The need for regional integration has been identified as crucial to enhancing the pace of development of the South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria and protecting the huge endowment of the area.
Special Adviser to Akwa Ibom State Governor on Political, Legislative Affairs and Water Resources, Barrister Ekong Sampson, stated this while addressing the Executives of the South-South Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) who paid him a courtesy visit in Uyo. He said the visit was timely as it is coming at a time when a number of concerns tend to challenge the fabric of unity across the federation.
Barrister Ekong Sampson said regional integration is key to the development of the South-South, stressing that through such integration the bonds of unity would have been cemented and we won’t be looking at ourselves as Akwa Ibom, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Cross River or Rivers, but will together protect our common heritage as people of the South-South. Expounding further, he said “we are so richly endowed, we have vast opportunities, huge resources and a rich heritage. We need regional integration to protect these rich endowments and open up wider opportunities for our people.”
In his words, “the great safety belt that can protect the huge endowment of the of the South-South is regional integration. It will add fillip to our transformation process, protect our huge endowment and strengthen our security,” Ekong Sampson advocated.
The Special Adviser to the Governor acknowledges the efforts of IPAC in cementing the bonds of friendship across borders in the South-South and commended the body for working hard to deepen democracy, drive a great consciousness across the region and for their role in advancement of democracy in Nigeria.
He particularly thanked IPAC in Akwa Ibom State for working hard to maintain harmony across party line, in the interest of the State, adding that there is no substitute for peace as a requirement for development.
He expressed pleasure for the attention given to Akwa Ibom State by the regional body, especially to Governor Udom Emmanuel.
The Special Adviser rehearsed to them how Akwa Ibom Stateat the ending of May, marked the 2017 democracy day with a celebration of two years of good governance, superior performance,concrete infrastructure and firm investments in the future of the people of the State.
He said the State Government has initiated and completed a number of projects in the State and is aggressivepursuing a policy of industrialization. He also told his guest that the Government puts a premium on agriculture and is working hard to ensure the people of the State return to the farm.
These, according to Ekong Sampson, must have informed the huge ground-swell of opinions that Governor Udom Emmanuel should remain on the seat for a second term.
Leader of the delegation, the South-South Zonal Chairman of Inter-Party Advisory Council, Engr. Martins Inyang, thanked the Special Adviser for welcoming the IPAC emissaries into the State. He commended the Governor and people of the State for fostering democracy in Akwa Ibom and congratulated the Government for successfully marking the 18th Anniversary of Nigeria’s Democracy and its second year in office, void of chaos.
The IPAC Zonal Chairman said their visit to the State was part of tour across the six state of the region. He disclosed that IPAC has concluded plans to instituting an award to honour Governors in the State who, despite dwindling state of the economy have performed above the bar.
Inyang stressed that the award will be determined by the electorates. He further explained that a code will be generated and sent to the public within the region, to vote for whom they deem fit to emerge as the “Eagle of South-South”.
Special Assistant to the Governor on Inter-Party Affairs, Mr. Lawrence Udoh, who was also present at the event, applauded IPAC for their initiative, describing it as timely and commendable.
Permanent Secretary in the Bureau of Political, Legislative Affairs of and Water resources, Otuekong Nse Edem, in a vote of thanks, appreciated the efforts of IPAC in uniting the region and for the respect accorded Akwa Ibom State.
Mr. Nse Edem drawing attention to the African adage that “no one finger can pick a louse from one’s head, except they come together”, he supported the position of the Special Adviser that the people of the South-South region need to be integrated to jointly further the course of their progress.