Joe Effiong, Uyo
Former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, has given out more than N100 million grants to small and medium scale entrepreneurs in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District.
The grant disbursed through the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) is part of the constituency empowerment programme of the senator, who only last year spent hundreds of millions of naira in empowering his constituents in the 10 local government areas making up the senatorial district.
A total of 430 beneficiaries of the grant made of 40 from each of the 10 local government areas of the senatorial district were issued checks for N250,000 each.
On the occasion, which took place, on Tuesday, in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, Akpabio said the initiative was a way of making the weak in the society strong.
“Today is significant in several ways, but most importantly, it is the continuation of our march towards making our people to be meaningfully engaged.
“I’ve come here, today, as a demonstration of my philosophy that the true measure of democracy is how those who are given political mandates treat and relate with those who gave them the mandate.
“I believe the electorate deserve performance not pronouncements. I believe they deserve help, not condemnation. They deserve empowerment, not negligence. It is not about building mansions, but building people. It is not about pulling people down, but lifting them up,” he said.
Earlier, Akpabio had empowered over 2,000 constituents with cars, buses, tricycles, tractors and other items, while over 250 students benefitted from scholarship awards.
These were in addition to about 50 constituency projects he executed across the 10 local government areas of the senatorial district.
Akpabio thanked his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), for giving him the senatorial ticket unopposed and said the initiative was his way of helping the weak.
APC governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom State, Obong Nsima Ekere, commended Akpabio for the initiative and said words were not enough to describe the impact of the cash grants on the lives of the people.
SMEDAN representative, Boniface Okoroafor, described Akpabio’s gesture as unprecedented and commended him for his love for people.
Former local government chairman of Obot Akara and 12 former local government chapter chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party used the event to officially announce their defection to the APC.