Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly – Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke – says politicians’ propensity to steal public funds stems from unrealistic demands made by citizens. He said this during the Second Public Lecture of Ritman University in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State.
Barr. Luke averred that political office holders are pushed to use illegitimate means of making money because their loyalists expect them to meet personal, family and community needs that go beyond the politicians’ lawful earnings. He therefore charged all leaders to be just, fair, equitable, transparent, accountable, honest and trustworthy in the management of Nigeria’s common wealth.
The Vice Chancellor – Professor Celestine Ntuen – who hosted the event, said the public lecture series are tailored towards bringing information on relevant national issues and values for public consumption. He described Ritman University as “a place where knowledge crystallizes into development and the creative capacities of human persons are inspired to reach the zenith”.
Pro Chancellor and Council Chairman of the University of Benin, Senator Effiong Bob declared that Ritman University has transformed a rural community into a booming economic environment and noted that the institution’s strategic plan will stand this university out as one of the best private universities in Africa.
In the lecture titled “Good Governance and Community Development”, Speaker Onofiok Luke explained that Community Development improves the ability of communities to collectively make better decisions about the use of resources such as infrastructure, labour and knowledge. He stated four pillars for judging good governance to include Accountability, Transparency, the Rule of Law and Participation of civil society in formulation of development strategies.
Barr. Luke stressed that to achieve community development, attitudinal re-orientation is necessary, as the leadership should strive to build an efficient and empowered community rather than personal empires from the common wealth. Funds diversion by government officials should be punished while academic institutions should stop awarding dubious scores since “sweet without sweat” is not sustainable, he said.
Chairman on the occasion and Vice Chancellor of Akwa Ibom State University, Prof Eno J. Ibanga said that Ritman University, in keeping with its motto, “Knowledge for Development” holds academic exercises of this nature to impart knowledge and skills to the community for developmental purposes.
In his closing remarks, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of Ritman University – Senator Emmanuel Essien – stated that establishment of Ritman University is the ultimate achievement of the Ritman Group of Companies, which started business on 30th March, 1987. He noted that the university’s Vice Chancellor – Prof Celestine Ntuen – has been a major player in developmental activities at state, national and international levels. One of such activities was the Professor’s consultancy work for the proposed Akwa Ibom Science Park.