Akwa Ibom State: New possibilities, Greater strides

Good governance in leadership is a template for the development of any society. It is a committed approach in making decisions that will enhance long term work plans directed at yielding positive results for human development and laying new structures in developing economies.

Despite the challenge of a troubling economic recession and most times, inconsistent government policies in Nigeria, there is a new horizon of the emerging new possibilities of greatness in our dear country. This can be seen through the milestones of the Akwa Ibom State Government in just over two years under the leadership of Governor Udom Emmanuel. He has redefined new ideologies in good governance which today have made the State perhaps, Nigeria’s fastest growing economy.

When the concept of industrialisation was muted by Governor Udom Emmanuel on assumption of office on May 29, 2015, as a possible template to enhance economic growth and national development, the dynamics of the Nigerian economy as at then may not have given many people the platform to see the visionary modules that were being set forward in the new destination the ship of leadership was being steered.

Two years later, and Akwa Ibom State is looking beyond the shores of the continent as its economy continues to expand; exploring new frontiers that have in recent months increased the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the State’s economy and also enhanced Internally Generated Revenue.

In his inaugural speech upon assumption of Office, Governor Emmanuel had promised the people an honest and transparent government that will “transform the economy of our state via industrialisation and sustain Public Private Sector initiative, thereby, opening up opportunities for growth and improved living standards.” Till date, he has kept faith with these tenets.

At a time the Federal Government was contemplating the commencement of manufacturing pencils in the country in the next few years, Akwa Ibom State has successfully commissioned a pencil factory in Etinan Local Government Area, providing employment opportunities using available raw materials within the state.

The concept and completion of the toothpick factory is also a successful industrialisation concept aimed at driving the full potentials of huge commercial benefits in an ever increasing and expanding society of consumers. The focus within the next few months will be exportation to neighbouring West African Countries.

The agricultural renaissance in the State in just over two years has seen the successful harvesting of farm products hitherto thought not possible for cultivation in the state. This has seen the revolution in this sector through new farm lands of bountiful harvests of such crops like tomatoes, onions, cucumber and other vegetables which before now thrived bountifully in other regions of the country.

This reality has re-engineered the agricultural sector with abundant demonstration farmlands, key investment opportunities to take advantage of these agricultural products and the seeming opportunity it has provided for youths and cooperative societies to take advantage of these new vistas of window blessings in creating wealth and moulding new entrepreneurs.

The Agricultural revolution in Akwa Ibom State further provides an exciting template for other states to emulate and engage the youths to be more creative as the benefits in the mid and long terms have had multiplier effects that has enhanced wealth creation another milestone, in line with the five point agenda of the present administration in the State.

The Syringe and Metering factories in Onna can best be described as timely in charting the course of the economy of the State and by large the country in the not too distant future.

With a huge capacity base to meet the challenges of offering metering solutions to the power sector reforms in the country, the metering initiative which was successfully inaugurated by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo is the first of its kind in the country, and opens up the State not only to employment opportunities but bringing investors to new destinations down South and offering wider economic prospects.

Africa’s largest Syringe factory is also located in Akwa Ibom State and was also commissioned by the Vice President during the states 30th Anniversary. The most exciting aspect of these industries in the State is the involvement of the private sector in driving these visions successfully.

With good road networks, an airport, improved power supply, peaceful and secured environment and a people well known for their hospitality, the set indices to attract more investments in the State has built new structures formidable for long term benefits to the people.

At a time when most States have failed to utilise their bailout funds in enhancing the welfare of the people, the story is different in Akwa Ibom State. The welfare of Civil Servants has remain enhanced, a sustained synergy and cordial working relationship between the Civil Service and State Government, and prompt payment of entitlements to pensioners despite the lean funds available.

There may be challenges like most States in the federation due to the challenging state of the economy and remuneration to states from the centre, but the wealth of experience brought into governance by Governor Udom Emmanuel from the private sector, has stabilised the economy of the State into making meaningful decisions that have propelled the State to new heights of global excellence with greater projections of higher revenue.

Education has also seen sustained attention by the government and it is on record that Akwa Ibom State spends N600m on WAEC fees for students in public schools.

Sports development in the state also features on the growing list of achievements, with new feats that have promoted sports tourism and made the state the new capital for Nigerian football.

The State is the first to drive the vision of going back to the grassroots in discovering new talents in sports, when it successfully held the Akwa Ibom Youth Sports Festival which took place in March 2017 in Uyo. It was an event which attracted over 6,000 pupils and students for the weeklong event witnessed by Governor Udom Emmanuel, Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, Sports administrators, and talent scouts who watched the kids perform excellently, making use of the sports centres built by the State Governor and the existing world class stadium.

The success of the historic event, the first of its kind in the country led to discovering new talents that formed the bulk of the team at the fourth National Youth Games in Ilorin, Kwara State where Team Akwa Ibom placed second.

The success story of the flagship sports brand in the State, Akwa United Football Club in the 2016/2017 Nigeria Professional Football League season remains evergreen. In 2015, Akwa Ibom State won the 2015 Federation Cup barely six months in Office of Governor Udom Emmanuel. That victory earned the tam a continental ticket at the CAF Confederations Cup.

In 2017, Akwa United Football Club won the Aiteo Cup and another opportunity to be among Nigeria’s representatives in the same competition next year.

In Akwa Ibom State, everyday, new opportunities, new beliefs, new ideologies, and new vigour drive the people in championing the course of their destiny. As a people driven by the commitment to excel in their endeavours, there is a new gateway to the new destination of Nigeria’s emerging new economy and the opportunity the Governor Udom Emmanuel has offered in the long term beyond oil revenue, clearly shows there is a well laid out design for the prosperity of the State’s economy.

The State opens its horizon to the new vistas of exciting sectors to explore, and will in the coming years, take another phase in propelling more strides as the vision turns into reality beyond the dreams of the founding fathers. This is where a new history dawns.

By Amos Etuk

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