AN ADDRESS BY THE GOVERNOR OF AKWA IBOM STATE, HIS EXCELLENCY, MR. UDOM EMMANUEL AT THE SWEARING-IN OF COMMISSIONERS AND SPECIAL ADVISERS DECEMBER 1, 2016, BANQUET HALL, GOVERNMENT HOUSE, UYO
Today, as it was on July 6, 2015, when I first swore in the immediate past State Executive Council, we are gathered here again to perform this all-important assignment- the swearing in of the new EXCO and the marching order for you to go out there and work to translate our dreams of bringing democratic dividends to our people in line with my Five- Point Agenda.
We have come here today to chalk up the vast potentials that abound in our beloved State, and work towards harnessing them for our common prosperity and common good. We have come here to reaffirm an ideal that I think all of us in this hallowed hall share: the ideal of unlocking the golden door of opportunity for all Akwa Ibom sons and daughters irrespective of their circumstance of birth. On behalf of the Government and good people of our State, I congratulate you on your nomination and appointment into the State Executive Council.
First, let me pay special tribute to the Permanent Secretaries of the different ministries and bureaus who so ably and admirably held the forte and ensured that the operations of government remained smooth and seamless. Let us all rise and give a standing ovation to these dedicated servants of our state for the great job they did.
For the appointees, let me place on record that your selection was based purely on merit. If you are a returnee, your records spoke for you, and for the new entrants, you have been drafted into what I may christen the “Team of Doers”. You have been called upon to contribute your quota in our quest to give quality service to our people and translate our campaign promises to affect lives, and ensure that government indeed is seen as a force for good.
I urge you therefore, not to derail from that path of trust and distinction that earned you this position and the onerous responsibility that comes with it.
On no account, will this administration sacrifice competence at the altar of mediocrity or surrender our avowed determination to work with the best hands available to the narrow impulse of parochialism. We have vowed to surround this Government with the best people wherever they may come from.
Let me be quick to remind you that as Commissioners and Special Advisers, your constituencies and local government areas have now changed to represent the entire State. Endeavour to eschew favouritism and ethnicity in performing your duties and surround yourselves with people who will bring or add value to our common essence.
Competence, loyalty, transparency and pedigree remain the abiding values that recommended you to this position of high responsibility; you must let these values remain your guiding principle. You have joined the team at a very crucial point of our journey to renew the Akwa Ibom spirit- a spirit that has risen and will never again be defined by defeatism, or a lack of faith in one’s belief that God created us all to be successful and we must therefore rise and claim the faith of our greatness. You are coming to join us rouse our people to “dakkada”, dream and dare.
The expectations are high, and you cannot afford to fail the people. We expect you to draw from your fierce intellect to boost our programmes and policies. We want results not excuses, for like Benjamin Franklin said, “He who is good at giving excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Do not fail to deliver accordingly.
When you look at the blackboard of our blueprint and our campaign platform you will find that this administration has outlined its priorities; tick them in your hearts and tie them to your policies and let those elements remain the loadstar that will guide and direct the course of your actions and deeds.
Our commitment to industrialization is irrevocable. We know that through industrialization, we shall rewrite the Akwa Ibom story in employment and wealth creation.
Industrialization is modern man’s god with small ‘g’. Remember the example of China. After the World War II, China was in shambles economically. But one man was prescient enough- the iconic British leader, Winston Churchill who said, “Beware, here lies a sleeping lion, when it wakes up, he will shake the world.”
Today, China is on the wings of history through industrialization. The country leads the wave of emerging economies poised to recast the Western-dominated geopolitical balance. It took a visionary leader-Deng Xia-ping to engineer and engender this new thinking, and he succeeded in doing this, because he surrounded himself with Chinese who believed in his vision and mission.
This is the vision we want to replicate in Akwa Ibom State and I will continue to work day and night to ensure that we pursue our vision with vigour and drive. You can now picture the enormous task that lies in front of you. Will you fail us? I believe your collective answer is a resounding "No".
I urge you to picture the opportunities ahead of you than the challenges. I expect you to justify your selection into this “Team of Doers” by doing good to all manner of people that you will daily come in contact with. You have been called upon to render service to the people- endeavour to treat them with decency and humility- refrain from seeing yourselves as tin gods, the hectoring bull, one whom everyone must kow-tow to, the one who represents the sole repository of knowledge, power and wisdom. In my inaugural address, I called myself a Servant-Leader, I expect you to clothe yourself in the garb of humility while rendering superior service to our people.
We may have begun this industrial race behind others but with your sheer passion and commitment, we can hit the finish line in time, and flood our State with prosperity and replace despondency with hope. Remember that it is the demand of the law of nature that he who begins a race late, must have to run faster in order to catch up or be prepared to perpetually remain behind
That is the work for which you have been called to do. That is the call you have answered with joy today. Keep our dream aglow. As you get this instrument of office from us, do not give us crutches in return.
We believe and expect that you will add a new image and new vitality to our fine work and proud beginning.
Finally, let me share with you a joke that is more of a lesson than humour. A child was asked by his teacher what could be his father’s secret in giving such a good account of himself in his public office, the boy said, “I am not surprised after all, my father is an accountant by profession.” The little boy was wrong. Accountability defies profession. You are called from different backgrounds and professions to give good account of yourselves. From your diverse callings, endeavour to be distinguished as accountants of necessity, to the extent of giving good account of yourselves in this call to public service and stewardship.
Once again, with great expectation, I congratulate you on your well-deserved appointments, and wish you well.
May God guide you through!
Thank you and God bless.
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