In a forum organised by young Nigerian professionals under the auspices of Akwa Ibom Young Professional Leadership Initiative, it was declared that the participation of
Nigerian professionals in the nation's leadership was imperative, hence the need for young professionals to rise to the occasion, to take up the challenges of leadership.
Conveners have disclosed that the choice of Udom Emmanuel stemmed from the fact that he is a professional in his field of endeavour and understands the problems of young aspiring professionals in the state.
Unveiling Udom Emmanuel as the next governor of the state, Otukong Emmanuel Ibiok, Special Adviser to Governor Akpabio on Political and Legislative Affairs said professionals, no matter how young could transform any state or country, stressing on the need for professionals inclusion in governance.
According to the group, its vision is to become a reference point for developing young professionals in leadership and ensuring youth inclusion in government, policy formulation, and accountability in Nigeria. Assemblage of professionals from across Nigeria to discuss critical issues regarding the role of professionals in the affairs of the country, but with emphasis on Akwa Ibom state.
The forum which further emphasised on the need to create and sustain conventional and innovative fora for young professionals to contribute to the development of Nigeria, particularly Akwa Ibom State, through debates, and enlightenment
programs had Mr. Aniekan Umanah, Hon. Commissioner for Information
and Communications, Akwa Ibom State, as the keynote speaker.
Other notable speakers at the event were Barr. Ofonime Enoh, Principal Partner, Lincoln Associates, Abuja. Barr. Abbas Idiong, Yadomah Bukar Mandara (a youth representative at the ongoing National Conference, Otuekong Emmanuel Ibiok (Special
Adviser to the Governor on Bureau of Political and Legislative Affairs) and the representative of the State Deputy Governor, Mr. Stephen Leo Ntukekpo.
In a keynote address, Akwa Ibom state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Aniekan Umanah spoke on Professional Involvement in Politics: A Call for Attitudinal Change.
According to the Commissioner, not everybody engaged in white Collar job is a professional, hence the need to be careful not to mix up the two.
Stressing on the importance of involvement of Professionals in leadership, the Commissioners said "If the primary aim of the politics is the selection of leaders for the state, then the involvement of professionals, in the process is a sine qua non – an essential.
"Professionals were catalytic to the
industrial revolution which began in England in 1760. It is pertinent to note that this total new experience that saw a change from the use of hand to the use machines in the production of goods, significantly impacted on every aspect of human life, including politics, and living standards in Europe, and America.
Also, globalization, the evolving networking of global finances,
information and communication technology, and cross-cultural
currents require as conditionality, the entrenchment of sound
democratic institutions for the accentuation of the process. It is in that respect, that professionalism, shows its essence.
Speaking further, he said, "Professionalism encourages the spirit of hard work which the Calvinist inculcated in the early part of the 20th century, to attain noble acclaim in the society. This Protestant Ethic Thesis, as posited by Karl Marx (1905), gave justification for the growth of craftsmen into professionals, who eventually lubricated the industrial revolution
and functionally impacted on the political patterns of the world.
Reiterating on the political competence of professionals, he said "Professionals, irrespective of their
occupational areas, have a shared experience that is rooted in quality service delivery, discipline, training, experience, industrial democracy and corporate governance. This process of joint- decision-making and collective bargaining underscore the
democratic credentials of professionals"
Speaking further on the present crop of democratic leadership, the Commissioner made reference to Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan who is a geologist by profession and Governor
Akpabio, a lawyer. He said the two were good examples of
professionals in politics, dismissing the beliefs that politics is not meant for serious people. According to him "where our amiable President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, a Doctor of
Zoology, presides over the affairs of the most populous black nation in the world, Nigeria; to the sub-national stage, where the purveyor of the Uncommon Transformation, Chief (Dr.) Godswill Obot Akpabio, a seasoned lawyer, with an impeccable corporate pedigree superintends as Governor of Akwa Ibom State, the story is the same, it's an experience that is founded on the ability of the leadership component to translate visions into material reality."
He concluded that the needed shift in political attitude and culture would inevitably add value to the process of
confidence -building in leadership.