Chuks Okocha in Abuja
Ahead of the Bayelsa State governorship election slated for November 16, former Attorney General of the state and Commissioner for Justice, Anthony George-Ikoli, has pledged his readiness to leverage on the state comparative advantage in deep sea resources to revamp its economy if given the opportunity.
George-Ikoli, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who is seeking the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), stated this yesterday in Abuja in a chat with journalists shortly after obtaining his Expression of Interest and nomination forms at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.
Highlighting the role of education as driver of any nation’s economy, the Obafemi Awolowo University-trained legal luminary promised to prioritise science and technology even as he stressed the importance of recruiting well-trained teachers for the transmission of knowledge across different schools of learning in the state.
According to him, “My administration will work tirelessly to exploit areas where our state has a clear competitive advantage in agriculture and aquaculture. It is my belief that we can earn substantial income from industrial seafood and cash crop processing.
“Educational revolution through a total overhaul of formal instruction methodologies with special emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) would mark the beginning of new direction aimed at excellence in manpower training.”
He continued: “Under my watch, professionalism will return to the teaching profession and teachers will be accorded the confidence-building environment that will enable them produce the next generation of intellectuals and builders within the ranks of our children.
“We must ready the next generation of Bayelsans, because the challenges of the future will be lots more daunting than the inconveniences of the present. We can no longer stay aloof feeling sorry for ourselves or reminisce about a past that once was. The time for strong determined action is now. Under my watch, Bayelsa State will take the lead in all the current educational metrics and set a benchmark for learning in the region.”
George-Ikoli also promised to save for the rainy day through the creation of a wealth fund, saying: “My administration will religiously set aside funds into a Bayelsa Sovereign Fund with which we will undertake a future saving fund and project guarantee fund from where we will issue matching guarantees for the many large-scale infrastructure projects we will undertake under a strategic Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme.
“We can grow a new economy and expand our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to up to five times its current size. By developing 12 of the state most picturesque beaches, we can create autonomous economic zones that can develop the communities at the grassroots into power houses of economic growth.”
On whether he belonged to a favoured camp, the erudite lawyer denied knowledge of one, saying: “I am not aware of any camp in the Bayelsa State chapter PDP. I am prepared to take on this job and I will make the state the pride of all if given the opportunity by my party.”