Dawn of a new era

The First Inaugural Address

It is with utmost gratitude to God and immeasurable joy that I stand before you today as your Executive Governor. On behalf of my wife, your first lady; my entire family, my deputy and his dear wife, I thank you, my people, for voting en masse for PDP in the general elections of April 2007. I salute your maturity, courage and peaceful disposition during and after the elections. I salute you for reposing your confidence in me right from the primaries of December 14, 2006 and bringing it to a climax on April 14, 2007. I assure you that your decision shall never be in vain. Today, we celebrate our self-worth as a people and our ability to strengthen democratic ideals by voting according to our conscience. We have taken the right step in our march towards a glorious future.

Fellow citizens, this is a new era signifying a renewal and symbolising an end as well as a beginning. Above all, we are witnessing, not just the beginning of another chapter of history, but beholding the actualisation of God’s will in Akwa Ibom State. My beloved people of Akwa Ibom State, our mandate is a torch which shall illuminate the path of development, empowerment, education, social justice and infrastructural renaissance. As the 35th American President, J. F. Kennedy asserted, “the glow from that fire will truly light the world.”

In our election, you buried tribalism and ethnic sentiments. You spoke with one voice from the sea shore of Mbo to the fertile soil of Ini Local Government Areas. Our detractors thought that we would continue to remain an “atomistic society perpetually at war with itself.” But you proved them wrong. Never again shall critics insult us with such condescending acronyms. In the said elections, Akwa Ibom witnessed unprecedented unanimity in political decision-making. From the youths, the elders, the traditional fathers to our sons and daughters in Nigeria and in the Diaspora, you spoke with one voice, “LET GOD”S WILL BE DONE”. Let me assure you that God’s will is truly done in Akwa Ibom State and the benefits shall be good governance and economic prosperity.

Please permit me to use this medium to sincerely thank our out-going president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR (the father of modern Nigeria) for promoting democracy in Africa. It was Mr. President who handed over power to a democratically elected civilian administration in 1979. By providence, he has also midwifed the first successful civilian-to-civilian democratic transition in Nigeria. Akwa Ibom shall always remember him for standing by the people’s mandate and appointing our amiable son, Obong Ufot Ekaette, Secretary to Government of the Federation, a position he has successfully held for eight years.

To my predecessor Arc (Obong) Victor Attah, Akwa Ibom applauds you for laying a solid foundation for future development, complete all the on-going projects and initiate new ones for the benefits of our people. Let me thank the PDP upon which platform I and my deputy were elected. We are committed to implementing the party programmes and manifesto in line with the needs of our people. We shall put in place an administration that will foster unity, love, engender prosperity and harmonious co-existence. We shall work in harmony to promote the socio-economic well-being of the Niger Delta. We shall be totally loyal and supportive of our incoming President, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, a man of integrity. We thank him for promoting a son of the South-South to the enviable position of Vice President of Nigeria. Governor Goodluck Jonathan will make us proud as a loyal and humble Vice President of Nigeria.

Fellow citizens of Akwa Ibom State, we shall work to reposition our people as the 4th largest tribe in Nigeria. We can only succeed in doing this if we minimize infighting within the leadership which gave birth to the so-called “Abuja Front”, Lagos Front, Home Fronts, etc. We must allow old things to pass away and sustain ONLY AKWA IBOM FRONT in dealing with one another. Needless to remind us that those fronts robbed the State of millions of naira and weakened our ability to bargain at the national level for more dividends of democracy. NEVER AGAIN shall we allow such factionalisation with its attendant negative effects. In this wise, I extend a hand of fellowship to all candidates who contested the last governorship election with us. Please join us in the challenging task of creating wealth and improving the lot of our people.

In conclusion, let me reaffirm my mission statement and place on record our determination to “steer the Akwa Ibom ship from where His Excellency, Arc (Obong) Victor Attah, anchors, to its final destination that our indigenes burst forth from the shackles of tribalism, subservience, pettiness, blackmail, character-assassination, inferiority complex, poverty, to a fulfilled, peaceful, virile and united Akwa Ibom State”. My dear Akwa Ibom People; lovers and well-wishers of Akwa Ibom State, Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio and his deputy reporting for duty!