiet, study reactions, explanations, opinions b4 commenting on a controversial topic. Hence I've been silent on the issue of the AkSG Lodge at Lagos.
It is now known that 1.2bn naira, per the HC of Info Charles Udoh, has been 👂-marked for the PROPOSED project.
The dilapidated lodge

Note: proposed. Meaning, the idea could still be mooted, could still be discarded if further analysis disallows it.
Now, God forbid the budgeting of N9bn (or anything close) for a project of that level of priority. And, thank God the N9bn report was fake news.
I mean, don't we even notice that, under Udom, we don't get to hear humongous sums mentioned against projects in the state as in time past? Could this be why some beneficiaries of past administration are becoming opposition to Udom? Topic for another day...
Inside the existing lodge

Let's talk about Priority. What we'd all love to have would be:
- An Akwa Ibom that pays gratuities and pensions as and when due,
- pays salaries b4 time,
- repairs all bad roads,
- Builds new ones everywhere,
- is non-conducive for criminals,
- enforces safe and clean environment,
- provides world-class but affordable healthcare, maintains world class educational facilities, employs more teachers,
- retrains them for better quality of education in public schools...

Friends, the list is much longer. We expect all our needs met no matter what government must do. Go back to the study of Economics; this is normal with human nature: unlimited wants vs limited resources.

This takes us to the principle of opportunity cost.
While Industries make my number one priority, school fee is priority for someone else. While gratuities is number 1 priority for Ntia Ofonmbuk, Cavil sees ExxonMobil Relocation as number 1. While Godwin Jarkwa sees 2019 elections as number 1 priority, Omen Bassey sees the welfare of Oron people as highest priority. Amanam Uko, Itoro Etetim, Utibe N. Uko look like they want change of govt, but truth is they actually want devt - lighter note.
The question is 'whose priority should be number 1, and whose should be number 2', relative to each other?
Do we know that branding is a major priority for someone? Do we consider that, man, you can't just maintain this picture of an Akwa Ibom house as your lodge out in Lagos where capitalists like to meet potential partners?
I know and believe that you can bring down any investor wherever you want him to meet you, as long as it's accessible and convenient, but my experience tells me it comes at a price - some times higher than you can afford.
This is the behaviour of investors. Blame no one. I've had the privilege of meeting capitalists both within and outside in 1,2 foreign cities. Man, you gotta chase any capitalist till you get what you want. You adapt to them till they can adapt to you.
I'm not pro-this because I'm a PR Professional but because this's the real world. We can't just lock ourselves up in Uyo and not be aware what's goes on at the investment marketplace.
There's offices in Abuja, Lagos that you go to with sound business ideas. When you're done meeting the chairman to drop your proposal, he/she walks you down to your car. Some of them look down the window to see if you came in Marwa or Molue. God help you if jumped off BRT. Why because 💰 follows 💰. Take it or lose out.
Before Dubai could draw in foreign investment to jump-start what we see today, several officials of theirs had to travel frequently to financial capitals of the world, persuading investors, dressed in crisp white kaftan and business suits, sleeping at 5star hotels. When they succeeded, the traffic was reversed. Now, everyone goes to Dubai.
Many business people rent posh cars to go deliver a proposal in a city where nobody knows them. They buy expensive suits, but sleep hungry. When they've gotten the job, nobody cares how they got there.
In Investment Marketing, as with many other aspects of marketing, you fake it till you make it. This is the practice and even you, who will disagree with me, have been a victim of that strategy before.
What am I saying? Industries built using OPM (other people's 💰) is top priority for Udom Emmanuel. Meanwhile, he's also building roads, paying salaries, maintaing security, paying school fees etc. This gratuity we're clamouring for is still in the pipeline, so I hear, While pensions are getting paid.
In the first of this year, investment going to Lagos state dropped. They remained no 1 in the country, but that of Akwa Ibom rose till we were no 2. This is priority for Udom. And come to think of it, if we keep receiving foreign investment, who will enjoy the results in the end? Not us?
Wake up. Akwa Ibom is no longer as rich as it used to be. As long as the state govt is transparent enough to ensure they do not manufacture projects as a conduit pipe for embezzling funds, they deserve every understanding.
Give it to them. For the first time in like forever, transparency in public information is at its highest. With Onofiok Luke as Speaker and Udom Emmanuel as Governor, policies have been open info maybe not as wide as we want it, but It's far better than the past.
My point: if the govt had budgeted the rumoured N9bn for getting a new Akwa Ibom lodge, I'd have kicked against it. If the lodge we have wasn't this horrible, I'd have kicked against building a new one.
As it is right now, acquiring a new facility - whether by reconstructing the present one or building a new one - is strategic investment. But I'm sorry if you don't understand the term.

Uduak Umo, AMNIPR, writes in from Uyo. Emails; uduak.umo@jabborro.com, jabborro@gmail.com
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