By John Ikani
The stakeholder integrated tour of facilities organized by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) with stakeholders of the Niger Delta region have arrived Akwa Ibom State.
Conducting participants round one of the Board’s signature programs on Technical and Vocational Education and Training Institutions, (TVETs) at the Government Technical College, (GTC), Abak, the General Manager, Corporate Communication and Zonal Coordination, Dr. Ginah O. Ginah showcased the refurbished technical workshops by the Board to promote a platform for job creation and self-empowerment for the people of the area.
Dr. Ginah who disclosed that the strategic intent of carrying out the project and the impact on the people of the area was to strengthen the technical college which is one of the foremost in the region to become a Centre of Excellence in Carpentry/Woodwork through the provision of high-quality training to both teachers, students, the oil and gas, and allied industry in an affordable, safe, sustainable and efficient manner while satisfying the yearnings of the local and international furniture industry as part of the Board’s efforts to create wealth and diversify the economy while increasing foreign exchange and global competitiveness.
He described the Building Technology and Furniture & Joinery workshops, Science Laboratory and ICT Centre as areas the Board hopes to ramp up its vision to attain 70% Nigerian Content by 2027 with a sustainability framework to ensure host communities participate and bring economic development to their area and by affording the government and people of Akwa Ibom to source their carpentry needs from the technical college.
The General Manager mentioned the Board’s plan to implement a public-private collaboration with the state government and a specialist modern furniture production firm, owned and managed by an indigene of the community for the facility to be self-sustained.
He said the tour afforded the stakeholders to see firsthand the Board’s commitment to Nigerian Content Development as it was also an enlightenment program for participants.
Speaking through the Permanent Secretary, Akparawa James Edet, the State Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong stated that the Board’s intervention is in tandem with the aspiration of the Akwa Ibom Completion Agenda to reposition the education sector to meet its objectives.
He declared that the technical college will make the state a destination of choice for investment and prepare students and other beneficiaries of the facility for technical competence in an evolving economy.
Also speaking, the Abaak of Abak, (HRH) Obong Ifiok Umanah – Mkpokporo VII commended the Board for refurbishing the technical college and pledged to galvanize his community to adequately protect the state-of-the-art workshops and laboratory to ensure it is put to good use.
The Royal Father promised to advocate the development of science and technology to stem the low level of students’ enrolment into technical colleges in the area which is far less than the total enrolment into conventional secondary schools.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Nigeria Society of Engineers, Uyo Branch and President of Old Students’ Association of Government Technical Colleges in Akwa Ibom State, Engr. Ukeme Okpob gave a charge to government at all levels to develop technical education as it is the bedrock for nations to develop economically and compete globally. Engr. Okpob commended the Board for its sustainability plan to initiative public-private collaboration for the operational maintenance of the facilities.
In conclusion, the Principal-General of GTC, Abak, Elder Friday Emmanson Udoka hinted that the school was already in talks with the state education ministry to engender the participation of other institutions and showcase the facility through training and commercialization.
The next leg of the tour is expected to take stakeholders across the region to Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Edo states.