PRESS RELEASE -
62 aspirants, one post But one contestant says 'the hood does not make the monk'
Akwa Ibom State may go into the Guinness Book of Records as a place where the highest number of people ever contested for one position. At the last count 62 people are jostling for governorship seat.
Looking at the array of aspirants, one of those contesting for the position, Mr. Moses Essien, says the hood does not make the monk. He said that character that counts in any contest.
To him, a majority of those interested in the governorship seat of the state are not even qualified to be local government counselors as they lack the necessarily bureaucratic experience to deal with challenges which governorship brings about.
The former commissioner for education, during Captain Joseph Adeusi's regime in the state, said that those trying to be governors should first of all go and be councillors in their local government areas before declaring to be governor of a state, like Akwa Ibom.
"I personally have not seen a lot of seriousness on the part of the aspirants. I think a lot of them are just declaring for declaring sake. Without being told, a lot of them coming out do not understand the seriousness and demands of the office of the governor. It is not an all comer's affair. it is a position that requires seriousness. But you see people whom we know in our society that have never done anything well in their lives and some have never had any experience of governance. You can imagine somebody who was never a councilor in his local government but his first step is to contest as governor. That is the funniest aspect of the entire process".
Essien prides himself as the best commissioner of education Akwa Ibom has ever has as it was during his tenure that sanity among teachers and students was brought into the school system. He said it was during his time that the school of art and scences was built and inaugurated to brush up school leavers who could not have make up to five credits at the school certificate exams.
"When I came into office, I realized that there was a disparity between teachers' salary scale and that of the core civil servants. The highest level principals could only get to level 14. I was the one who abolished that system so that today you have principals who can become permanent secretaries before I left office, I had not less than 38 principals on grade 16".
The aspirant from Ikono Local Government Area of Ikot Ekpene senatorial district also talked of his vision for industrialization and housing in Akwa Ibom State.
"We have realized that with just N5,000 in the period of 25 years, an average Akwa Ibom person can confidently own a bedroom apartment. So, I can provide a minimum of 300 units of 3-bedroom apartments annually in each of the 31 local government areas.
"Again, I have realized that the economy of Akwa Ibom, Benue, Rivers and Cross River States ot the entire Gulf of Guinea today is controlled by a small town like Aba because everyone goes there. You must first of all deposit your capital in Aba before you can bring down whatever you want. So, to that extent, what I would do as governor of Akwa Ibom State is to put in place an international wholesale oriented market that will take care of the entire Gulf of Guinea and since we have proposed the establishment of ultra-modern seaport, of course that will open us up to the world.
On sports, Essien said that his first target would be to build an Olympic standard stadium to help harness the wasted talent among the youths in the state. "With the faculty in place apart from attracting sporting activities to the states it will also help the young ones to develop their potentials," he said.
He also proposes owner-occupier industrial setup where government would establish industries then lease them out to people who will pay back the cost within a period of time; but explained that it would by no means be a Father Christmas show as those who default in payment would not only forfeit their initial deposit, but would equally lose ownership of the industries.
With so many aspirants on the platform of PDP, does he feel threatened; Essien says, "as far as I'm concerned, I'm the next governor of Akwa Ibom State.
Source: Daily SUN, Tuesday, November 14, 2006, Page 21