By Emmanuel Uffot
Victor Attah, former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, is often regarded now as the father of modern Akwa Ibom. The reputable architect credited to have drawn the master plan of Uyo, the state capital which fate later enable him to implement it especially the network of roads when he occupied the Hilltop- Mansion for eight years is remembered not only for his modest achievements in the state in terms of projects like the International Airport and 5-Star Hotels and Golf Course but his fight for Resource Control which led to the oil producing states getting 13- percent oil derivation fund.
As the 2023 election is fast approaching with electioneering activities expected to kick-start this year, the former Governor has set agenda for those aspiring to be leaders in the state in future.
The platform for this very important and timely agenda was the 2nd Annual Lecture organized recently in Uyo by Nemo Judex Chambers, a law firm that has Emmanuel Enoidem, former Commissioner of Investment, Commerce and Industry and Immediate past National Legal Adviser of the People Democratic Party(PDP) as Principal Partner had Obong Attah as the Keynote speaker on the topic ‘ Setting The Agenda For The Next Generation In Akwa Ibom State’.
Attah, whose speech was anchored on the often-inherent acrimony between a former Governor and his successor in what is known in political parlance as god father and god son, emphasised that when there is a quarrel between the past and the present, the future is lost. He said the negative product of this quarrel between past and present always manifest in non-continuation of projects and policies of the past administration by the present no matter how laudable. He listed his vision of a Science Park and Specialised University of Technology which is the backbone of economic development, he could not complete but was abandoned by his successor. His opinion is that the incoming leaders, specifically Governors should set agenda for themselves by having a vision of what the people need, dwell on peoples-oriented projects and not waste money on white elephant projects that add no value to the common people. He also wants the new generation leaders to revive and pursue the development of rural areas which inhabits the greater population, ensure the provision of constant power supply to all parts of the state to boost economic development, revisit for the purpose of completion, the Science Park, Ibaka Deep Seaport, now Ibom Seaport, the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility at Victor Attah International Airport and establishment of a Specialised University of Technology.
The event which also included the investiture of the former Governor with a Life Service Award and presentation of a Law Journal, Practice and Procedure by the conveners, Nemo Judex Chambers equally provided opportunities for some gubernatorial aspirants in 2023 election to announced themselves. Prominent among them was Senator Bassey Albert, representing Uyo Senatorial District. Albert who is currently seen as the leading known aspirant pending when the Governor revealed his anointed aspirant agreed with the former Governor, agreed with the notion that animosity between the predecessor and successor over some differences hinders development, he stressed that the characteristics people should look for in one that wants to rule the state is somebody that has the capacity. While commending Obong Attah for laying the foundation for the development of the state with projects like the Ibom Power, Science Park, Airport and 5- Star hotel, he emphasised that Akwa Ibom needs a leader that will not look for his projects to be remembered, but will look at projects initiated by previous governments and complete them for the good of all. The Ibiono Ibom born Senator also advocated for a future leader of the state to be one that is people friendly, accommodating and tolerate criticism.
In the vein, Akan Udofia, Commissioner of Special Duties and Aviation Development believed to be eyeing the seat listed inconsistency in policies as the bane of development not only in Nigeria but Africa. He commended former Governor Attah for his foresight in the choice of landmark projects like the Ibom Deep Seaport, and reiterated the fact that Governor Udom Emmanuel is working to ensure the completion of the project which will be a life changer in the state including the MRO at the Victor Attah International Airport.
Another would be aspirant James Aniema, though relatively unknown by many but was apt in his presentation said beyond inconsistency in policy articulation, one other factor that hinders development is lack of sustainability. He said leaders of tomorrow should look at things that earned the state resources not white elephant projects. He frowned at the attitude of Governments towards public schools and advised against the abandonment of publish schools. “We must return to build infrastructures in public schools and train and re-train teachers”.
The event also had Ndueso Essien former Minister of Housing, former Chief Judge of the State, Justice Ntem Isua rtd, Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien and retired Justice Ifiok Ukana who edited the Law Journal in attendance. They also made their contributions in the discourse.
The first edition of the Annual Lecture of the law firm, Nemo Judex Chambers held in 2020 with the theme ‘Restructuring’ had Barrister Assam Assam (SAN) as keynote speaker.
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