How Onofiok Luke will Build Akwa Ibom People – Part 1

“We have built infrastructure, we have built industries, it is time to build the people”.

Many who have paid attention to speeches presented by Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke, a Frontline Governorship aspirant in Akwa Ibom State should be very conversant with the statement quoted above.

It is a statement of hope, assurance, and a guarantee that given the opportunity, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke will not be a Governor whose concentration on any sector of the economy will ever be to the detriment of the welfare of the people. It does not mean sharing government funds, but he will ensure that government programmes and projects have direct and immediate impact on the people from all spheres of life and those who live in the farthest parts of the state be it in the marshlands of Otunene and Iwofe in Eastern Obolo, Ikpanya in Ibiono Ibom or Ikot Ukpong in Obot Akara.

‘Building the people developmental philosophy’ has been a lacuna and a deep void in Akwa Ibom’s political, developmental and administrative practice since creation. And it is only a person like Onofiok Luke who has been an advocate of a people-centered government since his university days that would have the foresight to marshal out the plans he already has for Akwa Ibom people.

“Building the people agenda” like a thrilling theatrical performance is new, fresh, galvanizing and above all, completely in acknowledgement of Akwa Ibom peoples’ peculiarities and realities.
For example, the government, both at the federal and state levels, keep praising itself over her investment in agriculture. However, a greater percentage of our vast lands remain used for subsistence farming.

The Government of Onofiok Luke will amongst other actions gather farmers in all Local Government Areas, and train them on specific crops that are favoured by their soils, and then create farm settlements where hitherto subsistent farmers are given access to machines, and other farm implements that were hitertho outside their reach to enable them carry out a commercially rewarding mechanized farming for the purpose of spreading wealth and ensuring food security. This will benefit rural dwellers maximally and place value on the culture of farming that we are known for.

In the area of health, despite the fact that Onofiok Luke is not a health worker, as a former speaker of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly, he expressed a very high level of knowledge towards the happenings in the health sector in Akwa ibom state when he paid a consultation visit to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP recently. Onofiok Luke said “I do not believe that a health worker serving in Eastern Obolo Local Government Area should earn the same hazard allowance with the person working in the urban areas”.
The above statement alone showed high level of readiness and political will to solve the problem of absolute neglect of the health structure in the rural areas, where health workers reject postings and rather insist on being posted to urban areas of the state.
He also has plans to pay keen attention to the neglected primary healthcare and hospitals in rural communities too. Onofiok wants a better life for all Akwa Ibom people and not just people in the urban centres.

In Education, Mr. Luke vowed to restore students’ bursary across the state as a way of subsidizing the burden of school fees. He also said that he would not pay lip service to the free education project but would match free education with the provision of basic amenities in public schools to make the public schools very attractive and qualitative enough for even the children of the rich to comfortably enroll; he pledges very regular training and retraining of school teachers in government schools.

His approach to governance seems to be very different. This is indeed the developmental philosophy that Onofiok Luke studied within and outside the country before now, for a time like this where a new developmental ideology; an ideology founded on many human experiences and realities on ground, rather than one that is ignorant of Akwa Ibom hues and cries will be needed to redefine governance.

Again, it is worrying why no Government since 1999 had considered replicating Ariaria market in Aba in Akwa Ibom State. These are projects that impact directly on the economic well being of Akwa Ibom people.
In the first two years in office, Onofiok Luke will duplicate Ariaria market in Akwa Ibom State and also relocate the mechanic village to a larger space, putting in place a training facility for our people to professionalize their crafts. Our mechanic village will attract people from neighbouring states who wish to fix their cars in a reliable and professional set up to drive down to Akwa Ibom State and spend money in our economy.These are projects that impact directly on the people.

Onofiok Luke in the tourism sector will make Ibeno, Eastern Obolo and Mbo Local Government residents become rich people by developing their beaches to attract tourists. Tourists will visit these places and spend money and make the business people in these places rich.

A general culture of using Government money to serve the people by happily paying entitlements of civil servants, contractors and political office holders, are capable of spreading wealth to the deepest fabric of the society and this shall be the modus operandi of Onofiok Luke’s administration.

In the coming series, we shall take a deeper and more detailed look at the various sectors of the economy as a way of laying bare the blueprint and manifesto of “Building Together, Grrowing Together” of Rt. Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke.

Wisdom Bassey

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