Chief Ide Owodiong-Idemeko, convener of the 1001+ Voices Initiative for People Empowerment, a non-governmental organization that encourages Nigerians to actively organize and use their collective voices to secure the dividends of democracy for the people, has urged government to revisit and unbundle the constitutional powers of the concurrent and exclusive lists for development to thrive.
He made this known on Thursday at his country home in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area during a hot seat interaction with #TheNarrative, a team of seasoned journalists drawn from National and State-based Newspapers, dedicated and committed to the development of Akwa Ibom State through positive reportage and by changing the narrative.
According to him, “The many years of military rule have completely bastardized our federal structure. Federalism in Nigeria today is a very lopsided one and we need to go back to the basics, recalibrate that federal structure. One way to do this is to take a look at the Concurrent and Exclusive lists, strengthen our institution and also give autonomy to the Local Governments.”
Explaining further, Chief Owodiong-Idemeko said “Nigeria is still in a transition, whether we like it or not. The last 20 plus years of democratic rule has shown that we are still transiting. We all need to get involve in governance and all hands must be on deck to ensure that transition does not derail.”
On democracy and its dividends, he said “What we have in Nigeria, whether All Progressive Congress (APC) or the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are very fluid parties. They are merely platforms for aggregating interest. There is no ideological difference between both parties. We had thought APC was going to come out with a social-oriented philosophy but it has not been able to do that. They have not been able to rise above the fact that many of them came from the PDP.”
“The analogy that the late Sani Abacha referred our health institution to mere consulting clinics has not changed. For us to get our health system right there is need for a very deliberate focus and policy to revamp our entire health system. Our emphasis should be on strengthening our primary and secondary healthcare. Then see how we can have one strong tertiary facility in the state.”
“It is very clear that Governor Udom Emmanuel has his eyes set on landing well, to complete all his ongoing projects across the state. I will advise that he ensures all his ongoing projects are completed, delivered and handed over to the next administration
Regarding the pace of development in Akwa Ibom State, 33 years after creation, Chief Owodiong-Idemeko, a chieftain of the PDP and former Senatorial aspirant, said “Akwa Ibom State has come a long way. We could have done more. We had lots of opportunities. We could have upgraded and up-skilled our development priorities. We hope that the next administration will build on the legacies of the past.”
“As a state, we should leverage on our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and also use that to assist the fortune of Akwa Savings and Loans Company and see how that can be distributed to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs),” he maintained.
On what should be the focuss of the people of Akwa Ibom in the 2023 Governorship, he said “2023 Governorship, we need a leader with the courage of conviction to push innovative ideas. We need a leader with fresh thinking, a leader that understands the state vertically and horizontally, a leader that can relate with the poor and the rich. We need a leader that is good natured.”