Sustainable development for governments at all levels comes through industrialization and the provision of infrastructure and each of the needs differ from state to state, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel has declared.
The Governor who stated this while speaking as Guest Lecturer at the Founder’s Day Lecture of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State on Thursday said, development should not be limited to the improvements in the welfare of citizens, but should be defined by the capacity of the government to provide the environment for the welfare and wellbeing of the people on a sustainable and long-term basis.
Speaking on the topic, “CHANGING THE NARRATIVE OF DEVELOPMENT THROUGH INDUSTRIALIZATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE”, he said for different societies, the goal of sustainability varies.
“What United States needs at this time may not cohere with Japan or India. So, what Akwa Ibom needs may not be the same with Enugu or Lagos. But central to any of these is the drive to provide infrastructure and industrialize”, he submitted.
The Governor asserted that if advanced societies still invest in upgrading and providing more infrastructure for their people, then Nigeria, like other developing countries, is expected to do even more in this regard.“
He praised the University of Nigeria for being a model of academic excellence and for producing some of the brightest minds in the country.
Hear him, “Since its founding sixty-one years ago, this great citadel of knowledge has produced and helped shape some of the best and brightest minds in this country, from thinkers to doers, and some of the most impactful technocrats from our State, thus cementing further the bond of friendship forged through intellectual flourishes and commonalities of thoughts and beliefs.”
Governor Emmanuel traced historic connection between the University of Nigeria and the people of Akwa Ibom State, recounting that the motion for establishment of the university and was first moved by an Akwa Ibom son, Chief Ibanga Udo Akpabio, describing Akwa Ibom State as the crucible of the new Nigeria, he highlighted some of the gains recorded in the state in aviation, road and marine transportation, adding that his vision of ensuring the state had all the gateways for industrialization.
In his words, “Development should be about lasting change. Development should not only be about improvements in the welfare of citizens, but about the capacity of the government to provide the environment for the welfare and wellbeing of the people on a sustainable and long-term basis. We also recognized the fact that the key drivers of industrialization are the quality of infrastructure on the ground and, of course, peace and security since investors will not go to a place that is unsafe and insecure.
Continuing he said, “We thus began the strategic and careful plans to provide world-class infrastructure through land, sea and air. Today, ladies and gentlemen, the Akwa Ibom story has become a national story, a state that was once a civil service state today is being described as Nigeria’s Best Kept Secret. We didn’t just construct roads for the sake of it; we embarked on economically viable roads that would interlock the state in one seamless movement”, he asserted.
Also speaking, a member of the Board of Trustees of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Brigadier-General J.O.J Okoloagu (Rtd) described Governor Emmanuel as a model worthy of emulation and said his industrial and infrastructural development programmes account for the peace enjoyed in Akwa Ibom State.
General Okoloagu who was the Chairman of the lecture stressed that if leaders at various levels adopt Governor Udom Emmanuel’s template, the battle against insecurity and youth restiveness in most parts of the country will be resolved.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Charles Igwe said, “the story of the transformation of Akwa Ibom State under your watch is an inspiring one.
He told Governor Emmanuel that, “your mantra of changing the narrative resonates well with many Nigerians who believe we can still achieve the great potentials inherent in this great country of over 200 million people.”
Professor Igwe while presenting a special award of excellence to the Governor said his lecture was inspiring and will motivate the university community, and the nation at large to focus more industrial and infrastructural development to engage the teaming unemployed youths.