1. Akwa Ibom people praise the Lord, fellow Nigerians, can I hear you raise the decibel in your voices and in one Holy accord, sing praises to our Lord and our Saviour – Jesus Christ whose season of His birth has brought us together in this engaging and enchanting moment of celestial joy and celebrations!
2. From Lagos to Abuja, Ibadan to Port Harcourt, from Jos to Enugu, Katsina to Sokoto, Cairo to Johannesburg, from New York City to London – wherever you may be watching us either on television, or through live streaming all over the world, let me together with my dear Wife, Her Excellency, Dr. (Mrs.) Martha Udom Emmanuel and our adorable children welcome you dearly and heartily to this Annual Party of praise and worship, where the cymbals of love usually cling in a symphony of oneness; where the flutes of harmony and brotherhood always envelop us in heavenly amity and where our spirit and souls will be lifted in heavenly spirit and in conviviality.
3. We are gathered here as we have done in the past years, to hearken to the Biblical invocation as contained in Hebrews 13:15 that “through Jesus therefore, let us continuously offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of our lips that openly profess His name” Wow! What a great year this has been!
4. I stand here today, before you, my fellow Akwa Ibomites as a great example of God’s manifold blessings, love and grace. I stand here before you humbled by His love and blessings, strengthened by the Might of His invisible hands and sanctified by His awesome powers. I stand here today as a great testament to the immutable fact that one with God is a majority and that no matter the slings and the arrows that are primed and aimed at us, once you are with our ONLY God, the edges of the arrows will go blunt, the slings will miss its sight and the machinations of the evil doers will come to a crushing disappointment.
5. This time last year, the atmosphere in this State was pregnant with a lot of manufactured uncertainties. So many doomsday scenarios and hair-raising predications were made. The political space was filled with unnecessary tension because a few people had ascribed to themselves the monopoly of God and the repositories of power and might.
6. Political contest that should be based purely in the capacity to persuade people predicated on a set of ideals and achievements was reduced to the crass level of the invocation of the spectre of violence; and some people had boasted that the State and our people will witness what Adolf Hitler did to the people of Poland during the Second World War.
7. A new political lexicon was added to the Nigerian political reportage “Warsaw saw War”. Some had gone to the shocking level of contracting the merchants of death or those who had assured them of the destructive powers of their “walking sticks) or guns to put it in plain language. The desire by some of these agents of death was to unleash an orgy of violence in our State and cause our people to stay at home and not to exercise their primary civic responsibly of freely electing their elders.
8. But to the glory of Our ONLY GOD, not only was the election in our State the most peaceful, free and credible, our people trooped out, waited patiently in long lines to cast their votes, and thereafter, formed human shield around their votes. I remember meeting an old woman possibly in her late 80s, carrying a cane, her physical structure bent by old age, waiting patiently in the line to cast her vote. I couldn’t help but to ask her why she didn’t rest at home, given her condition. She looked at me and in a very passionate and strong voice said “my Son, if my single vote can secure the future of my grandchildren to live in peace and harmony, and if this is going to be the last act I would do, to return you to office, then my soul will rest in perfect peace. “ I was deeply touched and almost moved to tears. Her sentiments echoed the feelings of majority of our people.
9. The security agencies that certain individuals had boasted would do their biddings, allowed the will of the people to stand. The Election Tribunal sitting in Uyo affirmed the expressed and overwhelming will of our people in me to continue leading them as their Servant–Leader. The Appeal Court, sitting in Calabar, also followed suit and again in a unanimous decision, affirmed my victory. Just two days ago, the Supreme Court, also unanimously affirmed my victory. Let me express my profound gratitude to our learned members of the Judiciary, for helping deepen our democracy. You are truly the last bastion for the common man!
10. And so, today, standing here as the overwhelmingly re-elected and supremely affirmed Governor of this piece of God’s own real estate, a State that is after God’s own heart, run by a Christ –centric Servant- Leader, I want to give thanks and praises to our Only God, whose blessings saw us through the year. Can I hear you scream loud and clear: ONLY GOD? Yes, ONLY GOD!
