The Anglican Bishop of Uyo Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Isaac Orama, has advised Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom to fight the widespread unemployment and poverty in the state.
Mr. Orama gave the advice on Saturday in Uyo, while delivering the Bishop’s Charge 2012 at the first session of the sixth Synod of the Anglican faithful drawn from churches in the Uyo Diocese.
The Uyo Diocese of the Anglican Church was created 20 years ago for all the churches in the Anglican Communion in Akwa Ibom and would celebrate its 20th anniversary in November.
The bishop said that unemployment and poverty were major issues in Akwa Ibom that needed “urgent” attention from government.
Governor Akpabio is widely celebrated in the local media and the Peoples Democratic Party for “governing Akwa Ibom State well”.
But residents say beyond the facade, the poverty and unemployment rate in the state remained among the highest in the country.
Local contractors are routinely ignored for multinationals in the execution of infrastructural projects, and residents complain of huge capital flights from the state.
The largest employer of labour in the state remain the civil service which is already overstaffed.
Most state-owned industries have closed shop and the state is not known to have attracted any substantial investment in spite of Governor Akpabio’s several overseas trip in search of foreign investors.
The clergy, in his courageous address to the governor, therefore urged the state government to approach the proposed industrialisation of the rural communities with seriousness.
“The government should speed up this industrialisation projects for the provision of employment for the youths, who will be trained by the free and compulsory education programme.
“The news that 1,000 youths are to be sent abroad for entrepreneurial training is commendable,” Orama said.
Speaking on the state of the nation, the bishop assured President Goodluck Jonathan of prayers from the church.
“We need to advice that he needs to put around him people who can implement his transformation agenda and avoid sycophants and corrupt people.
“We appeal to all to give him the needed support and encouragement,” Mr. Orama said.
The clergyman called on the president to tackle security challenges seriously and stop “this endless and senseless killing of innocent people.”
“We welcome the recent news that the Boko Haram leader is now ready for dialogue and we hope for the best,” Mr. Orama said.
He called on the police to let Nigerians know what had been done so far about the fuel subsidy bribery scandal and that of the pension funds.
On the proposed constitutional amendment, the bishop advocated for rotational presidency to allow all zones opportunity to be in the exalted position.
“With a zoning formula, all zones will have a chance at the presidency, and this will give us the needed peace and harmony in a politically tense country,” Orama suggested.
He urged the Church in Nigeria to wake up to the responsibility of evangelism and also advised the citizens against corruption and violence.
In his speech at the occasion, the Akwa Ibom Deputy Governor, Nsima Ekere, called on Nigerians to be patient with the present government both at the state and federal levels.
Mr. Ekere said that he was happy to be part of the administration that had performed creditably well.
He assured the citizens that all the lofty projects of the Akpabio’s administration would be actualised before the end of the tenure.