The Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon ( Barr) Onofiok Luke has urged Akwa Ibom people to look beyond financial and personal gains in counting the benefits from the current government in the state.

Speaker Luke gave the urge, Thursday, while addressing a political group in the state under the aegis of Assembly of Akwa Ibom Political Groups (AAKPG) which paid him an a courtesy visit in his office.

In his speech, the speaker said that it is noted that while some persons have been directly affected by the government either through appointments or other means for their efforts and contributions towards the emergence of the current government in the state, others who are yet to have any of these benefits may be complaining of not being directly affected, and advised that they should rather look beyond personal gains and also consider the indirect benefits through the several projects of the government.

In his words: “the government cannot appoint everyone from the large crowd of those who contributed from various angles towards the emergence of the current government of His Excellency, Deacon Udom Emmanuel. I know that some persons, even amongst you, may have complained of not benefiting directly from the government, but when you consider the fact that amongst those appointed are your relatives and people close to you, and also consider the indirect benefits through the several projects embarked upon by the government, some of which have been completed, then you will realise the true efforts of government towards bettering the living condition of the masses.

“Consider the fact that the road construction projects, for instance, are beneficial to you and to the general citizenry in this generation and generations to come. With these projects on ground, we are all beneficiaries in one way or the other”.

The speaker noted that it is a common practice in the political sector everywhere in the world that those who worked for the emergence of a government are considered first to serve in the said government, and thanked Governor Udom Emmanuel for having recognised the efforts and role which the leader of the group, Bishop Andrew Unwanta played in the emergence of his led government by giving him a significant role to play in governance.

He also noted that even without being appointed to serve in any official capacity, every citizen of the state has a role to play in contributing their respective quotas to governance and progress of the state, and charged members of the group to rise to this challenge by thinking and coming up with ideas that will assist the government in its duty of governance.

“I am giving you a charge to be up and doing, take advantage of the many opportunities life is offering to develop yourselves and the state by extension. For instance, the main drive of the current administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel is industrialization. And when you talk about industrialization, this cannot just come in vacuum. Industries cannot survive without the small scale businesses like the agro businesses to feed them with raw materials.

If we have these industries in place without developing small scale enterprises, then there will be too much of capital flight. That is why, on a personal note, I do not wish that shoprite should come to Akwa Ibom yet, until our local agricultural system is developed to a point that we will have enough products to feed the shoprite when it comes”, the speaker said.

Barr Luke further advised the group members against sitting back to put all their hopes in the government, but should rather move to assist the government in alleviating poverty by developing themselves to financial independence and reduce pressure on government.

The 6th Assembly helmsman used the medium to commend the efforts of government in combating poverty through encouraging citizens in small scale businesses, describing this as a strong measure against capital flight, while also charging the group to start up a cooperative system that will provide financial aids to its members to start up personal businesses and by extension, encourage the efforts of government in this regard.

He also commended the governor in his “prudent management of state funds”, adding that while some states are counting just payment of salaries as a major achievement, Akwa Ibom is having viable and visible projects to celebrate as achievements of government. This, he said, has been possible through the governor’s passion and commitment to the service of the state.

While appreciating the group, on behalf of the governor and the entire members of the 6th Assembly for their roles in the 2015 general elections which contributed to the victory that stood them elected into the various offices they currently occupy, the speaker further urged the group to continue supporting the Udom Emmanuel led administration especially through prayers, which, according to him, the governor needs to grant him the grace of God, ability and the needed resources to turn his dream of a rebranded Akwa Ibom into reality.

High point of the event was the investiture of a mantle on the speaker by the group as its Grand Pillar. On this, the speaker said he accepted the responsibility with gratitude and pledged full support on his part to the group.

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