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 Ibom Hotel and Gulf Resort.
The naming of the airport which came on the heels of a resolution by the State House of Assembly became necessary to immortalise Obong Atta in view of his noble contributions to development of the state.
Making the pronouncement, Governor 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 and Gulf Resort, phase one of the state secretariat Complex.
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 Atta 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 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 celebrant 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 Atta 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 when he exited the office.
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 denied him access to Le Meridian Ibom Hotel where he proposed hosting the event and he resorted to celebrating the birthday at Eko Hotels at Lagos State and called on political gladiators to play politics devoid of rancour but encourage fellow feeling in the society.
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 Atta for his pragmatic leadership prowess, describing him as a distinguished professional, Architect of global repute and spoke in glowing terms of his ingenuity in laying solid foundation for the development of the state.