The Akwa Ibom State chapter of the All Progressive Congress has disclosed that the NBS report which ranked the state second highest in unemployment rate in the country is a reflection of government’s alleged wrong priorities and executive recklessness.
The party in a statement by it Publicity Secretary, Nkereuwem Enyongekere on Sunday in Uyo, the state capital described the report as the most embarrassing economic data ever recorded in the state’s 33 years of existence.
It said the state unemployment saga couple with last year’s rating by NBS which had ranked the state as the second highest in HIV/AIDS prevalence in the country calls for explanation of the paradox given the enormous resources available to the state government.
He remarked that, “Akwa Ibom people have just been reminded of their dire and miserable socioeconomic status with the report from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics yesterday that their state has the second highest unemployment rate in the country; a whopping 45.2%, translating to 1.14 million people.”
And continuing, he said “This is the most embarrassing and depressing economic data that has ever been recorded for our state in its 33–year history, and coming at a time when we are the highest earner of oil revenue, we are compelled to ask the state government to explain this paradox. We should note that unemployment is not our only scourge. Akwa Ibom has the second highest HIV/AIDS prevalence in the country and is sliding down the ladder in students’ performance in WAEC and other external examinations.”
Our Party, he quipped “believes that the major causes of these depressing and poor standards of living among our people are the mismanagement of our resources, wrong priorities of the government and in many cases outright executive incompetence. The huge resources spent on erecting the 21 storey building which is even yet to be completed and the money being sunk into constructing the worship center have no direct bearing on the life and welfare of the people.”
Enyongekere, further stated that “We believe – and we have said this many times in the past – that these wasted resources would have been better used to create jobs through massive agribusiness value chains, rebuild, re equip our schools, retrain our teachers and overhaul the curriculum”, describing the state government’s attempt to fault the NBS report as a lame response adding that the cottage Industries it based its argument upon cannot employ more than 150 people.
He discredited the response from the state government saying, “We have read the lame and rapid response to the NBS statistics that was hurriedly issued by Mr. Iniobong Emembobng, the new Information Commissioner, this afternoon. Certainly, the commissioner has no clue about how jobs are created. Akwa Ibom people are aware that some of those enterprises like the toothpick and pencil shops have since closed down. Even if they had not shut down, they will not all together employ more than 150 people. That cannot make a dent on our labour market of over one million unemployed and over 500,000 underemployed.”