Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom has said that his administration will work hard to industrialise the state, so as to boost earnings and improve the quality of life.
Mr. Emmanuel said his dream was to make Akwa Ibom Nigeria’s largest economy, just as California is the United States of America’s biggest economy.
“If the State of California which is a part of the Continental USA is the sixth largest economy in the world and where, as the saying goes ‘where California goes is where America goes’ we too, can make Akwa Ibom State, a large economy in Africa, with a GDP larger than some African countries,” Mr. Emmanuel said, in a broadcast on Friday to mark the 29th anniversary of the state’s creation.
“That is my dream and that’s what propels me.”
Mr. Emmanuel said he was working “assiduously” to industrialize the state as he promised during his election campaign.
He said the government was building electricity metering manufacturing plant in Onna local government area which, according to him, would create over 150 jobs when completed.
Thirty-two indigenes of the state are already on training for that in China, while 10 will be sent to Italy for some specialized training, Mr. Emmanuel said.
“We have also commenced revolutionary agricultural initiatives in coconut plantation and refinery, cocoa plantations as well as rice production. Our intention is to ensure we feed our populace from within in the next few years.
The governor, however, advised the people to see industrialisation as a process that takes time.
“We live in a federal system where the centre still has to approve a number of things before full implementation of such projects can take off. We need to exercise patience and not get caught up with quick fixes – ours is a developmental paradigm that is as enduring as it is sustainable.”
The governor listed his achievements to include steady payment of workers’ salary, despite the current economic crisis in the country, payment of over N600million Naira to the West African Examination Council as examination fees for students in the state, and the construction of over 250 kilometres of roads, 17 bridges and other infrastructural amenities across the state.
Mr. Emmanuel said the government’s policies of free and compulsory basic education, and free medical services for the aged, children between the ages of one to five, and pregnant and nursing mothers, remained intact.
He called for love and peace among the people of the state.
“Unity and brotherhood are the first fundamentals of my faith and the last fundamentals of my creed. Akwa Ibom’s greatness lies in its ideals of love and sacrifice defined by our founding fathers, and its future lies in the same undying ideals of love and sacrifice that we all must show.
“It is these ideals which drive me and give me the courage to declare that there is a lifting up where other narrative may be that there is a casting down. It is what drives our many projects when in other places projects are winding down. To put it simply, to make this State a better place is an abiding article of faith, a duty which must be accomplished and an obligation which must be discharged.”