Fellow Akwaibomites

Two thousand years ago, an innocent, sinless and righteous man offered himself as a sacrifice for all man-kind, including his enemies, and became the ransom for the world. Today, as we join the world to celebrate this amazing and defining story of selfless love, hope, and renewal, my wife, Her Excellency, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel and I share the joy of Easter with all Akwa Ibomites and residents of Akwa Ibom State.

It is my firm belief that as we celebrate God’s greatest gift to mankind through the sacrifice of His Son, we as a people must recommit ourselves to building the walls of our State with the bricks and mortars of love. Let us celebrate this Easter with the firm conviction to serve a purpose that is higher and greater than ourselves.

Christianity did not come to us on a silver platter; it came at the hands of stomach-turning torture and harrowing moments of extreme stress and strain. It came at the hands of the most painful form of public execution ever devised by man, and the worst betrayal of a righteous man by an entire nation including those he healed. But while the disciples were in mourning and women came to embalm his body, God turned their mourning into dancing with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Let the lesson go forth to all Akwa Ibom people that, we will never abandon ourselves to despair. That same Spirit which quickened Jesus from death to resurrection is moving in this blessed State and quickening our march to greatness.

And so, my fellow compatriots as we celebrate His resurrection and ascension, let us ask ourselves this simple but profound question: Can we serve a cause that is higher than OUR immediate gains like our Saviour did?  Do we show love to one another? Do we wish our fellow compatriots well in their undertakings, irrespective of their political leanings?  Do we care for the poor, the infirmed, and the downtrodden and give our little so these people may have a reason and a cause to hope and dream?

Do we love our State, our Leaders, our institutions, and respect our common values and the things that define us as people?  Have we come to that point where we collectively say to ourselves: Akwa Ibom is our dear State, and I will sacrifice all that I can, to make her a proud land of great people united by shared values and aspirations?  As you ponder over these questions, let us remind ourselves that sacrifice has one underpinning attribute, and that is love.

The reason for this season, therefore, is that we should show love to one another irrespective of our cultural or political leanings. We should not allow political differences come between our bonds of brotherhood. Let us be reminded, as I have always said, that politics will come and politics will go, but our common essence will remain an enduring attribute of our shared identity.

In this season of love, let us reach out even to those who, like the muckraker in the masterpiece, The Pilgrims Progress, could not look up or around them to see the blessings of our State, but instead dwell on pulling down their brothers and sisters. The late Myles Munroe stated that there are three categories of persons in the world: those who make things happen; those who talk about what is happening; and those who do not know what is happening. We call on all Akwaibomites to join us and make things happen. But if you chose to remain in the category of those who talk, please season your communication with honesty of purpose, integrity of heart and the salt of righteousness.

You entrusted me with this office to make things happen and my commitment to that task is total, irrevocable and uncompromising. We came, with love, to lay a future for posterity, and provide our people with the best infrastructural amenities possible.  We came with love to ensure that our education remains free and qualitative; to boost our healthcare delivery; to rapidly industrialize this State and create wealth and job opportunities; to challenge and galvanize our youths with fresh ideas and tools to make them productive citizens. These are the cardinal points of my Governance Agenda and from this we would neither retreat nor surrender.

We are running with this vision. Industrialization is a process; it takes time for all the components to come together. But the cheery news is that we are delivering on our campaign promises. Therefore misguided posturing and propaganda by certain individuals with muck rakes will not deter us. If any tries to deceive you with wicked propaganda, tell them Akwa Ibom is marching on.

All over the world, megaprojects take longer to come to fruition, but the foundation must be laid for them to eventually blossom and flourish. It is like planting a palm tree. This is an unchangeable and unvarnished fact. Delay in project implementation is not denial, but a process. We are not playing politics with development; those who do this in their campaign of calumny betray their minds for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Tell them Akwa Ibom is marching on.

My fellow Akwaibomites let us be proud of our achievements. While most States cannot pay the salaries and pensions of their workers, we pay as and when due. While most States are not executing capital projects; our entire landscape, across the three senatorial districts, has become a construction site.

Our road projects are opening up the hidden treasures of our State. Consider the internal roads we are doing in Ewet Housing Extension and Shelter Afrique. Consider the over 1700 kilometres of road with 35 bridges spread all over the State, these are not just regular routes, these are enduring, durable and economically viable roads. Good roads are the engines of economic activities. My compatriots, I am laying a solid foundation for tomorrow.  And our State is marching on.

My dear Akwaibomites, most States don’t set aside 600 million Naira to pay WAEC fees for their citizens. This responsibility belongs to the parents. But because we want to create a level playing field for equal opportunity to our children, I make this amount available yearly for our dear children. Think about what this means to those parents who may not have the means to pay these fees for their wards. We don’t just provide free education; we provide opportunity for all our children to rise to the faith of their greatness.

