Armed Forces Command And Staff College Lauds Gov Emmanuel’s Industrialisation Strides
By Umoh-Obong Kingsley |
The Nigerian Armed Forces and Staff College, a distinguished institution in the Armed Forces on environmental studies, has commended the industrialisation strides recorded in Akwa Ibom State under the leadership of Gov. Udom Emmanuel in the last two and a half years.
The team, made up of 49 participants/administrative staff of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Nigeria (SC 40), gave the applauds during a visit to the state Ministry of Information and Strategy, Uyo on Thursday with the theme: “National Security and Youth Empowerment”.
While stating the purpose of the visit, Lt. Col. M. O. Edide, disclosed that the College is one of the distinguished institutions which trains students in three main courses – senior, junior and staff duties courses on environmental studies.
The college, he said, in its wisdom, thought it necessary to select this team owing to the renewed figure of the federal government on national security through youth empowerment, which is key to addressing all areas in security challenges we have had in the last few years.
Leader of the team, Deputy Commandant, Rear Admiral Ifeola Mohammed, thanked the Honourable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Charles Udoh, and commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for the level of development the team has witnessed in the state since arrival on Sunday, 26 November.
“I must thank you most sincerely for the erudite presentation and the manner in which you have put to create perspectives. I also commend the vision of Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, towards youth empowerment which supports national security as well as harnessing all the various potentials of both the natural and human resources and the intellect of the people to ensure that Akwa Ibom State becomes the Singapore of Nigeria.
“This is how visions are driven. You come out firstly, state your vision, put them down and let everybody share in the vision. I’m very elated to know that Akwa Ibom has the largest syringe factory in the whole of Africa. This is a very great achievement. I congratulate the Governor for his great vision.”
He disclosed that another thing that really inspired him is the coconut refinery in the state, which, according to him, has several uses both for the country and the youths as it creates necessary quality employment to empower them, adding that it is applaudable, and urged other states of the federation to emulate the vision.
Rear Admiral Ifeola further stated that “Nigeria as a country needs to diversify from oil because other parts of the world are already seeing beyond oil by building technologies to sustain their economies. I’m impressed that Akwa Ibom State is leading the way in putting things in place, practical things that you can see on ground. That is another great achievement.
“We visited the Godswill International Stadium (Nest of Champions) and were indeed impressed with the level of facilities at the stadium which enabled the Super Eagles to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“We have gone round most of the cities in the state since on Sunday that we came, and have seen the Agric Farms, and interacted with the people. I must confess that your road infrastructure is awesome.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Charles Udoh, informed the team that Akwa Ibom has contributed immensely towards national security and youth empowerment.
He described the visit as apt and timely, saying that the tour will not have been complete without visiting the Ministry of Information and Strategy, which, according to him, is the databank and an outlet of government information.
Speaking on the theme of the tour, the Information Boss stated that “The issue of national security and youth empowerment is very critical in a fledging democratic setting such as ours. Therefore discourse on the theme is very timely and expedient.
“Commonly put, National security is where a government protects its territorial boundaries and citizens against all forms of crises and attack by enemies or foes, from within and outside, using all available measures such as political power, diplomacy, economic power, military power and so on.
“Within your short visit, it is expedient for me, to take you through briefs on our fast growing state and indeed the achievements of the two and half years old administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel.”
Speaking further, Mr Charles Udoh said: “The present administration, the 10th on the leadership row of the State, with Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel as the Chief Executive, focuses on industrialization, working with Nineteen (19) Ministries and Two (2) Bureaux, for efficient service delivery.
“On May 29, 2015, when the government came on board, Akwa Ibom people went agog with palpable excitement over the peaceful handing-over of power to Mr. Udom Emmanuel as the fourth democratically elected Governor of the State.
“Two and half years on, the enthusiasm is still heightened, largely due to the zeal, determination and pragmatic ways with which Governor Emmanuel has handled the affairs of the State especially in the face of the economic recession in the country. To start with, this is one of the very few states in Nigeria, where civil servants are paid their monthly salaries as at when due. Governor Emmanuel is a People-oriented leader with high premium on manpower development.
“Since assumption of office, Governor Emmanuel has continued to make emphatic imprints on the socio-economic and geo-political landscape of the state. Propelled by his Five-point agenda of Job Creation, Poverty Alleviation, Wealth Creation, Economic and Political inclusion, Infrastructural Consolidation and Expansion, the Governor started by putting in place think-tanks for the galvanization of technical and professional inputs that will interpret and bring into concrete realities, the lofty goals of his administration.
