The Gubernatorial Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for Akwa Ibom State has laid out his agenda for the people of the oil-rich state. He made this at the flag-off of his campaign on Monday in what he termed My Contract with Akwa Ibom People.
This is the full text of his address:
MY CONTRACT WITH AKWA IBOM PEOPLE
BEING THE GOVERNORSHIP CAMPAIGN FLAG-OFF SPEECH BY THE AKWA IBOM STATE PDP GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE, PASTOR UMO ENO, NOVEMBER 8TH, NEST OF CHAMPIONS, UYO.
Let me start first by thanking our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ for His grace that has located me, shaped and raised me to where I am today.
Standing here, today, a heartbeat away from the most important job in the land, I cannot but remain eternally grateful to the Almighty God for it was The Prophet Isaiah who introduced the coming messiah as posited in Isaiah 53 : 1-2.
"Who hath believed our report? and to who is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." Isaiah 53:1-2 KJV
To God alone be all the Glory forever and ever in Jesus Mighty Name.
I pay my respect to the man whom God has used as an instrument to see in me some hidden potentials which others could not easily see: My Mentor and Political father, His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel.
2. Whenever I stand before you, I am not unmindful of where I came from; how the desire to take my destiny in my hands and prove that when the passion is right and the hunger for success is overwhelming, God will locate those who would lead you safely to those points of fulfilment.
3. I do not wish to repeat the story of my life. That, already is in the public domain. However, let me say something very fundamental, and this is directed at our resourceful youths. If I could crawl my way up from the abyss of hopelessness, and, a few years later, became the second largest employer of labour in this State, after the State Government, with a monthly wage bill of over 25 million Naira, you too, can! It takes a can-do spirit, faith and belief in the Invisible Hands of God, to perfect that which He has embedded in you. I want you to remember that, always!
4. Permit me at this point to again, thank my political Father, the Governor of this great State, a man whom God revealed certain things which others may not have seen and consequently in agreement with other critical stakeholders in this state unveiled me to continue the process of the rewriting of the Akwa Ibom story, His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel and his dear wife. Dr. (Mrs.) Martha Udom Emmanuel.
5. Your Excellency Sir, my family and I will remain eternally indebted to you for this huge faith and belief you have shown in me. I want to assure you and our dear people that I will strive to prove that the choice God has made in me, through you and the overwhelming support I have so far received from the good people of this state will not be in vain.
6. Let me thank my dear wife and the Incoming First Lady, Pastor (Mrs.) Patience Umo Bassey and our wonderful children and their spouses for the support they have accorded me, since I threw my hat into the ring, to become the Governor of this great piece of Godly Real Estate.
7. Let me also, thank our great party, the PDP, our State Chairman and the Members State Working Committee, the Fathers in Faith, our Stakeholders, our Chapter Chairmen, our Youth Leaders, our Women, the Ward Chairmen and their Executives and indeed all other members of our great party, All the support groups, All the institutions that have endorsed my candidature, Akwaibomites in the Diaspora, those other great Nigerians who have come here to live, invest and work, for your prayers and support so far.
8. I want to assure you that the future you desire for yourselves and your children is the future I am totally committed to working to make real. I know I can count on you to collectively make this future a reality.
9. Fellow Akwaibomites, on the 25th of May, after I had won the nomination to be our flag bearer at next year's gubernatorial elections, I made a solemn pledge to run an issue-based campaign that would be devoid of mudslinging, or the resort to vile and incendiary rhetoric, where people's character and integrity would be mindlessly attacked. I pledged to run a campaign where propaganda and blackmail would have no space on our Victory Train.
10. Today, on this same ground, I stand here again to unveil our Contract with Akwaibomites at home and in the diaspora; a contract to continue on the path of peace, security and development we have enjoyed in the last seven-plus years. A contract to create jobs for our people and enlarge our path for economic prosperity; a contract to maintain and advance our world-class infrastructure, a contract to ensure food security through the agricultural revolution, a contract to ensure that our children are made ready and equipped to compete favourably with their counterparts all over the world, through advancements in educational curricular and the provision of the necessary tools to help drive the vision. A contract to stem rural-urban migration through robust investments in rural development, a contract to ensure that our people continue to live in peace and that the sanctity of human life would be protected through our security management.
11. Fellow Akwaibomites, I am here to unveil a contract for peace, for unity, for brotherhood, a contract whose finer details are couched in Christian virtues and values, and above all, a contract with God as the Author and Finisher of our lives.
12. Fellow Akwaibomites, there is no doubt that in the last seven-plus years under the able leadership of Governor Udom Emmanuel, our State has become a reference point of excellence in governance and how a leader can utilize and apply the resources available to the state to achieve the most for the people.
