Editor's note: Prince Emmanuel Sam, special assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on local media, writes on the measures put in place by the Akwa Ibom government to tackle the issue of insecurity which reared its ugly head in some parts of the state capital, Uyo, recently.
Security of life and property of citizens is a primary duty of any government. The absence of this attribute spells a world of anarchy. Thomas Hobbes, in his book 'Leviathan', visualized life in such a world as relentlessly insecure, brutish, and short.
Accordingly, the government in any clime strives to justify its existence as the protector of citizens from violence and harm.
In Akwa Ibom state, Governor Udom Emmanuel has effectively employed three enduring strategies toward curbing insecurity and sustaining peace in the state. These strategies include education, healthcare, and job creation.
In 2018, while declaring open the second quarterly meeting organised by the office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) for Secretaries to States Government (SSGs) at Ibom Hotels and Golf Resort, Uyo, Governor Emmanuel gave the panacea for insecurity in the country.
“Government exists to provide services to the people across the nation; failure to abide by this need and demand means a grave abdication of a cardinal responsibility, and the resultant effect would be deep apathy and a resort to self-help approaches by the citizens, and that would not be good for us as a country.
“I strongly believe, as a country, we still have so much to do in the areas of education and healthcare. Because, if we can, at least, provide the basic needs of Nigerians, a whole lot of security and social problems would have been solved in this country.”
Well, the governor has put his money where his mouth is. He has set an unparalleled record in healthcare delivery and in securing the lives of Akwa Ibom people. Aside from refurbishing long-neglected hospitals across the state and equipping them with state-of-the-art medical equipment, he ensured that the workforce is properly trained and motivated to work.
His intervention at Ibom Specialist Hospital saved that magnificent edifice and the rare medical machines installed there from mismanagement and abuse. Today, it stands tall among the best referral medical institutions in the country.
All through the first wave of Covid-19, Governor Udom Emmanuel fought tenaciously to maintain a low infection curve in the state. He made even more investments to prime the health care system foolproof attracting accolades from the World Health Organization, WHO, and Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC. Nobody can fault his achievements in this direction.
In the education sector, the governor has invested in both formal and informal forms of education, going to the length of adopting the free and compulsory education policy of his predecessor, accepting to offset huge liabilities incurred by it. He also went on to invest millions of naira in registering qualified pupils and students for their certification examination.
In order to better understand the sector and redirect it towards the 21st century needs, he convened the first-ever education summit where stakeholders sat down with him to discuss the challenges faced in the sector and proffer solutions.
Currently, the state government has set up an implementation committee headed by the renowned educationist, Professor Hilary Inyang, to breakdown recommendations from the summit into set attainable goals with timelines.
The state commissioner for economic development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Akan Okon explained in an interview granted recently how the challenge of unemployment among youths is being addressed by the administration. According to him, one of several ways Governor Emmanuel is tackling unemployment is by establishing manufacturing companies and firms across the state in partnership with the private sector.
When Governor Emmanuel emerged, he vowed to change the narrative in Akwa Ibom from a civil service economy to a bustling private sector driven economy. So far, he has endeavoured to attract investors who have set up many firms and companies in the State. These companies are offering employment opportunities to Akwa Ibom people much more than the civil service could.
With many youths gainfully engaged, the state has remained generally peaceful these past five years with everyone going about their business. However, since we do not exist in isolation, Akwa Ibom state recently experienced an invasion from enemies of the state who were bent on causing mayhem, creating insecurity and a general sense of foreboding among citizens across the state.
It does not need a forensic analysis or crystal ball to connect this to the recent upheaval in the state to the worsening national recession and #EndSARS protest which resulted in near anarchy and looting of public and private property across the country.
Obviously, criminal elements who benefitted from that brief period of mass hysteria and a demoralized personnel, fantasize about how to outsmart the State security architecture and have a field day. Their momentary plunder emboldened them to embark on more daring expeditions, staging heists on broad daylight.
Being fully aware of these dynamics, Governor Emmanuel proactively held an emergency security council meeting, where he took the decision was to foil further attempts to breach the prevailing peace and security of the state. He reactivated the joint security task force and comprehensively rejigged the state security paraphernalia.
As reported by several national and state-based news dailies, the meeting culminated in handing over 30 new patrol trucks with the full complement of communication gadgets to the police and other security agencies to boost crime-fighting in the state. The governor promised more of such trucks to be donated in batches until they add up to 100.
This is exactly how Governor Emmanuel tackles issues; head-on. He faces problems and proffers timely solutions. Already, his meeting with security agencies is yielding success; several criminal hideouts have been raided, robberies have been foiled and arrests made. The outlaws are finding the hard way that Akwa Ibom state is not an easy take after all.
Governor Emmanuel is not deterred by naysayers and armchair critics. His focus is fixed on achieving his completion agenda, of which sustainable peace is part. With investments made by providing sound and affordable health care, accessible education, and job opportunities, there is the assurance of sustained peace while a reenergized security force enforces law and order on daily basis. The challenge is thus on our youths to rise up, abandon vices that tend to breed insecurity, and get involved productively.
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