Let me on behalf of the Government and the good people of Akwa Ibom State wish you all, a Happy New Year! This year will be one of continuous prosperity, of peace, of unity, of oneness and of rejection of every known instrument of division in our Land. It will be a year of wholesome repudiation of violence and of the plans of those who want to sell our commonwealth to the highest bidders without regards to our collective welfare or those of our children. This year will be one where Akwa Ibom interest will, and MUST supersede the interest of an individual or groups.
I love the theme of this year’s Solemn Assembly: You are God, You Alone, derived from 2Kings 19:19. This land is named after God, Akwa Abasi Ibom State and He alone dictates, arranges, manages, defines and shapes what happens here. No instrument of man can change the course of God’s plans for our State and our people, no devices of man or the naysayers, their lies, their much vaunted Warsaw saw war battle cry, their promise to deploy Federal might to forcefully take over our State, will stand. My dear Akwa Ibomites, it is shameful that our so-called leaders can sit and cut deals to mortgage the future of Akwa Ibom State and imperil the future of our children just to gain power and they have the audacity to come and tell you they are working to protect your interest.
For some time now, men, I mean mere mortals have told you they alone can determine the course of your destiny, they have told you they alone have the answers to your problems; they have told you that if you fail to follow their laid down rules or travel the path they have charted for you, that they will visit violence on you and your children.
Let me pause and ask you a few questions: Do they know that the children they want to use to unleash their planned violence on you are your children? Do you know that their children are all living in the best parts of the world, attending the best schools, living in the choicest parts of major cities in the world, yet they want to use your children to unleash violence on you?
As we usher in this New Year, when they tell you of their evil and devilish plans, inform them that what Udom Emmanuel has been doing for the past three and half years is to secure the future of our children, so they too, can aspire to go to the best schools as their children, that they too, can have a safe and secure future as their children, tell them that you desire to live in a safe, secure and violence – free environment and that their selfish desires and ambitions will not push you to sacrifice the collective good over their selfish interest. Tell them that the proud sons and daughters of Akwa Abasi Ibom State have never been led by nose by one person; no single person can play God in this State, that what we have achieved so far has been because of ONLY GOD, and He Alone will allow the Right man to continue his good works.
Fellow Akwa Ibomites, this is a critically important year, a year you will make consequential decisions; a year that will determine if you will continue to live in peace and prosperity or return to the dark and scary years of kidnapping, violence, politically motivated killings, the era when men played God and you were too scared to lift your voices or raise your hands to complain without being murdered or kidnapped. This year is a critical year, an election year that will determine if the Akwa Ibom story will continue to be written in glowingly terms or a return to the ugly and dark chapters when the resources of this land were used to build monuments of little consequence to your everyday lives, when applause meant more to them than a careful application of the enormous resources available then to secure the future of our children. This is the stark choice you have to make.
When I was inaugurated three and half years ago, you will recall the first assignment I had performed was to raise my hands in supplications to the Lord and asked Him to sanitize this land and forgive us of all transgressions we may have committed in the past. The clear and immediate signal of what I did that day, was to let you my dear people know that as the Land of Promise, the Land that is named after God, my Administration will be Christ-centric, people-centric and morally just and defined.
That has been the centre of everything we have done, and you can see the reflection of that key value in the way we have run our Government. That is the reason why on the Second Day of January every year, we come together in a Solemn Assembly to give thanks to God for His love during the preceding year and to turn over the affairs of this State in the New Year to Him. Three and half years later, He has not disappointed us.
That is the reason why our State is moving forward, attracting investors across the globe, enjoying peace and progress; Uyo becoming one of the fastest growing cities in the world according to the influential publication, The Economist. That is the reason why we are able to embark on numerous capital projects when others can’t even pay the salaries of their workers; the reason why we are expanding and consolidating our infrastructural amenities such as the construction and commissioning or on-going works on over 1700 kilometres of roads, remodelling of numerous secondary health facilities such as Etinan, Ikot Okoro, Ituk Mbang, Iquita, Ikono, Emmanuel Hospitals, Eket, ONLY GOD made this possible.
