We have come together not to celebrate the triumph of a party, but to celebrate the victory of hope. The inspired hope that there is a divine promise, which binds us together in cords of love and brotherhood. Hope that the blades and daggers of politics can never break the bonds of our kinship. Hope that on this majestic occasion of the transition of power, signifying a glorious end as well as a hopeful beginning, we can renew our faith in the Akwa Ibom dream.

When our ancestors left Usakedit in the Cameroons, centuries ago, in search of better land, they bequeathed into the genes of every Akwa Ibom person a dream of a better estate. In search of a better estate, our forefathers became the first people to agitate for the creation of States in Nigeria. In search of a better estate, they became the first people to build community schools in our country. in search of a better estate, they became the first people to establish community scholarship schemes to educate their children. Today, in search of better estate, we have, under the transformational leadership of His Excellency, Governor Godswill Akpabio, become first among equals in the comity of state in our country.

But the demand of history is that he who is first in a race must forever run faster than those who are behind , or risk losing his leadership position. So I place a demand on all Akwa Ibom people, at home and abroad, to come with hoes and shovels, and let us bury the twin evils of ethnicity and tribalism, which could slow us down in the race of development. At the same time let us sow the seeds of brotherhood, love and unity, which will energize us to maintain our current momentum and leadership position. Let us remember that with the spirit of brotherhood, love and unity, no foe can defeat us, and no rival can overtake us.

My dear compatriots, our Heavenly Father, history and posterity will not forgive our generation if we fail to continue the search for a better estate and pursuit of a greater Akwa Ibom State. This search we anchor on the timeless promise that whoever asks shall receive, whoever seeks shall find and who ever knocks, it shall be opened unto him. This promise is therefore, God-given, and it is large enough to shelter every boy and girl, man and woman, young and old from the scorching heat of injustice. as we seek to build a greater state founded on prosperity and justice, we should be reminded that in this Land of Promise, God will surely honor His own.

Therefore, today we celebrate the triumph of the Akwa Ibom spirit over the murky waters of politics. We were troubled, but we were not distressed; perplexed but we did not despair; persecuted but we were not forsaken; cast down but we were not destroyed. Today we stand tall because the trial of our faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it was tried with fire, was found unto praise and honor and glory. Let us therefore, stand together in the praise and glory of our heavenly father, knowing that he who began a good work in us, is faithful to complete it. Let us give God praise and glory and honor.

To those who stood by us in the long walk to this day, we appreciate your unwavering confidence, steadfastness, loyalty, trust and faith. to the few who were not with us, we remind them that the good people of our state have spoken and the voice of the people is the voice of God. To my former political opponents, I urge them and their supporters to let partisan feelings yield to patriotism. We hold out our hands to them. It is the planting season in the Akwa Ibom family and they are invited to come and plant with us. We do not have to see eye to eye in order to walk hand in hand. I therefore, beckon on us all to please come and let us build together.

I stand before you today not as a master but as a servant and not as a boss but as a co-labourer. I accept, with great humility and sense of responsibility, the mandate you have freely given to me to hold power in trust for you are your Governor. You have kept your part of the covenant and I intend to keep my part by executing the programmes i enunciated to you during my official declaration to run for the office of Governor. These include:

  1. To leverage and build on the Uncommon Transformation of the Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio administration.
  2. To transform the economy of our State via industrialization and sustain public-private sector initiative, thereby opening up opportunities for growth and improved living standards.
  3. To respect and uphold the tenets of democratic governance which our great party (PDP) unflinchingly stands for, as well as respect the party’s structure, decisions and hierarchy.
  4. To ensure the security of lives and property of the people at all times, while adhering to the principal of the rule of law, thereby ensuring equity, justice and fair play.
  5. To promote unity and oneness across the State, with due respect for Traditional Institutions and the Elders of our Society.
  6. To continuously develop mobilize, and empower our women and the youths via planned and well articulated welfare and capacity-building programmes.
  7. to give all Akwa Ibom persons (both within Nigeria and the Diaspora) a proud sense of belonging-built on good governance, economic advancement and due respect for the Fundamental Human Rights of all.
  8. To pursue the taks of Rural Development and Integration with all vigour, bring the benefits and dividends of our democratic governance to every nook and cranny in the state, and provide basic amenities of life to all.
  9. To ensure Accountability and Transparency in government by fighting and tackling corruption in all facets of our Administration.
  10. To provide trade, commerce and tourism between Akwa Ibom and the rest of Nigeria, and in fact, the rest of the world.
  11. To foster, develop, and maintain a good working relationship with both the legislative and the Judiciary arms of Government in the state, as well as ensuring an effective Local Government Administration for grassroots development, mobilization and empowerment.
  12. To attract all possibly required Federal presence to Akwa Ibom State, by developing and sustaining a harmonious and very cordial relationship with the government at the centre.