13. Today, because we have a Five- Star Leader, a doer, in Governor Udom Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom State has become a national sensation. Our story is told all over the Nation and even beyond our shores. Our Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, (GCON,) captured this so succinctly and eloquently when he said during the last Presidential Campaign flag-off that given the developmental strides recorded here, Nigeria needs to take a cue from what is happening in Akwa Ibom State.
14. In aviation development, today, Ibom Air, is the most preferred airline in Nigeria, the first ever commercial airline to be owned by a sub-national- a testament to the vision, creativity and ingenuity. Today, our international terminal, the smartest in the nation when commissioned, signposts our resolve to become an aviation and tourism hub of the Gulf of Guinea.
MY ADMINISTRATION WILL BUILD ON THESE LEGACIES IN THE AVIATION SECTOR AND ENSURE THAT IBOM AIR IS FURTHER STRENGTHENED TO MAINTAIN ITS PACESETTING ROLE IN THE COUNTRY EVEN AS WE HOPE TO COMMENCE REGIONAL FLIGHTS TO OTHER COUNTRIES VERY SOON. WE WILL BUILD A CARGO TERMINAL AND BEGIN CARGO FLIGHTS ALONG THE WEST COAST. A FEAT THAT WILL ATTRACT A LOT OF DEVELOPMENT TO OUR DEAR STATE.
15. Today, Akwa Ibom State has about the best road network in the nation, constructed and commissioned solely by the State Government. I don't need to start mentioning all the roads constructed and commissioned across the three Senatorial Districts and the Ten Federal Constituencies, but who can miss the 10-Lane Idongesit Nkanga/ Clement Isong Avenues- a beauty to behold and a grand testament to what an indigenous contractor can achieve! The 29-kilometer dualized Etinan-Ndon-Eyo Road, with two cable bridges, the spectacular Uyo -Ikot Ekpene Road, among others.
WE WILL CONTINUE TO PROVIDE ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE AND MAINTAIN THE EXISTING ONES SO AS TO PROVIDE THE CONNECTION NEEDED TO BRING PEOPLE CLOSER TO OUR DEVELOPMENTAL GOALS.
16. Today, the narratives of our state as a previously purely Civil -Service oriented State has changed with over 25 commercially viable industries that have provided jobs and wealth creation opportunities for our people; from the largest syringes manufacturing company in Africa, the Jubilee Syringes that today, distributors would have to wait for months to have their shipments, despite producing at full capacity, to the flour mill, the most automated and finest brand, where distributors too, would wait for months to get their consignments, despite also producing at full capacity, to the St. Gabriel Coconut Refinery, which is positioned to lift our fortunes away from over-dependence on crude oil-the first of its kind in Africa, to several other cottage industries, we have been lucky to have a purpose-driven leader in Governor Udom Emmanuel.
AS A PRIVATE SECTOR PERSON MYSELF, I WILL WORK HARD TO ENSURE THAT MORE PRIVATE SECTOR-DRIVEN VENTURES ARE ESTABLISHED HERE WITH THE ATTENDANCE BENEFITS TO THE STATE AND CREATE EMPLOYMENT FOR OUR TEAMING YOUTHS.
17. Today, while insecurity has assumed a worrisome dimension in many parts of the nation, Akwa Ibom State has been an oasis of peace and tranquillity. From the fishing creeks in Mbo to the Raffia City of Ikot Ekpene or to the sandy beaches of Ibeno, or the inviting boulevards in Uyo, our people can travel any time any hour in peace and in absolute security.
WE WILL WORK TIRELESSLY TO ENSURE THAT OUR PEOPLE CONTINUE TO LIVE IN PEACE AS WE STRIVE TO TURN OUR STATE TO A TOURIST HAVEN AND PROMOTE OUR CREATIVE INDUSTRY TO MAKE AKWA IBOM A DESTINATION OF CHOICE.
18. Today, our people go to bed and sleep soundly with their two eyes closed. It wasn't always like this. Not too long ago, our people were kidnapped, murdered and politically muscled and killed. People were removed from churches and killed in the most brutal of manners, and a lot of Nigerians did not desire to visit our State for fear of being kidnapped, but today, that ugly narrative has changed. Akwa Ibom is blessed because a God-fearing Leader, a people-centric Leader came on the scene and brought about a different tone of humility and Godliness in governance.
19. It is this peace, these seeds of prosperity and growth that the Udom Emmanuel administration has planted, that calls for continuity and further advancements, a forward movement as opposed to a backward slide. That is what this election is all about!
