AKWA IBOM: THE STORY OF UNCOMMON TRANSFORMATION

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I thank you for the great privilege of addressing you today; and I bring to you from the land of your birth, the warm greetings and love of your fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, uncles and nieces, friends and colleagues. It is worthy of note that in spite of the millions of miles which seperate you from the resting place of our ancestors, the flame of your love for our state has not flickered. Our forefathers had awise saying, “No matter how high the eagle flies, her legs will keep pointing to the earth.” And we are happy that your legs, heads and hearts are pointed to

Akwa Ibom State, despite the distance and how high you have soared.

Some of you may not have been home in a long time, but we do not hold it against you because the ancient English proverb has it that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”We pray that your long absence will make your heart grow fonder of our state, and at the same time pull the strings of your emotions so that you will come and see the glorious happenings in our fatherland. But for those who may not be able to visit home in the immediate future, we urge you to keep assisting your people back home, because in this way you becomeour partners in our unrelenting fight to improve the welfare of our dear people.

But when you come, we advise you to find a tour guide in order to avoid getting lost - especially if you had not been home in more than five years. As you may be aware, our state is so transformed that if you were to bet with someone that you could still find your way home without help, you would lose you hard-earned money. This may sound preposterous, but it is no joke. When Philip told Nathaneal that he had met the Messiah and that it was Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Nathaneal, asked “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip did not enter into any argument with him, he simply advised him “Come and see.”

We did not come here today to enter into an argument with those who wonder whether any good thing can come out of or be done in Akwa Ibom. We did not come here to try to convince such people that the state has been transformed. We did not come to respond to the demogogic rhetoric and hypocritical lies of those who have had their consciences seared with the fiery irons of falsehood and bigotry. We came to say to you to “Come and see.”

The 2007 Election which led to our emergence signposted a rallying cry for us to rebuild the walls of our state. In an election in which more than 65 aspirants (some of these favoured and sponsored by the government of the day), contested the primary election with me, I emerged victorious because my candidature typified Akwa Ibom rennaisance and was a mass movement of Akwa Ibom people. From every nook and cranny of the state, people showed up for us and some slept in the rain and in the sun in an exercise which the rules sometimes changed after we understood the game. Seldom has a people expressed so much hope in a man and so much enthusiasm in his election. I did not take this confidence lightly and I still remind myself every minute of the day that “to whom much is given much is expected.”

What we did in the last four years has been labelled, “uncommon transformation.” But the missing part in this description is that it (uncommon transformation) was borne out of uncommon faith in a man by an uncommon people who have an uncommon destiny. A people who have been seared in the heat of poverty, emasculated by infrastrutural paucity and staggered by self doubt in a land which had almost consigned them to second class citizenship. A people who have been cast down by man, but were not forgotten by God who in our time has made all things beautiful.

“How did a state born with great promise like Akwa Ibom become the factory for houseboys and housegirls? you may ask. Akwa Ibom people are honest people, the most honest in our country. Consequently, our nation sought to have house keepers from our state - of all Nigerians they could only trust our people with their children and their food. And as it is conventional in human nature, this noble trait was abused and we came to be seen as persons who were born to serve others.

I was in Lagos, doing my best in law and Corporate Nigeria, before I responded to the call to serve in the motherland. I felt a pain in my heart whenever I visited my friends and they would tell me let your sister, our housemaid, come and bring you a drink. I felt even more pained when some of them would ask me, “Please can you get a house girl or house boy for me from your state?” I made up my mind that this shame must be lifted from our shoulders. I believed and still believe that for so long as one Akwa Ibom person is in servitude because his or her parents could not send her or him to school, then all Akwa Ibom persons at home and in the Diaspora, educated and illiterate are in servitude.

Today the story is different. The house girls and house boys are in schools courtesy of our free education programme. Akwa Ibom people walk tall and proud because the state has now become the toast of Nigeria and a perfect example that democracy works. Our state has become the preferred destination for conferences in Nigeria. But let me pause here and give you a sampler of what we did in the last four yours.

Education
You are aware that after salvaging the bad situation of the Jews in the Yom Kippur War, Richard Nixon said that when Israeli prime minister Golda Meir made the pleato him on phone, he remembered that his mother once told him while reading him Hebrew stories that if the Jews ever needed his help, he should not hesitate to help them. He concluded by saying that perhaps God made him president just to salvage the Jews in their days of need. Having lost my father when I was six months, and raised by a struggling widow, I missed a year of schooling because my mother could not afford the fees for all of us. And I decided in those dark days of despair that if God ever made me Governor, I will make sure that all poor children go to school free. And perhaps God made me Governor just so that our poor children can go to school.

