Attending to basic infrastructural needs of rural communities in a state like Akwa Ibom that is over 70% rural, invariably implies deliberate effort to attain a wide-spread balanced development.
This was an assertion by the Commissioner for Rural Development, Barrister Ekong Sampson, in justifying the attention given by the Governor Udom Emmanuel-led administration to rural development in the State.
This, he said while speaking with media men in his office, prior to the 29th anniversary of the creation of Akwa Ibom State. He added that the approach of the present administration in the State is purposeful and bound to yield the much needed economic diversification.
The Commissioner identified that the problems of sustainable development in Nigeria is rooted in poor, uninformed or outright lack of planning.
He described the Akwa Ibom State Governor as a trail-blazer, in whose administration has pioneered the rural development approach that prioritizes planning as a pre-requisite for purposeful and sustainable rural development.
The Rural Development Boss said the Akwa Ibom Rural Development Master Plan (AK-RDMP) of the present administration in the State is a rich data-based, strategically orchestrated development plan that ensures need-driven and equitably spread of government programmes. With that in place, he added, impulsive spending or waste of resources on cosmetic projects has been eliminated.
Reiterating the significance of power supply in economic development, he enumerated several Government interventions to include fresh electrification of decades-long darkness-plagued rural communities, rehabilitation of defunct electrical installations, distribution of over a hundred transformers, construction of new 132/33kVA, 1x30MVA capacity power transmission substations and the likes, are all strategically orchestrated towards realizing the two-year 100% electrification plan for the State.
The Commissioner also drew attention to Government’s efforts in opening up access roads to interior areas of the State.
Barrister Sampson described Governor Udom’s Effort in construction and rehabilitation of major roads as well targeted and commendable.
However, he made it clear that the present State Government in its characteristic manner cannot make such unrealistic promises as tarring all the roads in the State immediately.
Rather, Government out of sincerity of purpose is underway with well thought-out palliative measure to ensure connectivity and accessibility the various parts of the State, pending full construction.
“A strategic road-grading campaign is expected to commence in rural areas as soon as the rains recede,” the Commissioner hinted.
Barrister Sampson described Governor Emmanuel’s development approach as integrated, adding that the unprecedented government interventions in basic rural infrastructures will essentially support local industries.
This will consequently serve as a panacea to salvaging such moribund state of economy as is currently plaguing the nation.
In his analysis, he pointed out that over dependency on the single facetted macro economy of crude oil exportation and some cosmetic development of few city centres to the negligence of about 80percent space and its numerous economic potentials have placed Nigeria’s economy at a very vulnerable state.
Barrister Sampson therefore recommends the adoption of an integrated approach to development that will enhance the productive capacity of micro economy operators such as local manufacturers, farmers, SMEs and other local entrepreneurs.
These, he added, have potentials to shrink the labour market, boost local currency and curb unnecessary rural-urban drift.
He therefore recommends a well-integrated master-plan for a sustainable economic development in Nigeria, adding that this will guarantee a proactive, time and other resources saving measure, as well as a break in the vicious circle of impulsive reactions to economic dynamics.
According to him, a lot of resources have vanished away with some well-intentioned government programmes that may have offered some benefits at initiation but had no sustainability plans.
Over time, there would hardly be traces of such programmes or funds sunk into them.
The master-plan, he further said, aside providing critical data of infrastructural status and deficits, spells out obligations for various stakeholders in the economy, heightens security levels, blocks leakages and consequently strengthens investors’ confidence.