“In furtherance of this, Governor Emmanuel constituted Technical Committees for Ibom Deep Seaport, Agriculture and Food Sufficiency as well as Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). The Technical Committees had since commenced work with results, coming in droves as manifested in the realization of such gigantic projects and construction of high flying companies in the state such as the 400 million annual capacity Jubilee Syringe factory, the digital Metering Solutions Company, the Coconut refinery and the Bamboo fibre industry underway, among others.
“Proudly, government’s commitment to Foreign Direct Investment has resulted in the naming of Akwa Ibom as the State attracting the most Foreign Direct Investment, only second to Lagos, by the National Bureau of Statistics. Recently too, the Country Manager of the World Bank, Rachid Benmessaoud, emphasized that, our state, Akwa Ibom is the best place to do business. These indeed are testimonies of the good leadership and governance of the state, piloted by a Governor with sound business acumen, integrity, transparency and of course the fear of God.
“In this vein, to ensure national security, a nation needs to possess economic security, energy security, environmental security etc. Security threats are not only conventional such as foes from outside the nation, but also non- conventional threats like violent, youth unrest, criminality, vices, natural disasters and arson.
“Categorically, youth unemployment which has bedeviled the country for so long, is a critical threat to national security, growth and development of our nation, Nigeria. Issues of Boko Haram in the North, wiping away towns, leaving people as refugees and Militancy in the Niger Delta region, breaking down oil pipelines and causing untold hardship to the people, all criminality perpetrated by unemployed youths in our society are not new to us.
“As we know, youths form the major part of the productive segment or working population of the nation. Unfortunately, a greater percentage of this group within age bracket (15 – 35 years) are unemployed which leads to criminality, addiction to drugs, robbery, assassination, thuggery, rape, kidnapping, rituals etc.
“Conscious of this fact youths are very critical in the growth and development of the nation and indeed in national security, as they constitute the greater percentage of the working population, deliberate efforts must be made to produce quality and productive youths to safeguard the future of the nation,” he concluded.
On the contribution of the oil companies towards youth empowerment, Mr Charles Udoh stated that the contribution of the International Oil Companies (IOCs) is a lingering issue particularly in the Niger Delta as there has been constant agitation for the relocation of the oil companies to their primary locations.
He said that Akwa Ibom State is the largest producer of oil and the companies using the oil have their headquarters in Lagos with thousands of staff building estates in there while nothing is done where they are exploiting the oil.
“If ExxonMobil had its headquarters in Akwa Ibom State, it would be of great impact on the economy and the youths of the state and the issue of insecurity will be solved. If those estates in Lagos were built here, it would improve the economy of the state. Right now, we cannot say ExxonMobil has contributed significantly in the state.
“They complained of not having good offices to work in the state, Akwa Ibom State Government has started constructing a smart 21 storey building which will house world-class amenities any company can work with.
“Recently, the Niger Delta came together under PANDEF and had series of seminars which Vice President Yemi Osinbajo attended, which was part of the efforts to persuade the IOCs to relocate their headquarters to their base of operation. Imagine if ExxonMobil, Sharon and Shell are in Niger Delta. It means that most of the problems we have in terms of insecurity will evaporate because youths will have work to do. How much does a civil servant earn compared to that of an ExxonMobil staff.”
In his remarks, Maj. A. Z. Usman, thanked the commissioner for the informative and educative brief, saying that it has broaden their knowledge and understanding on the present administration of Akwa Ibom State Government, manpower development in the state and the five-point agenda of the state Governor.
He said they are better informed on the achievement of the government of Mr Udom Emmanuel in youth empowerment, contribution of the state government to national security and employment, and pledged to make good use of the knowledge garnered during the course and future endeavour.
Also present at the event were Navy Captain C. A. Inoka; Commander B. A. Bassey; Lt. Col. R. C. Coetzee, Commander A. O. Obisesan; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Pastor Praise Okon; Director of Technical Services, Mr Inyang Jameson; Director of Information, Mrs Comfort Umanah; Director of Public Relations, Mr Sunday Antai; Acting Director, Strategy, Mrs Grace Akpan; Deputy Director, Uyo Zone, Mr Ini Nkantion and other officials at the ministry.