Akpan Etukudoh Asare
The former minister of culture, tourism and orientation, Chief Edem Duke has paid formal visits to the Igbo and Hausa communities in Calabar as well as the University of Calabar as part of mobilising supports for his governorship aspiration.
He used the opportunity of the visits to assure them of his supports to their businesses and properties in any parts of the state if he won the upcoming governorship election.
He also assured the Cross River southern APC youths forum led by Comrade Paul Effiong which paid him a solidarity visit, calling on them to guarantee him of their vote.
He told the youths forum that he was not aspiring to become governor in order to settle any political scores with anyone bit to step into the gap where many people think they can humiliate and marginalise the southern senatorial district.
On the alarm raised by some leaders of igbo community resident in the state, the former minister stressed that the time has come when all Ibo businessmen resident in the state are to be given protection so as to put an end to the incessant kidnapping of thwir business men residing in Calabar.
Duke said, “As a people who have making tremendous contributions towards the economic advancement of the state, everything should be done within the ambit of the law to ensure that their lives and property are given maximum protection. I want you to know that there is governorship aspirant here who has your interest at heart
“I want to relay to you the fact that from pre-independence, the igbo community, the igbo women and their religious leaders had been an integral part of the Calabar community, from Bakassi to Obanlikwu. Your contributions are immeasurable. I know it, because as a business man and a past president of the Calabar Chambers of Commerce, industries, mines and Agriculture, I understand and recognize the challenges that you face
in your business.”
Also addressing the Hausa community, Duke said having lived in the state, particularly Calabar for several decades they have become part and parcel of the natives.
Duke said when he becomes governor he would consolidate on the peace prevalent amongst them.
Speaking with the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof Zana Akpagu who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics, Prof Uche Amalu, Duke expressed happiness that the state of insecurity on campus and the involvement of students have abated, making the varsity to become great.
He however lamented over the poor state of education in the country, saying it is in despair. He said a nation that does not invest in education being the building block can not guarantee the quality of its citizenry.
“Education in many Nigerian universities is in despair. The state of education is worrisome. There has been erosion of education by strange values, including the pursuit of wealth to the detriment of basic education. It should be noted that Knowledge is the driving force to development”, he said.
He advocated that every government in Nigeria should elevate education to its prime position, and young people should com!it themselves to academic evolution.
Addressing the mammoth students, the governorship hopeful cautioned them against cultism and violence and said he has some scholarship running already I’m UNICAL which would increase once he becomes the governor as he would vote overriding resources to education.
The VC expressed happiness for having Duke as the first aspirant to honour them with a visit and encourage him to proceed with his aspiration, assuring that they would continue to pray for him as a good friend of the school.