Last week after making a post on the need to revisit the Ibom Science Park, I decided to share the link with some of my contacts. After reading, some readers merely commended the good write up while some believed that without the best Use of English one shouldn’t dare to express his views in the public through writing. All the same, I enjoyed the criticisms and the commendations, but one fact remained, we need the Ibom Science Park. Then BOOM! The notification came, and a ranking member in the 5th Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly appeared in my inbox. “My brother,” he began chatting.
As his chats flowed, I saw nothing but the ill intentions of some of our brothers living outside the state when it comes to the development of the state. The Patriarch, Obong Victor Attah had a good intention as regards the Ibom Science Park. It is rumoured that since the park existed nowhere in Africa, the leader had asked some Akwa Ibom citizens living Abroad to become partners in the execution of the project. Unfortunately, that was the undoing of the thoughtful leader.
Ninety percent of the contract sum, according to the Honourable was paid for the execution of the project, yet the level of execution was not up to 10%. According to the Honourable, the immediate past leader in the State – Chief Godswill Akpabio, had asked the investigating committee to suspend the report of the committee so as not to raise unnecessary squabble in the system. With this instruction, the result of the investigation was dropped and the State moved forward without a future as regards technology and skills acquisition for our youths.
I am grateful for the information the Honourable guaranteed. Maybe in all honesty, there must have been something wrong about the science park and the execution of the contracts awarded for the project. According to the Honourable, the initiator of the science park project was greatly ‘used’ and in the end various contracts were paid for in the project while the job remained undone. All these, I attribute them to the evil that is robbing our society of any good “corruption”.
My problem presently is not how much was dumped into the project. It is not how rich the contractors became after exploiting the state. Infact, just as Chief Godswill Akpabio had asked the committee chairman to suspend the report I will want everything in terms of finances and contracts as regards the present Science Park to be put aside. From our standpoint, let us now ask ourselves, where do we go from here?
I know the government is interested in the welfare of Akwa Ibom citizens. There is no government who does not include Skills Acquisition and training in their programs. The Ibom Science Park idea – though bastardized, can serve as skills acquisition centre for youths who may venture into tech and other sectors. Already the Akwa Ibom ecosystem is booming with various tech activities, therefore it will serve the government much energy looking for a common ground where all enthusiasts and others yearning for various skills to assemble and think creatively while collaborating at the Ibom Science Park.
It is worrisome that the government seems to ignore such sector as technology even when we have witnessed how much we spend yearly in the importation of technology into the country. The sad reality is that religion and art has been a tool to conquer and subdue kingdoms for ages, today technology is gradually replacing both. It is therefore left for our leaders to give a thought on the need to place Akwa Ibom, Niger Delta and Nigeria on the right footing of being the decision makers in the new world or for our children to continue as slaves and novices when tech is finally used in making global decisions. Time to start is now and we have the capacity.