BEING TEXT OF THE CHRISTMAS DAY BROADCAST BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MR. UDOM EMMANUEL, GOVERNOR, AKWA IBOM STATE, DECEMBER 25, 2016, GOVERNMENT HOUSE, UYO, AKWA IBOM STATE
LET US COME TOGETHER AND CELEBRATE
THE BIRTH OF OUR SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST
My dear Akwa Ibomites, my wife, Her Excellency, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel and I wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in advance.
As we share with you the joy of this season of love and sacrifice, we enjoin you to remember the key lessons of Christmas. Christmas is not only about opening presents, it is about opening our hearts to our families and friends. It is not about just receiving, it is about giving. It is not about the Christmas tree, it is about a Christmas heart.
We are aware that some families who lost their loved ones in the Reigners’ Church roof collapse are still mourning. Let us reach out to them in this season of love and do all we can to cushion their pains. Let the joy of this season dry our tears, and fill us with renewed hope for the New Year.
We must seek to show love to the less-privileged following the example in the Bible. When our Lord and Saviour was born on that cold winter night in a manger, the Angelic hosts declared His birth to the shepherds in the east. They did not declare it to the Pharisees or Sadducees or the other rulers of the people. They singled out the poor – too poor to hire servants to care for their sheep – and shared the joy of Christ’s birth with them.
In the same vein we must have special plans to declare God’s love to the orphans, widows and others who are less- privileged.
We should also remember God’s love which has kept us throughout the year. Let this be a season of thanksgiving, for Jesus Christ has been kind to us. Though He was born at a particular time, He belongs to all times; though He was born in Israel, he belongs to all nations. Therefore, He belongs to Akwa Ibom State and He has been our shelter from the storm.
In the course of the year, He has given us the testimony that when men are saying there is a casting down we are saying there is a lifting up. People wonder how we are able to do the things that we are doing given the challenging economic times we are currently experiencing.
The answer is that with God all things are possible. God is doing all that He is doing for us because He gave us a gift of His son and we have accepted Him and we honour Him. The recent Christmas Carol Festival provided another evidence of our love and devotion to Jesus Christ. It was a huge success and we appreciate you for all your support.
Let me again use this opportunity to assure our people that my administration is determined to do all within its powers to cushion the harsh effects of our economic difficulties. In these tough times, let me re-assure you that I will not relent; I will work tirelessly to ensure that our people have the capacity to put food on their tables; that the basic necessities of life are easily available to our people.
In spite of the economically challenging times we are able to pay our workers their December salaries before Christmas day to enable them have a white Christmas.
We should remember that though Christmas is a season of love, love and sacrifice should continue throughout the year. In this wise we have also sponsored over 300 Akwa Ibom indigenes with various life-threatening ailments for local and foreign treatment.
My belief is that every Akwa Ibom life matters. We urge every individual and corporate bodies to commit themselves in this season of love to such acts of mercy to those in need.
As we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ let us not give in to the negative impulse of anger and animosity. Let us conduct ourselves in ways that appeal to the better side of us and not those that appeal to our base sentiments.
I came to this State to serve and to serve my people irrespective of political labels and affiliations. I am not serving you as a Governor for PDP people. This message of love, therefore is for the entire State irrespective of political affiliations.
I am the Governor of the entire State, made up of all political parties. Let us come together and work to unite our people around a common good and a common cause.
I believe the greatest gift we can give to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ on this wonderful day of His birth is to love and show love to one another. As He belongs to everyone, let us also belong to everyone. Let us use this season to consign to the dustbin of history the last vestiges of tribalism, divisiveness and ancient animosities.
When the roof of that church building came tumbling down, it did not make a distinction between the Ibibio, Annang and Oron man. We share the same fate. When we mounted our rescue efforts, nobody asked anyone trapped in the debris, “Where do you come from or which political party do you belong to? We were all Akwa Ibomites united in grief and in mourning. May that spirit envelop us and direct our path this season and in the New Year.
Once again accept our fondest wishes for a merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.