BASIC INFRASTRUCTURE COULD DRIVE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT- AKPABIO
Akwa Ibom Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio has identified the provision of basic infrastructure as a major driver to national development as shown from the infrastructural revolution of the state.
Chief Akpabio, who made the assertion Monday when the Commandant designate, National Defence College, Abuja and Director, Academic Research/Analytical Support, Rear Admiral Ndidi Patrick Agholor and 28 participants of team 8 of course 22 on Geo-strategic study of Akwa Ibom state, paid him a courtesy visit at Governor's Office, Uyo, noted "I am happy to report to you that you have come to the right state where we believe that yes indeed infrastructure can drive national development".
Akpabio remarked "Akwa Ibom State believes that infrastructure can drive national development emerging from the infrastructural revolution of the state. It is believed that so much money goes to Niger Delta without development seen on ground, but I tell you that our state has succeeded today because the money is seen on ground through infrastructure. And we have maintained our budget of 80 per cent for capital projects and 20 per cent for recurrent expenditure.
"We were committed to bring development to the state. That was why we put in high quality in service delivery through infrastructure such as Akwa Ibom International Airport, which we made history for the people. We also built high quality of roads with bridges, among others because we are building sustainable development for our people".
"We also develop our state through human capacity development by declaring free and compulsory education up to secondary school level to ensure mental re-orientation and also free medical care for children and pregnant women", he remarked.
The Governor, however, identified lack of national integration and exposure among Nigerians as a factor responsible for ethnic and religious bias in the country, noting "This kind of visit enables you to know your country. It enables you to study the culture of the other component parts. It allows you to bond, get-together, cement friendship and develop the spirit of nationalism. That is the problem that many Nigerians have today. We have people who are much more ethnically, tribally, religiously and regionally inclined as a result of lack of integration and exposure.
"I grew up in Lagos and I have friends in Lagos who have never passed Benin in their life. Some of them told me that their parents grew and died as Nigerians and had never visited Eastern Nigeria. So, you have Nigerians who have never passed from Lagos or Kaduna to any part of South-South in Nigeria", he affirmed.
Speaking earlier, Rear Admiral Agholor who is also the team leader had said the course on the theme "Infrastructure as catalyst to National Development" is based on impacting knowledge and developing expertise and skills of senior officers on national development and security.
Agholor explained that the course would prepare them for national and international assignment, disclosing that participants are exposed to local and international courses that would cover 10 states, which he said Akwa Ibom state is one of the states which is also a reference point to the college.
He said the course would enable participants to know the factors involved in national development and security, saying that national development impacts national security and that Akwa Ibom state is chosen as one of the states where participants are to see how infrastructure in the state could engender national development and security.