By Saviour Ekpe, JP
Akwa Ibom people that are resident in the seven continents of the world Asia, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, Australia including Africa; the five regions of Africa such as Northern Africa, Central or Middle Africa, Southern Africa, East Africa and Western Africa;
36 states of Nigeria, Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna and Kano. Others are Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara including the FCT; the 31 local government areas in Akwa Ibom State of Abak, Eastern Obolo, Eket, Esit Eket, Essien Udim, Etim Ekpo, Etinan, Ibeno, Ibesikpo Asutan, Ibiono Ibom, Ika, Ikono, Ikot Abasi and Ikot Ekpene. Others are Ini, Itu, Mbo, Mkpat Enin, Nsit Atai, Nsit Ibom, Nsit Ubium, Obot Akara, Okobo, Onna, Oron, Oruk Anam, Udung Uko, Ukanafun, Uruan, Urue-Offong/Oruko and Uyo.
Another set of these Akwa Ibom people that really touched me are Akwa Ibom Students studying at Federal and other state Universities across the country, who actually regretted not studying their various causes at the Akwa Ibom State University (AKSU) that is currently, despite the eight months of ASUU strike, students studying at the Akwa Ibom State University (AKSU) are going on well with their studies as a result of the vision of the governor in meeting up with the ASUU, AKSU Chapter’s demands in totality; that’s why they jettisoned the calls to join the ASUU strike that is going on nationwide.
The call came after a careful and thorough examination of the attendant socio-economic, socio-political benefits a state derives from an effective census exercise. It is a known fact that the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) of the federal government is shared with local/state governments based on population figures from previous population census. The allocations will improve based on the improvements in population. Aside from the population is the housing census, which will help the federal government to know the state of infrastructure of each state/local government area to plan, execute and intervene where necessary. It will also enable international community and development partners such as European Union, the United Nations, UNDP, SDGs, World Bank, African Union, African Development Bank, regional intervention bodies like ECOWAS, Federal Government itself, NDDC and so many others to plan development programmes based on fact and figures for the good of the people and communities.
Similar but distance opportunity came some years ago when Obong Victor Attah fought and obtained resource control, though he never benefit from it he used the opportunity as governor to ensure that 13 per cent allocation is made to Niger Delta being an oil-producing state and today, billions of Naira is flying to the states of the Niger Delta every month.
This Akwa Ibom People is calling on Governor Emmanuel to take the ongoing census 2023 very seriously and that he should not play politics with it as other many states of the federation are injecting billions of Naira into the census exercise. It is true election is at the corner, the people called on the governor to inject funds, logistics, advocacies and ensure through various government agencies that the upcoming census exercise in Nigeria, Akwa Ibom State has the benefits of effective counting and activities, “let Governor Udom Emmanuel make the 2023 population and Housing Census his parting gift and legacy project he leaves to the people of the state while the projects he has done across the state will remain the legacy projects for communities, just like Obong Victor Attah, the Governor will write his name on gold and on the heart of every Akwa Ibom person”.