Ndifreke P. Akpan
Governor Udom Emmanuel has again stated his dedication to ensuring the prosperity of all Akwa Ibom people saying that the state is on the right track to achieving divine mission with God as the guide.
The state Chief Executive said that in spite of the lean resources, over 1,202kms of road and 35 bridges are at various stages of completion, and reassured the people that the protection of lives and property is the most critical components of the social contract he has with them.
The Governor stated this shortly after being anointed for a second term in office by Christian leaders and fathers of faith in a prayer converge organised by the Akwa Ibom Christian Assembly on Thursday at Ibom Hall Grounds, Uyo.
Governor Emmanuel said he will not be distracted by the noise of the naysayers neither will he give in to the blackmail, lies and the machinations of those who do not wish the state well.
The Governor used the opportunity to remind the people that the main thrust of his 2015 campaign was predicated on the need to urgently industrialize the state as a way of creating job opportunities for the people and submitted that his administration was still on course for the economic development of the state.
“Our Syringe Manufacturing Company is running and the naysayers who said it could not be done have been proved wrong, our Metering Solutions Company is in full production and again our critics have been proved wrong. The Peacock Paints is producing and expanding its operations, the Flour Mill is in the offing, as well as Plastic Manufacturing Factory and Fertilizer blending Factory to be located in Abak are also in the offing”.
He said the state Government’s investment in power has attracted commendation from the Minster of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babtunde Fashola during his recent visit to the state, and told the people that his government had upgraded the main runway at the Ibom International Airport to category 2 while the construction of the second runway is ongoing.
According to him, the flood control on Nsikak Eduok which had previously rendered that area impassable has been fixed, State Secretariat Annex was completed and inaugurated while a 21 storey modern office complex is under construction in Uyo.
The Governor said that the State Government earmarks at least 600 million naira annually for the payment of West African Examination Council, WAEC fees for final year students in secondary schools in Akwa Ibom in addition to ensuring free education, maintaining that his administration will always invest in quality education as a bedrock to development.
He told the congregation that his administration had refurbished and equipped some hospitals in the state with facilities that can match the best in the world explaining that already, 25 container loads of state-of-the-art medical equipment were delivered to the state for installation in hospitals.
As part of strategic plans to move away from over dependence on oil, Governor Emmanuel said the state has invested heavily in Agriculture. “We are currently cultivating over 2,000 hectares of cassava under the World Bank assisted FADAMA 111 scheme, our Vegetable Green House project is producing tomatoes that have been acclaimed to be of a very high quality. 4,929 rice farmers are currently at work in the state especially in Ini L.G.A”.
He explained that over 300 rural development projects and over 400 inter-ministerial direct labour intervention projects were undertaken across the 31 L.G.As by the state government in addition to the training of over 20,000 youths in various skills for personal development.
The Governor also highlighted government’s investment in sports and youths development which has led to the state virtually becoming the sporting capital of Nigeria.
In what seemed to be an account of stewardship, the Governor further pointed out that in the area of social welfare, government has provided grants to widows and through FEYReP, houses have been built for them while the Child Rights Law has been enforced.
He stated that his administration had, on assumption of office, settled a 10 year backlog of pensions and gratuities to retirees and that government is strongly committed to the regular payment of salaries and gratuities in spite of lean resources.
He charged Christians to embrace politics and with one voice and one body change the layers of engagements in governance saying that when God-fearing people refuse to participate in politics, they will remain the losers in the long run.
Governor Emmanuel reminded the people that countries that have held God aloft as the symbol of their authority and the fulcrum upon which governance revolves have prospered beyond words called on the Christian community not to overlook such attributes while making a choice of who to vote for.
The Governor thanked the Akwa Ibom Christian Assembly and Fathers of Faith for the endorsement for re-election next year and expressed appreciation to them for continuous prayers for him since assumption of office in 2015.
Presenting an address on behalf of Akwa Ibom Christian Assembly and Fathers of Faith, Arch Bishop Cletus Bassey said the church was involved because one of their own, a man after God’s heart and a worthy ambassador of the body of Christ was involved.
Arch Bishop Bassey stated that the church could not remain silent in publicly supporting the Governor’s second term bid to continue the good work he started.
According to the man of God, “let the word go forth from this place to Akwa Ibomites at home and in the diaspora, to men and women, to the young and old, that God has arisen in his church and we will no more be silent”.
He said that Governor Emmanuel had played politics with the fear of God and has performed creditably in the development of infrastructure and investments.
The Governor, according to the Fathers of Faith, was made for a time like this to build an altar for the Lord among other landmark achievements.
In a sermon, Dr Mensa Otabil from Ghana charged Christians not to allow themselves to be overwhelmed or play second fiddle while seeking political power.
Dr Otabil referred to the theme of the event which is Dominion Mandate Conference and noted that every Christian is endowed with Dominion mandate.
He blamed the lacklustre approach of Christians to politics on attitude and urged the people to arise to a renewal of focus, thoughts and attitude in order to attain greater heights.
The Minister commended the Governor for working in partnership with the church and for his commitment to infrastructure development and industrialization, explaining that his landmark achievements will enhance his second term bid.
In the same vein, Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo said Nigeria needed young men and women who have vision to be in governance stressing that the time has come for Christians to be involved in politics and governance at all levels.
Pastor Ashimolowo made prophetic declarations for sons and daughters of the state to arise and make a difference at the global scene.
In a goodwill message, the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayo Fayose congratulated Governor Emmanuel for the endorsement by the Christian Assembly for a second term in office and described him as a man on a mission in Akwa Ibom.
Governor Fayose charged Christian leaders to be courageous, condemn evil and exalt righteousness stating that anything without Christ will end up in crisis.
The event had in attendance Ministers of the Gospel, top government functionaries, politicians, men, women, youths and other worshippers within and outside the country.