Last month, I gave out interest free loans to our traders, elsewhere, this is not done. But because I preach sustainable development, development that is not just about today, but conserving what we have for better use in the future, we have provided these soft loans to our traders, and from the testimonies they have given, they have expanded their businesses. Our developmental plans are geared towards things that connect us to the needs of today while planning for tomorrow. That is why this State is marching on and the gates of propaganda cannot prevail.

We have diversified our economy and put accent on agriculture. We are cultivating over 16,000 hectares of land under the FADAMA III scheme, our vegetable Green House is helping us produce best-in-class tomatoes, our farmers are busy at work in the rice fields in Ini, over 600,000 thousand bags of fertilizers have been distributed to farmers across to the State to ensure higher yield of their crops; our Dakkada garri ensures that this staple food remains affordable. We are doing everything thing possible to put food on the table of our people and our State is sure marching on!

We have refurbished our hospitals in line with our determination to improve the healthcare services especially at secondary level. Etinan Hospital, the General Hospital at Ituk Mbang, also at Ikot Okoro, the General Hospital at Ikono, all have been remodelled and provided with some of the equipment that can compete with the best in the world. Added to this, my wife, Her Excellency, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel, through FEYReP, has sponsored the screening of over 15,0000 people for eye ailments, high blood pressure and diabetes. FEYReP has educated our people on changing their lifestyles in order to reduce  the spread of these deadly diseases.  Our 25 containers having State of the art medical supplies had arrived and are currently in use. Efforts are in top gear to get the Ibom Specialist Hospital To take-off full steam. Last month, I inspected the dialysis machines at the Hospital as well as the ambulances. We are investing in our health and wellness, and Akwa Ibom is marching on.

We are building a befitting International Worship Centre. This State is a wholly Christian State. If anyone tells you we don’t deserve a worship centre as we have in other States, tell them they should not use God’s name to play politics.

We are committed to our industrialization program. The Syringe Manufacturing  Company, the Metering Solutions Company, the tooth pick and pencil making company are in operation.Our fertilizer blending company,  flour mills, and the plastic making company will spring  up soon. We are building a State where posterity will look back to this time and say this was the golden era of our history.

Once again we appreciate the love and cooperation of all Akwa Ibomites. We should be thankful to God for providing us with a leadership that is selfless, Christ-centric and people-centric.

Our achievements have been noted and applauded throughout the whole nation. The Nigerian Television Authority, (NTA) the official mouthpiece of the ruling party, throwing partisan politics aside and celebrating success, recently honoured me with the Integrity and Service Award. The event took place inside Aso Rock and the presentation was made by the Secretary to the Federal Government, Mr. Boss Mustapha. That award I dedicate to all Akwa Ibomites. This is what our country needs – people and institutions that rise above political leanings to celebrate the best in us. It is noteworthy that I was the only PDP Governor so honoured. When Senator Babafemi Ojodu, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters devoted a whopping 32 pages of the President’s Mid-Term Report praising our administration for our spectacular performance, he was stating the facts. This State is marching on and we should be proud of ourselves.

When I was voted the Best Sports Governor, 2017, the reason they gave me that award was because of our visible and fruitful investments in sports and youth development. Through our massive support and the creation of an enabling environment, our Super Eagles qualified for World Cup, Russia 2018 with a game remaining. Our commitment to sports development is total and it is our hope and dream that in no distant time, our State will become the sports capital of Nigeria.

Let me end this broadcast by again appealing to my fellow citizens to keep the peace. As the political season dawns on us, let us play politics with a human face, let us not see and regard politics as blood sport; we have enjoyed peace in this State and my recent proscription of cult groups in the State is geared towards deepening this peace and addressing security concerns that may have occurred in one or two spots. There is no political office that should cause the spillage of blood; no ambition should cause us to shed the blood of our dear citizens.

In this season of love we reach out to the communities where some misguided youths have disturbed the public peace, and tell them that we stand by them. Those who are still involved in this criminality should lay down their arms. They should know that you can run but you cannot hide. Iso Akpa Afid could not hide. We will either bring you to justice or take justice to you.

We remain committed to fulfilling the major requirement of the Social Contract which is the protection of lives and property. We will not abdicate this sacred responsibility.We will release and deploy the appropriate sanction against those who cause the disruption of public peace. Akwa Ibom State must remain safe and secure for investment and development, and as long as I remain your Governor, this is an article of faith.

Easter is about sacrifice, about love and peace. May the peace of the Risen Christ be with us all, in Jesus Name. With the Risen Christ, Akwa Ibom Edakkada, Ami mme dakkanda!

God bless our State, God bless us all and happy Easter to you all!

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