By Tony Nyong
Education means the instruction of youths in certain rules of conduct by which they will be able to support themselves when they come to age and to know the obligations they are under to that society of which they constitute a part. Robert Coram, English-born American educationist 1761 – 1796.

One enterprise in the best form of empowerment known to man and a good foundation to development is Education, but surprisingly statistics have shown that about 125 million children in the world have no access to education; most of them are not in school, particularly children between the ages of 6 and 13 years. Out of this number about 75% of them are from Africa, and in Africa again, you have not less than 10% of them in Nigeria .

Nigeria has about 7.5 million of the children population who have no access to school and the reason is simply that most times, they have no fees, normally due to poverty, yet, education, again according to Robert Coram, should not be left to the caprice or negligence of parents, to chance, or confined to the children of wealthy parents.

Thomas Jefferson, 3rd US President 1743 – 1826 once said. ‘I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education’.

Numerous are the streams that lead to social prosperity, but all spring from the same source and that is public education. Governor Godswill Akpabio in present day Nigeria has proved to be the only governor who would emulate the legendary Pa Awolowo and invest in these enterprise of the best of form of empowerment and the foundation to human development.

No projects of the previous administrations compares with the free education programme of the Akpabio government in terms of the depth of thought that undergirds the enunciation of the policy, nor is there any policy yet that matches the intensity, spread and potential immortality of its impact.

The art of a wise administration consist in making certain concessions and granting that which will please the people and demanding in return obedience and cooperation which will benefit the whole community. By the wise decision of granting free education to the people, Akpabio has proved to be a genius, for a true genius is a mind of large general powers, accidentally determined to some particular direction.

The principal mark of a genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers. Genius … the act of doing well what is worthy to be done, and what was never done before…..Genius is the introduction of new element into the intellectual universe. When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by his sign, that, the dunces are all in a confederacy against him.

Now all Akwa Ibom children have the opportunity to be educated; they now have the opportunity to go to school for their future to be guaranteed. Prior to now, the perception of the Nigerian population about Akw Ibom child was the perception of house girl, housemaid, driver, or a cook.

Akwa Ibom was an industry for people to come and look for housemaids and people to do menial jobs. The reason was that a lot of children who couldn’t go to school because of poverty became petty jobbers, young girls soon became mothers, some were trafficked out and used as commercial sex workers, raped and brutalized, the rest entered the creeks and grew to become militants.

Today Governor Godswill Akpabio has said that the ultimate objective of his administration’s free and compulsory education policy is to raise the literacy rate in the State to 99% in the next 5 to 10 years and produce a vibrant population of educate people and workforce for Nigeria. With the free and compulsory education programme, the state is sure of a literate and well empowered man power population that can defend their rights and make maximum contributions to the development of the state and the nation.

In the near future, Akwa Ibom would have a reservoir of skilled manpower that will be an answer to the nation’s development problems; a manpower base that will help to do just like Pakistan and India that are exporting technicians, technologists and computer engineers all over the world and assist Nigeria in the direction of vision 20-20-20.

The great object of the institution of civil government is the improvement of the conditions of those who are parties to the social compact, and no government, in whatever form constituted, can accomplish the lawful end of its institution but in proportion as it improves the condition of those over whom it is established.

Akwa Ibom today is sure of producing in the next ten years, a reservoir of skilled manpower that will go to service the Nigerian economy. As a minority, the hope is that in future, if the people cannot get jobs as a result of the quota system, they would get the jobs because of the benefit of education and the skills they would have been able to acquire through the free and compulsory education policy of today.

Human growth takes place through successive encounters with one’s environment. As the person encounters a new situation, he or she is forced to try new responses to deal with that situation. Learning takes place as a function of how these responses work and the results they achieve.

With the free and compulsory education brought to the foot step of the people and for every Akwa Ibom child to have access to education and a good start in life means fighting militancy and cultism, because with proper education, a child would know what is right and what is wrong and would be able to choose the right path of life.

Recently President Goodluck Johnathan visited Akwa Ibom State and inspected the E-Library project. A world class, state-of-the-art electronic library costing N3.5 billion, which is almost completed, underscores Governor Akpabio’s commitment to transforming the state educationally.

It is in line with his conviction that in order to thrive in the 21st century, Akwa Ibom must be part of the technological revolution that is currently sweeping through the world, which can only come about through qualitative education.

Stunned by what he saw in the state, Mr. President later in a state banquet said “from what I have seen so far, it is evident that Akwa Ibom State Governor is driven by the singular commitment to enhancing the welfare and well being of the people through infrastructural development.

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