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By Samuel Ayara

The vigour, zest and will of the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel towards ensuring massive education for indigenes of the State and Nigeria at large last week took a new focus and dimension, leading us to a future that will provide solutions to the myriad of problems the nation has battled with in all of its existence.

Coming at a time the State has made bold imprints on the sands of time to herald an enduring fortune by superimposing quality on the free and compulsory education policy that has been for almost a decade; one can rightly agree that there is no end in sight for the heights we are headed as a state.

It is a given that Governor Emmanuel knew the direction he was leading the state when he included the line “rise to chart a new course for us, our children and a generation of Akwa Ibomites unborn” in the Dakkada creed. This has become the new spirit and motivation that points to the possibilities that lie in our resilience.

Advancing the narrative that has redefine education, one could be tempted to query the intention of the handlers of education in the state, especially as it pushes through the bounds of normal to engender a new paradigm that would make education an all time more inspiring, innovative and result oriented adventure.

Governor Emmanuel’s commitment to raising the next generation of leaders has challenged the status quo of the character of Nigeria’s education, as the government traversed the three senatorial districts of the state to train secondary schools prefects on leadership and behavioural ethics as well as a refresher course for school Counselors.

Organized by the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Education Monitoring, every shade of opinion about the programme pointed our state as a clime where leadership is committed to building a virile future; a departure from the leadership culture of the black race where leaders would sit- tight rather than model a succession plan.

It is rare that government can make such commitment to ensuring tomorrow leaders are better prepared to take on the task of leadership ahead of time, rather than allow them learn and make mistakes, which could be fatal, when their opportunity comes calling. This would ultimately count in the positive for our children, as it would position them to handle leadership responsibilities, compared to their peers in other states.

The training which among other issues exposed over 5000 students in public schools in the state to the basic fundamental principles of leadership also availed them a platform to learn and master the concept of behavioural ethics that would help hem serve as good ambassadors of the state.

Apart from leadership values, the children were also prompted to up their games against the rising spate of drug abuse, cultism, premature sex, pornography, truancy, vandalism and gambling by carefully chosen resource persons from the Center for Ethics and Leadership Foundation, Abuja, who spared nothing in bringing them to time on impactful leadership.

The testimonies from the participants were unitary as they showed greater commitment to leadership even in future, agreeing that beyond their positions as schools prefect, the programme had quickened them to the conscious expectation of their schools, colleagues and society in living exemplarily.

With sound instructions on organizational skills, good academic records, task coordination, punctuality, honesty, respect and listening abilities, one can bet that Governor Udom Emmanuel has modeled a conscious effort that will see leadership in future becoming more responsive, engaging and people oriented than it has ever been.

Beyond the immediate, the programme has felted courage and boldness in this young leaders to displace the timidity and inconsistencies that hitherto veiled our endeavours when put side by side with people from other parts of the country in the era we held sway in the servitude industry.

It is distinctive that at a time teachers in some states of the federation are on the streets protesting plans to relieve them of their jobs, Akwa Ibom State Government has risen above inane and primordial sentiments to build capacity for teachers and position them for greater productivity. In achieving this, government has further trained Counselors in public schools to take on the challenge of helping the children fashion a future.

It is a truism that professional Counselors in the state have never had it so good except with this catch them young model that has put them on the right footing to help the children secure their career passion. Little wonder that the Counselors Association of Nigeria (CASON) went on to commend the Governor for the ingenious idea of galvanizing the available man-power to create an enviable future for the state through the gesture of educating them beyond the classrooms.

With eyes permanently shut to the biting economic realities when it comes to investment in education and future of the state, Governor Udom Emmanuel has kept an open mind to innovations that will secure the state the acclaim he is unpretentiously committed to, since for him, nothing is more important than leaving the state better than he met it.

The decision to raise the social-consciousness of our children is targeted, timely and well thought. Especially with the realization that leadership by the day has evolved from the courted mediocrity, which hitherto defined it to an institution that cares and works for the people in ways that guarantees shared values to put our clime on an advantaged spot among the comity of states.

We cannot afford to shy away from the advent of a new paradigm in leadership; where integrity, innovation and creativity shall become a new order, but take the lead role and build skyscrapers from the bricks and foundations the Governor has provided in his quest to engendering a tomorrow where good leadership will be a lone option.

This feat in leadership when achieved, in addition to qualitative education will put Nigerians in awe at the vision that informed the Governor’s interest in taking education beyond the classrooms to accepting and carrying out responsibilities through the craft of leadership training from the cradle.

Pointing succinctly to a fulfilling future strengthens our children for the leadership task ahead, is the seed Governor Emmanuel planted from 6-8 November, 2017 across the length and breathe of the state to ensure no part thereof is left without people who will stand up to the challenge of leadership.

Inspiring others to the ideals of leadership is the very essence of leadership. In this regards, Governor Udom Emmanuel has gone past the normal to ensure leadership in future would be business unusual. What a delight to behold.

Samuel Ayara writes from Ibong Otoro in Abak Local Government Area.

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