11. Since this is the season of joy, of goodwill and love, I am again extending my hands of fellowship to my brothers and sisters on the side of the political divide to join me in building an economically vibrant and resourceful State. Political parties are merely vehicles to seek power, it should not be the instrument to separate and divide us. Akwa Ibom people are one, united in the pursuit of our common ideals of peaceful co-existence, love, development and a deep sense of brotherhood. Politics must and should not sever this enduring cord.
12. Let me use this opportunity of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ to thank the great and wonderful people of our dear State for the faith they had wholesomely reposed in me on March 9th, by unanimously re-electing me with a wider margin than 2015 to continue to be their Servant -Leader. As I said in my victory speech, I will not disappoint you. I will continue to roll up my sleeves, and work to secure your future and those of our children. That, is the best legacy I will leave you,; that is the charge I am dedicated to keeping and that is equally the charge, my dear Wife, Her Excellency, Dr. (Mrs.) Martha Udom Emmanuel has been doing through her Pet Project, FEYReP.
13. And so my dear people and fellow Nigerians, we have every reason to be thankful to God. Our State is peaceful, fast industrializing, our infrastructural amenities are world class and for this we give thanks to our ONLY GOD. Our educational sector is primed to producing graduates who will be able to compete in the globalized and fiercely competitive world of opportunities. Our students are wining laurels all over the nation and for this; we give thanks to our ONLY GOD.
14. A year ago, when I told the world we will be starting an airline business that would be the pride of this nation, quite a number of people especially those on the opposite side of the political divide sneered at us and said it couldn’t be done. Today thanks to our ONLY GOD, Ibom Air has become a national sensation, making the ease of traveling an exciting task, bringing hordes of people to our state and helping in the fulfilment of our vision of making our dear State the hub of business in our part of the world. We couldn’t have achieved this on own alone, it can ONLY be GOD!
15. Our central plank of governance has been anchored on the need to rapidly industrialize this State and remove the toga of a purely civil service State. Today, due to the benevolence of our ONLY GOD, we have been able to attract over 17 fully functional industries to our dear State, from the Metering Solutions Company, to the Syringes Manufacturing Company-the largest in Africa, to Flour Mill, the first if its kind in our part of the nation, the St. Gabriel Coconut Refinery, the Plywood and Timber Factory, among other industries, we have become the second State only after Lagos to have attracted the most Direct Foreign Investments, leading us to be named recently by BUDG IT as the third out of the four most viable States in the nation: Lagos, Rivers Kano in the fourth position. This is a great achievement for our people, and for this, we give our ONLY GOD the praise.
16. A nation that cannot feed her people has in my opinion, failed the critical test of the Social Contract, through our ONLY GOD; we have been able to raise our agricultural output to such a level that our staple food-garri and rice are readily available and at affordable cost. Last Sunday, former President Obasanjo was so enthralled with what he saw when he visited our Greenhouse facility along Airport Road that commended our efforts towards food sufficiency. It could have been through our ONLY GOD!
17. Our health facilities, have been remodelled and equipped with some of the most modern facilities-General Hospitals that were long abandoned and made abodes of rodents, reptiles and snakes have been transformed and digitalized-from Ituk Mbang, to Ikot Okoro, Etinan, Iquita, among others, speak to our determination to have a healthy population that will drive our industrialization agenda..
18. Industrialization thrives on steady and reliable power sector. Today, most parts of our State enjoy an average of 18-22 hours of uninterrupted electricity. Last September, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo graciously helped us launch our “Power for All by 2021”” initiative. We are determined to achieve this laudable goal and with our ONLY GOD as the invisible hand, we will get there.
19. Across the State, from the sandy shores of Ibeno, to the beautiful landscape of the Raffia City of Ikot Ekpene or the undulating rice fields in Ini to the beautifully manicured world class boulevards of Uyo, our people are bing enveloped in dispositions that are sunny and hopeful – hopeful for a better future, they are galvanized to believe that all they need to succeed is embedded in them; they are optimistic in the endless possibilities that tomorrow will bring. It could only have been through the instrumentality of our ONLY GOD.
20. And so my dear compatriots, as we sing praises to the Lord, as we magnify His name , let us rededicate ourselves to living in peace with one another, let us be constantly reminded that the Akwa Ibom spirit is deep and enduring. Let the joy of this season cement even deeper the bonds of our brotherhood. It is well with our dear State, it is well with our dear Nation, it is well with us all! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! ONLY GOD!