Revolution in the education sector forms the crux of the Akwa Ibom State Government’s focus as the new year begins.
This revolution, best described as war in the education sector, comes with a physical revamp of infrastructure, retraining of teachers, employment of new ones and security of facilities.
Governor Udom Emmanuel made these known, Saturday at the Government House Banquet Hall, during a special solemn assembly to usher in the New Year 2021 and rededicate the state to God.
The Governor also predicted a better season for every sector as his administration is poised to wage war against all economic storms that hitherto militated against the speedy completion of some projects.
Pledging to reverse the trend in education tourism by Nigerians, he expressed worry on the quest to go abroad to acquire education, even in smaller African countries.
“If go to these smaller West African countries you see a lot of Nigerians there some of those universities they go to attend are not as neat as the secondary schools that we have here and you see a whole lot of Nigerians. When did we lose our pride?
“How can we be going to these smaller countries to school? We must stop it. If not anywhere, in Akwa Ibom and then try to make sure we get things right going forward”.
“In 2021 we have declared war on education the same way we declared on healthcare in the state before Covid-19. We have a comprehensive education agenda.
“We’ve mapped out. We have an education think-tank. We’ve linked up with all the Akwa Ibom eggheads across the world and we meet with them on zoom; wherever you are, once we know you have something to contribute to the development of the state, education-wise, we contact you.
“We have been compiling and we are going to launch out aggressively. We will start with physical infrastructures of those schools.
“We will train the teachers; all the secondary schools in Uyo must be fenced round beginning from this January and we will provide security men in those schools to keep the facilities we buy in those schools. Let us correct this anomaly”, he said.
The Governor however sued for parents’ cooperation in providing their children with such necessities as uniforms and writing materials, while government strives to provide infrastructure, teachers’ training and security and other needs in pursuit of the agenda, adding that there was need to return to the system of setting up committees in villages to ensure the security of school properties to complement government’s efforts.
“This year we will go back to the old structure of village councils that will control those schools when we finish with the provision of the physical infrastructure we will hand it back to the village council who will help us take care of the schools”, the Governor said.
The Akwa Ibom Chief Executive, reechoing the importance of adhering to the precautionary measures against the corona virus disease, said the government cannot afford the socio-economic impact of another lockdown and does not wish to, if the people cooperate by obeying the protocols.
“Covid-19 is real. I am at the forefront of the fight. Let’s do everything possible to protect ourselves. If we painstakingly obey all the Covid-19 protocols, I will not have any reason to lockdown the state. You might be strong in faith but some people are vulnerable, protect those that are vulnerable.
“Please parents, we are continuing with our first term to stop on 23rd January, 2021. I don’t think if we obey Covid-19 protocol I will have need to put those children back home.
Governor Emmanuel promised further investments in the health sector to ensure that each of the three Senatorial Districts in the state has a training centre for nurses and midwives.
He commended the agricultural sector for the abundance of rice in the state during the 2020 national lockdown, while promising to revisit production in other subsectors to boost output and ensure that the state has no reason to import food items that can be cultivated within the state, by the end of 2021.
The Governor sued for the support of operators of hospitality outfits in the state for the state’s innovations in the small and medium scale enterprises by patronizing the Ibom tissue paper factory, as he cautioned religious leaders to observe decorum in the discharge of their responsibilities and not use their platforms to instigate political disharmony in the state.
Delivering a sermon on the theme of the event, “We are for Signs and Wonders”, the President of Holyghost Tabernacle International, Apostle Ben Offiong, said manifestation of signs and wonders is God’s attribute that ought to be seen in his legitimate children.
The clergy explained that for one to secure his heritage in God and live in the realm of signs and wonders, he needs to be born into the family of God and continuously increase his capacity through intake of God’s word.
He predicted that Governor Emmanuel’s resolve to remain steadfast with God, shall lead to a boost in completion of projects and programmes initiated by the administration.
The rededication of the state to God was led by Dr Sunday Mbang(CON), Bishop Isaiah Isong and the Chairman of Akwa Ibom State chapter of the Christians Association of Nigeria, Rev. Ndueso Ekwere.
It was in such a gathering like this last year that the Ibom Deep Seaport project was brought before God in prayer, and today the project is a reality having been given greenlight by the Federal Government.