The senator representing Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District (Akwa Ibom North-West), Obong Christopher Ekpenyong, has empowered no fewer than 108 constituents on vocational trainings in agriculture.
The beneficiaries were drawn from the 108 political wards spread across the 10 local government areas of the senatorial district.
Working in partnership with Laguf Allied Company ( LAC) Limited and some representatives of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the scheme, Senator Ekpenyong explained, would ensure beneficiaries acquire the necessary skills with start-up capital for investment in the sector.
Speaking at the event held at Obot Akara Local Government Secretariat at Nto Edino, Senator Ekpenyong urged the beneficiaries to work towards attaining the level of smallholder farmers with the hope of becoming big players in the sector.
The empowerment programme which came few days after Ekpenyong was declared winner of the court-ordered rerun elections in Essien Udim Local Government Area, according to him, "is a thank you gesture for ensuring my victory in the general elections and the just-concluded rerun polls in Essien Udim.
"I don't believe in giving people fish; I believe in teaching people how to fish. By this training and cash empowerment, we are developing you to become self-reliant and to become employers of labour.
"The food market ranks one of the highest and biggest with plenty job potentials that can change your lives for the better, Ekpenyong said and assured the programme would be a continuous one for the dividends of democracy to spread across the senatorial district.
To the young agricultural entrepreneurs, Ekpenyong charged them to be good ambassadors of their wards and local governments by taking the training seriously with a view to engendering positive developments in the state's agri-business sector.
"I don't know how to lie, deceive the people and make false promises. What I have done now is in line with my campaign promises to my people. We will continue to build capacities and create the necessary platforms for people to develop themselves because I know how work the work for which I was elected, he added.