• Deputy Governor applauds Society, as NES Inaugurated In Akwa Ibom State

By Thomas Thomas

A Professor of Economics at the University of Uyo, Professor Christopher Nyong Ekong has called on the Nigeria government to revolutionize Blue Economy if the country must catch up with its contemporaries in the Western world. The university don made the call during the formal inauguration of the Nigeria Economic Society (NES), Akwa Ibom State Chapter at the University of Uyo’s TETFUNDS 150 Capacity Lecturer Theatre recently.

In a paper titled: The Blue Economy: Technology and Inclusive Industrialization: Implication for the sustainable Development of Coastal Nigeria”, presented after his inauguration as the Akwa Ibom State Chairman of the professional body, Professor Ekong, expatiated the concept of Blue Economy in line with the African Union Charter by stating that it is “sustainable economic development of oceans using such techniques as regional development to integrate the use of seas and oceans, coasts, lakes, rivers and underground water for economic purposes, including, but without being limited to fisheries, mining, energy, aquaculture, and maritime transport, while perfecting the sea to improve social well-being”, and went on to state that “population increase started putting pressure  on livelihood resources of the Green economy”, hence, the reason advanced countries have turned their attention to the Blue Economy.

According to him, “before the announcement by scientists of the grave misuse of the Green Economy and its damaging consequences, which is currently manifesting in confusing climate change scenario: earthquakes; flooding, air population; and other natural disasters, they had already gone deep into technology and industrialization that did not consider the life of its ecosystem.  
“While grappling to re-calibrate and return the world’s ecosystem to its natural equilibrium, heavily constrained by economic growth demand of nations of the world, the Blue Economy emerged".

Professor Ekong who is currently the Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Uyo asserted that the Blue Economy had come at a time knowledge had abound for sustainability in the development drive of world economies. He emphasized that Blue Economy could have a tremendous impact on a country’s economy in the area of fishing and boating industries, tourism and recreation industry, ocean transport industry, etc, and stressed that, Nigeria has been identified as a potential new frontier for the expansion of shrimps farming, and that oil corporations like Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) have indicated interest in investing in Shrimps culture in the Niger Delta as it has a potential of about $384M.

After stating the potentials of Africa in a Blue-Economy Revolution and the importance of Blue Economy in Africa, the former Commissioner for Economic Development lamented that Nigeria which is ranked the fourth largest importer of fish in the world, following China, Japan and the United States, has no security of the maritime territories of the Nigeria Terrestrial ocean water, thus leaving the few communities and fishers-folks in the country’s territorial water to the  vagaries of bandits, kidnappers and pirates and added that “indiscriminate disposal of plastic and other solid and liquid waste into our oceanic water body does  not concern authorities”.

Professor Ekong, also stated that the hope of Nigeria’s Blue Economy is in the fact that Akwa Ibom is an emerging Blue Economy in Nigeria, and that there are, in Akwa Ibom State, so many infrastructures and conditioning for embracing the benefits and incentives of the Blue Economy in Nigeria. He mentioned the existence of Ibom Deep Sea Port, International Airport, Aluminum Smelter Company coastline of 120km along Atlantic Ocean that provides opportunities for fishing, tourism, marine transportation, and aquaculture; and natural resources.

Earlier, the Nigerian Economy Society (NES) and a 12 man State Executive Committee was formally inaugurated in Akwa Ibom State by the National President of the Society Professor Sarah Anyanwu, who was represented by Prof. Tamunopreye Agiobenebo (a past National President of the Nigerian Economic Society (NES. The State Executive officers inaugurated to pilot the affairs of the society in the State were Prof. Christopher N Ekong, Chairman, Prof. Emmanuel Onwioduokit, Vice Chairman, Hon. James Ekikor, vice chairman, Dr. Udo N. Ekpo, Vice Chairman, Dr. Grace Akpan, Vice Chairman, Mr. Nsudoh Nsudoh, Vice Chairman, Mr. Godwin Ekpo, Vice  Chairman, Dr. Augustince O. Jacob, Vice Chairman and Dr. (Mrs.) Uduakobong S. Inam, Secretary. Others are Mr. Idongesit Ukeme, Assistant Secretary, Dr. Aniefiok B Udoh, Organizing Secretary and Mr. Inieke Umanah, Treasurer.

The event which was attended by scholars of high standing within and outside the University of Uyo had Professor Akpan Ekpo as the Chairman. The former Uniuyo VC however joined through zoom, and congratulated the newly inaugurated executives, while expressing his optimism that Professor Ekong would lead the Society in the State to an enviable height.

…Deputy Governor applauds Economic Society

The Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Moses Ekpo has commended the recently inaugurated Nigeria Economic Society (NES), Akwa Ibom State. 

The State Deputy Governor, who was represented by Rosemary Inyangobong, Director of Administration, Deputy Governor’s Office, Akwa Ibom State, said the event was both significant and relevant, especially, as it symbolizes the Association’s response to the myriad of socio-economic and political issues facing Nigeria today.

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In a speech written and signed by Mr. Moses Ekpo, but read by his representative, the Deputy Governor briefly traces the history of NES in Nigeria, and stated that it was founded in 1957 through a collaboration by Nigerian Scholars as a formidable platform for Nigeria Economists and allied social scientists to provide an intellectual direction for managing socio-economic and political change.

The State’s number two man emphasized that the “association adopted its first constitution on January 4, 1958 while its first seminar was held on April 5, 1958 in London”. He went further to state that “It is on record that your first journal, the Nigerian Economic and Social Studies was published in 1959, for the purpose of giving members an opportunity to contribute enlightened opinions aimed at setting economic agenda, stimulating and driving the process of change in the national economy.

“It is of equal significance that your group has continually invested quality time and resources in making several interventions towards the re-alignment of our general economy through the instrumentality of Seminars, Annual Conferences and Public lectures.

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“There is no gainsaying the fact that these huge interventions have severally translated into policy frameworks that have indeed, contributed immensely to our socio-economic and political value-chain”.

On the paper presented on the occasion by the newly sworn in State Chairman of NES, Akwa Ibom State, Prof. Christopher Ekong, the Deputy governor opined that it was “both timely and thematic, especially considering the fact that in Akwa Ibom, we have an administration that is both committed to industrialization and also totally sold out to the agenda of developing the Blue Economy potentials of the state.

As you will appreciate, the Blue Economy or what is appropriately described as Marine economy, is the development of economic activities centered around the sea trade ecosystem such as ports/terminal development, the gamut of fishing industry, maritime based transportation, marine-based renewable energy, tourism, waste management, etc”.

He pointed out that the “Presentation could not have come at a better time than now when Governor Udom Emmanuel has already taken up the challenge of making Blue Economy to constitute a major component of our economic resource base as a State”, and maintained that the state government under “the able captainship” of Mr. Udom Emmanuel has set the foundational framework for the evolution of the state’s economy from a civil service orientation to one that will be driven both by industrialization and marine economy.

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Adding that in this regard, the necessary statutory certifications and appropriate approvals had been secured for the Ibom Deep Seaport, Ibom Industrial city, the Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone “while our incursion into aviation development through Ibom Air, has witnessed a phenomenal growth and endorsement”.

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