Let me reiterate this point: I didn’t come here to build monuments or white elephant projects so you may celebrate me on the pages of newspapers, the television channels or the social media platforms. I did not come here to seek applause or to create a cult of personality. I did not come here to play God or act as the only person with the wisdom or the solutions to all our problems; I came here to serve you as your Servant-Leader, to feel your pulse, your anxieties and, to work hard to solve our problems based on the resources we have been availed. That is what I have done in the past three and half years, and I intend to continue doing so, from May 29, this year, after you would have sent me back to the Hilltop Mansion to continue as your Servant-Leader.
The resources available to our people have been used to take care of our people. Soon, Akwa Ibom State will blaze the trail as the only State in the nation if not the entire Africa to have a wholly owned and run Airline – The Ibom Air. This should be something that brings joy to our people, but some mischief makers who once had the opportunity to embark on projects that directly affect our lives, but instead chose to indulge in monuments that today stand as shameful relics of an era of megalomania, would come and try to play God and think our people are so gullible to be sold loads of lies again. Everything we have done has been to improve the standard of living of our people; from our investments in agriculture, to the empowerment of our youths and women, to education, these are needed values in our lives, yet the opposition will tell you these great achievements do not exist.
In the next one and half months, my dear people, we will go to the polls to elect our leaders, and as the theme of this event so eloquently states, it is God alone that will determine who governs us; it is He alone who will determine the course of our growth and development, it is He alone who will guarantee us a violence-free elections; it is He alone who will shame the plans and the machinations of mere mortals.
I therefore, urge you our dear Akwa Ibomites, not to give in to lies of certain individuals who, when they had the opportunity to establish industries in this State, did nothing, but to erect white elephant projects and monuments. The same people who had promised you 31 industries in 31 local government areas but could not establish even a pure water making factory are back together, promising you heaven on earth. Do not believe them!
We came here and promised you industrialization, we have fulfilled that promise. We have as of today, 15 industries, verifiable industries in this State, we promised you quality education for our children, we have fulfilled that promise, we promised you quality healthcare, we have done exactly that, we promised you an improvement in our agricultural output so we can feed our people, we have done that, we promised you improved electricity, you are all witnesses to this undeniable fact that our electricity has improved significantly. We promised our youths, our women and our elders, traders’ empowerment, we have done just that. As they say, a good job executed demands more job to be done. That is what I am committed to doing when you return me to the Hilltop Mansion.
Let us therefore, say no to agents of blackmail and lies. Let us reject those who have refused to see the good things we are doing to take our State to a higher level of development. The Nation is celebrating us, from the Ooni of Ife – His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, who two days ago at Asan Ibibio, went further to eulogize our achievements, to the Emir of Kano, His Royal Highness, Muhammadu Sanusi II who brought investors here and told the world, our State is so peaceful and welcoming to foreign investors, which had prompted him to bring those investors here, the World Bank Country Director, Rachid Benmessaoud who said in 2017 that Akwa Ibom State is the best place to do business, to the inspiring and ringing endorsement of our former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (GCFR). These are men of stature and credibility, yet the opposition elements here will tell you the roads we have built do not exist, the industries we have attracted do not exist, the hospitals we have remodelled do not exist, the electricity they are enjoying do not exist, the quality public schools and teachers we have recruited are non-existence or the affordable food items they now enjoy do not exist. Soon, they will tell you the IBOM AIR does not exist. It is sad to see a political party adopting lies as a campaign strategy and they expect the people to take then serious?
My dear Akwa Ibomites, let me end this speech by thanking God for all that He has done for our State and what He has used me to do in the past three and half years. Let me again pledge to you that I will continue to lead you according to the plans of the Almighty. I will continue to ensure you live in peace, our environment is safe and secure, you will not be killed, kidnapped, or intimidated or go to bed with one eye open because of fear of insecurity. I came here to serve you, and I will never sacrifice the collective interest of our people for selfish gains. Power flows from God and HE ALONE gives power to which He wants. ONLY GOD is the source of our power, and to Him alone we submit ourselves as we seek your support to continue the good works we stated together three and half years ago. Happy New Year again my dear brothers and sisters. Akwa Ibom Edakadda, ami mme dakkdada!
…Being the speech by His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, Governor, Akwa Ibom State during the Solemn Assembly 2019 at Ibom Hall Grounds, Uyo on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019