Dakkada: The Untold Story
By Imo-owo Mbede |
Akwa Ibom was created as “a model state” with great “human and material resource endowments” on the 23rd day of September 1987, and this date has been a constant reminder of this unique identity of the people for the last 30 years. It has been a constant reminder of a unique destiny – of greatness, of enterprise, of integrity, of audacious accomplishments and of excellence – in the Akwa Ibom bloodline.
The need for sustenance and articulation of these noble virtues was significantly re-emphasized on this date, 3 years ago, during the 28th anniversary of Akwa Ibom’s statehood, when the visionary incumbent State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel instituted ‘Dakkada’ – a moral and attitudinal reorientation initiative. This initiative, designed to reawaken the consciousness of Akwa Ibom and her people to the responsibility of fulfilling individual and collective destinies, was a child of necessity born after the Governor’s appraisal of the psycho-social terrain of his state revealed a need to invigorate a passion for excellence.
Given his firm belief in the abundant potentials inherent in every Akwa Ibom person, Governor Emmanuel established the Directorate of Marketing and Brand Management (AKSDMBM) to inculcate a ‘Dakkada’ mind-set which would foster the realization of these potentials. In his usual wisdom, the Governor carefully selected a team of competent personnel with varying but complementary core competencies to propel his vision.
Sam Edoho, a renowned brand management expert in corporate Nigeria; Ime Uwah, a reputed entrepreneur and business development strategist; Lydia Udoh, a protocol expert, strategist and entrepreneur; Louis Udom, a UK-based brand management consultant; and Josephine Bassey, a protocol and event manager were all pieced together as the Directorate’s very strategic think-tank.
Together, these vibrant ladies and gentlemen have modestly forced Dakkada into the national lexicon. This team has showcased Dakkada not just as a local imperative, but as a relevant phenomenon nationally – currently the most active social reorientation campaign in the country. Back home several bold strides have been taken not just in propagating Dakkada, but in entrenching it into the Akwa Ibom DNA by imbuing in the people a sense of responsibility and commitment to hard work, as a prelude to success. Dakkada’s success story is hardly surprising as it is further evidence of the effective service delivery that is characteristic of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s foot soldiers and, by extension, his administration.
It commenced with enlightenment programmes which traversed the nooks and crannies of the state to stir the interest of the people and the need for self-sufficiency through the utilization of resources inherent, acquired and naturally-occurring. An inherent spirit of enterprise and of dignity in honest labour was thereby re-awakened, inspiring the people to become credible “ambassadors” of the new Akwa Ibom ideology.
This can-do spirit of hard work has found expression in a massive expansion of Akwa Ibom’s entrepreneurial landscape. Never before, in the history of the state, has there been such a high prevalence of youths engaging in various trades and vocation to earn a living. This cuts across teenage school leavers, undergraduates and graduates, engaging in trading, fashion designing, shoemaking, catering, make-up artistry, cyber-entrepreneurship, beauty care (hairdressing, pedicure and manicure) and event management, amongst others.
To support and empower budding entrepreneurs and create employment opportunities, the Directorate entered into partnership with the private sector via its ‘Dakkada Support Initiative’. These included collaborations with telecom giants MTN, Nigerpet Structures Ltd., Hensek Integrated Services and Verini Construction. These collaborations have yielded dividends as 600 indigenes from across the state are telecom business owners courtesy of the Dakkada/MTN Business Start-up Empowerment programme, while another 20 youths are now certified Computer Programmers, thanks to the Dakkada/Nigerpet Computer Programming Training.
Modalities have reached advanced stages for the training and provision of modern carpentry tools for carpenters, in partnership with HENSEK Integrated Services. These are verifiable ventures which give credence to the job and wealth creation drive within the state government’s 5-point agenda.
To further the cause of promoting entrepreneurship in the state, business clinics were conducted for individuals as well as small and medium scale enterprises to build their capacities towards enhanced productivity and profitability. These business clinics culminated in induction into the ‘Dakkada Business Forum’ where these individuals and enterprises networked to discuss challenges, share ideas and receive information and professional counsel towards improved entrepreneurial practices. Well over 400 indigene entrepreneurs have acquired knowledge in Business Management, Book-keeping and software application amongst others, through trainings via the Business Forum.
Dakkada Business Forum thereafter gave birth to the ‘Dakkada Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd’ – another job/wealth-creation and empowerment vehicle of the state Government – which was duly registered and set-up in all the local government areas in the state. The first set of the 310 Dakkada Multipurpose cooperatives have been predominantly agro-based to strengthen the state Government’s efforts at reducing the prices of food in the state and Governor Emmanuel’s position that, “…If you don’t conquer food, you are not ready for development…”
The 20,000-member strong cooperatives (including farmers and other agro-businesses) have embarked on a variety of agro-businesses including cultivation of crops, rearing of livestock and food-processing, courtesy of the Agriculture Loan Scheme of the state government.
While being widely commended for his foresight in instituting and supporting Dakkada, Mr Udom Emmanuel is himself, walking the talk. The Governor consistently exemplifies the very virtues Dakkada espouses through his people-oriented efforts at ensuring that Akwa Ibom “Dakkadas” to her rightful place in the committee of States; efforts which have earned him rave reviews, recognitions and awards in his 3 years on the saddle for far. As the Marketing department of the Government, AKSDMBM also chronicles and promulgates the salient developmental strides of the Governor in the state.
These achievements are being regularly showcased during various events (like the ‘Government Projects Impact Awareness Campaign’ held in the 3 Senatorial districts and the ‘Dakkada Mobilization and Awareness Campaign’ held in the 10 Federal Constituencies) within the state. These are also visible on outdoor materials throughout the state; in the print media via the monthly Dakkada Ambassadors Newsletter and the biennial Dakkada Magazine (which is strategically distributed on airlines, foreign embassies, federal and state MDAs and hotels); while ‘Dakkada Empowerment Radio,’ is currently running on the electronic media. A website (www.dakkada.com.ng) and various programmes are propagated via social media handles on the Infobahn.
Dakkada also propagates the achievements of Akwa Ibom sons and daughters at various levels globally via the aforementioned platforms, as an inspiration to every other Akwa Ibomite to stand and be counted in every legitimate endeavour. Consequently, Dakkada opens the eyes of the world to the real Akwa Ibom by also expounding on her rich cultural heritage, as well as the immense natural endowments, opportunities and prospects that avail within this great geo-political entity.
Through Dakkada, the Akwa Ibom race is empowered for greatness, even as the land is etched deeper in global discourse for good.