20. It is about capacity, character, competence, integrity, and transparency in governance, which, as the American Consul General to Nigeria, Wills Stevens said recently, Akwa Ibom under Governor Emmanuel, leads the nation. This election is not about the arrogance of power, of playing God, of violence that we don't wish to see make a return to our State. Akwa Ibom people desire a continuity of peace and progress, not a return to the ugly spectre of violence and kidnapping or politically-motivated assassinations. Those years are gone, Akwa Ibom people have since rejected those years and as the line in our State Anthem so proudly proclaims: Forward Ever Backward Never!
21. My dear Akwaibomites, the Udom Emmanuel Government has already given us world-class infrastructure. We will now use the resources available to build people, attract more industries, create jobs, open up our rural areas and spread prosperity to our people. This is the standard all over the world.
22. In the 1950s, General Eisenhower as the President of the United States created the best road network –the interlocking network of roads that connects the 48 contiguous states. Subsequent administrations have been maintaining those roads and other infrastructure while deploying the resources to create jobs, build people and capacity, and ensure prosperity through education, healthcare, food security and internal security. That is what I am promising the Akwa Ibom people. My Contract with you, my dear Akwaibomites is captured boldly and clearly in my A.R.I.S.E. Agenda. We will spend our resources to water the seeds of our collective prosperity. That is what the A.R.I.S.E. Agenda is all about.
23. Let me say here that one of the best lines that I have taken from my Political Leader, the Governor is when he says that if one can't manage a kiosk, he or she cannot manage a multinational.
24. Fellow Akwaibomites, this election is about capacity, and without sounding boastful. I make bold to say that I have deep capacity. In 1997, I saw an opportunity in Hospitality Industry and I relocated from Lagos to Eket and started the Royalty Hotels with just five rooms. Today, the Royalty Group has become a conglomerate with a diverse interest in the hotels and the hospitality industry, Akwa Fresh Water Production Company, industrial catering, eateries etc. For over 12 years, I was the second largest employer of labour after the State Government and I ran a monthly wage bill of over 25 million Naira. We have changed people's destinies, trained their children, unify the family unit through employment and won souls for Christ as a Pastor.
25. I can safely say without any fear of equivocation that among all those who today are aspiring for the leadership of this state, I am the one that has invested mostly in this state by creating jobs for our people and creating commercial assets that have adorned the skylines of our dear state. I have directly impacted the lives of many of our people over the past 25 years, either spiritually as an Under-Shepherd of God's flock or economically, financially as an employer of labour or educationally as a philanthropist. I have lived and invested my resources in Akwa Ibom State.
Anyone is welcome to put my record in these areas side by side with others, using their personal resources not our collective commonwealth to deceive the people and the facts will speak for themselves.
26. Fellow Akwaibomites, this election is beyond populism, rhetoric and vague promises but pragmatism, capacity and making hard choices. It is your choice to have a proven leader who has created jobs for many of our youths versus those who only use the youths for thuggery and violence when it suits their selfish purposes.
This election is about continuity, the need to deepen and expand what already has been planted and turn the seeds into a healthy harvest for our people versus those who wish to turn back the tide of growth, just to satisfy their egoistical desires.
This election is about humility, and Godliness, and the need to respect our common humanity and govern with Christian values, versus those who see power as a sense of entitlement.
Power is given to those whom God has qualified and not those who arrogantly qualify themselves.
27. This election is a choice between those who have produced a robust and easy-to-digest Economic Blueprint as we have done through our A.R.I.S.E. agenda versus those who only, daily talk the talk, but lack the capacity and the competence to positively affect lives in the long run. Again, if you haven't run a kiosk, you can't run a multinational.
28. This election is about giving our citizens a sustainable source of livelihood and not throwing crumbs at them during an election year and leaving them to wallow in extreme poverty afterwards.
29. Running a State is not a learning process; it is not an affair based on trial and error. We cannot gamble with the destiny of about 8 million people and entrust the same in unsteady and shaky hands.
We have proven over the years to be a steady and safe hand, driven by a clear-cut vision of governance, which we have captured in the A.R.I.S.E. Agenda.
A.R.I.S.E. stands for:
A - Agricultural Revolution.
R - Rural Development
I - Infrastructural Maintenance/Advancement.
S - Security Management
E - Educational Management.
This Agenda is easy and deals with issues that impact our daily lives.
30. As the world and indeed the nation is battling flooding and other natural disasters, coupled with the Russian war in Ukraine, which has unfortunately affected the price of wheat and other staple foods, the need for government to be proactive and ensure food security becomes deeply urgent.
31. We will through our agricultural revolution, ensure that we have enough food for our people at affordable prices. We will tap into our comparative advantage in this area and create wealth. It might interest us to know that most of today's richest people all over the world have their hands in agriculture.
