Akwa Ibom State Governor Mr Udom Emmanuel has charged youths of the
State to explore the abundant economic potentials to create wealth for
sustainability and self reliance.
Governor Emmanuel gave the charge during the launching of Akwa Ibom
Enterprise and Employment Scheme (AKEES) held at Ibom Hall, Uyo.
He said God has endowed the state with enormous human and natural
resources that can be utilized to grow the economy earn a living and
particularly congratulated the beneficiaries of the scheme for taking
a bold step to acquire innovative skills to boost their enterprises.
The State Chief Executive described the scheme as an answer to the
yearnings of Nigerians for the emergence of small and medium scale
industrialization programme as it is done in other developing nations
stressing that it has come at a time the nation is battling the
prevailing economic recession by exploring other means of generating
revenue following the decline in the oil revenue at the International
Governor Emmanuel who stated that the scheme was to ginger Akwa Ibom
youths and by extension Nigerian youths to explore other avenues for
economic growth through aggressive Agricultural enterprise which has a
viable value chain explained that his commitment to undertake the
cocoa maintenance and production scheme as well as Coconut Oil
Refinery was to boost the state’s economy as the price of cocoa and
coconut oil are higher than crude oil in the international market.
He pointed out that his administration would continue to encourage
cocoa cultivation by providing incentives to farmers who cultivate at
least five hectares and explained that if the state can cultivate a
hundred hectares of cocoa it will regain it ranking as one of the
major producer of the crop.
“Akwa Ibom used to be the fourth largest producer of cocoa in Nigeria
and we are ready to get back there. Our target, which is very
measurable, is that in the next one and half year, we want to double
current production. In the next three years, we expect to have up to
70,000 to 80,000 acres of cocoa plantation in Akwa Ibom. I am sure,
with that we will rank among the first two in Nigeria”. The Governor
The Governor pointed out that the specie of cocoa produced in the
state has the best flavour and that a business retreat to brainstorm
on how to utilize the various natural endowments to create wealth
would be held to enable the State go into large scale production of
cassava, tomatoes, vegetables and other cash crops with the application
of the right technology to feed industries and for both local
consumption and export.
Setting the tone for the event, the Senior Special Assistant to the
Governor on Technical Matters, Elder Ufot Ebong said that AKEES is a
franchise scheme incorporating technical and vocational skill
acquisition and entrepreneurial training designed for the
implementation of the state government’s new Enterprise Development
He added that the scheme aims at empowering unemployed youths to
acquire skills that would enable them produce goods and services that
compete with those in other climes adding that the project is in line
with the Dakkada philosophy which encourages Akwa Ibom people to rise
to greatness in whatever their hand finds to do.
Elder Ebong who informed the people that AKEES programme is free for
participation with no age or qualification barrier stated that
beneficiaries have opportunity to acquire entrepreneurial skills
without incurring heavy startup costs and that on completion of their
training the participants would be deployed to a business franchise to
practice their trade.
The initiative according to the special Assistant is to re-awaken the
spirit of enterprise among youths and position them to benefit from
the industrialization programme of the State government.
At the event guest speakers included a former Attorney General Mr.
Kanu Agabi, Information and Communication Technology Expert, Dr
Emmanuel Ekuwem, Prof. Vincent Anigbogu and Dr Adelaja Adesina,
expressed appreciation to the Governor for sowing the seed for
entrepreneurial development among the youths saying it would germinate
to reposition the state on the Nigerian industrial map and economic
sustainability and urged the participants to inculcate the virtue of
hard work and team play to boost their creative enterprise.
The event featured exhibition of goods and services undertaken by
small and medium scale entrepreneurs and the presentation of Souvenir
by the Coordinator of AKEES, Elder Ebong to the Governor.