…Applauds Udom Emmanuel’s Industrialization Drive
By Aniedi UKOENANG
In the spirit of Akwa Ibom at 33 celebrations, the immediate past Commissioner for Environment and Petroleum Resources, Rt. Hon. Ekong Sampson has cautioned that ‘a weak economy mounts pressure on the survival of democracy’.
Sampson, a former Commissioner, and former lawmaker in the state made the remark last weekend at Watbridge Hotel, Uyo, where he joined members of Uyo Book Club in their September reading session to pay tributes to Akwa Ibom State at 33.
In his message to the people and government of Akwa Ibom state, Sampson paid tributes to the founding fathers of the State and others who have saddled various leadership positions for maintaining the unity of the people.
He also seized the occasion to call for selfless contributions to the development of the state irrespective of the political and cultural divide, with particular attention to diversification of the economy and strengthening of the private sector in order to spread the wealth and reduce dependency on government or crude oil.
According to him, “we can diversify the various flanks of the economy because a weak economy put pressure on democracy, but a buoyant economy puts a safety belt against rebellion, against tension that forms distraction, so we need to put in place a vibrant economy to serve as a safety belt for democracy. And the way to do it is to diversify”.
Applauding Governor Udom Emmanuel for his effort at improving the economy of the state he said “the government of Udom Emmanuel is working very hard to diversify. Ibom Air is one strong statement that we have taken bold steps to diversify. And through Ibom Air, Akwa Ibom has won the respect of not just Nigeria but the world. Ibom Air is a very bold step at diversification”.
“Agriculture is also key. In times like this, we must also explore the opportunities in agriculture and that will not be left for government alone, everybody must now become a farmer in this state if we must feed ourselves. Udom Emmanuel’s commitment to industrialize the state and strengthen the private sector is also well recognized because we need a vibrant private sector to help drive growth”. He added.
Earlier, the convener of Uyo Book Club and ace communicator, Dr. Udeme Nana in his opening remarks called for stock-taking on the journey to statehood and experiences so far in Akwa Ibom’s 33 years of existence.
Nana opened the floor by reading a poem he titled, ‘A song for Akwa Ibom’, narrating the history, odyssey of the Akwa Ibom people, and eulogizing the state and her past leaders for their effort at rapidly developing the state.
He read, “… at 33, Akwa Ibom,
Christened to celebrate the vastness of the Almighty
Stands safe and majestic
Rearing, roaring like a hungry lion.
Her potentials offer immense possibilities for land, air, and sea.
Akwa Ibom is safe like an oasis of peace
Promising like youth full of vigour
Poised to fulfill his mission”, Nana road
The highpoint of the event was the presentation of a birthday cake to Ekong Sampson who recently marked his birthday.