APC : The Faulty Parameters. By Emmanuel Ndon “Every man, every woman who has to take up the service of government, must ask themselves two questions : Do I love my people in order to serve them better? Am I humble and do I listen to everybody, to diverse opinions in order to choose the best path? If you don’t ask those questions, your governance will not be good “. I choose to begin with the lines above as enunciated by the Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis to quench the vituperations of Eseme Eyiboh, spokesman for the APC campaign Council, Akwa Ibom State. I hold Hon. Eseme Eyiboh in very high esteem and admired his contributions and representation while in the House of Representatives. I also respect Eyiboh’s right to opinion and that of his party and of course, acknowledge Governor Emmanuel’s receptive approach to dissenting views. This piece is by no means a rejoinder to Mr. Eyiboh’s press release – for the writer is not an employee of the government neither it’s mouthpiece. The narrative here is motivated by the concern and the responsibility I have for the public – and more imperative to put the records straight for we are often confronted with publics who are, almost always, deemed to be “unsuspecting “. Eyiboh’s press release entitled “This insensitivity to the needs of our youths by the Akwa Ibom State Government under Governor Udom Emmanuel must stop ” alluded to the “scamming” of Mr. Udom Emmanuel governor of Akwa Ibom State by those he describes as “Akwa Ibom people ” in relation to the governor’s “desperation” for a second term in office. Beyond other “Akwa Ibom people”, students of the state origin, as Eyiboh also alleged ,also went to scam the governor at an “endorsement rally”. Eyiboh claimed that those students would not “genuinely” on their own support Governor Emmanuel because of his poor performance in the education sector. First of all, the governor is entitled to the luxury of solidarity based on the perception of his government by the people. As opposed to sycophancy, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has enjoyed a cordial relationship with the various segments of Akwa Ibom people – the Church, political class, organized labour, markets union, the private sector as well as ordinary folks since the turn of his administration. The solidarity rally by the National Association of Akwa Ibom State Students (NAKISS) which Eyiboh said was “contracted “,was not the first by the students body. As a matter of fact, the leadership of NAAKISS would not have identified , for the umpteenth time, with the governor should they harbour any ill feelings regarding bursary allowances or any other issue relating to their welfare.The governor’s education policy is well articulated and streamlined beyond handouts. That the governor reciprocated a friendly gesture by offering to pay transport fares to the students does not in any way represent hiring them. Recall that the students had presented printed materials for the governor’s campaign. Education generally has fared well under the present administration. The traducers must acknowledge that Udom Emmanuel inherited a huge burden that required courage and determination to conquer. The free and compulsory education policy inherited by past administrations had come under a serious infrastructure deficit until Udom Emmanuel’s government moved in swiftly to combat the challenge to ensure that school enrolment keeps pace with available infrastructure. In this regard, there have been renovation and provision of new classroom blocks with desks for students and Chairs for the staff. Such interventions dot the entire three senatorial districts of the state and are complemented by other necessities like potable water and electricity, as well as hospitals revamped by the present government. Tertiary education is not left out in the massive upgrade. The state owned university, AKSU has witnessed total turnaround in infrastructure, any doubting Thomas can visit there to verify. There are new structures all over – lecture halls, office accommodation with furniture for both campuses in Ikot Akpaden (main campus ) and Obio Akpa, in Oruk Anam local government area. Accreditation for various courses by the NUC has raised the quality and standard of its programmes as well as the performance of students and integrity of its certificates. The College of Education is also among the list of the transformation exercise. Before now, and in fact since its inception, only National Certificate in Education (NCE) were awarded to graduating students. But in its three years of massive investments, the college has been upgraded to a degree awarding institution with up to date facilities and infrastructure upgrade. In the same vein, the government extended its benevolence to Samuel Bill Theological College, Abak. The foremost pastoral training school is now wearing a new look with the old, dilapidated structures giving way to entirely new ones spawned with storey blocks ranging from lecture halls, hostel and ministration blocks. There is also the Provost quarters. Interestingly, the school has also been repositioned to run as degree awarding institution. As far as education is concerned, Udom Emmanuel’s performance is a success story. No less could be expected of a leader who is well read locally and internationally distinguishing himself as a thoroughbred professional. Perhaps not many people are aware of the conversion of College of Arts and Science Nnung Ukim to Akwa Ibom College of Science and Technology (AKCOTECH). Some may be tempted to think that it is just a change of name. But it goes beyond that. The reality is that henceforth, Ordinary and Higher Diplomas are up for grabs from a school that hitherto passed for a remedial college Another impressive feat achieved for the school is that her students can now join others to participate in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme. The conversion also suppose that the school is now eligible to benefit from the Federal Government’s Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) which will go a long way to complement the state’s commendable effort at revamping facilities. When I was with the school on a contract appointment as the Head of the Consultancy Services and Program Coordinator, I recall that the recommendation for the change of name of the school was rebuffed by the immediate past governor. Beyond these feats, the government under Udom Emmanuel has constructed the road leading to the school, which until now, was more of a bush path, alongside internal roads within the premises. If a government that is barely four years can achieve this much, why would anyone believe that students would not express solidarity and confidence with such a leader? Other than envying, Eyiboh must also recognize the fact that the All Progressives Congress and his masters have inadvertently contributed to the frenzy of solidarities enjoyed by the governor. First, the betrayal by the former governor who curried enormous confidence and protection from the man he helped install as his successor had triggered some level of sympathy for him. His arrival at the APC to regroup with old foes also meant that other groups of people would also chose to pitch tents elsewhere as evidenced in the massive defections on both sides. Similarly, education sector alone cannot be the single yardstick in the performance index of a government. As in education, the Emmanuel administration has achieved in many other sectors – its tolerant posture to accommodate opposing views, its industrial drive – compared to the 33 promised by the past administration among others – may as well endear Udom Emmanuel to the hearts of many. Here lies the basis of the quotation at the nascence of this piece : How well do the APC think they love Akwa Ibom people in order to serve them better? I guess the coming polls will decide on whose side the love lies.
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