The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, has commended the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Alhaji Boss Mustapha for his initiative to host the Forum of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SFG) with Secretaries to State Governments (SSGs).
He said such a forum that brings the best of Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds or party affiliations, to chart a common course for the development of Nigeria, is what the country needs most now in the face of current security challenges.
In his opening remarks at the the 2nd quarter 2018 Forum of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SFG) with Secretaries to State Governments (SSGS) held at Ibom Hotel and Golf Resorts, Uyo the Akwa Ibom State capital, Governor Emmanuel said “this wonderful and inspiring optics of unity, of bi-partisanship and synergy between different layers of government is what our nation desperately needs at this time of heightened ethno-religious and partisan tensions.”
For instance, Emmanuel said, “I stand here as a governor elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hosting the Secretary to the Government of the Federation of an administration that is headed by President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) of the All Progressive Party (APC). Seated here are Secretaries to the State Government of both the PDP and APC states. What a wonderful celebration of our unity across political divide!”
Again, the governor noted that when the conveners of the forum selected Akwa Ibom State as the next host at the close of the last edition held in Yola, Adamawa State, “they did not look at Akwa Ibom State as a PDP State; they did not see Udom Emmanuel as a die-hard partisan. If they had looked at issues strictly thorough the narrow prism of partisan politics they could have chosen an APC State.”
The governor said Nigerians should use such an opportunity as the forum provides to “engender a new conversation in our country” even as he urged politicians to begin to see themselves first as Nigerians and as politicians later; warning that “Politics and politicians will come and go but the soul, spirit, abiding tenet and values of the Nigerian enterprise will endure.” He said it was time “politics of growth and development was emphasised over “politics of attrition, self-destruction and of zero-sum game”.
Governor Emmanuel noted that the theme of the Forum: Improving Access to Social Services at the National and Sub-national levels, was timely and “summarised the philosophical underpinnings of the Social Contract”. Throwing more light, he noted for instance that “Government exists to provide service to the people across national and subnational levels”, failure of which amounts to “a grave abdication of a cardinal responsibility”.
Emmanuel traced the current state of insecurity plaguing the Nigerian nation partly to government abdication of its responsibilities to the citizenry especially in the area of basic necessity like education.
“If we had provided basic necessities, it would have helped address the current security challenges we are facing”, Emmanuel posited.
Exploring further the theme of government as a social contract between the government and the governed, Emmanuel said what he essentially does is, “looking at the next generation of Akwaibomites; what I can do to better their lot, shape and mentor them to be competitive in the increasingly shrinking global real estate.”
The governor made a strong case for re-designing the country’s education curricula at all levels to emphasise entrepreneurship. He said the minds of the Nigerian youth need to be redirected from writing application letters or seeing government as the sole provider of all their needs. “We need to train our people on how to become entrepreneurs. We already have the market. 170 million Nigerians is a huge market”, the governor said.
Governor Emmanuel said Nigeria should copy from the Asian Tigers who through sheer grit and determination charted their own course that today they have become the envy of other nations.
He stressed the need for the government to deliver positive impact on the lives of the people, “change orientation, galvanise the people, and make them see government as a force for good.”
“Here in Akwa Ibom State, that precisely is what my administration has been doing: galvanising the people, inspiring them to believe in the endless possibilities that abound, challenging them to dakkada (arise) and claim the faith of their greatness… That has been our message, our mantra, and our people, gladly have accepted and internalise this philosophy”, Emmanuel further told his audience
Earlier the SGF had, in his keynote address, said the forum was conceived to “create linkages that would fast-track the development of Nigeria by offering a platform for discussion of critical developmental issues.
Mustapha noted that the Uyo forum would deliberate on issues at two levels: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Primary Healthcare Programme even as he commended the Akwa State Government on the progress so far made in its pursuits of the SDGs.
The two-day meet draws professionals and resource persons from across strategic sectors of the nation’s economy, aside the Secretaries of State of the 36 state governments of the federation amidst other top government functionaries.