Senator Godswill Akpabio, minister of oil-rich Niger Delta Affairs and former governor of Akwa Ibom State, is in charge of the affairs of a region that must produce the money for President Muhammadu Buhari’s Next Level Agenda to kick off and run. And he has given his word of assurance, a declaration or even a bet that the region would deliver what it takes for the presidential agenda to coast to destination.
“I will do my best to help the president to take Nigeria to the next level”, he vowed. He is counting on his wealth of experience in public and private service, his commitment to the task on hand and hard work to make this happen. “With my wealth of experience as a former governor, senator and lawyer, I have a lot to offer Nigerians.
“We are going to work so hard to ensure that the president leaves a legacy to all Nigerians, not just in the area of fighting corruption but we also want Nigerians to remember they once had a president dedicated to putting the country on the right track”, he said.
His readiness to work with the President to take the country to the next level reflects his desire to see Nigeria overcome its present challenges. He is eager to see the government put insecurity behind the nation, stabilise the economy, increase foreign direct investment inflow and get the nation back on the threshold of industrialisation.
Now that he has got an opportunity to have his hands on deck at the national scale, Akpabio promises that there will be a difference in the results of governance. “Nigerians should expect higher performance, commitment to service and dedication to the country,” he declared.
That level of confidence is rare to come by in Nigeria’s otherwise uncertain economic and political scenarios. Akpabio however draws his convictions from a track record of his performance credentials. “If you look at my record…, they should look at my track record, which is very impressive in terms of dedication to quality service.
“Therefore, expect a lot of uncommon representation and uncommon performance that will culminate in uncommon achievements,’’ he assured.
As to what he would do in specific terms to help the President to take Nigeria to the next level, the minister said it is simply to shut the doors against fleeing investment capital and to open the doors for capital inflow into the country.
“It is worrisome that many manufacturing companies have left the country. In Kano alone, more than 15 textile companies have left due to issue of decay in infrastructures. We will close the doors of people exiting Nigeria and open doors to make people come in, especially the investors”, he said.
Again, he wants to work with the government to generate reliable statistics that will enable planning. “We must know the number of people coming out of our universities and the numbers of children that are being born in our hospitals, to enable us make proper plans.
“As a minister, I’m ready to work and do my best in any ministry it pleases Mr. President to assign me. Wherever I find myself, I will leave the people better than I meet them,’’ he said.
Specifically for the Niger Delta region, Akpabio has raised the hopes that the President has finally opened the chapter for development with his appointment. He wants the people to see that a region that lays the golden egg but neglected for too long can now hope for priority development projects in the Next Level Agenda of the President.
“I love leaving marks wherever I visit, it is a great privilege on our part being selected to work with you, to see how we can turn around the fortunes of the Niger Delta region”, he said.
Akpabio’s commitment to ensuring effective development in the region is total if anything to ensure the fulfillment of the promises under the President’s Next Level Agenda, especially in the areas of infrastructures and employment creation.
“Being a Niger Delta person, I will ensure that things are better for further and effective development of the region. “So the President is looking forward to commissioning a lot of projects in the Niger Delta region. “I believe the Niger Delta region and its people, they are looking forward to the alleviation of poverty in their lives and transformation of infrastructures,” he said.
The nation needs peace in the Niger Delta region to guaranty the flow of oil earnings to Nigeria’s revenue-starving economy. Akpabio is the President’s man to secure the much needed peace. His strategy to achieve it is to trade development with peace.
He understands that his ministry is an interventionist agency in the Niger Delta and pledges to conduct its affairs to make the needed intervention. “Peace is extremely important there for the benefit of the residents, companies doing businesses there and government at all levels. I won’t engage myself in politically motivated projects that have no bearing on the lives of the people.’’
According to him, peace can only be achieved when the people are satisfied with positive performance. If people do not feel the development impact of government, there will be no peace in the region, he advised.