My wife, Her Excellency, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel and I, wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year in advance! The reason for this Season, is to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to thank God for His love, blessings and guidance in the past one year and indeed, the last three and half years.
This particular Christmas broadcast is significant in a number of ways: I am speaking to you my dear people before the 2019 electioneering campaigns begin in earnest which will end with the elections proper. I am hopeful that by this time next year with your support, we will continue the good works we have started together in re-writing the Akwa Ibom story. You will agree with me that the Akwa Ibom story requires bold new chapters and those chapters are what, together, with your support, we have written glowingly in the past three and half years. As they say, a great job done requires more job to be done.
We have every reason to be thankful to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for the invisible hand He has extended to us as a people, as a State and as Government. Three and half years ago when we came in, we were bogged down by issues of election litigations but we nonetheless kept our eye on the ball, because we came in here with a bold agenda predicated mainly on the need to rapidly industrialize this State and engender in our people’s psyche a new attitude, a new mind-set predicated on the dakkada philosophy and nothing, I mean nothing was going to derail us from pursuing that path of sustainable development.
Today, in spite of what the naysayers may say, in spite of the lies they tell you, in spite of the propaganda they weave, in spite of the blackmail they manufacture, we can thump our chest and proclaim loudly, without any slightest tinge of boastfulness that we have done well for you our dear people.
I do not intend to reel off my scorecard with this broadcast but suffice it to say that you are all familiar with what we have done and I will like to make this profoundly fundamental point: we are not engaged in building monuments that have no direct impact or meaning to our everyday lives; we are not grandstanding with the construction of white elephant projects, we are not on a course for fleeting applause, we are not here to create a cult of personality or to play God or to define ourselves as the sole repositories of knowledge and power; we are not here to sell our State on bended knees or to cut deals that will imperil the future of our State or our children. We are not here sorely to protect our selfish interest while sacrificing the collective good; we are not arming people and sewing fake army and police uniforms to unleash terror on our innocent children just to win elections, we are here, because we genuinely care about you, your children’s future, the place of our State in the socio-political calculus of our Nation. We are here, because we believe the resources God has so generously endowed our people with should be used to develop Akwa Ibom State, and empower our people to rise further to the faith of their greatness.
Akwa Abasi Ibom State is a Christian State, shaped by Christians values and mores, conditioned by the impulses to do good to all manner of people irrespective of their social standings; that is why it is critically important that the leader this State deserves must take into account these values and I daresay my fellow compatriot, these are the values I have brought to bear in the last three and half years as your Governor, and I pledge to you again, on this day of the birth of the Prince of Peace, that I will not be intimated, I will not bend, I will not give in to blackmail, lies or attacks on my person or my administration. I will not cut deals to sell our State to the highest bidder neither will I sacrifice the elements that define us as a people simply to further a political goal.
The future of Akwa Abasi Ibom people is very important to be sacrificed at the altar of those who want to return us to the days of slavery and servitude. The world is moving forward, and Akwa Ibom State is rising and moving with the rest of the world. You heard it loud and clear the other day from our Vice Presidential Candidate, our dear in-law, HE Peter Obi that Uyo is ranked one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Should we go backward or forward? As our people would say “Abasi akan”. It is forward ever, backward never.
A few years ago, we lived in the inglorious world as captured by Thomas Hobbes- a society where life was nasty, brutish and short, you are all living witnesses to those dark years when our people were kidnapped, murdered or brutally killed for holding different political opinions; you are all living witnesses to a sick and inglorious times when old men and women were not spared the horrors of politically motivated killings.
Three and half years as your Governor, no one has been kidnapped for political reasons, no one has been assassinated for holding a different political view point; no one has been harassed for speaking his or her mind. I have been insulted, called all manner of names but I have taken it all in the chin, knowing full well that our people who enjoy the peace and security in this State are with us. Do you, my dear Akwa Ibomites want to go back to the days of horror, of killings and of kidnappings? The same people who brought you those years of horror are back together and they have promised you and the entire world that they will unleash violence upon you in the fashion of Warsaw saw war. As we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, may their plan to unleash violence on our peace-loving people never come to pass; may the peace and progress we currently enjoy continue to be our portion in Jesus name, and you my dear people say Amen.
There are a set of principles in Government that are generally referred to as positive and negative rights; rights to healthcare, education etc., form the key components of Positive rights. Rights to hold contrary opinion and not be killed or, murdered for holding such opinions. These are the principles that made the Western world, especially the United States the most desirable country in the world. My fellow compatriots, since we came in three and half years ago, I have pursued with messianic zeal the provision of these positive and negative rights. Our public education system is one of the best in the nation. We have improved the free and compulsory education by insisting on recruiting over 3,000 quality teachers to teach our children, we have provided modern tools and a conducive environment for our children to learn, preparing their future and getting them ready to compete fairly with their counterparts all over the world. This has been an abiding article of faith that I am dedicated to pursuing. A few days ago, the Stakeholders in our education sector acutely aware of the huge improvements we have made in this critical sector celebrated our efforts and charged me to keep up the good works. We will do just that because the greatest legacy a leader can leave is an empowered and educated population. As Bongos Ikwue, the Nigerian music legend said at our 2018 Carol Night: if you don’t invest heavily in your children’s education, you will pay dearly for the attendant ignorance.
