Governor Akpabio Should Be Emulated - African Leaders At Security Watch Africa in Banjul
29 Oct 2011: Aniekan Umanah
The plush and the scenic environment of the Sheraton Gambia on the 14th of October played host to top brass security chiefs and dignitaries from different parts of Africa who gathered for the Security Watch lecture and awards. It was on this occasion that Governor Akpabio was honoured for his contributions to security and safety in Akwa Ibom State and the sub region. The event was billed for 5.00 pm. The Gambian Vice President Mrs Istook Ngie–Saidy was Special Guest of Honour and came to the venue on schedule for the event. In the course of our discussion and presentation, Vice President Njie-Saidy was full of commendation for Governor Godswill Akpabio. In her words "the enduring changes taking place in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria under Governor Akpabio should be emulated." She further asserted that "from what we've read and heard, it means there's a lot happening in that part of Nigeria, and this gives us hope as Africans."
Others who did not hide their admiration for Governor Akpabio were former Ghanaian Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, the Gambian Minister of Interior, and the Nigerian FCT Police Commissioner, Mike Zuokumor. They were all in agreement that the achievements of Governor Akpabio within four years have brought human face to the business of governance.
Later that evening, we all converged at the banquet hall of the hotel for the Security Watch Africa award proper. The gold fish that he is, Governor Godswill Akpabio was singled out and honoured with a Gold Star Award for Safety – Conscious State and Regional Government. Security Watch gave reasons why they chose Governor Akpabio for the honour. The organizers highlighted the huge investment and creative efforts made by Chief Akpabio in ensuring that Akwa Ibom State is safe for her citizens and visitors as well in spite of the challenges faced in the Niger Delta. Some of the efforts of Governor Akpabio highlighted included the provision of 200 Hilux Jeeps and patrol trucks, gunboats and other gadgets for security agencies in the state; establishment and equipping of the Joint Task Force code – named Operation Aduma, massive investment in technologies and equipment to checkmate crime and huge logistics support to security outfits in the State.
But one experience which organizers of the event singled out which to my mind is worth celebrating was the matured and effective approach adopted by the Governor in managing the March 22, 2011 pre-election violence that threatened the peace in the State. The security chiefs pointed out that despite the security threat occasioned by an attempt by an opposition political party to present Akwa Ibom as a flashpoint, Governor Akpabio rose to the occasion and succeeded in promptly restoring peace within hours to the state working with security agencies. The Governor was equally applauded for ensuring the peaceful conduct of the April 2011 general elections in the state.
Frankly speaking, Akpabio's audacity is that of transformation. Yes. The transformation and true development of any society translates into security of lives and properties. Governor Akpabio has built an arsenal of weapons against insecurity. One of the most potent is his drive towards the eradication of illiteracy. It is apparent that an educated populace would in most cases not be susceptible to criminal activities. This best describes Governor Akpabio's policy of free and compulsory education to all residents in the state, a tool he designed to fight criminality amongst the children of the State.
It is a known fact that unemployment and inactivity could lead to increase in crime in any society. It is therefore in the context that the massive investment by Governor Akpabio in the transformation of Akwa Ibom from a pedestrian state to a destination could be appreciated. Thousands of employment opportunities and avenues for regenerative activities have been created for the populace. Highlights of Governor Akpabio's Uncommon Transformation include the Free and Compulsory; Free healthcare programme for children, pregnant women and the elderly; over 240 new roads constructed; 3000 rural projects executed; completed Ibom International Airport and Ibom Independent Power Project; comprehensive rural electrification programme which has linked 1400 communities to electricity; construction of the world class Tropicana entertainment complex; constructed five new general hospitals with a world class 20th anniversary hospital under construction; a brand new Governor's lodge and a state-of-the-arts banquet hall; empowerment of youths and women through Integrated Farmers Scheme and Women in Agriculture Programme.
Governor Akpabio's achievements have led to an assurance of life and hope, as Security Watch rightly pronounced. The honour for Governor Akpabio in The Gambia was however one of the growing chain of recognitions for the Governor in recent times. Also, the Governor holds the highest national honour of Niger Republic, "Gold Humanitarian Services Award," conferred on him by Niger Republic's Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Alhaji Moussa Ibrahim.
Recently, the authorities of the Nigerian Defence Academy, conferred on the Governor, the Doctorate Degree in Management Sciences, with earlier honours including; fellow of the Hussein Adamu Federal Polytechnic, Kazaure in Jigawa State, and doctoral degrees (Honoris causa) by the University of Uyo, University of Calabar, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and University of Nigeria, Nsukka while several national newspapers and magazines have honoured the Governor with Excellence Awards as the Most Outstanding Governor in Nigeria.