At a first and casual glance, Obong Nsima Ekere’s ( Akwa Ibom State APC Standard Bearer) policy document of five broad areas of focus may appear a rather huge ambition. And, more so, to the atavistic pessimists in our midst, an undoable deal. But as you settle down to read the details, you immediately begin to be effortlessly sucked into its fascinating and realistic promises. And before long, a discerning reader is left with only one impression: a truely socio-economic bazooka for Akwa Ibom State of these times.
I remember a few years ago when some countries mostly from Southern Europe namely; Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, etc severely floundered on the economic front and wantonly defaulted in their commitments to the European Union. There was every grim possibility of these basket-case countries infecting the giant economic Union with their blights. At a point the frustration of the healthier member countries led by Germany was so strong that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly thundered at one of the private sessions of their negotiations that if her country had known that Italy in particular was going to be that errant, the country would not have been admitted into the monetry Union.
The most threatening case was, indeed, Italy. After all, the country was by far the largest among the economically delinquents of the time. It was ( and still) among the eight largest economies of the world (G8).
So, as the healthy countries in the Union led by Germany were beginning to frantically design emergency bail-outs for these economically isick countries, it promptly dawned on the rescuers that Italy’s problems were in a class of their own because of the sheer size of the later’s economy. In short, as one unnamed commentator at the time simply put it, “Italy is simply too big to bail.” And according to this analyst, “what Italy needs right now is something like a bazooka. That is, prompt extensive reforms followed by very massive injection of ( perhaps hundreds of billions) dollars into the country’s economy.
The proposition was valid considering the problem at hand. But who would bell the cat. To cut the long story short, some experts at the time suggested then that the only possible source of succour for the Italians was a certain huge pool of money amounting to over ten trillion dollars sitting around the world and owned by the likes of China, Saudi Arabia, Canada, etc.
This is where the concept of a bazooka rescue originated from. A super massive one-off policy offensive against an extraordinarily sprawling economic debacle. Akwa Ibom State in just a little less than four years has devolved into a huge socio-economic fiasco. Check our our dismal performances in the uneployment index; the percentage scores of our children in national examinations in recent years; the pervasive insecurity in the land, particularly, in Etim Ekpo, Ukanafun and Ika Local Government Areas; the growinging army of beggers in our streets, associate crimes and criminalities, etc. (All these confirmed by the relevant national institutions like the National Bureau of Statistics, WAEC, NECO, Police, etc.) This is why Ekere’s blueprint is, for now, the only realistic elixir for the current intensely debilitating socio-economic pathologies.
When the Akwa Ibom APC gubernatorial Candidate at one go presents a package of five very broad promises that includes, “economic prosperity, infrastructure & rural development, education, health & social protection, security, and governance & institutional reforms”, a few critics may see same as somewhat too ambitious. But, in the end, going by the poor performance of our State on nearly all socio-economic fronts in the last few years, only a few selfish beneficiaries from the status quo will disagree with the fact that a bazooka package is what we need for the desperately needed resque.
Akwa Ibom State, on account of the official derelictions and other delinquencies of recent years with all the attendants deformations, has been consciously or unconsciously primed for class hatred. This has been mainly because of the sole reliance on the extractive industry-fueled rent economy that has spawned run-away social and financial inequality in the land. And perhaps one of the biggest sources of socio-economic inequality is massive dependence of a society on the extractive industry for economic survival. What is urgently needed now is a very dexterous and proven hand to dilligently navigate us away from this route to inexorable crisis and set us on the path of recovery, social solidarity and harmony through genuine wealth creation efforts that truely reognize and reward hardwork. And that can only be possible if all and sundry key into Ekere’s template; deliver him into the Hilltop Mansion on 29th May, 2019, and with that, arm him for smart deliveries.
Ekere’s vision is, truely, the bazooka we need.