By Usen Polycarp

Just as the popular response to the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) slogan “Power to the people” affirms a strong stance that the power of democracy resides with the people, it is convincing they are a determining factor that defines our democratic principles. Why then should the people not be given a rightful place in the scheme of things as far as development and good governance is concerned? It is unarguably factual that there is a greater need to strategically position the people, especially in Akwa Ibom State for a better and prosperous future, where they are made self-reliant in all spheres of life.

As we prepare for the party’s primaries in May 2022 and the 2023 gubernatorial election in the state, there has been serious debate in some quarters based on who becomes the next governor of Akwa Ibom State when the Udom led administration expires in June 2023. Regarding the foregoing, political gladiators have presented themselves for the top job and ever since the GOAL campaign blueprint for the State was unveiled by the most preferred and frontline actor in this race, Barr Onofiok Akpan Luke, it became pronounced that he was ready and prepared to deliver dividends of democracy to the people, when he came up with the mantra of “Building and Growing together” with the people.

Indubitably, Hon. Luke has contributed positively over the years in public service as a competent and sound legislator whose antecedents hold a prominent place in the notepad of history. And in his desire to advance this superlative delivery in public service, he has made his GOAL campaign blueprint very clear, people-oriented, and in trust to building them for what lies ahead. In times like the present, the blueprint of our Governor hopeful, Hon. Luke, impresses nothing but the willingness to be responsible and accountable to the people.

It could be recalled that barely two weeks ago, Luke, who is seen by so many Akwa Ibomites as the most prepared aspirant for the race, the bridge between the past, the present and the future, had during his formal declaration, pointed out his intention to prioritise investing in human capital development, to improve skills and empower Akwa Ibom people to grow, while also working on the other hand, to improve on infrastructural development, as well as attracting foreign direct investments to the state. This clearly affirmed the words of Bill Gates that “In the long run, a nation’s human capital is the main base of competition— a leading indicator of where iitis going to be 20 years from the present”

Against this background, it is important to draw our attention to some basic points why GOAL’s campaign is anchored on building the people and growing with them.

First, the GOAL project and its campaign understands that in building the people, a solid foundation is laid for growth and sustainability. It is imperative to note that the people comes before any other thing and issues affecting their growth and development should not be trivialised or politicised. By virtue of what is contained in the GOAL blueprint, developing a robust framework to invest in human capital development and in other critical areas of importance is a course without guile, and with pure purpose. The Goal project came at the right time to afford all, an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life. Though the present situation maybe stormy, we must rise – with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.

Secondly, positioning the people advantageously in key sectors to access better opportunities. In the words of Abraham Lincoln to the US Congress on July 4, 1861, “The people will save their government, if the government itself will do its part only indifferently well”. In line with the foregoing, the GOAL project knows the value and importance of the people and why building them remains top of the list. It is factual that when the people are taught how to fish, it is far better than giving them fish, and with the knowledge of how to fish comes and the principles of multiple catch that could in turn, have a multiplying effect on the economy of Akwa Ibom when our common GOALs are actualised. When the people are empowered, they are at advantageous positions to contribute positively to government programmes, policies and projects in key sectors.

Thirdly, building and growing with the people means promoting brilliant ideas for collective benefits. The GOAL project is people-oriented desires to place premium on promoting, projecting brilliant ideas that could better be harnessed for effective management of our resources in the long run. As a people full of potentials and ingenuity, we must stand our ground to support this noble course to the end and for that Akwa Ibom of our dreams.

Summarily, the above points are just few and a tip on the ice berg of what the GOAL project has in stock for Akwa Ibom people of all social classes. May God help us as electorates not to take decisions that will make this opportunity miss us. Made simply, the GOAL project stands for building the people to be self-reliant– being a major investment any government that is growth and development minded can make. Therefore, let Akwa Ibomites, as a matter of concern, rise to embrace this sign of new dawn, reject and resist any attempt to mortgage our future for a pot of porridge and suffer the consequences for another four years and beyond.

As an Akwa Ibomite, I go for the GOAL. You too can join the train to a better future, where we shall build and grow together.


Wisdom Bassey

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