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FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON HOTEL: How can franchise agreement be excuse for failure? By John Ekperikpe

I had the misfortune this morning of wading through a long epistle to the world by Akwa Ibom State commissioner for information on why the Udom Emmanuel administration has left the 4-star Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene to rot, three-and-a-half years after the current government in the state came into office. The hotel belongs to the state, and was built by the Godswill Akpabio administration.

Charles Udoh, information commissioner, argued with aplomb and vibrated with the excitement of a researcher that has just found a cure for the sickle anemia, that the reason for abandoning the hotel that was commissioned for use by the last government is that there was no franchise agreement with the owner of the Sheraton brand. No argument or decision can be more ludicrous. This is the lowest low for a most inept government ever. It’s time we had adults in the room!
Let’s stay with the argument, without conceding, that there was no agreement with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, owners of the Sheraton brand, before the hotel was commissioned, would that be a justifiable ground for abandoning the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene? Definitely no! A routine administrative matter involving a little paperwork and minor financial expense in payment for the use of the target brand name can never be acceptable reason for a government that came into office on the promise of continuity to abandon a multibillion naira investment that was designed to further strengthen the economic fabric of the state. See how unthinking this government is! Here is a platitude-mouthing government sounding big on obsession with the industrialization of the state but  paradoxically turning its back on support infrastructure for an industrialized state. This is the most disarticulated, aimless, directionless pathway to development by a boardroom guru and a business school veteran of a governor.

A little background to the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel which uninformed critics have purloined as investment that was not well thoughtout. The hotel was designed as part of a cluster of infrastructure that was to be used to open up the state for investment and economic development. The design included the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road, which was intended to end in Agbor Hill in Aba, Abia State and the International Terminal Building of the State Airport, as well as its cargo hall and the MRO. The idea was that the constellation of these facilities would open up the state for international and big-ticket local businesses that would require the services of a top-flight hospitality industry.

Therefore a government that came into office promising to continue and complete ongoing projects was expected to get on with the job and not fish for excuse to abandon its responsibility and walk away from its election promises. The Udom Emmanuel administration’s attitude to the hotel is simply typical and all too familiar.

It is the same attitude that the governor has sadly displayed with regard to other projects in the state, be it the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road; ongoing projects at the state airport, such as the international terminal building, the MRO, the taxiway and the failure to ensure that the cargo wing of the airport sees light of the day; the Tropicana Entertainment Centre and other projects. After all, previous governments in the state had met ongoing projects and completed them. The state airport that Udom Emmanuel is enjoying today is one of such projects.
Rather than bandying lame excuses about, Commissioner Udoh should simply accept what is obvious, namely, that Udom Emmanuel simply does not care. Ibom Hotel, which was built by former Governor Victor Attah, has gone into a disgusting state of disrepair. Is that because the hotel has a franchise agreement dispute or it was not completed? Ibom Hotel is in disrepair today because Udom Emmanuel doesn’t care.

What about the case with the state Specialist Hospital in Uyo? Why has Udom Emmanuel abandoned the hospital? The reason is simple: This deacon of Qua Iboe Church returned from Lagos to execute a most unpatriotic and criminal agenda of under-developing the state which other heroes of our past toiled day and night to build.

It is clear, given this laughable, hair-splitting argument over franchise agreement that Udom Emmanuel has run out of excuses for his historic failure. The point is that Governor Emmanuel has set a global record in lack of capacity to execute amid superabundance of resources. Rather than inflict further insults at Akwa Ibom people about his chronic governance failures, this man should tell us what he has done with over N1 trillion that has accrued to the state since he was rail-loaded into the Hilltop Mansion.

Udom Emmanuel has failed and no amount of excuse-spouting press statements can save his government from being routed and sent into a well-deserved place in Akwa Ibom Hall of Infamy.

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