Between Friday and today, I have had to verbally defend my intentions for the Ibom Science Park to the satisfaction of my soul and those who cared to query my intent either over the phone or through physical contacts. The few messages I received via SMS were all encouraging. But I thank God that all those who called were satisfied with my explanations. Now I am only waiting for the Boss in the Science and Tech Ministry, before we set a new chapter for the future.
Of all the justifications I offered my callers, it was the one I did yesterday while planning the message for this week. “Yes Ubong, were you the one that worked with Hon. Sam Ikon?” the caller inquired in my native language and I replied in the negative. “My brother,” I answered cutting short all explanations. “I thought you were the one so I wondered why you are not privy to the information as regards the Science Park,” he said ready to pounce on me if I try to play smart by bringing Governor Emmanuel to the picture.
“Yes Sir you are right,” I replied. “I have all the information I need, but you see, Governor Akpabio asked the investigating panel to keep aside the report of the investigation to avoid unnecessary rancor in the society, especially at a time where everything in the State was politicized,” I informed standing on the foundation of all information I have gathered so far. Before he talked about the 6billion Naira that went down the drain at the Science Park, I had confronted the man concerned sometimes in the year 2014 and the man decried any comments on the issue when I had posted the information on the defunct NUJ Website.
“I thought you don’t know,” my caller continued. “It is very painful when you see people gulp such amount of money without having anything to show for it,” he said persuasively. Personally I had been ten times angrier when I had the information on my first outing to save the Science Park sometime in 2014. Most of the members of the investigating panel were like elder brothers to me and so I had all the information I needed without any protocols attached. It is only of recent that I saw the man who sacrificed the future of millions of youths at the Ibom Science Park, making a post on Facebook intimating his followers of his intention to run for the 2019 governorship elections. “So this man regards us as fools,” I had thought.
Now the problem is not the amount of money gulped by that Americana who took advantage of our Father, Obong Victor Attah while the later handled the mantle of leadership in the State. The problem is our intention as regards the present and the future of our children in the area of Technology. I know we can work as we are currently doing in the Akwa Ibom ecosystem. The communities only meet when there is an event. We can work as the status quo remains. Each tech hub working independently and will only have to meet when there is need for collaboration or out rightly paying for such services needed from a sister hub.
But beyond the above workflow, there are others who have potent ideas in terms of tech innovation. These are student who submitted powerful projects in their various tech fields. Most of those projects are never developed beyond the time it was submitted to the department in partial fulfilment of their certifications. This I speak out of experience. This is one of the reasons why tech innovations in Africa deteriorates despite the brains in our ecosystem. There is no succession in tech projects, neither do the originators of such ideas continue improving on his 1st degree project after his or her project defence.
This is why we need a bigger space. We hope to have an incubation center at the Science Park. It will also serve as a meeting point for all techies irrespective of your community. This is how to conserve energy. Presently our energies are dissipated at different hubs and we tend to pursue the same goal through personal efforts inputting more energy in the process with very little result to show. And as we continue to wait, the world keep moving ahead of us. This was part of my argument that afternoon.
This is why I have decided to bring this campaign to the public sphere so that you can learn your voice. Between 2013 and 2014 I had done this campaign albeit secretly. I had contacted the major players in the saga and tried to convince them on why we needed the Science Park so badly as at then. The refusal of the main man in contention had offered me with no choice to lie low since the government then was concentrating on infrastructures while the idea of the Science Park was more of Human Capital development.
The faith I have for the present administration has sparked the current campaign. Governor Emmanuel had promised irrevocably that his mission to the state is to raise entrepreneurs. Therefore, despite the pains our Americana brother has caused all of us at the Science Park, Governor Emmanuel should kindly put the interest of that unborn Akwa Ibom child in his agenda. This will help him forgive all those who have plundered our collective parsimony in the past. This will help him look at creating something for the future. This time I promise to use the little resources at my disposal to monitor the project, at least to the completion of the building and various offices setup for business – I am currently working with the new plan.
If we continue to grieve over what our blood brother did to us at the Science Park, we will never move forward technologically. That is why Governor Emmanuel who we believe is a strong believer in the Christian faith should forgive all those concerned in the Science Park saga and collaborate with us in the tech ecosystem so that we can start something today no matter how small it is. I strongly believe that the best time to have planted a tree was 50 years ago, the second best time is today. Please for the sake of God in which Akwa Ibom State is named after, let us bury the past and #Save_Ibom_Science_Park.