By Ofonime Honesty
Entertainers in Akwa Ibom State are surely in very high spirits. The days of dormancy are over. Today, the entertainment industry has been revamped under the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel. Before now, cries by indigenous artistes to be properly catered for and absorbed into governance fell on deaf ears. Practically nothing was done to actualize such vision.
Upon taking over the reins of governance in 2015, the governor realized that the Akwa Ibom entertainment industry is one of the sectors which government should properly develop and invest in a bid lessen the effect of the boring dependence on oil revenue. He did the needful and within a very skimpy space of time, the dividends are glaringly numerous.
To set the ball rolling, Governor Emmanuel, after consulting with stakeholders in the entertainment industry, appointed ace compere, Mr. David Sergeant (Utang Akwa Ibom), as Special Assistant on Entertainment Industry.
The choice of Utang Akwa Ibom was (and is still) described as a perfect choice. Entertainers needed a mouthpiece capable of conveying their thoughts and convincing government to contribute its quota to the task of growing the industry. Trust Utang, he can squeeze water out of stone using words. Also worthy of mention is the SA’s ability to coordinate stakeholders in the industry to work as a team. He has succeeded in propagating the gospel of unity in the hitherto disunited fold of Akwa Ibom entertainers.
And if there is anyone who still doubts the school of thought that hurdles have been overcome, that unity has come to stay in the fold of entertainers in Akwa Ibom, Governor Emmanuel in collaboration with David Sergeant has been providing series of answers. The state is fast becoming a Mecca of entertainment, indigenous entertainers are being patronized by government and government-sponsored concerts are held regularly. Also, welfare packages are pouring on entertainers in the state like never before.
The rain of government’s goodies on the entertainment sector drenched ace Highlife music legend, Sir Wilker Jackson, on Thursday, October 13, 2016, as Governor Udom Emmanuel presented a brand new Toyota Avalon car to him in appreciation of the veteran musician’s contributions to the industry.
Speaking at the AKEES Plaza secretariat of the Akwa Ibom Entertainment Industry before presenting the vehicle to the musician, the governor noted that though no one can fully reciprocate Sir Wilker’s contributions to the industry, his administration deemed it necessary to at least say thank you to him via the car gift.
The governor represented by his aide on entertainment industry, David Sergeant, described Sir Wilker Jackson as a living legend and worthy ambassador, who has successfully packaged and presented the good image of the state through music.
He urged upcoming artistes to emulate the legendary music star and confessed that he is Sir Wilker’s number one fan.
An array of entertainers thronged the secretariat to witness the presentation. Their presence was headlined by Nollywood actor, Imeh Umoh (Okon Lagos), who inadvertently pulled a huge crowd of admirers to the venue. Rave making musician, Mista Xto, also turned up.
Okon Lagos expressed happiness over the gesture, saying it is a confirmation of the belief that the state has been reawakened in line with the Dakkada philosophy.
While commending the state government for being proactive in revamping the entertainment sector, Okon Lagos urged entertainers to utilize the opportunity by striving hard to produce quality works capable of bringing the state to international reckoning.
The Governor’s aides also attended the presentation event in good numbers. SA on New Media, Mefyn Anwana; SA on Electronic Media, Sampson Akpan; SA on Agricultural Projects, Moses Armstrong and SA on Project Monitoring, Godfada Uko, were all there to show solidarity.
Responding, the beneficiary, Sir Wilker Jackson, who severally interjected his speech with songs of appreciation, said Governor Udom Emmanuel’s exhibition of goodwill towards entertainers in the state is a privilege that must be nurtured to bring forth greater dividends.
He revealed that though the car gift is a surprise to him, it will surely spur him to work harder to position the industry on a higher pedestal.
Wilker lauded SA David Sergeant for being a good representative of entertainers, and also poured encomiums on his colleagues and fans.
Shouts of joy rented the air as the legendary highlife king drove the car out of the secretariat enroute his Uyo residence accompanied by colleagues, guests and fans.