Theses then are the milestones we have set for our democratic journey under my stewardship. We invite all of you to think of what you can do for our State to achieve these milestones, and not what our state can do for you. We urge you to keep this administration in your thoughts and prayers. We will gladly welcome your ideas and contributions. We will accept your constructive and open-minded criticisms. Akwa Ibom State belongs to all of us, and it is only in the development of this State that we can attain our individual goals and aspirations.

Let me pay tribute to our immediate past Governor, His Excellency Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio, CON, with steady hands on the wheel of progress and development, he steered the ship of our dear state through ill and fair weather, and landed us on shores of uncommon achievements. He became a metaphor for good governance and an abiding testimony that we can have a government not only by the people and of the people , but also for the people. Seldom in the chequered history of mankind has so many owed so much to one man. We owe him a debt of gratitude, which we can never hope to pay. People gawk at what he has done and ask, “Can anyone fill the large shows he is leaving behind?” I don’t know whether we can, but we know where the shoes are pointed and we are all heading towards that direction.

Just yesterday, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly passed a resolution that this great architectural masterpiece, one of the many great infrastructures built by the Akpabio Administration, be named, Godswill Akpabio International Stadium” in celebration of his uncommon transformation of our State. This was a reflection of popular sentiment, and the least we could do for His Excellency Governor Godswill Akpabio. I, therefore, in the discharge of the office invested in me, proudly give accent to this resolution and let this stadium be henceforth known, called and addressed as “Godswill Akpabio International Stadium”

In the same vein, I want specially appreciate his wife and our former First Lady, Her Excellency, Mrs. Ekaete Unoma Akpabio (Mkpouto Akwa Ibom, the Most Supportive First Lady in Nigeria) for her motherly love and support for the Akwa Ibom project. She had lifted up many and has transformed lives. My wife and I pay tribute to her historic support for our cause and the actualization of this divine mandate.

We thank the PDP, our great party for the support of its national and state officers in actualizing this mandate. The PDP may have had a setback in Abuja, but we can turn into a fortune as it relates to Akwa Ibom State, the Gilgal of Nigeria to reinvent our party. To our campaign Team led by the indefatigable statesman, role model and leader, His Excellency, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga and other opinion leaders, we salute you. You charted the course for our victory by reminding our state that the promise of our State should be the inheritance of all Akwa Ibom people. Thank you.

I equally thank all members of the outgoing State Executive Council, the State Legislature, the Judiciary, and the Local Government Officials, for the harmonious working relationship that we all witnessed in the tenure of the last administration. The cordiality made possible the uncommon transformation programme of the State Government. We equally congratulate the newly elected and returning members of the State House of Assembly on their resounding victory at the recent elections.

Once again, we thank all Akwa Ibom people for the trust and confidence, bestowed on us. We thank the Elders, the youths and the women for their support. We equally appreciate all the socio-cultural political groups who worked tirelessly to see the manifestation of this day.

So my compatriots, where do we go from here? We have come a long wa in the last eight years, but there are still some mountains before us. We will bring down the walls of Jericho. We will vanquish every Goliath in our way. Like Jesse Jackson said, “Will are tired of sailing our little boat, for inside the harbor bar. We want to go out where the big ships float, out on the deep where the great ones are. And should our frail craft prove too slight for waves that sweep those billows over, we would rather go down in the stirring fight than drowse to death at the sheltered shore.”

Therefore, sound the trumpet and let it be known that being an Akwa Ibom person is not simply a matter of your parents coming from Akwa Ibom, nut having the faith that you are a child or promise and a giant killer. Having the hope that in His time God makes all things beautiful. God is making all things beautiful in our time. We will go forth, not by our power or by our might, but by His Spirit and we shall do exploits.

Thank you all, and God bless you.

Long live Akwa Ibom State!!!
Long live the Peoples Democratic Party of Nigeria!!!

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!

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