The United Nations has commended Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration in Akwa Ibom State for aligning with the organisation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in its development projects and investments for the people of the state.
The commendation was handed down by the United Nations Resident Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Edward Kallon, Friday, June 18, when he paid a courtesy visit on the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, at Government House, Uyo.
Receiving the UN SDGs Champion laurel, Governor Emmanuel expressed appreciation to the world’s foremost organization for acknowledging the efforts of his government and solicited for more support to further the state’s pursuit of the 17 pillars of SDGs, with assurances that any support given to the state will be well utilized and accounted for.
Speaking further, the Governor urged the United Nations to add its voice to the call for the institutionalization of democracy in Nigerian government through the passage of the pending Electoral Bill by the National Assembly and subsequent executive assent.
He maintained that true democracy was fundamental to all-round development and elimination of dissatisfactions, as it will enhance the confidence of the people in the system and foster participation, as stakeholders, in the development of the nation.
“I appreciate your analyses of the micro, macro-economic issues you’ve painted. I want to let you know as Nigerians, we’re conscious of all those, but the problem is getting people to work together for proper execution and implementation of these things.
“I’ll also like to hear your voice or see your script adding to our call that the National Assembly should pass our Electoral Bill and our President to assent to that bill; because everything you’ve analyzed will still boil down to the people getting who they believe can implement those things for them by exercising their power at the polls”.
Calling on the UN contingent to boost the state government’s effort in the pursuit of the SDGs through support and greater collaborations, Governor Emmanuel said, “We have heard of you benevolence in many other countries and states.
“Anyway, anyhow you can help us, we are honestly looking up to it. Whatever support given to us will be well utilized and accounted for”.
He also called for appropriate documentation of the state’s historic sites, such as the Amalgamation House and the Bridge of no Return at Ikot Abasi, through the UN Cultural organization, the UNESCO, as unique areas of cultural heritage.
This, he said, will give the state a remarkable head start for the post-COVID economy in the area of tourism.
“COVID-19 came as a virus but did not touch our climate, vegetation and abundant natural resources, so we still have a whole lot to bounce back as a people and still sustain our generosity to the country after the COVID pandemic”, he added.
The United Nations Resident Humanitarian Coordinator, Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, who led the UN delegation commended Governor Udom Emmanuel’s exceptional performance in the development of infrastructure, industrialization and economic transformation in the State, declaring him Champion of the UN SDGs.
Mr. Kallon said the aim of their visit was to partner Akwa Ibom State promote dialogue against conflict and further address the impact of Covid-19 in the region and share ideas to enhance response to the pandemic.
He noted that the team visited the Bridge of No Return, used as channel of slave trade, the Amalgamation House where the proclamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates as one, took place in 1914 and other notable places in the state, describing them as worth sustaining as natural heritage.
The UN chief however called on Nigeria to address the socio-economic and political issues perpetuating insecurity in the country saying “Nigeria must address urgently the five critical risk factors of security and stability in the country; social cohesion equality and non-discrimination, internal security, economic stability, justice and rule of law and displacement and migration, to ensure peace and enabling environment for development.
“I want to commend you and your government for what I see and for what I am calling a visionary leadership with horizons. I see you and your team create wealth by enhancing the economic and political inclusion, constructive move to alleviate poverty in Akwa Ibom and the interesting aspect is the consolidation and expansion of the infrastructure and job creation for your people.
These investments especially the progress in consolidating investment in infrastructure and expansion and human capital development will build future manpower for Akwa Ibom State.”
Highpoint of the event was the decoration of the Governor with the UN Champion of SDGs laurel.