COME LET’S BUILD TOGETHER – SPEECH BY GOVERNOR EMMANUEL UDOM ON 31ST JULY 2015
Monday, May 8th, 2017 | Speeches
As we anticipate another great speech of the Akwa Ibom state governor, Emmanuel Udom, at the Akwa Ibom day, Dakkada event, we go down memory lane, bringing you his speech, when he recently spoke to Akwa Ibom indigenes in diaspora during his last visit to the United States on the 31st of July 2015.
Governor Udom, stated what his administration has done, is doing and is planning to do during their so far short term in office.
Today we are certain that Governor Udom, has even greater plans and is putting together more development initiatives to further better the state and everyone from Akwa Ibom.
First let’s take a look at the speech of the governor tagged “COME, LET’S BUILD TOGETHER” during the Akwa Ibom State Association of Nigeria, AKISAN Convention in Philadelphia, USA below:
I thank you for the great honor of addressing you on this occasion of the convention of Akwa Ibom State Association of Nigeria, United States. I am happy that the core philosophy of this Association is to foster unity amongst our brothers and sisters, and work for the betterment of our beloved fatherland.
AKISAN remains the glory of the land of our birth. You have sustained the tempo of our integrity and become a shining example of a virtuous organization. You have kept the steam and flame of the torch of the dreams of our founding fathers aglow. You have brought out the true Akwa Ibom spirit of excellence, honesty and distinction. We are proud of you.
Two years ago in Washington DC, I came here as a freshly sworn-in Secretary to the State Government and you received me with open arms and a deep sense of conviviality and brotherliness. Last year, in Scottsdale, Arizona, I came back still as the Secretary to the State Government, but with a mind made up to answer the clarion call of the good people of Akwa Ibom state to offer myself for higher service.
In October last year, I answered that call loudly and subsequently threw my hat into the gubernatorial ring as a candidate for the Governor of Akwa Ibom State under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
After seven months of selling our programs to our people, of persuading our people to buy into our platform ; after a bruising primaries where we criss-crossed the length and crannies of the state, selling our gospel of industrialization, of wealth creation and of sustaining superior performance, the good people of Akwa Ibom State rewarded me, first as their candidate for the office of Governor under the protective shield of the PDP umbrella, and finally, on April 11, 2015 as their duly elected Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
I want to thank you all for your prayers, the faith and the belief in our cause that most of you had shown and expressed in various forms and platforms. Quite a number of you traveled to Nigeria to participate in the exercise and to show total fidelity to our cause. I remain eternally indebted. I know there are some among you here who did not support us, but as you guys say it here “that’s the nature of the beast”. Let us eschew zero-sum game approach
The battle has been fought and won and now the real job of governance has started. I am not standing here just as a PDP Governor of Akwa Ibom state, but as a Governor for all Akwa Ibomites, irrespective of their political affiliations. This has been the message we have been preaching since May 29, 2015, when I was sworn in.
We have been preaching the message of togetherness, to eschew those divisive tendencies that have for centuries defined us, as the late Professor Emmanuel Ayandele had once said: “an atomistic society perpetually at war with itself”.
For so long, we have allowed the negative impulses of parochialism, of ethnic bigotry, to draw lines of divisions where a clear line of togetherness should have been written in bold letters. For so long, we have allowed mutual distrust shape our thoughts and the layers of relationship among our brothers and sisters. The time has come for us all to collapse and check our little fears and distrusts for one another and unfurl an umbrella of love, of unity and of good neighborliness.
This new blocks of engagement should be across the board. It should permeate our politics, social interactions and help engender a new form of narrative: a narrative of a bold, proud, purpose-driven people of Akwa Abasi Ibom State coming together in a critical mass to build a virile, prosperous state where opportunities abound, where people are ‘aspirational’, where the ‘can-do’ spirit brims in our veins and blood, and where we hold our hands aloft, strong, virile and ready to help the next person cross the hurdle or jump the hoops to the corner of fulfillment, as opposed to applying zero-sum game approach: “I can only succeed at your own detriment”. We must bury, once and for all, this debilitating mindset.
We should not allow politics to tear us apart, we should not allow our philosophical differences in politics define the other as a mortal enemy who must be slandered, blackmailed, besmirched and where commending your brother or sister for a good job done is seen as a sign of weakness.
Politics should not be seen as blood sport. Here in America, spouses, siblings share different political affiliations and yet they don’t regard each other as enemies that must be destroyed. James Carville, the man famed for helping couch the message that elected Bill Clinton in 1992, is married to one of the dye–in-the- wool conservatives – a Republican hawk – Mary Matalin. They have both appeared on several public affairs programs across the world, each touting the other party’s ‘bonafides’; yet, at the end of the day, they return home as husband and wife, burying their ideological differences and instead celebrating the ennobling ideals of public service.
President Roland Reagan and Speaker O’Neil were two larger- than- life ideological sparring partners. On a typical day, they fought for what they believed, and the righteousness of their positions. They screamed at each other, but later that evening, the two big Irish- Americans would sit together and share glasses of beer and back slap one another. To them, politics was a noble game of persuading the people and whoever had a larger megaphone won the day. We should engender this level of engagement in our dear State. I implore you to be in the vanguard of this new narrative.