When we marked the first anniversary of this policy, I said that we were not celebrating the victory of politics or the triumph of administrative policy, but we were celebrating the success of common sense and the destruction forever of the houseboy/housegirl syndrome.

Our investment in education encompasses a massive rehabilitation of all primary and secondary schools in our state. We have so far spent overforty billion Naira on revamping the educational sector. But this money represents both a source of joy and a basis for apprehension. Joy that so many people are in school, and apprehension because if the proper educational and examination values and ethics are not maintained in these schools, then we are undertaking an investment which would not yield the desired social dividends.

The policy objective of this administration is to produce a very vibrant, literate and well-focused population in the next five to ten years. To this end we have undertaken the following programs.

• Free, compulsory and qualitative education from primary to senior secondary school level. To ensure the elimination of fees of all kinds we pay subvention to primary school head teachers at a hundred Naira per pupil per term and to secondary school principals at three hundred Naira per student per term.

• Massive rehabilitation and construction of educational infrastructure. We have built over 500 new classroom blocks and rehabilitated over 1,500 others. We have built/constructed over 500 classroom blocks, dormitories and laboratories across the state and rehabilitated about 1800 others.

• Employment of teachers and the absorption of 1,000 primary school teachers who were initially employed for a Federal Government Universal Basic Education scheme.

Child Right and Protection:
Conscious of the need to ensure the protection of the rights of our children, we enacted the Child Rights and Protection Law 2008.This law was meant to safeguard our children’s rights and protect them from social vices including sexual abuse, child prostitution and witchcraft stigmatization.

As a government, we have striven to ensure that abandoned children are catered for. We have built and we maintain Child Welfare Centres, and courtesy of my wife and our First Lady, the state today has an ultra-modern reformation centre for children. And when the news of the stigmatization of our children was brought to our notice we promptly set up a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate the matter. The Commission recently concluded its assignment and submitted its report, which is being considered by Governemnt.

Health
We see healthcare not only as a goal of development, but as the right of individuals and the means to achieve the related goals of higher labour productivity. Our health investment in AkwaIbom State is focused on ten major policy areas. These are:

1. Health infrastructural development
2. Health manpower development and training
3. Provision of drugs and equipment
4. HIV/AIDS prevention and control
5. Roll Back Malaria
6. Aggressive Immunization Campaigns for Infants and Mothers.

7. Integrated Maternal, New Born and Child Health
8. Free medical treatment for pregnant women, children five years and under and the elderly

9. Improved Staff Welfare Scheme
10. Effective Service delivery.
We inherited health structures which were in a general state of decay, prompting many of our citizens to shun hospitals. Not only did we improve our healthcare structures, we built five new cottage hospitals. In addition we are building another tertiary health institution in the “20th Anniversary Specialist Hospital.”

In a bid to fight mortality among infants and mothers, we established free medical treatment for these groups. Aided by this, we have been able to reduce the infant mortality rate and the maternal mortality rate by 75 percent and well below the national average. We also have free medical treatment for our senior citizens.

Federal Projects
We embarked on a massive reconstruction of roads including Federal Roads because those who were dying on those roads were our people. We constructedfive federal roads, which traverse the state, with a combined total length of 198.6kilometres. Some of these weredualized, and bridges and drainages, constructed in them. We also did internal roads in the following federal institutions, the University of Uyo, University of Uyo Teaching Hospital and the Nigeria Television Authority Channel 12, Uyo. It should be stated that the Federal Government has promised to refund to us the money spent on these projects.

Electricity
In the last four years we have completed the electrification of 1,400 communities This has raised electricity coverage in the state to 85 percent.Our target is to achieve a hundred percent coverage before the end of this term in office. You will appreciate this more when you realise that the African average is about five percent, and the national average is put at 17 percent. We have not only hooked these communities up to the national grid,we have installed transformers to service these communities and had since handed them over to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria.

In the same vein, I am proud to inform you that the First Phase of the 191 megawatts ofour Independent Power Plant located at Ikot Abasihad since been completed andover 40MW of power from the plant is currently released to the national grid and is being utilized in parts of the state. We believe that with the expected deregulation of the power sector, we will soon have uninterrupted power supply in our state.

