The Disrupted Federal Government Town Hall Meeting in Uyo Akwa-Ibom State

The second series of the Federal Government town hall meetings, which began earlier in the year took place at the Le Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State on Monday and it ended in an uproar.

According to Encomium, the event was going on smoothly until a member of the audience with a “Northern” sounding name wanted to ask a question and he was not allowed to by the majority of the Uyo audience who shouted at him. The hall soon degenerated into a free for all shouting match in the presence of stunned ministers.

It took the intervention of the Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi who rebuked the audience before calm was restored and the program ended soon after with tension in the air.

Aside the uproar, there was a disagreement in the statements of the Honorable Minister for Transport, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and the Honorable Minister for Petroleum, Chief Ibe Kachikwu over the establishment and maintenance of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State. Amaechi said he was in support of the decision of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to scrap the project.

However, Kachikwu in his response said, “I disagree with the minister of transport. Any facility in the South-south, we should work towards developing it, I don’t care the circumstance. It is not my business whether land was valued at 19 or 10 million. We’ll deal with the issues but the university will be developed. If he (Amaechi) doesn’t want it in maritime, I will take it in petroleum.”

Ministers who attended the forum included: Information Minister; Lai Mohammed, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of National Planning and Budget; Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister for Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, Niger Delta Affairs leader; Pastor Usani Uguru Usani and Minister of Environment; Amina J. Mohammed among other persons from different sectors of the economy.

Meanwhile, one of the conditions given to President Muhammadu Buhari, by the Niger Delta Avengers, was to commence the construction of the Maritime University, before the group would consider any ceasefire on oil installations in the region.

A public analyst, JJ Omojuwa made his opinion known about the town hall meeting on Twitter:

“if government doesn’t perform, one million town hall meetings won’t make people start seeing good roads where they drove through bad ones”

“Stop the town hall meetings! If govt performs, those who’ll see it will see it, those who won’t see it, won’t! Even if you share free glasses”

“I personally do not see a need for these town halls. Waste of useful time for all involved in my opinion.”