By Umoh-Obong Kingsley
The good people of Akwa Ibom State were on Friday, 24 august, 2018, thrown into joyful enthusiasm as the State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, formally yielded to months of sustained clarion calls for him to seek reelection come 2019.
Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, venue of the Governor’s declaration ceremony, was filled to its capacity with overflows by supporters of good governance coming out en masse to cheer the Governor to re-contest in the forthcoming gubernatorial elections to consolidate his sterling leadership qualities in the state.
Setting the tone for the occasion, the Director General (DG) of Divine Mandate, and former military Governor of the state, Air Commodore (retired) Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, noted that democracy is about choice and the people of Akwa Ibom State have made their choices, stressing that that Gov Emmanuel is the choice of the people.
The Governor, while presenting the scorecard of his administration in the last three years, thanked the people of the state for the support, prayers and faith shown him, even during the cloudy and hazy economic horizon.
In his words, he said: “Even when the allocations we got were significantly lower than what had been the norm, you prayed for us and showed a deep understanding in our capacity to navigate the troubled waters and come up with our heads held high, paying salaries, pensions and gratuities where elsewhere, workers were groaning in pains of months of long non-payment of salaries.”
Gov Emmanuel stressed that given the challenging economic times his administration had to deal with, there is no first-term Governor that has done more than what he has done in this State, and that is an unvarnished truth.
“On October 22, 2014, having crisscrossed the length and crannies of this State, consulting stakeholders, women, youths and students, and having been convinced that I had the right credentials and experience, the passion and the drive to lead this great State that is named after the Almighty God and in the process, engender a new governance matrix where the people’s issues, concerns and needs would form the basis of governance, I stood before you at the Uyo Township Stadium to announce my entry into the race for the top position in this State – the Governorship race.
“After winning the primaries and being declared the PDP candidate, and after months of campaigns during which I sold my campaign manifesto and platform predicated on the 5 Point Governing Agenda of: Wealth Creation, Economic and Political Inclusion, Poverty Alleviation, Infrastructural Consolidation and Expansion and Job Creation, the good people of Akwa Ibom State roundly reposed and affirmed their faith in me.
“On April 11, 2015, the good people of Akwa Ibom State massively voted me into office to lead them, work for them, and change their economic, social and mental circumstance.
“I stand here again today to humbly submit myself for consideration to continue the good works you have so far helped me to achieve as your Servant-Leader. I stand here again to urge you to support my candidature on the platform of the only Party that Akwa Ibom people have trusted in the last 19 years of our democratic governance – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the party of doers.”
Gov Emmanuel further stated that the provision of steady electricity is not rocket science, adding that all that it requires is the deployment of resources in upgrading existing facilities, which he said his administration has done!
He disclosed that the Ibom Power Plant which was shut down before he assumed office in 2015, is now fully operational, and Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in 2015 issued us a certificate, bringing the total megawatts of the state from 191 to 685.
The state Governor further hinted that his administration has built and upgraded substations in Uyo, Ikot Ekpene, adding that and the first digitalized sub-station in Ekim, Mkpat-Enin will soon be commissioned.
According to him, areas long cut off from electricity such as parts of Mbo, Ini, Eastern Obolo, etc, have been connected with power. Ikot Abasi which has not enjoyed electricity for some times will soon be experiencing steady power supply. These investments, he said, have seen a steady increase in electricity supply throughout the State, as Akwa Ibom people currently enjoy 18-22 hours of electricity daily. “This is possibly the best of such achievements in the nation.
“Three and half years after that historic mandate, and having worked against economic odds to achieve great things across sectors for our people, I stand here before you my dear great and inspired people of Akwa Ibom State to re-echo the time worn saying that ‘a job well done means more job to be done’”.
Commenting on the threats to invade and destroy Akwa Ibom people like Adolf Hitler did in Warsaw, Poland, Gov Emmanuel wondered how many people Hitler killed. “Do they want to kill 6.2 million people? We rebuke all those who are saying that the politics of 2019 will be like Hitler’s invasion of Poland. When those killers come, tell them that there is no vacancy in Akwa Ibom.
“I have operated a Christ-centric Government. I have led a People-centric Government. I have worn humility like a badge of honour, believing that power comes from the people. I have refused to hurl insults at people who have attacked and called me names. I have refused to show anger even when I am severely provoked. I have been a Servant-leader which I had promised you. I have maintained peace in this State and brought about civility in our engagements.
“I hereby ask you to send me back to go and complete the Divine Mission which you had first sent me to accomplish in 2015. We couldn’t have achieved these except only God and to Him alone be the glory! Akwa Ibom is rising and we must continue to move forward; forward ever backward never.”
Goodwill messages from dignitaries who graced the occasion such as Governors Nyesom Wike and Okezie Ikpeazu of Rivers and Abia States respectively, have it that Akwa Ibom is lucky to have a God-fearing leader, saying God does not lie. He alone can make kings. “You cannot come from anywhere and take over Akwa Ibom land. Akwa Ibom belongs to Akwa Ibom people and they must stay and reap the fruits of their land.”
Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Barr) Onofiok Luke, sounded a note of warning to those who feel they can come and conquer Akwa Ibom state, saying that “We will resist them with even the last drop of our blood. I have been waiting for the security to come and invite me so that I can mention the person that called me and asked me to defect, and offered me N2 billion for the deputy governorship position.”
On his part, the Senator representing Akwa Ibom North-East (Uyo) Senatorial District, Sen. Obong Bassey Albert Akpan (OBA), said that Governor Emmanuel has a good heart for the people of Akwa Ibom State, and likened Akwa Ibom to Israel which no nation can conquer, adding that strangers cannot invade our inheritance.
“You were the best and right choice for Akwa Ibom in 2015. In 2019, you remain the best choice. Just like Daniel in the Bible, they found no fault in you other than the fact that you believe in God Almighty. As our leader, Governor Emmanuel, wherever you go, we will go with you and your God shall be our God.”
Also, Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Akwa Ibom chapter, Mr Frank Archibong, thanked the Governor for harkening to yearnings of the women, youths and elders for him to run for a second term, and assured him of the support of all the chairmen across the 31 local government areas of the state.
Others who also delivered their goodwill messages at the occasion include Prelate Emeritus (Dr.) Sunday Mbang; Distinguished Senator Anietie Okon; State PDP Chairman, Obong Paul Ekpo; former Deputy Governor of the state and leader of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, Dr. Chris Ekpenyong, and others urging anyone who may want to invade Akwa Ibom to steer clear, because those who want to invade Akwa Ibom like Hitler should remember that till today, nobody knows where Hitler’s bones are.