Broadcast by His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, Governor, Akwa Ibom State on the Occasion Of The Fifth Anniversary of His Inauguration.Friday, May 29th, 2020 | Speeches
TOGETHER, IN FAITH, WE SHALL BE COUNTED AS A GREAT STATE WITH A STRONG ECONOMY
BEING THE TEXT OF THE BROADCAST BY HIS EXCELLENCY, UDOM EMMANUEL, GOVERNOR, AKWA IBOM STATE ON THE OCCASION OF THE FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS INAUGURATION, GOVERNMENT HOUSE, UYO – MAY 29TH, 2020
- My wife, Her Excellency, Dr. Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel and I bring you our greetings on this special day.
- The inspirational first line of our National Anthem says, “Arise Oh Compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey.” Five years ago I heard Nigeria’s call in general and Akwa Ibom’s summons in particular and I presented myself for the task of rebuilding our State. With God’s guidance and your overwhelming and generous support, we have recast this blessed Land of Promise into a great and wonderful piece of God’s Real Estate.
- Today also is the first Anniversary of the resounding victory you had yet reaffirmed in my capacity last March, to continue to be the Team-Lead of peace, security and development of this great State until May 29th, 2023.
- In five years, together in faith and shared hopes, we have achieved a lot for our collective well-being and we owe this to our ONLY GOD who sees the innermost depths of our hearts, the sincerity and transparency we bring to bear in the execution and management of the resources of this great State.
- I come to you today in the most unusual of ways: instead of the unusual festivities that have attended this day in the past years, the convivial atmosphere at the stadium, the gala night at either the Banquet Hall or Ibom Hotels and Resort, I am addressing you via the instrument of a State broadcast.
- The reason is because we are living in a decidedly strange and unusual times. When we ushered in the New Year with pomp and pageantry, we did not envision the fact that an innocuous virus that started in the City of Wuhan, China last December and was initially treated as a common flu, would render the world prostrate, changing the modes of societal engagements, and practically turning every known rules and conventions of relationships on its head.
- Today, the world has changed possibly forever! Corona Virus otherwise known as Covid-19 has become a clear and present danger, leaving no country unaffected and introducing new lexicons of usage: Social distancing, face-mask, self-isolation, lock-down and drumming other protocols of hygiene already known to humanity like sing-song.
- To the glory of God and based on our proactive leadership style, this new reality brought about by Covid-19, did not meet us unprepared. In the past five years, we have worked hard to touch every sector of our society and prove to everyone that where the passion is right, great things can and will happen.
- Shortly after I was sworn in, in 2015, the tail wind on our economic horizon was fiercely turbulent, brought about by the sharp drop in crude oil price, which later triggered a recession that lasted until late 2017. Even with what we were confronted with, we didn’t make excuses or engaged in pity party; we went to work and our various trainings as managers of men and resources came in handy.
- Today, because of the effects of Covid19, we are also experiencing similar challenging economic times. Like we did in the past, we will rise to the occasion and together, we will weather the storms and be counted as a great State with great economy.
- Without necessarily going into a full exposition of our scorecard, which thankfully you are well abreast of, which was the reason you voted for me to return as your Governor last year, it bears repeating that we have used the resources of this State to touch lives in the areas of industrialization, agriculture, education, healthcare delivery services, infrastructural development, aviation, youth and women empowerments, rural development, sports, tourism etc.
- When shortly after I was sworn in, I inaugurated the Technical Committee on Agriculture and Food Sufficiency, some naysayers thought we were playing to the gallery. Today, from the rice fields in Ini Local Government Area, to garri processing mills scattered all over the three senatorial districts, to fertilizer blending plant which helps with our agricultural output, to improved seedlings and storage of our excess produce, to our most modern flour mill which produces the flour for our bread and other confectionary needs, our vegetable Green House, which produces most of which we consume, these huge investments in agriculture have helped us stay ahead of Covid-19.
- Our youths have now embraced agriculture and I am always impressed when I receive text messages from them, commending the new reality we have awakened in them through agriculture. That is what Dakkada spirit which I also launched in September 2015 has produced in our people. I want to thank you my dear people for buying into our vision of a State that is self-sufficient in food production.