Roads
The transformation of our state in terms of road construction has been one of our most hailed accomplishments. So far we have tarred 211 roads covering over 700 km throughout the state and built several bridges and constructed three concentric flyovers in the state. The flyovers are so beautiful that I am certain that you would not resist the urge of taking pictures there when you visit home.

Airport and Aviation Development
The story of the development of the Ibom International Airport is an interesting one. When we assumed office in 2007, we met an airport project which technical evaluation placed at ten percent level of completion. Because we understood the importance of the project for Akwa Ibom people, we took it on and pursued it to its logical conclusion. Let me announce to you that today, you have a completed international airport with 3.6 km runway, first class facilities and aviation aids. Your airport is playing host to domestic and international flights. Last year we commenced international flights with the airlift of over 1,000 pilgrimss to Ben-Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv, Israel. We have succeeded in stamping our state on the global aviation map. And let me at the same breath, commend His Excellency Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, the Chairman of the project and his team for doing a difficult job well and making us proud.

The state’s investment in the airport was boosted by feasibility studies which used the West African aviation industry as its study area. Based on these feasibility studies, Government sought to provide a hangar facility which would cater for and exceed the aviation needs of the West African region. Armed with our studies, the State wrote to the Presidency and obtained an approval to build and operate a national hangar. We are putting together a state-of-the-art hangar with the most modern and most sophisticated equipmentwhich will meet our aviation goals and that of the West African sub region for years to come,and it is capable of maintaining two Boeing 747 and/or four Boeing 737 simultaneously. The maintenance capability will cover A, B, C and D checks on aircrafts.

We have trained 251 staff in the best universities and aviation institutions in the world on various disciplines including avionics, power plant and airframe, maintenance engineering, fire-fighting, aviation security, air traffic control etc.

Housing
Government attaches high priority to the provision of affordable housing to our citizens. We have undertaken the construction of 2,000 housing units in the three Senatorial Districts and 31 mini-housing estates in the 31 local government areas. In addition to this we have also constructed a state-of-the-art Governor’s LodgeAnd we have completedand commissioned the following projects, ultra modern e-library in Uyo and the Federal Prison at IkotEkpene. The Ikot Ekpene Prison meets the international standard for correctional facilities and is said to be the best so far in Nigera. We went into this when we had to relocate the oldest prison in our state and one of the oldest in Nigeria from the middle of Ikot Ekpene town to the outskirts of the town.The Banquet Hall on Metro Road, Uyo and several other projects are nearing completion.

Mrs Ekaette Akpabio (R) also received a Certificate from US Congress woman Sheila Lee in recognition of her charity works in Akwa Ibom State.

Tropicana Entertainment Centre
We are also building a world class hospitality complex, Tropicana Entertainment Centre, with a galleria, Cineplex, shopping mall, 250 rooms five star hotel etc. The present hospitality infrastructure in our state cannot support our ambition to become the industrial hub in the Gulf of Guinea. Already, we have completed the Ceniplex and today, Akwa Ibom children watch movies in the Tropicana. Our intention is to use the Tropicana to drive tourism initiative and create employment for our youths.

Ibom Gas Plant
This project, which had since been completed, involves the construction of a 59.5km pipeline from Uquo in EsitEket to Ibom Power Plant in IkotAbasi. The Ibom Gas Plant will supplygas to Ibom Power Plant in the light of the obvious incapacity of Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) to meet the gas needs of the plant. The project was handled by Septa Energy Ltd, a subsidiary of Seventh Energy, a UK-based gas development company. This project was undertaken under “PPP” arrangement whereby the AKSG has contributed $33million down payment for gas supply to the IPP for at least one year, while the company has invested $550million in the construction of the Gas Processing Plant.

Ibom Industrial City
The Ibom Industrial City will be an industrial mix of oil and gas–based support services, dockyard and watercraft repair facilities, fertilizer plant, oil refinery, gas-to-liquid projects, petrochemical industries, power plant, deep seaport, etc. In fact this promises to be a self-sustaining industrial city with schools, hospitals, shopping malls, hotels etc. It will be one of its kind in the entire continent of Africa.

When fully operational we believe it would employ directly and indirectly over 100,000 people, increase the export base of the state, put the state on the oil and gas map of the world, and would open up the state as one of the gateways to the world in the Gulf of Guinea and the West African sub region.

