The University of Uyo Alumni Association has honoured the former Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and Chief Executive Officer of Imperial Farms, Chief (Barr) Bassey Essien with Award of Excellence in Agriculture.
The Award was presented to the former Speaker and Head of Practice at Bassey Essien & co, an Eket based law firm, recently in well- attended ceremony during the annual conference of the association held at the University of Uyo Township Campus.
Presenting the Award, the President of University of Uyo Alumni Association, Prof.Gabriel Ekong eulogized Barr.Bassey Essien’s outstanding effort in agriculture development in the state, saying that the reason for the award was to recognized Barr. Essien’s impactful entrepreneurial skills and job creation through agriculture in Nigeria.
Responding to the honour done him, Chief Essien, an All Progressives Congress(APC) chieftain in Akwa Ibom State expressed delight and appreciated the Uniuyo alumni association for the recognition saying agriculture is one of the most lucrative businesses in Nigeria and called on other well-meaning citizens in the state to also see entrepreneurial development as one of the ways to improve the economy of the nation as well as reducing the rate of unemployment and promotion of food sufficiency.
Barr. Essien, who is the National President of National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria(NPPAN) also appealed to the Akwa Ibom State government to encourage agricultural entrepreneurs in the state as doing so will enable indigenes of the state with palm plantations to access facilities and incentives from Central Bank of Nigeria,Bank of Agriculture and other financial institutions in the country. According to him, Akwa Ibom State is the number one palm oil producing state in the south south region of Nigeria and farmers in the needs to benefit largely like other Small Medium-sized Entrepreneurs (SMEs) owners in the country as doing so will help in the improvement of agriculture in the state and boost morale of farmers and entrepreneurs.
The former lawmaker, whose Imperial farm at Etebi, Esit Eket, Akwa Ibom State span over a thousand hectares, expressed the hope that with agriculture,the economy of Nigeria stands to experience growth in the future as crude oil, Nigeria’s major exporting commodity may not be useful forever.
On his passion for agriculture, the ex-speaker said “my father was an agriculturist. He had palm plantation farms and the proceeds was what he used in paying our school fees and cater for our family.”
By Ani Michael
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