- In the past five years, we have poured enormous resources in ensuring that our secondary healthcare service is top-notch. From remodeling of hospitals across the ten Federal constituencies such as Etinan General Hospital, Methodist Hospital, Ituk Mbang, General Hospital, Iquita-Oron, Ikot Okoro, Ikono to the world-class isolation centres at the Ibom Specialist Hospital, the one at Ikot Ekpene and the icing on the cake – the 300-bed Isolation Centre at Ituk Mbang which will be commissioned later today, we have been able to utilize the lean resources to work for our people. Work is also on-going at Emmanuel Hospital, Eket, General Hospital, Ikot Abasi, Ikot Ekpene and Awa respectively. Our world class Polymerase Claim Reaction (PCR) Laboratory where critical tests, including Covid-19 and other infectious diseases would be carried out will also be commissioned later today. We have also received our brand new ambulances, which are of the same standard and quality as those in the Western World. Most of our over 35 container loads of world class medical equipment have started arriving and would be deployed to different hospitals across the State soon.
Today, our syringes manufacturing company – the largest in Africa stands as a testament to vision and proactiveness, as we now produce most of our medical consumables from the our State.
- In the area of education, we have invested our resources in ensuring that we prepare our children for the competitive world of the 21stCentury world. Education remains free and compulsory at the primary to secondary level. We are still helping with the payment of 600 million Naira yearly WAEC fees to help indigent students take their exams.
- In five years, we have in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy, brought Navy Secondary School, to Ikot Ntuen, Ekparakwa and Command Secondary School, Efa. We have remodeled and refurbished numerous classroom blocks and made the environment for learning, conducive and inviting for our children. So far, we have constructed and renovated over 500 school blocks through the Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Committee. This is in addition to the 601 projects including class room blocks executed by State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) through matching grants.
- Our teachers are constantly exposed to further trainings to bring them up to speed with modern approaches to teachings. We have poured resources into our State-owned tertiary institutions – The Akwa Ibom State University at both, the main campus – Ikot Akpaden and at Obio Akpa respectively continue to receive our attention with the construction of internal roads, same with the State Polytechnic at Ikot Osurua and College of Education, Afaha Nsit. As part of our effort to improve the quality of our educational curriculum, we held an education Summit and exhibition – the first of its kind by any State in Nigeria. Currently, we are running the hugely popular School on Radio to help our students prepare their final examinations in junior and secondary schools due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. The result of all these investments can be seen in the numerous awards our students have won across the nation and the accreditations of courses at our State owned tertiary institutions by the relevant regulatory bodies.
19.Industrialization is the linchpin of our governing agenda, and so far, we have attracted over 18 industries to this State; some which include the largest syringes manufacturing company in Africa, the metering solutions company, the plywood factory, the fully digitized flour mill, coconut refinery, whose work is at advanced stages of completion, numerous cassava processing mills. Pencil and toothpick industries, Rice mills, plastic making factory, among others. These industries have helped with our job and wealth creation agenda. We will continue to make our State a destination of choice for investors, post-Covid-19.
- Last June, Ibom Air, began commercial operations. Today, less than a year later, the airline has become a national sensation, confounding skeptics who said it couldn’t be done. Two weeks ago, in keeping to our promise of expanding the fleet of Ibom Air, we received a new Bombardier CRJ 900 bringing the fleet of Ibom Air to four aircrafts. We hope to add another one before the end of June. Ibom Air again has shown in clear terms that with proper planning and the right passion, what was thought impossible can be made possible. Today, our people and indeed the entire nation have experienced the ease of travelling because of the vision we brought to bear with this airline. Our main runaway at the Victor Attah International Airport was early in the life of this administration elevated to category 2 as well as the construction of the taxiway. Work is ongoing on the main terminal building of the airport as we prepare Akwa Ibom to become a regional hub in aviation.
- Industrialization cannot thrive without the provision of solid road infrastructure. We have thus deployed huge resources in road infrastructure and we can state emphatically that we have constructed/completed the longest dualized thoroughfares in Nigeria in the last five years. Some of these dualized roads include Uyo-Etinan road, Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road, Etinan-East-West road and Eket-Ibeno road, Airport-Okobo road. In addition, Ring road II and the ten lane Ring road III in Uyo Metropolis are in advance stages of completion, while contract has been awarded for construction of surface and underground drain structure for collection and final discharge of Uyo metropolis flood water at IBB Way, Uyo. These complement the numerous internal roads networking major town in the State.
- Early in the life of this administration, we took the bold and decisive step to end the perennial flooding at Nsikak Eduok Avenue and other flood-prone areas as well as our emergency intervention with gulley erosion on Calabar-Itu Road.
