By Asuquo Edem
Nigeria is a multi-faceted country that comprises of up to two hundred and fifty ethnic groups with majority of them being Hausa’s, Fulani, Yoruba’s, Igbos, Ijaws, Ibibios and the rest.
On the basis of religious affiliations, these groups are known to be majorly Muslims and Christians while other religions make up and insignificant fraction.
Akwa Ibom State with a population of over five million, is located in the coastal southern part of the country, the eight largest State has over ninety percent of indigenes practicing Christianity.
Even with its vast endowment of natural resources, Akwa Ibom is also still ranked as one of the highest when it comes to unemployment.
According to a recent data by the National Bureau of Statistics, Akwa Ibom State was only second to Rivers State with a 36% unemployment rate while Bayelsa State ranked third with 30.4%. Rivers State mentioned above leads the pack with 41.8% unemployment rate.
Ironically, these are States blessed with abundant natural resources where the entire country depends on for revenue generation.
Akwa Ibom State has over the years been ranked as one of the States that receive the highest monthly allocation from federal government where allocation for three months hit about N50 billion or more.
The State was also reported to have received the highest amongst States with a towering N143.6 billion in 2017 which saw Osun State trailing with the lowest allocation of N10.4 billion for 2017. Most baffling, in as much as it is also worrisome is the fact that even as federal allocation keep increasing as the months pass, little or nothing seems to be happening in the State.
Recently, the State brought up plans to build an 8500 capacity international worship centre with a budget put at N10 billion. Even though this piece is not in anywhere meant to allude to the fact that the State cannot hold religious gatherings, but we wonder what happens to the Uyo Sports Stadium or the 30,000 capacity Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.
Call me a pagan if you so desire, but a N10 billion worship centre in State where unemployment is put at 36% is a no, no, no, obviously not at a time like this.
Politicians make so much noise about government being a continuum so where lies the 31 industries as proposed by Udom Emmanuel’s predecessor Chief Godswill Akpabio? The State Governor should on a monthly basis take stock as to how many of those promised industries have come to fruition and how many jobless indigenes of the State have been taken of the streets.
The State Government before today had floated failed empowerment programmes including Integrated Farmers Scheme(IFS) and WADEP where billions of Naira of our collective wealth were used to settle political cronies all in the name of investing in agriculture. Today none of the IFS’s farmers nor the women farmers who were given N500,000 and N250,000 respectively each are to be found.
Our State Government should in the interest of development and in all sincerity, refocus and re-channel its drive towards actual delivery of projects and programs that would touch directly on the lives of the citizenry and not waste scarce resource (as they use to say) on white elephant projects and unfruitful ground breakings.
By Asuquo Edem