The Director General/Chief Executive Officer, National Metallurgical Development Centre Jos Plateau State and former commissioner of Science and Technology during Victor Attah’s regime, Linus Asuquo has revealed why the Ibom Science Park Project failed
The Ibom Science Park was initiated by Obong Victor Attah to launch Akwa Ibom State into an ICT technology hub.
Linus Asuquo revealed that over N2b worth of equipment procured by the former governor for the development of Ibom Science Park have been allowed to rot away while 200 indigenes sponsored by the state government 20 years ago for training in Canada as personnel for the planned Ibom Science project absconded abroad.
He made this known while delivering a lecture on Monday, at the Uyo Book Club 2023 Colloquium in honour of Obong Victor Attah’s 85th birthday celebration on the theme ‘The Vision of Attah On Science & Technology’.
Asuquo regretted that the laudable vision of his former boss which would have jump-started the Akwa Ibom economy has been abandoned despite the enormous advantages of the project for the state.
He added that if the Science Park project had succeeded Akwa Ibom would have been a cynosure of all eyes and a model of Science Technology among other states in Nigeria.
“If all the policies in Science and Technology were implemented by successive governments after Victor Attah, Akwa Ibom would have become the “Dubai” of our time in Nigeria. As we speak now equipment worth over N2b has rotted away at the Science Park. This is a monumental waste to the government.
“The place has decayed and the government is not doing anything to sustain the vision of Obong Attah in terms of Science and Technology. Akwa Ibom’s unemployment rate will continue to remain high if we don’t invest in Science and Technology”
“Over 200 indigenes sponsored by Attah ‘s administration were attached to different industries in Canada. But the sad news is that all the persons sponsored later absconded abroad and refused to return because successive governments never made any step to track down or repatriate them. It was very disappointing ” he lamented
He, however, urged the present government to revisit and bring back such visions to help in the development of the state instead of allowing it to rot away.
In his remarks, the Founder, Uyo Book Club, Udeme Nana, also urged the state government to set aside every 20th November as a public holiday to honour Obong Victor Attah for taking the state to the pinnacle of glory when he was the state governor.
Nana who served as Director of Press Affairs to Obong Victor Attah said his former boss has not been honoured as it should be considering how much he has impacted on the state.
He mentioned Resource Control, 13 per derivation paid to oil-bearing states, the campaign against house boy syndrome by those outside Akwa Ibom State, adding that the state revenue allocation has improved through Attah’s agitation.
He said such a man of honoured who had evolved unbeatable development blueprints for his people deserves to be celebrated.
He noted, “Attah struggled to bring more revenues to the state. In fighting for that right for the abrogation of onshore/offshore oil dichotomy he faced many obstacles. We suffered near-crashes. On two occasions the plane we boarded to lobby other governors crash-landed. One at Eket Airstrip while the other one occurred while we were coming back from Kano because Attah had to interface with other governors to support him in the fight for Resource Control.
“He built fences. We went to Kano , Kaduna, Sokoto etc . In Nigeria politics, before. you get something, you have to network so that when you meet to discuss, you have support. Obong Attah had to seek the support of other governors. But finally, the matter was put to rest at the National Assembly.”
Responding, Attah disclosed that he decided to invest in Science and Technology to lay a foundation for technology to thrive in the state.
“If we continue to build on existing infrastructure, we will make progress. I am out of office but not out of ideas to develop the state,” Attah said.
Credit Gist New Today News in Newspaper Nigeria Headlines