The Akwa Ibom All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Mr. Nsima Ekere, says his mission to Hiltop Mansion, Uyo is buoyed by the desire to stop forceful forfeiture of the 31 local government councils’ legitimate monthly federal allocations as done by the Akwa Ibom State Government to engender grassroot development.
Though the state government wields greater influence in effecting deductions of local governments under the State-Local Government Joint Account provision, the possibility of giving the councils their accrued allocations is slim except the governor wants to ‘let go.’
Already, nine state houses of Assembly in the country (excluding Akwa Ibom House of Assembly) have passed the local government autonmy into law as hinted by Dr. Bukola Saraki, the country’s Senate President.
“It is about local government councils, the chairmen, councillors and executives who are forced monthly to sign off their legitimate federal allocations so that the government at the state can spend it on everything except the people and the local governments that own resource,” Ekere stated.
The governorship candidate spoke this Monday during the official inauguration of APC’s campaign committees and unveiling of Nsima Ekere’s manifesto at the Obong Nsima Ekere Campaign Grounds, Edet Akpan Avenue, Uyo.
“It is about communities whose roads have been degraded and they can no longer access their home with ease….It is about misrule and wrong priorities, it is about arrogance of leadership and democratic intolerance. It is about transparency in governance, about grand lies and deceit.
“It is about starving the people and the systems for three years to stockpile the financial armoury to subdue them at election time,” Ekere said.
He vowed to fight poverty and restore the collective prosperity of the state if elected governor in the 2019 governorship elections.
Ekere mentioned economy prosperity, infrastructure and rural development; education, health and social protection; security, governance and institutional reforms as the cardinal objectives of his proposed administration.
According to him, the blueprint christened ‘the new vision for our collective prosperity’, will “transform Akwa Ibom State into a leading destination for Foreign Direct Investments, a haven for local and International Investors and a self-sufficient economy, where professionalism, hospitality and the people first slogan will be the hallmark of the state.”
Decrying what he described as decline of good governance in the past three and a half years of the Udom Emmanuel governorship, Ekere said the 2019 governorship election is for the overall interest of the people of the state.
“The 2019 general election is all about you: it is about the 1.8 million young Akwa Ibom men and women without jobs and the opportunity to earn a decent living. It is about the civil servants and pensioners who have been denied their legitimate entitlements over the past three years.
He opined that “after three and a half years of stunted growth and stranded administration, we are here to heal the joblessness of a state with the second largest rate of unemployment in Nigeria.”
“Education has grossly been underfunded by the current administration, infant mortality on the high side and poor retirement situation for the aged workers of our state.
“We will have zero tolerant for corruption and we will manage the resources prudently and transparently. We will create 400 thousand direct and indirect jobs on a yearly basis, raise bursary from N5,000 to N25,000,” he promised.
Ekere also promised to bring employment-sensitive investments to put money in the pockets of Akwa Ibom applicants and artisans, motivate civil servants, train 6,000 transformative entrepreneurs to create more than 100,000 jobs on yearly basis.
He as well assured that he would adopt Conditional Cash Transfers to pay N5,000 monthly allowance to extremely poor people, the physically challenged people who will also be trained on skills.
In agriculture, Ekere pledged to intervene in the areas of enterprise development funds, commodity corporative and community farming initiative, even as he vowed to launch the Community Food Crop and Cash Crop Production Initiative.
He assured that his administration will revitalise Akwa Palm Industry within six months and make more money from it than the monthly federal allocation; establish a working Rice Mill and develop tourism, mostly by launching aggressive programmes to promote assorted types of Akwa Ibom dishes.
His blueprint also features the promise of a review and implementation process of Ibom Science Park, actualization of Ibom Deep Sea Port Project, upgrade of the Victor Attah International Airport and comprehensive rural electrification programme, revealing that the culture of bursary payment to students will return.
“We shall secure the lives and property of Akwa Ibom people. We shall implement Local Government Autonomy from day one. We shall review the Akwa Ibom State Master Plan and ensure that the state is carried in that projection. I am stepping into the ring to fight for you. I will be your voice and your eyes. I shall fight for you. Vote for us. Vote the APC”, he submitted.
Earlier, Mr Ini Okopido, the state chairman of the party, had pleaded with aggreived members of the party to sheath their sword and join hands to work for the success of the party in 2019 elections.
Okopido said that since Nsima took over as Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Comission (NDDC), peace has returned to the hitherto restive region.
He, however, tasked members of the inaugurated committees not to rest on their oars, but put in work to ensure that the APC comes out victorious in the 2019 general elections at all levels.