Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Umo Eno, has stated that his administration would build an inclusive, diversified and industrialised economy, if voted in the forthcoming governorship election.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the Umo Eno Town Hall Series, a special interactive session with professional bodies and interest groups in the state, held at the Ibom Icon Hotel, Uyo, the governorship hopeful hinted that his administration would leverage on available resources in the state to build a robust economy.
Pastor Eno who offered more insight into his blueprint for the state, said the plans would be made possible by expanding and consolidating on the achievements of the incumbent Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, who he noted has moved Akwa Ibom from a purely civil service, to a more economically- viable state.
“Udom Emmanuel’s administration has completely moved our state from a core civil service state to becoming an industrialised state. Udom’s administration has opened the gateway of industrialization in Akwa Ibom State through land, air, and sea. And in terms of land, we can see roads and all of the constructions. Akwa Ibom is becoming a major construction site and has opened the economy of the state by building good roads and economic roads for that matter.
“Our theme is, ‘Connecting the Dots, Furthering Peace and Prosperity.’ We have a blueprint of consolidation and expansion that seeks to consolidate on the economic gains of previous administrations. We envision to build a vibrant, inclusive, diversified economy using the abundance of our human and material resources,” he said.
Speaking on rural development, the frontline candidate said he would, together with his team, work tirelessly to reduce poverty and unemployment across the state.
“We have challenges that we must face and move our state to the next level. This is why some of us came up to run as governor of our state. Issues to deal with include poverty reduction, we have job creation. Poverty reduction for us is key, because if you get to the rural area, you’d see that our there people need as much support as possisble. So, we hope to put some programmes in place that will cater to these people.
“When you talk about poverty reduction, you have to talk about job creation. We know that by statistics, the rate of unemployment in this state is growing.
“And also, around us in our state, we need to ensure that our youths have work to do. Not just that they are not employed, but sometimes, they may be underemployed because they do not have the skills for the right kind of jobs available.
“In tackling job creation, we want to develop the right skills. We want to ensure that they have the skill set that would make them do the job as new industries would come up,” he said.
On other sectors, the former Lands and Water Resources Commissioner, who pledged to boost agriculture, tourism and education, said he would sustain peace in the state and ensure that Akwa lbomites enjoy the basic necessities of life.
“We would improve the standard of living by giving people the basic necessity of life – light, water, roads, market, and school to improve our basic standard of living.
“If we need to really develop as a people, we need to go back to agriculture. We should be able to practice agriculture on a sustainable and commercial basis. And we would strive to initiate strategies to revolutionalize agriculture. Agri-business will be the way to go.
“We’ll continue to build on tourism and infrastructure in our state and maintain the ones we have. What our administration would do is concentrate on primary healthcare in our villages, wards, and units, where at least, every ward or one close to each other, will have a functional cottage hospital, so that the people living in the rural areas can have access to good medical facilities. We would initiate a digital pharmacy too.These things are not rocket science, I believe they can be done when we look at them,” Pastor Eno assured.
He also assured the youths that he will build ICT hubs, revive the science park and also support those in entertainment and the creative industry.