So, as I come here today to celebrate with you, I hold in my right hand, an imaginary flag of pride for our people. I raise it above my head like a banner of excellence and unity. It is a banner without stain. Keep it flying. You are our worthy ambassadors.
Two months ago, I took the oath of office as the duly elected Governor of our beloved State. Two months might be too short to give account of our stewardship, but I am happy to announce to this hallowed assembly that, in two months, we are laying the foundation of generational prosperity for our people. This is in line with the thrust of our campaign which is centered on industrialization.
What we have done so far?
We came prepared to work. We knew the task ahead was going to be enormous. Vision and sheer determination are our compass as we journey to our destination of greatness. A few days after we assumed office, we inaugurated a Technical Committee for the actualization of the Ibom Deep Seaport project. Members of the committee are men and women with track record of competence, and who have made global impact in that sector.
I know you know the potentials immersed in the freight business for our people and Nigeria at large. We did not stop there. At a stretch, we went ahead to inaugurate two more technical committees on Foreign Direct Investment and Agriculture and Food Sufficiency.
They have already started to yield good fruits. Investors have queued up to come to Akwa Ibom and invest in different sectors.
We have laid the foundation of an automobile industry with the ground breaking done in Itu three weeks ago for the assembling of luxury cars, trucks and vans. And like they say, the automobile is the industry of industries.
That, therefore, means, many more supporting industries will soon spring up everywhere in our State. We have undertaken several interventions in critical areas – the Itu-Calabar Road gully erosion, the flooding in some parts of Uyo, Eket –Ibeno Road, gully erosions in Oron and the Anua hospital in Uyo.
Our people now enjoy steady supply of electricity with 20 megawatts added to the system. As a responsive government, we will not rest on our oars until our people have jobs, and the quality of life is improved significantly.
COME LET US BUILD TOGETHER!
My dear brothers and sisters, determined as we are, we cannot build this bright future alone. Come let us build together. The Diaspora has an important role to play. Do not stand and stare; come, for the work is enormous, but the harvest shall be plenty. Come and add an enduring flesh to our framework of a modern Akwa Ibom State where industrialization shall precede and give rise to our greatness. Diasporas are defining phenomena in the globalised world today. The Indian and Chinese Diasporas achieved a lot for their home countries; you too can.
The Chinese Diaspora is economically vibrant and is one of the leading investors in China. Besides, they also play a great role in promoting China’s economic interests. China has experienced one of the most remarkable investment booms over the past three decades, and has become a model for many emerging countries.
Foreign direct investment increased from US$600 million in 1983 to $40 billion in 2000, $117.6 billion in 2013. Chinese Diaspora is the leading investor – 70% of China’s recent foreign investment has been provided by Diaspora members. Similarly, the outward investment by China was tremendously facilitated by their Diaspora.
How about India? The overall Foreign Direct investment to India is about USD 24.29 billion in 2013 – 14 as against USD 22.42 billion in 2012-13.
Numerous countries rely, to a great extent, on their Diaspora for investment, not only in remittances, but also as a FDI source. This trend is followed by both emerging and developed countries. It saved crisis-stricken Europe like Ireland, Spain, among others.
Ireland for example targets both Diaspora-owned business and companies employing influential fellows of the Diaspora, acting as connectors. When Ireland was struggling in 2009, it convened a conference aimed at convincing the well-to-do Irish Diaspora to help the country get back on its feet.
This process is commonly referred to as Diaspora Direct Investment, and has become a new source for seeking capital. This policy has equally been successfully implemented by several countries. It shows you have the economic power in your patriotic hands.
India, on the other hand, receives $70bn a year from it Diasporas. This money flows steadily, even through recessions. Countries like Israel, which claims all Jews as its Diaspora, sell infrastructure bonds overseas, hoping experts will invest in the home country.
They also count on business trips that could help create more jobs at home. That is why we see Diasporas as important agents of the economic and social development of our State. On our part as a government, we are willing and ready to engage you effectively.
So, together, let us make good use of the enabling environment in our Country and State of origin as well as this comfortable destination that is brimming with opportunities. Let us maximize the benefits of our migration. Let us make this strategic partnership for our economic development to blossom.
It was the late Dele Giwa, when he was still in America, who said, when his namesake, Patrick Dele Cole approached him to come and work for the Concord Press in Nigeria, he told him without hesitation; “America is good, but I feel a strong pull from home.” Do not resist this patriotic pull to use your stay and contacts in America for the upliftment of your motherland. It is a pull of your connections and resources.
It is, therefore, my hope and faith that this convention will help strengthen collaboration, improve cross-fertilization of ideas and practices, and help foster espirit-de-corps among us for our common goal and our commonwealth. And the seeds we have indeed planted in this fertile American soil will bear fruits in Africa, and the world shall pick them from Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria. God is with us.
Thank you and God bless.