It should also be noted that the area designated for this project has the longest coastline and one of the deepest water depths of any seaport in the country. Off the coast of this water we have the most nutritious shrimps and lobsters in the world.

The port, which would not require perennial dredging because Ibaka has a depth over 13knots and when constructed would complement the ports at Lagos, Port Harcourt and Calabar and help boost Nigeria’s influence in the Gulf of Guinea. The water depth would allow large ocean liners to reach ashore, thereby easing congestion in Lagos and other parts, a development that would boost maritime revenue for Nigeria. Already the Federal Government has indicated interest in partnering with us on this project.

Changing Our Rural Communities- The Inter-ministerial Model

The Inter-ministerial direct labour committee was conceived as a fast clearing house for the expeditious execution and implementation of identified rapid impact projects that could improve the lives of the rural dwellers. I can announce to you that we have achieved a lot through it. So far,over 3000 projects have been completed with several already commissioned. The beauty of this approach is that all the 31 local government areas in the State are proud beneficiaries of over 80 projects each. We intend to pursue this initiative vigorously to ensure development is taken to all the nooks and crannies of the State

The Next Four Years
The belief which drives our vision is anchored on the fact that AkwaIbom State can and must be a better place for all AkwaIbom people born and unborn. This article of faith inspired the renewal of our state in the past four years and will inspire us to do more in the next four years. We have demonstrated the core values of demoratic goverance and become pacesetters in our national developmental efforts. Our efforts have been appreciated at home and abroad by many frontline institutions of learning (University of Calabar, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, University of Uyo, and University of Nigeria, Nsukka awarding me Honorary Doctoral degrees, not to mention fellowships of polytechnics and colleges of education and others), the media (the media have awarded me several “Man of the Year” awards), foreign countries, the Church, traditional institutions etc.

We are riding on a developmental momentum which is unprecedented in our state in particular and our country in general. And because the good people of our state have become the toast of the nation, they demanded that this momentum should not be lost, but that we should continue with the transformation of our state and let God’s will be done again. I accepted this sacred trust and mandate for a Second Term with great humility.

Fully conscious of the faith of the people in us, we have decided to continue to commit ourselves to the cause of the people and to bind ourselves to the task of complete transformation of our state and its good people. These are some of our programs for this tenure:

CONTINUITY
The quantifiable benefits to our people have been enormous in the last four years and we intend to continue with this objective of making the welfare of the AkwaIbom person the centre piece of all our efforts and actions as a government. We intend to continue with all our projects and complete all of them.

INDUSTRIALIZATION
What has always counted in this administration is what works. That is why we have committed ourselves to completing all viable abandoned projects and not leaving behind any abandoned project ourselves. Our objectives may sound radical, but that is simply because they are bold, modern and visionary. We commit ourselvesto the establishment of an industry in each of the local government areas of our state. This, we believe, will make our state the industrial hub of our nation and lead to the employment of our teeming youths.

EDUCATION

In order to consolidate on our widely-acclaimed gains in this sector, we intend to provide more basic facilities like libraries, science laboratories etc. We also intend to procure more text and exercise books for distribution to our school children in the public school system. Other plans include, the renovation and construction of more classroom blocks to take care of the tripling of enrolment in the school system, and the introduction of the boarding system in more schools to ensure a controlled and disciplined learning environment.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
We intend to setup computer laboratories in both secondary and primary schools for the teaching of computer applications at school level; we will also deploy wide area network infrastructure for city-wide surveillance (with internet protocol [IP] cameras), and provide video surveillance for bullion vans and banking areas. We also intend to establish Biogas Energy plant for the production of high quality fertilizer and thermal energy through the decomposition of organic domestic waste and thereby reducing environmental pollution (waste recycling).

COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
This is another key area which witnessed great activities in our First Term in office. The projects below are mapped out for attention:

Ibom International Airport: Listed for action at the airport are: Completion of the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility, construction of the cargo wing, construction of the Airport Main Terminal building and expansion of the Apron to accommodate many aircrafts.

Ibom Tropicana Centre: On Ibom Tropicana Centre we intend to complete the four outstanding components of the complex which are: (1) A 2000 square metres floor two story mall (2) A 250 room fourteen floor five star hotel (3) A 5000 seating capacity multi-floor convention centre(4) A theme park comprising both wet and dry sections.

Ibom Power Plant and Ibom Gas Plant: We intend to have uninterrupted power supply before the end of this year when all distribution issues would have been resolved. At the same time theIbom Gas Plant will ensure that the gas needs of the IPP are met and our utilization of the IPP optimized.

