Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel on Saturday said his administration has attracted over 20 “economically viable and employment-generating” industries to the state since he was sworn into office in 2015.
Akwa Ibom, however, is among the six states with the highest unemployment rate in the country, according to data from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics.
Imo State had the highest percentage of unemployed people in Nigeria in the fourth quarter of 2020, retaining a position it held in the second quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said in its latest labour force report.
Imo was followed by Adamawa and Cross River States. The three states recorded 56.6 per cent, 54.9 per cent and 53.7 per cent unemployment rates respectively. Yobe, Akwa Ibom and Rivers completed the top six.
Mr Emmanuel, who said the central focus of his eight-point agenda was to change the state from a “civil service state” to one with a robust manufacturing base, scored his administration 85 per cent in terms of performance.
“Through the contacts we had established in our prior careers in the private sector, both local and international, and through the highly commendable efforts of the Technical Committee on Foreign Direct Investments which I had set up shortly after I was sworn in, in 2015, we have attracted to this State, over 20 economically viable and employment-generating Industries,” Mr Emmanuel said in a broadcast to mark his six years in office as governor.
Mr Emmanuel listed industries attracted to the state by his administration to include pencil, plastics, toothpicks and tissue papers manufacturing plants, metering and syringe manufacturing plants, Sterling Petrochemicals, Ibom Airline among others.
He said his administration has also made “huge investments in the power sector with the building of several injection sub-stations”.
He said the international terminal building currently under construction at the Victor Attah Airport will be the best and the smartest in the country, when completed.
“We have several industrial clusters which produce such items as pencils and toothpicks, plastics, tissue papers etc. We have the rice mills in Ini Local Government Area, and several cassava processing mills. The narrative is changing and God is doing new things in our State,” the governor said.
On healthcare, Mr Emmanuel said most of the general hospitals in the state were abandoned when he came into office, adding that his administration has performed “extremely well” in healthcare delivery.
“In healthcare delivery services, I make bold to say unequivocally that we have done extremely well. When we came in, most of the general hospitals were derelict.
“Today, because of our belief that a healthy population is a good measurement range of a working Government, we have refurbished, remodeled and equipped with the most modern amenities the general hospitals in all the Ten Federal constituencies.”
Governor Emmanuel said his administration has made huge investment in education which can be seen in building of new school blocks, laboratories and recruitment of 1,000 teachers through the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).
“We have deployed huge resources to this sector. Brand new school blocks with the most modern science laboratories have been commissioned through the Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee.
“We are in the process of completing the recruitment exercise for 1,000 new teachers and another 1,000 through SUBEB, bringing to 2,000, the new teachers we are adding to the system.”
He also talked about the administration’s investments in agriculture.
“Today, our investments in agriculture have borne incredible fruits. Our staple food items such as garri, rice, yam etc are produced mostly by our people here. From the rice mill in Ini Local Government Area, to the numerous garri processing mills scattered all over the three senatorial districts.”
Speaking on the 2023 elections, Mr Emmanuel reeled out a series of questions on who the people would want to succeed him as governor.
“Do you want a leader whose approach to testing his popularity would be to drive in a long convoy to Ibom Plaza and throw money at the hapless people, watching them scramble for the money and the people would say that’s ‘Ano owo Mkpo! (one who is good at giving)’ Is that the kind of a successor you want? Is that the kind of empowerment our people deserve?
“Or do you desire a successor with a known e-mail address that the international business community recognises?”
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...