By Desmond Ogudu
The former Governor, who has been appointed the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, has pledged his commitment to ensure effective development in the Niger Delta region, especially in the area of infrastructure.
Akpabio made the pledge at the reception ceremony to usher him into the ministry on Wednesday in Abuja.
“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”.
“Of course, you know why this ministry was set up, specifically, that region would have been like a golden egg but has been neglected for long”.
“If not because we’re just coming for the first time, I would have asked for your achievements so far, especially in the areas of construction of bridges, employment and others”.
“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 infrastructure”, he said.
According to him, “Peace can only be achieved when the people are satisfied with positive performance, if people do not feel your impact, there is no way peace will be maintained in that region”.
Also speaking, the Minister of State for Niger Delta, Mr. Festus Keyamo, commended the management and staff of the Ministry for the warm reception, while promising to tackle the development of the Niger Delta bit by bit.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. Didi Walson-Jack, assured the ministers that the staff of the ministry were non-partisan seasoned civil servants determined to ensure their success.
According to her, their duty at the ministry is to provide expertise and administrative framework as the engine room and support the ministers and the Federal Government to turn things around for the people of the Niger Delta region.
“I assure you that we will work to uphold the wisdom, excellence and good reputation of the public service and always promote the principles of good governance”.
“As the political heads of the ministry, the direction rests on you and we have no doubt in our minds that with both of you providing the requisite political leadership, the narrative about the Niger Delta region will change for the better”.
“I also pledge our commitment to the actualisation of the vision and mandate of the ministry”.
“We would be an effective and efficient workforce; working with you to strategise on the formulation and execution of the best policies, programmes and projects that would address the challenges in the Niger Delta region”.
“These include, but not limited to infrastructure development, environmental degradation, poverty alleviation, entrepreneurship, job creation, unemployment and security, among others”.
She, however, proposed a retreat with the ministers, to enable them interface with top management in setting policy agenda for the ministry.
Sen. Godswill Obot Akpabio, was born on Dec. 9, 1962 and he is from Akwa Ibom State.
He obtained a Law degree from the University of Calabar in 1987, he went into the telecoms business and joined politics in 2002 and became a commissioner in Akwa Ibom State.
In 2007, he was elected Governor of the State for two terms and thereafter, won an election in 2015 to become a Senator. He also contested in the 2019 general election for the Senate and was defeated by Senator Christopher Ekpenyong.