Twenty Five Years After, We Have Reasons to Thank God ...Akpabio, As Akwa Ibom Celebrates Silver Jubilee
23 Sep 2012
Text of State Broadcast by Akwa Ibom State Executive Governor, His Excellency Chief (Dr.) Godswill Akpabio, CON on the occassion of Akwa State Silver Jubilee on Sept 23, 2012.
My dear people of Akwa Ibom State, today marks the 25th anniversary since our dear state was created by the administration of ex millitary President, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, precisely on the 23rd day of September 1987. On that eventful day wild jubilations from our kit and kin across the entire globe heralded the announcement of the new states of Katsina and Akwa Ibom.
Before Nigeria attained independence on October 1, 1960 our fore fathers were the first set of citizens to clamour for state creation under the auspices of the CORE state movement. That movement comprised the good people of Calabar, ogoja and Rivers divisions. When states were eventually created in 1967 ours was not included. But as proof that faith is eternal and dreams imperishable, 25 years ago and 27 years after Nigeria's independence, God made manifest the dreams of our forefathers. The news of the creation of Akwa Ibom State came like the joy of childbirth to all Akwa Ibom people at home and in the diaspora. From one end of the state to the other, joy spread like a carnival. We have come a long way from that momentous day, we have crossed many bridges and many rivers. But today, my dear people, I urge you never to forget that magic moment, that historic moment when we stood together as a people, united in joy and hapiness.
We must never allow our differences to divide us. We must remain united in the pursuit of development and a better life for our children and future generations. It is fitting that this particular occasion is coming at a time when our state has become the cynosure of all eyes in our country. It is coming at a time when you can proudly declare anywhere in our dear country or outside that you come from Akwa Ibom and you will be respected. It is coming at a time when we are indeed living the dreams of our forefathers. This Silver Jubilee Celebration is therefore a time to look back and thank every person who contributed to the success story that sums up the Akwa Ibom of today. It is a time to pay tribute to our founding fathers who had the vision for state creation. it is time for us to appreciate our past leaders for their contributions to the development of our dear state. Let us also appreciate our traditional institutions, the public and private sectors and indeed all Akwa Ibom people who have laboured to make our dear state what it is today. this is also a time for stock taking.
Five years ago I made a proposition to the good people of Akwa Ibom State that it was possible for God's will to be done in God's own state, you accepted that proposition and gave me the mandate to be your Governor with very bold and ambitious vision. I am happy to report to you on this Silver Jubilee Day that what we have achieved in the last five years has made this celebration a milestone in our journey to greatness. My dear people, the last five years could best be described as the icing on the cake of our Silver Jubilee, we have consolidated on the dreams of our forefathers. Of course, this is to the glory of our God. Our joy justifiably overflows as achievements for our people stand in shining splendour. Our free and compulsory education policy has already received global commendations and has become a benchmark in visionary leadership. We have used the programme to give hope to the hopeless in our society. As part of activities marking this epochal anniversary, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Arc. Nnamadi Sambo, GCON yesterday commissioned the ultra modern Accountant General's Office at the idongesit Nkanga Secretariat and fifteen sub treasury headquarters located in fifteen local government areas of our dear state. The Vice President also commissioned the fourth flyover bridge along the third ring road located on the Uyo-Abak Road by Federal Secretariat. He commissioned also the second underground pipe jacking drainage system located at Abak and the Ikot Ekpene City Centre plaza.
These projects were by no means all that we could have commissioned, but they were all the Vice President had time to commission in his short trip. Other projects like the 20th Anniversary Hospital, the world class tertiary health Institution are at advanced stages of completion, so also is the Tropicana Entertainment Complex, which hotel facility under construction is right now on the fourteenth floor and the cineplex is already a star attraction receiving not less than 2,000 visitors a day in the city of Uyo. The new Governor's Office has also been completed and this within a record one year, and of course is also ready for commissioning. While work on the eight lane road which we term 'The Ring Road 3' is at advanced stage of completion, work is also on-going at the 35,000 capacity olympic size stadium located in Uyo. At Ibom International Airport, the new International Terminal bulding, the runway, and hangers for private jets are under construction. Work is also on-going in the construction of the Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul facility at that airport.
Let me also report that since our last anniversary celebrations we have since commissioned numerous projects some of which includes the dualised Aka-Nung Udoe/Ibeskpo Road, complete with street lights and also has one of the largest roundabouts in Nigeria. we have commissioned the Ikot Ekpene Prisons and correctional facility, we have commissioned the state-of-the-art banquet hall located within the precincts of government house. We have commissioned the first Afrcan e-Library with about five different floors located in Uyo and we also commissioned over 717 rural projects spread across Akwa Ibom State. We are also glad to report that we have achieved over 87% of coverage in electricity in the State, linking more than 1,500 communities to the national grid, thus surpasing both the national average of about 20% and the African record of about 10% in electricity coverage. Our programme in the agricultural sector is also legendary. and designed to ensure food sufficiency as well as empower our people. There is the Accelerated Livestock and Fish Programme. We have also trained and empowered thousands of our youths to engage in agriculture through the Integrated Farmer's Scheme. There is also the Women Agricultural Development and Entrepreneaural Programme which we call WADEP where thousands of our women are trained in commercial agriculture and empowered with interest free loans of about N250,000 each to purchase seedlings.
We have tackled housing problems in the state aggressively, and our aim as a government is to complete the construction of at least 10,000 modern and affordable houses for our people and these we hope to achieve in the next few years. At the moment, 2,000 of these houses located at Uyo, Ikot Ekpene, and Eket will soon be commissioned for your use. Similarly, in partnership with our Local Government Councils 31 security estates have been completed with a total number of 310 houses. We have also built a brand new governor's office, of course that office is now ready for commissioning.
Twenty five years after, we have reasons to thank God. Our Schools are burstling with pupils and students, courtesy of our free and compulsory education programme. We boast of at least five brand new cottage hospitals and we have added these to the renovated and existing hospitals in the state. Our women, our children, and the aged are enjoying free medical services across the entire state. We have completed the Ibom Power Plant, we have dualised thoroughfares with street lights and well paved roads in our capital city, Uyo, while there are many on-going road projects in other local government areas across the state. We have created access to Akwa Ibom State through the completion of the first phase of Ibom International Airport. Our people also have access to tertiary education through the commencement of the Akwa Ibom State University located in Ikot Akpaden. In the same vein, we have encouraged tourism with the best golf course at LeMeridien Hotel and Golf Resort and built a brand new Governor's Lodge with many guest houses. We have also added a brand new Governor's office which I mentioned earlier. Many school blocks have been built, private sector driven gas processing plant located at Esit Eket will soon be commissioned. Improved legilation for good governance such as the abolition of child stigmatisation of children as witches and wizards by adults through the promulgation of the Child Rights and Protection Law, the Anti Kidnapping and Terrorism Law which prescribes severe punishments for offenders, improved labour relations with the best welfare package for our labour force in the country. More importantly, we have developed a much closer relationship with God Almighty in Akwa Ibom State through daily worships, inter-denominational services, pilgrimages and partnerships with religious organisations. Indeed, God in turn has turned our captivity into joy. A once pedestrian state has become a choice destination for national and international conferences. For these, I say congratulations to all Akwa Ibom people at twenty five. May this Silver Jubilee celebration usher into our dear State love, peace, and unity. I enjoin all our indigenes and residents alike to use this special moment to pray for the peace and security of our dear country, Nigeria. Once again, I congratulate all Akwa Ibom people on this silver jubilee celebration of the creation of our dear State. Thank you and God bless Akwa Ibom State.