- Our investments in power sector, especially the constructions of sub-stations, in Uyo, Ekim and in Ikot Ekpene will help us with our vision of providing Power for All by 2021.
- As you may have observed, the 21-storey Intelligent Building, easily one of most modern and sturdy buildings in the nation is almost ready. We hope the International Oil Companies will see the need to relocate their headquarters to our State as well as such agencies as the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR.)
- Our investment in sports has been nationally applauded. Our investment in the maintenance and upgrade of the Nest of Champions has ensured it remains the main venue for major football competitions in this nation. Our modern sports stadium in Eket is nearing completion and we will continue to provide the amenities for our youths to participate in sports and hone their skills at a young age.
- Our rural electrification as part of rural and riverine development continues to take a huge chunk of our investments. Numerous feeder roads have been constructed and we do this, to reduce rural to urban migration and provide quality life for our rural dwellers. We will continue to explore avenues to diversify our economy through tourism.
- Our State enjoys the distinction of being one of the safest States in the nation. We will ensure that this critical element of the Social Contract remains an abiding article of faith.
- Our social infrastructure continues to engage our attention. This we have done in collaborations with my Wife, Her Excellency, Dr. Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel’s Pet Project (FEYReP.) We continue to support farmers and market women with interest-free loans and youth and women empowerment schemes. We will continue to invest in these areas because of the multiplier effect it brings. Let me also add it here that, we have been steadfast in the prompt payments of our salaries and pensions. The salary and pension for this month, have already been processed and I am sure most public servants have received or are about to receive the alerts.
- The Post-Covid-19 Economic Reconstruction Committee which I inaugurated weeks ago is another proactive way we look at the economic fortunes of our State. As you are all aware, Nigeria is a mono-product economy propelled by oil. Today, the oil market is gloomy and completely bearish. A little over a month ago, oil prices were in the negative which means you couldn’t even sell the oil you have and you have to pay for storage space. Our State as the highest producer of crude oil in Nigeria given the challenging oil market prices would have to think out of the box, which necessitated the inauguration of the committee. We are hopeful that the recommendations the committee will come up with, will help us strategize and look at Akwa Ibom in a possible post-crude oil propelled economy.
- I call on our people to come together and bury the poisonous chalice of politics, of blackmail, of sponsoring false and libelous stories about our leaders in the press just to settle political scores.
- I call on our media practitioners to understand that words either spoken or written have meaning and thus, should allow the highest level of circumspection moderate the manner they report their State and leadership. We are all for robust media engagements and constructive criticism. But intentionally manufacturing falsehoods and slanderous articles at the behest or promptings of faceless groups or political interests sure do have consequences. As the popular saying goes, if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. If you intentionally libel or besmirch the sterling character of a public official, you should be ready to answer and defend your published report in both the law courts and the court of public opinion.
- As I have always said, this is the time for governance and all hands must be on deck to ensure that we move our State collectively to a path of steady growth and development. It is too early to engage in the politics of 2023. We will have enough time to do so, when the time is ripe. Good leaders do not plan for the next elections; they plan for the next generations.
- Let us therefore, see the next generation of Akwaibomites as assets that must be nurtured, expanded and made ready for the future. Destroying the chords of our unity at the altar of partisan politics, or waging wars against brothers and sisters just to settle ancient animosities should be discouraged.
- Let me emphatically state here, that Akwa Ibom people enjoy the peace and security we currently have and will resist any attempt by individuals or groups to return us to the evil years when kidnapping and politically motivated killings brought untold fears into this land. Akwa Ibom people have made a choice to stay and live in peace, and this is the new normal. Those who traffic in violence should take note.
- Government will ensure that those who are planning such evil as a strategy for winning elections will be sorely disappointed. Akwa Ibom people have gone beyond those fearful years. I call on all patriotic Akwaibomitmites to come join the train of peace and development as it moves gingerly on the path of our Completion Agenda. We have achieved a lot for our people in five years, and we hope to do as much with the resources at our disposal in the coming years.
- Let me end this speech by repeating one of my favourites quotes from the sixth President of the United States, John Quincy Adams “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
- May history celebrate and reward those who work to make our people be more in thoughts, actions and deeds; do more to strengthen our cords of unity and brotherhood, dream more of opportunities for growth and development and inspire more to become great and all that God desires for us, in Jesus Name, Amen.
- God bless Akwa Abasi Ibom State, God bless us all! Akwa Ibom edakkeda, ami mme dakadda.