Gov Emmanuel Has Secured Our Future –A’Ibom School Children
By Umoh-Obong Kingsley |
Tears of joy, emotions and gladness rented the air on Monday when school children across the 31 local government areas of Akwa Ibom State stormed the Banquet Hall Grounds in thanksgiving to the state Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, for impacting meaningfully in their academic endeavours.
The epoch-making event tagged: “Akwa Ibom Children’s Mega Thank You Reception”, organised by Arise African Scholar’s Initiative in conjunction with Education Monitoring Unit of the Office of the office of the Governor, witnessed the children coming out in great numbers to thank the Governor the free, compulsory and qualitative education policy, which is absolutely a thing of joy to them, their parents and teachers.
The children, in their thank you messages, expressed appreciation to Governor Udom Emmanuel for his love for quality education, and the free, compulsory and qualitative education policy in the State, and the payment of the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) fees for every Akwa Ibom child in public secondary school within the state.
They also thanked him for the renovation of public primary and secondary schools in the state which provides comfortable and conducive environment for us to study, and pledged to make best use of the opportunities provided to improve themselves and contribute meaningfully to the development of Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria at large.
The students also appreciated the Governor for recruiting qualified teachers in deferent public schools across the state, as well as working tirelessly to create opportunities for the development of sons and daughters of Akwa Ibom State.
As the saying goes, a golden fish does not hide, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Education Monitoring, Mrs Idongesit Etiebiet, while setting the tone for the occasion, stated that the development strides of the Governor are not hidden, adding that “This is the first time in the history of Akwa Ibom State, that children trooped out in great numbers to register their profound appreciation to a sitting Governor and his wife in recognition of his benevolence to their parents.”
She thanked the Governor for the payment of over N2 billion as WAEC and NATEB fees for graduating students of all public schools in the state; payment of subventions to all public primary and secondary schools in the state; rehabilitation and renovations of over 350 schools across the three senatorial districts of the state; prompt payment of salaries to all civil servants especially teachers; promotion and appointments of the parents to new positions of responsibility thereby making his promise of job creation to be a reality.
Mrs Etiebiet also thanked wife of the Governor, Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel, for building over 2,000 homes to widows, widowers and indigenes in the society and empowerment programmes for the women in different ways ranging from the setup of small scale businesses for them, giving of grants and soft loans to those whose businesses had dwindled to boost their businesses, building of industries like the cassava processing factories, palm oil processing factories, oil mill, etc which have created job opportunities for Akwa Ibomites.
The Governor’s aide appreciated for the peaceful and successful conduct of the just concluded local government chairmanship elections which was free and fair. He has also provided free medical care for children between 0-5 years of age.
The Commissioner for Education, Prof. Victor Bassey Inoka, in his welcome address, described Mr Udom Emmanuel as a Governor who has totally grabs the fundamental understanding of what development is all about, saying that there are two components to the development of a society – primary and the secondary aspects of development.
According to him, “The primary aspect, which is the most important, refers to the human capacity, moral and intellectual development, while the secondary aspect deals with the infrastructures and physical development that we see.
“Governor Udom Emmanuel has combined these two aspects, understanding that the primary aspect is the most important, that is why he has continued to make education free and compulsory for all Akwa Ibom children.”
He added that Governor Emmanuel has improved upon the physical structures in terms of buildings, equipment and facilities in the schools. A closer look discovers the passion and commitment that he has in providing what is known as total quality education, an education made for total man, hence the Dakkada philosophy complements the development.
Prof. Inoka further stated that Governor Emmanuel is re-echoing what the former President Barrack Obama said when he was asked what his priority was for his people, and he repeated answered ‘Education’. “He is empirical evidence to confirm that education is the most important tool for transforming the society.
“Therefore, these school children have come to say thank you to their benefactor. The dakkada philosophy tells us that Akwa Ibom person must look for what is good, noble, just and what is right. It is noble for a beneficiary to come and say thank you to its benefactor.”
He gave kudos to the organisers of the event for not preventing the children from coming to see the Governor, saying “Just as Jesus said in Matthew 19:14 that ‘Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.’ The kingdom of God does not only belong to these children, but the future of the society belongs to them. What we are witnessing is the show of support, love and solidarity that these children have come to give their governor.”
Chairman of the occasion, the Honourable Commissioner for Housing and Special Duties, Mr Akan Okon, in his speech, noted that in the last 30 months in office, Governor Emmanuel has made significant impact in all aspects of Akwa Ibom state economy, little wonder he has been currently endorsed by the youths, women and other segments of the state.
“Today, the school children across the 31 local government areas of Akwa Ibom State are here to thank you for the impact you have made in their lives ranging from the free, compulsory and qualitative education they are enjoying; payment of National Examination Council (NECO) and West African Examination Council (WAEC) fees annually for them; prompt and consistent subvention the government has been paying to various schools; and the prompt payment of salaries to their teachers and parents.”
In his remarks, the State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, stated that this was the first of its kind in this country where children show gratitude to their governor, and assured that the cardinal question they asked during their presentation if he will be there till 2023 so that they can continue to enjoy the free and compulsory education and other things the government has done for them, that he will be there to continue the policy even after he might have left office.
Governor Emmanuel who was ably represented by his deputy, Mr Moses Ekpo, assured the school children that he has put together a foundation that will ensure that all of the students who are the hope for tomorrow, and will be leaders of this state and the nation by extension, will continue to enjoy the facility of free education.
He said “As far as this government is concerned, I will only continue to do those things that will ensure that we have our children always in readiness to take over from him and other leaders of the state so that there will be no vacuum, and progress continued.
“Be reminded that payment of the WAEC fees is only for students who are brilliant, but not for those who want to repeat the examination. What that means is that you must be studious, face your study with sincerity and hard work so that you will continue to enjoy the facility.
“Be rest assured that your future is very rosy and you will be given opportunity to compete comfortably with any child from any part of this country and beyond. You will not have any reason to regret being born in Akwa Ibom State.”
The Governor assured the children that there is security facility to protect them from exploitation and issue of unfortunate incidents of rape, and promised that the government will fight to a standstill to have them protected.
He therefore urged them to shun cultism and every other social vices that could ruin their future, and embrace those things that will bring honour to their parents.
Dignitaries at the occasion were thrilled by the school children with stunning performances ranging from the theme song using the Michael Bolton’s ‘Lean on Me’ soundtrack, Drama presentation using ‘You Raise Me Up’ music by Josh Groban; dances; song presentation by physically impaired students, cultural display, and Dakkada Creed recitation.
Educational materials were also unveiled and presented to the students by the Governor’s Wife, Martha.
The event was also graced by Wife of the Governor, Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel; Secretary to the State Government, Sir Etekamba Umore; Princess Akpabio Akinmoyo, Chairperson, Arise Africa Scholars Initiative (A.A.S.I); Commissioners and other dignitaries in the educational sector of the state.