In recent times, embarking on white elephant projects in Akwa Ibom has become a relay race where one leader hands over the baton to another with the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Center a visible evidence on how Akwaibomites have over the years being politically scammed by two successive administrations all in the guise of creating employment for the teeming youths while washing millions of Naira down the drain yearly.
Despite the hype which surrounded the project from its inception and its alleged commissioning by Senator Godswill Akpabio; the then state governor of Akwa Ibom in company of the current Governor Emmanuel Udom who was then Secretary to the State Government (SSG), the building which has seen more than N120billion pumped into it with little or no income generated we learned will be gulping another N500,000,000 from the N597.735 billion 2020 budget christened budget of Industrialization for Poverty Alleviation Phase II by the Udom led administration.
Sitting atop 168 hectares of land in Uyo, the state capital, the white elephant project has a 14-floor storey building meant for a 258-room five-star hotel, a Cineplex (Six cinema halls), a shopping mall that has been under lock and keys, 5,000-seat convention centre, and a theme park.
According to the state budget for 2020, N20,000,000 is earmarked for Finishing works in the theme park especially painting, another N20,000,000 for Installation of Boomarango and tube Sheds, while N100,000,000 will be used for outstanding civil works for the project which falls under the ministry of special duties headed by Rt. Hon. Okpolupm Ikpong Etteh.
Currently, the administration of Governor Emmanuel Udom, towing the steps of his predecessor, is yet to publicly disclose how much it has spent so far on the Tropicana project with critiques in the state opining that there may be no much difference between the incumbent government and its predecessor in the uncommon looting of the state treasury using the guise of Industrialization for Poverty Alleviation.