Joe Effiong, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, has advised leadership, at all levels, to tackle security and other social challenges facing the country through the provision of basic needs of the people.
Emmanuel said this 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, yesterday. He said leaders should shelve partisanship and political interests and join hands in improving the social service sector, to work towards the provision of an up-to-date quality of education and basic healthcare services.
He described the innovation by the office of the SGF as wonderful and inspiring optics of unity and bipartisanship, and synergy between different layers of government, adding that the theme of the meeting: “Improving access to social services at national and sub-national levels,” is right on time, and has summarised the philosophical underpinning of what is defined as social contract governance.
He said: “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, we need to look critically. We need to look at our curriculum for education.
“Our educational training can no longer be anchored on training people to write application for a job, but, we need to train people on how to become entrepreneurs on every single field, that way, we tackle the issue of social vices and jump-start our economy. Our population growth must also match our planning. Population cannot grow faster than our social services.”
He encouraged other sectors in Nigeria to emulate the secretaries to states government as engines of government, who have come out with their wealth of experiences to chat a way forward, not minding political diversities. He added that such was what Nigeria and Nigerians needed at this time of heightened ethno-religious and partisan tensions.
“Let us begin to see ourselves as Nigerians first, and as politicians later. Politics and politicians will come and go, but, the spirit and soul of the Nigerian enterprise will endure. Let us celebrate our shared aspiration and common destiny and avoid politics of self destruction,” he said.
In his keynote address on the occasion, the SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, said the meeting was designed to discuss important issues of development under the theme of the meeting.
“It is our hope that we will deliberate on issues which will promote national development and deliver the dividends of democracy to the people,” he said.