32. We will continue to provide soft loans to our farmers, provide the tools to aid them grow and provide the channels for their produce to be sold at competitive prices. We will encourage our fishermen, to use the natural blessings to create wealth, by providing the institutional mechanism to achieve this purpose.
33. We will turn our recently revived Akwa Palm Estate into a wealth-generating enterprise. As a former Executive Director of Agric Investments and former Chairman of the Ibom FADAMA Micro-Finance Bank, I know the issues in agriculture and I will ensure that we bring about a revolution in that critical sector of our economic development and growth.
34. A key component of any government is to reduce rural-urban migration. We hope to continue from where this current administration will stop. We will build more roads in the rural areas and ensure that the remaining five per cent of the 2,274 gazetted villages that are yet to be hooked to the National Grid, (which itself is a giant achievement of this current administration,) is achieved. We will provide clean water to our rural dwellers as a way to prevent easily transmitted diseases.
35. As I stated earlier, we will use the resources available to grow our people, provide avenues for growth through SMEs, ensure quality education and healthcare, food security, build human capacity and open the tap of economic prosperity because we already have world-class infrastructure. This is the standard in developed societies. We will maintain our infrastructure and strategically build more roads and other infrastructure.
WE WILL CONTINUE TO INVEST AND PRIORITIZE THE WELFARE OF OUR CIVIL SERVANTS BY DEVELOPING THEIR CAPACITY AND PAYING THEIR WAGES AND ENTITLEMENTS AS AT WHEN DUE INCLUDING THE GRATUITIES OF OUR RETIREES WHO HAVE SERVED OUR STATE.
36. My fellow Akwaibomites, one of the cardinal responsibilities of government as enshrined in the principles of "The Social Contract" is the protection of the lives and property of its citizens. We have lived in peace and security in the last seven-plus years; our children have lived in a secure environment, free from harm and hurt. No one has been kidnapped or assassinated based on political considerations.
37. It was not always like this, as you all will agree. We must maintain this peace, and use it to attract more investments to our State; No investor goes to an unsafe place, which is why we are second only next to Lagos according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in attracting Foreign Direct Investments. The A.R.I.S.E. Agenda will connect the dots and ensure that on peace and security, it is forward ever backwards never!
38. The future of any nation is predicated on the standard of education and human capacity it has engendered. Today, the Indian and Chinese examples have been held up as success stories. The Silicon Valley in California is shaped and dominated by Indian Americans, same with the Chinese who today have used their soft power to influence nations. We will strategically develop our youths in the areas of ICT, and other layers that would make them competitive with their counterparts elsewhere.
39. Through IbomAir, we are already the tourism destination in the country. We will ensure that our hospitality industry, our cuisine and our rich cultural heritage are translated into wealth and job creation avenues. The Caribbean nations today earn billions of dollars through their hospitality industry. We will replicate the same here.
40. Our youths would be engaged and encouraged to be entrepreneurial. I have done it, and I will create deeper and more expansive avenues for our people to follow this path. The future that we are seeing today from what Governor Udom Emmanuel has done looks even more exciting because we will further lengthen the pace of development and connect the dots in other areas of development. We will use the resources to build people and create wealth for us all.
41. Let me use this platform to enjoin us to live in peace and in unity. We should not allow politics to divide us. Politics and political parties are merely vehicles to aspire for power, but our cord of unity remains sacrosanct. When by the grace of God, I become your Governor next year; I will be a Governor for all.
42. We will run an all-inclusive style of administration that will accommodate all our supporters, and even members of other political persuasions and inclinations.
43. Let me reiterate that we will strive at all times to be development-focused, prosperity-focused, employment and wealth creation–focused and above all, shaped by peace, security and faith in the Almighty God. We will always lean towards what Abraham Maslow calls "The Human Side of Enterprise" which is the provision of tools that brings about wealth and prosperity.
44. Having witnessed the unprecedented pace of development under our dear Governor Udom Emmanuel, I believe, our best way to express our collective gratitude and appreciation to what he has turned our State into, will be to continue from where he will stop, and take it even further , in tandem with our State Anthem of FORWARD EVER, BACKWARD NEVER!
This is my Contract with you my dear Akwaibomites, and on my honour and with the help of God; I will work to make our State the perpetuity capital of Nigeria. The best years of Akwa Ibom State are not in the past, they are in her future: we have had a beautiful SILVER PAST, may God lead us to a GOLDEN FUTURE
MY DEAR AKWA IBOMITES AT HOME AND IN DIASPORA, I URGE YOU TODAY TO:
ARISE TO CONTUINTY,
ARISE TO GREATER PEACE AND PROSPERITY,
ARISE TO A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN,
ARISE TO THE AKWA IBOM STATE OF OUR DREAMS.
45. God bless Akwa Abasi Ibom State, God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.