The Udom Emmanuel’s paramount campaign promise was industrialisation of the State. Yes, during the campaigns he was repeatedly heard saying that God willing, industries will spring up like mushrooms all over the state. To those whose faith in African politics had been quashed due to the attitude of most politicians after the elections, this was just another talk aimed at milking votes from unsuspecting citizens. But to optimists, a glance at his profile reveals a man who can offer even more than he had promised. And so, on the 11th of April 2015, the doubters had to try their faith just once in him and his victory was downright.
After the mandate was given, the governor has gone all out to fix the needed infrastructures for his dream to rest on. Several road projects which are known to be a key factor in production and marketing are under construction. Another basic infrastructure so far seen on ground is in the area of power. Much has been done which I don’t intend enumerating them here since that is not primary in this discourse. So considering the level of project implementation in the state, it is believed that the governor’s dream will soon be seen more as a reality rather than just another campaign promise.
Away from the infrastructures is the direct revamping of several industries in the state. Recently the manager at Peacock Paint was quoted as saying that soon the paint would dominate the market. I say bravo to His Excellency for his visionary leadership. At least welcoming peacock paint back in the market will be a testimony that there is indeed remarkable improvement in African Politics. This is one wrong ideology, the immediate past governor of the state corrected by building hundreds of standard roads across the state. If Udom Emmanuel can deliver at the pace he is currently trending, then there is no doubt that politics has gone far beyond the level of deceiving the masses in the African Context.
Now for the want of space let me quickly tell you why I have chosen the caption above. Going by the government’s extensive projects, it may be slightly difficult for the administration to really invest in ideas and projects. It is believed that the governor is currently working on establishing a brand new industry by investing in the coconut processing industry. The automobile assembling plant is one other project we are sure will need government’s undistracted attention. The Ibaka seaport among others is also paramount. Finally, for us in the Information Technology Industry, our eyes are glued to the Ibom Science Park project which the governor said it’s part of his agenda.
Though I may lack the requisite to dissect all the factors that may lead to industrialisation, I am aware that ideas plays a vital role in this process. Creating something out of nothing demands deep thoughts and careful plan from the conception to the end. If ideas are so vital in the creation of industries, it then follows that a little investment must be made towards supporting ideas especially in the IT Industry.
Presently there are several ideas in the ICT ecosystem in Akwa Ibom State. These ideas can never be developed to industry standard if proper investment is not channelled towards this area. It must be noted that every invention in the IT world started with a line of code which seems meaningless to ordinary minds until when the project is finally launched. Akwa Ibomites and investors within the state generally must be willing to invest in developing these ideas from the local ICT ecosystem. At completion of the projects, the government might deem it necessary to partner with investors and where the government refuses to partner, sales of the project can foot the bill for continual production years after launching same.
Building a strong economy in the nearest future should not be the dream of the government alone. Apart from oil, it is a known fact that Information Technology offers bigger pay checks when compared to any other sector of the economy. Greater percentage of goods imported into this country are mostly technological products. An investment therefore in Information Technology signals the exportation of ICT products to states/countries whose vision presently does not embrace the opportunities ICT offers. Therefore this call for a collective support/investment in the Information Technology Sector is a strategy for tomorrow’s financial freedom when ICT would have taken over practically every facet of life in Africa and the world at large.
Last year I made a call on this column for the ministry of Science and Technology to do a little more budget for the funding of local ideas in the IT Sector. With the budget duly passed, we are expecting that some IT ideas could be given little funding while studying the progress of such ideas. The ministry should draw up special budgets to fund these ideas and should be ready to inform the general public of the outcome of such investment. Individuals and government parastatals should never shy away from investing in ICT as the future we crave technologically starts with us today.