On 23rd September, 2015, Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom state was in a festive spirit. Onlookers could tell that apart from the State’s anniversary celebration, something else was in the offing. Snippets of something that seemed like a campaign of some sorts had filled up the airwaves, billboards and other advert spaces, and all of these pointed towards the launch of something new. We may not have known what was coming, but we were certain something new was in the works.

At exactly 3pm on the D-day, at the Nest of Champions, the State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel in front of a mammoth crowd of curious citizens, guests and spectators launched and officially introduced to Akwa Ibomites what would grow to be the biggest attitudinal reorientation campaign in the history of the state: the Dakkada philosophy. For about 20 minutes, the governor spoke passionately, calling on Akwa Ibomites to rise beyond the usual, to aim high and attempt what they hitherto thought to be impossible. He urged citizens to have faith in our resources, “beyond what others can see”. He ended his remarks with what has now become the complimentary close of the Dakkada creed: “Ami Mme dakkanda, Akwa Ibom, Dakkada!” which literally means “I have arisen, Akwa Ibomites, rise up!”

As expected, mixed reactions greeted the nascent ideology. Some where skeptical, others critical, but many openly embraced the ideology and its ideals, and applied same to their professions, crafts, businesses and enterprises. For effects, some even attached the “Dakkada” insignia or appendages to their business designs to show that they were “Dakkada compliant”. Wherever one looked, it was clear that a revolution had started. Akwa Ibomites were set to “Dakkada”.

On her part, government did not go to sleep. A Department of marketing and brand management was set up in the Governor’s office and saddled with the responsibility of driving the vision. The first line of action taken by government was the organization of awareness campaigns to take the message to the hinterlands. At each location of the campaigns, individuals whose lives, businesses or careers exemplified the ideals of the ideology where identified and recognized as ambassadors so as to provide local examples worthy of emulation. In all, about 15,000 Dakkada ambassadors were recognized across the state.

Not satisfied with just talk, Government took it a notch higher and commenced in November 2015, an entrepreneurship recruitment and development drive. The mission: to identify MSMEs and professionals who would be aggregated into generic clusters for purposes of networking, engagements and sharing of ideas.

By 2016, trickles of result started rolling in. The Dakkada Multipurpose Cooperative society was formed and incorporated. 31 Dakkada multipurpose cooperative Unions were formed under the Dakkada Multipurpose cooperative Association, across the 31 local government areas in the state. These cooperatives were aided to access the CBN/AKSG interest free loans.

Through the Dakkada Business and Leadership Forum, a regular monthly conferences tagged Dakkada Networking Experience, which serves as a networking, capacity building and policy review/interactive platform for business owners and professionals in the state is organized. In 2020, during the 5th anniversary commemoration of the Dakkada initiative, the Dakkada Business and Leadership Forum in collaboration with the state government hosted the Dakkada 5th anniversary business and Leadership awards where notable Akwa Ibomites received awards for their industry, professionalism, tenacity and resilience. The awardees also got cash prizes.

Counting Our Blessings

The benefits of the Dakkada initiative cannot be overemphasized. Our sheaves and quivers are full of gains and benefits. Government’s investment in the human capacity and intellectual development of our people is beginning to pay off.

Today, everywhere one turns, beneficiaries of Dakkada inspired programmes and initiatives litter the streets. From entrepreneurs who have learned how to do business better at the MEGP, and have received support packages from government, to small holder farmers who have now started aggregating their farm produce at their cooperatives so as to enhance their bargaining value and event attract loans and grants from government, or even the professional, who, inspired by the Dakkada philosophy has become more dedicated to duties and is doing better in the corporate space.

As we mark the 6th anniversary of the launch of this noble initiative, like the good old gosple song writer said “We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves” because the Dakkada Philosophy has in six years caused a major paradigm shift in the state. Virtually all facets of life in the state has been affected by the Dakkada Ideology. Available statistics show that more MSMEs have sprung up in the past six years than ever in our history. Our people are fast abandoning negative tendencies and vices, while embracing enterprise, hard-work, faithfulness and dedication to duties. With a government that is committed to changing the outlook of our people, we can go ahead and look forward to a bright future and the promises it holds. We can officially transition as a people, from the land of promise, to a land of fulfillment, where opportunities abound for all and sundry!

Akwa Ibom, E sosongho nangha edakka Eda

let’s keep the fire burning.

Happy 34th Anniversary Akwa Ibom State.

Akwa Ibom, Dakkada!