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Saturday, April 13, 2019


By Ekemini James

When an American Scholar, Warren Gamaliel Bennis posited that "Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality and that great things are accomplished by talented people who believe they will accomplish them", he must have had people like the reelected Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel in mind.

Right from the inception of Governor Emmanuel's administration, the dynamic Governor has proven himself not just a talented leader but also a focused, knowledgeable, passionate and a capacity leader endowed with superlative sense of leadership and accomplishment.

May we digress a bit to memory lane, before Mr. Udom Emmanuel was sworn in as the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, many didn't see the great potential embedded in us but today, with his brainchild project AKEES, agriculture has received various degrees of attention which shows that the Governor is a futuristic leader who is not just concerned about today but the future generation.

Before the Federal Government of Nigeria declared agriculture as 'purely business,' this state had dubbed it 'top priority.'

With the establishment of the 100 hectares AKEES Commercial Farms at Ekeya Okobo LGA, which is said to be the largest vegetable farm in the South South region of Nigeria, you will agree with me that Akwa Ibom State is leading in agricultural revolution in view of building a post oil Akwa Ibom, getting young people off the streets and into work and reawakening the spirit of enterprise in our people.

Common vegetables currently being propagated at the said 100 hectares farm includes: Cucumber, improved tomatoes seedlings, watermelon, chilly pepper, cabbage, hot pepper, Lettuce, dwarf pawpaw and other high yielding seedlings. The farm has a session for piggery, snailing, fishery and high breed yellow maize and it is just one of the many initiatives of Udom led administration to get young people off the streets and into work.

Agriculture is one area in the State that has regained National prominence and accolades. It is a thing of joy that Akwa Ibom State is now a reference point in terms of Agriculture courtesy of the current administration. His (AKEES) initiative has within a short period of time provided massive employment for our youths across the value chain.

As part of the assessment speech, the Coordinator of the Scheme, Elder Ufot Ebong said "His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel has come to reawaken the spirit of enterprise; bringing out the entrepreneurship spirit of an Akwa Ibom person through the Dakkada Creed. He clearly told us that we are born great and must be great. Through his policies on agriculture, skill acquisition and job creation, we have a story spotted without being told."

Without any atom of psycophancy, it is visible to the eyes and audible to the ears that Mr. Udom Emmanuel has inaugurated a Technical Committee on Agriculture and Food Sufficiency; provided free fertilizers, oil palm and cocoa seedlings and the 450 hectares of cassava plantation in 15 Local Government Areas. Refurbishment and upgrading of three 10mt/day cassava processing factories in the three Senatorial Districts of the state.  The Establishment of 22 hectares of improved cocoa plantation in six Local Government Areas - Ini, Essien Udim, Mkpat Enin, Ikono, Abak and Ukanafun are practical steps taken in ensuring food sufficiency.

Also, after exhaustive deliberations on the potentials and invaluable merits of agriculture to an economy, he established 35 hectares of improved oil palm plantation in 15 Local Government areas - Ikono, Itu, Ibiono Ibom, Okobo, Ini, Abak, Ikot Ekpene, Uyo, Obot Akara, Uruan, Eket, Essien Udim and Ibesikpo Asutan.

Governor Udom is a man that doesn't believe in throwing money around. He believes in showing people the way to sustainable wealth which is agriculture. He knows that Agriculture and food sufficiency are very critical to the well-being and socioeconomic transformation of the people. In his administration, agriculture engages over 70 percent of the State's population with the  capacity of catapulting the Star from consumption oriented economy to a market driven economy. 

Recall, that when AKEES was established, there were flurry of reactions. While some people said it was another platform for stealing money, others argued that it's timely and commendable. But today,  individuals are becoming independent and self-reliant economically. This is Udom's path towards elimination of stagnation and poverty.

However, the Governor has so far trained over 450 youths in mechanized farming/vegetable cultivation; 2,000,000 (two million) coconut seedlings at Ikot Abasi, Mkpat Enin, Eastern Obolo axis and has registered over 4,920 in rice farming.

Conclusively, we may not have gotten to our desired destination but we have left where we used to be in the area of agriculture. Akwa Ibom today can boast of an enhanced food production capacity to feed its people and also for export. With all the investments in Agriculture, the State is poised to become the food basket of the South-south region and a major food hub in Nigeria.

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