Health is wealth and this critical positive right is key to our developmental strides. Three weeks ago, at the Nigerian Medical Association EXCO meeting here in Uyo, the NMA President thrilled by our achievements in this sector, prayed and hoped that what we have achieved here in the health sector can be replicated nationally. At that event, I was honoured with the award of the NMA Health Ambassador because of the huge improvements we have brought to bear in that sector. From the remodelling and equipping of the Methodist Hospital, Ituk Mbang, to those of Etinan, Ikono, Emmanuel Hospital, Eket, the General Hospital, Ikot Okoro, the General Hospital in Iquita among others, to the great works my wife, Her Excellency, Mrs. Martha Udom Emanuel has done through FEYReP, we will continue to invest heavily in this sector. In the same vein, the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, recently decorated my humble self as the overall best performing Governor in Nigeria at a prestigious event in Lagos.
Electricity has improved tremendously across the State because of the huge investments we have made in the power sector; most of our major streets are well illuminated at night. Our investment in agriculture is yielding results. Staple food prices have dropped significantly compared to what was obtained at our advent. We will be flooding the market with our locally produced rice from Ini Local Government, whose mill we had commissioned about two weeks ago. My fellow Akwaibomites, these are what in the Western world form what is called Kitchen table issues: issues that form part of the positive and negative rights and which directly affect the people, not monuments, not white elephant projects. Any responsible government must provide these critical services and I make bold to say here, that we have done well in providing these critical drivers of development and in my second term by the grace of God and your support, we will continue to provide these services to you, my dear people
Our infrastructural drive is moving steadily and assuredly, in spite of what the naysayers may say, the roads we have built are all there for everyone to see, and these roads cut across the entire three senatorial districts. The strategy of the other side is to lie to you that what we have achieved are all lies. In their hurry to lie to you, they forget the fact that Akwa Abasi Ibom people are smart and can see things for themselves. Ibom Deep Sea Port is moving steadily, soon, IBOM AIR, the only State owned, State run and State operated airline in the whole of Africa will be in operations. I think we should all be very proud to be Akwaibomites and shame those who only traffic in lies and have nothing to offer you.
We have attracted close to 15 verifiable industries to this State. If you go to the Coconut Refinery, you will see a gigantic project that should bring joy and pride to us all as Akwaibomites, yet the other side say it doesn’t exist, which leaves me wondering why a few mischief makers should take delight in lying to cover up their lack of plans to move our people forward? The Flour Mill will soon be commissioned yet, the opposition say it doesn’t exist, do they think you don’t have eyes to see good things that are happening in our State? The Syringes Manufacturing Company occupies a sprawling space and is producing syringes that are being used in hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities, yet the opposition say they don’t exist; do they think we are all so gullible? The Metering Solutions can hardly keep up the demands for meters nationwide yet, the opposition say they do not exist. Do they think we don’t have eyes to see the good things that are happening in our State? Two weeks ago, we commissioned our Rice Processing Mill in Ini yet, the opposition say the mill does not exist, do they think our people are so gullible? The AKEES Mini Industrial Park is helping interpret our vision of encouraging small scale enterprises yet, the opposition say they don’t exist, same with Fertilizer Blending Plant and other industries.
My dear Akwaibomites, when they tell you these politically motivated lies, tell them that you have seen what Udom Emmanuel has done in three and half years and that you are satisfied and you will go with the train of peace and security; of development and industrialisation. There is a saying in America that if it is not broken, then you don’t have to fix it. My fellow Akwaibomites, the chords of our development and unity, the tie that binds us as a family has not broken, it has been deepened under my administration, and therefore, we don’t need to fix or change our course of development.
As we celebrate Christmas, the birth of the Prince of Peace, my prayer is that may those who wish to unleash terror on our people, may those who have made elaborate plans to allow our State become a theatre of violence as in Warsaw saw war be put to shame by the collective will of our people who have all embraced peace that we have enjoyed in this State in the past three and half years and are only interested in rising to the faith of their greatness and those of their children.
Politics will come and politics will go but Akwa Abasi Ibom State will remain non-negotiable and sacrosanct. May we have a peaceful and violence-free electioneering campaign and elections come 2019, and may the might and the will of the people supersede every other “might” and our people say “Amen”.
As a worker-friendly Governor, I have approved Christmas Bonus for all Public Servant in the State. This gesture is to thank our Public Servants for their service to our dear State.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all! Akwa Ibom edkakedda, ami mme dakkanda