TRANSPORTATION
We intend to increase the number of township taxis, busesand tricycles in order to ease the transportation problems of our state and these vehicles would be distributed fairly and in order to address the poverty-alleviation challenges of our state. On water transportation we note that only 27 networks which cover 19 LGA’s are available. We intend to redress this situation and extend water transportation to 12 additional local government areas; and we intend to add three regional transport schemes covering the three Senatorial Districts of our state.

ELECTRIFICATION
As stated earlier, we have broken the national record with 85 percent electrification level in the state. We will pursue with vigor the electrification of all communities in Akwa Ibom State.

WATER SUPPLY
We intend to ensure that we also achieve a hundred percent pipe-borne and borehole water supply provision to all communities in our state in the next four years.

ROADS: Roads have been one of our key priority areas and we intend to keep it so. In the next four years of my administration, we intend to open more roads to the rural areas in order to facilitate the movement of persons, goods and services across the state. Already, we have awarded a N28 billion contract for Ring Road 3, Uyo. We also will dualize the Ekom Iman – Etinan – Eket Road and the Uyo - Ikot Ekpene Road. Work is already ongoing on the six lane Aka – Nnung Udoe Road.

RURAL ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT: To complement our establishment of industries in all local government areas of our state, we intend to aggressively finance the establishment of micro, small and medium scale enterprises, particularly those in the agro-allied sector. We also will promote economic activities, hitherto obtained in urban areas, in the rural areas particularly as we intend to have uninterrupted power supply across the entire state, within the first year of this second tenure.

SOCIAL WELFARE: We intend to establish handicapped persons welfare scheme to eliminate begging (an alien culture to AkwaIbom) from our land. We will support women non-governmental organizations and groups and domesticate the 35 percent affirmative action plan on the appointment of women into public and elective offices. Consequently, we will establish women development centres in the three senatorial districts to fight against harmful traditional practices and gender abuses against women. We will reactivate/establish cassava/garri processing mills and palm kernel/palm oil mills, fish ponds and poultry farms for women.

Other issues that we hope to tackle include the strict enforcement of the child rights law and the sensitization of the citizenry about the law. Empowerment of women through micro credit schemes for women cooperative societies and the creation of employment for persons with disabilities in both the informal and formal sectors of the economy of the state.

SECURITY: Though we would have wished there were no incidents of this invidious crime in our state, we are proud to say that we are winning the fight against kidnapping. Compared to other states, kidnapping is not as commonplace as it is painted here by our detractors, who are prepared to cut their noses in order to spite their faces. Suffice it to say that we have brought in state-of-the-art technology to combat this scourge and no kidnapper would feel safe in this state anymore. We intend to pump more money into the security situation until we completely eliminate this crime in our state.

HEALTH: The health of our people had always been our top priority. In the next four years, we will, as has been our custom, focus on the reduction of HIV/AIDS through enlightenment campaigns, voluntary counselling and testing and the provision of anti-retroviral drugs for the treatment and control of the infection.

We have successfully reduced the maternal and infant mortality rate in our state by over 75 percent with our free medical treatment for pregnant women. We intend to increase the momentum of this success with regular screening for breast and ovarian cancer; family planning; immunization/vaccination for infants against the childhood killer diseases; observation of maternal, newborn and child health weeks; implementation of other measures to promote other primary health care activities in the state. We intend to sustain our free medical treatment for the aged of 70 years and above, pregnant women and children five years and below.

ENVIRONMENT: One of the challenges of an industrialized land is devising a means of appropriate waste disposal. We intend to build three sewage treatment plants in the three senatorial districts. Not only will this generate revenue through sewage collection levies, it will generate employment for our teeming youths, keep our cities clean and reduce the health hazards facing our people. Tied to this will be a program for the house-to-house collection of the refuse.

Other programmes lined up in this area include the establishment of recreational centres in urban areas and a strategic reforestation program with a mission to plant over 2 million trees per year for the next four years in order to mitigate the negative impact of climate change and also position the state to benefit from the global climate change financing mechanism.

Furthermore, we intend to embark on the construction of erosion/flood control projects at Iquita Lane, Oron; Midim Waterside, Abak; EmaItam/IkotAyanItam, Itu; OdoroIkpe, Ini; Ekeya, Okobo; St. Mary’s Science College, Abak; EffiongUdoAkpan Street, Uyo; and UtitObio, IbionoIbom. And the construction of additional drains at the inlet of Nkemba trough, Top Faith Road, Abak Road and its environs, and the construction of Mbiokporo Outfall No. 1 and 2 to check flood problems at Idoro Road and environs. In addition we intend to address coastal erosion at the following places; IkotAbasi, Ibeno and Eastern Obolo.

SPORTS AND RECREATION

We recognize the fact that sports has become a major source of revenue and we are minded to accelerate the development of sports in our state. We are, therefore, committed to the construction of the ultra modern 30,000 capacity Olympic-size stadium in Uyo.

Conclusion
Let me seize this opportunity to underscore the fact that our successes have been made possible by one of the greatest team of patriots ever assembled in our country. Time will fail me to mention all of them, but duty compels me to single out for mention the love, support and counsel of His Excellency Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, first indigenous governor of our state, Chief Don Etiebet, member of the Board of Trustees of our Party and former minister, His Excellency, Obong Nsima Ekere, the Deputy Governor, the Rigth Honorable Sam Ikon, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr Umana Okon Umana, the Secretary to the State Government, His Royal Highness Obong Ekidem, the Ntisong Ibibio,members of my cabinet, and indeed all Akwa Ibom people. I commend the Akwa Ibom Diaspora Network for its support and many contributions to the success of this administration.

My brothers and sisters, here we are doing the great work of building the walls of our state, like Nehemiah of old, and along comes the Sanballats and Tobias of this world determined for selfish reasons to stop the work. They set up a propaganda machine with similarities to that of Nazi Germany and spun lies like storm dusts. Then they went on rampage in Ikot Ekpene and Uyo before the election. They killed innocent citizens, maimed others, burnt down over 200 brand new cars, 500 brand new tricycles, President Goodluck Jonathan’s Campaign Office, a school belonging to a PDP Senator, several private properties and vehicles... in a word the destruction was horrifying.

We buried Daniel Udo Akpan, father of three and a mechanic of 27 Abak Road, Ikot Ekpene and Nicholas Etop Idung of Ikot Eyem Village, Obot Akara. But they unrepentantly added salt to injury by claiming that they were attacked and killed in Ikot Ekpene and Uyo in order to hide their guilt. If they were attacked, which of them died? They have not said till now. If they were attacked, which of them was injured? They have not said till now. If they were attacked, which of their property was destroyed? They have not said till now. They can not fool Akwa Ibom people. And in the April election, Akwa Ibom was invaded by more election monitors, observers and journalists than any other state because it was described as a potential flashpoint. Akwa

Ibom voted for love and rejected hatred; voted for peace and rejected war; voted for

brotherhood and rejected discord. They voted for truth and rejected lies.

It was in this country that it’s 32nd President, John Fitzerald Kennedy, sounded the legendary exhortation to the American people, “Think not what your country can do for you, think of what you can do for your country.” I charge you to think of what you can do for our state.

I have been the target of personal, michievous and abusive attacks by a few of our misguided brothers and sisters in the Diaspora. Such attacks especially on the internet cannot discouraged me because any fool can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one. I do not mind objective and constructive criticsms, as a matter of fact we encourage them. But those who thrive in those mischievous attacks are living in the past and have failed to come to terms that this is the new Akwa Ibom State bonded together in love with the chains of tribalism and ethnicism broken forever.

We have come to grips with the dreams of our fathers, but our dreams have become a nightmare to them. But let the news go forth to all Akwa Ibom people whether they wish us good or ill, that we will not be distracted in our efforts to continue building a new Akwa Ibom State. We owe our forefathers a duty to build a great state in their honor and as a proof that their labours for the creation of our state were not in vain. We owe posterity an obligation to leave behind a legacy which they would look back on and say, “Truly this was a great generation.”

That is why we are making our administration of the state a turning point. And this is why we want you to come and see things for yourself and come back and tell your children about the beautiful land in Africa’s rainforest, the land of limitless opportunities, the land of our ancestor’s pride... the proud land where their ancestors were buried and the land of your birth. Tell them in the full moon and over dinner about blessed Akwa Ibom State, the land of promise. We expect them to come visiting some day.

Thank you and God bless you.
Being a State of Akwa Ibom Address Delivered by His Excellency Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio, Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, at the Town Hall meeting of Akwa Ibom Citizens in the Diaspora on Saturday, August 6, 2011 in Houston, Texas, USA.


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