Nseobong Okon-Ekong and Amos Etuk write that Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has presented his score card, while seeking support for a fresh mandate
It was a gathering of the believers in the Divine Mandate superior performance of Governor Udom Emmanue of Akwa Ibom State as he formally flagged off his campaigns for a second term, using the opportunity to present his manifesto to the people of the state.
Well heralded and attended by a mammoth crowd once again, the vent showcased and re-affirmed the strength of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state as various groups, chieftains and stakeholders of the party thronged the Uyo Township Stadium, venue of the programme as the governor laid the Completion Agenda for his second term in office.
Emmanuel arrived the venue to a rousing welcome amidst thunderous cheers by thousands of supporters and well-wishers who came out early and had taken over the venue in what political pundits predicted correctly would be another defining moment in the new direction of consolidation of the present administration.
A day before during the 2019 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration in the state, Emmanuel paid tribute to fallen heroes of the Nigerian Armed Forces with a great emphasis at the solemn occasion on their sacrifices as gallant soldiers with the spirit of patriotism that we may live as a people in peace and unity.
That occasion was also significant in the state as the perching of a pigeon on the stool of the governor during the symbolic release of pigeons to signify peace upon the land was viewed as divine signal approval of Emmanuel’s leadership and authority to the seat of power.
Bishop Emmanuel Kure who offered prayers at the campaign flag off described the day as the beginning of the victory song for the people of Akwa Ibom State. He declared that the next four years under Emmanuel will be the Season of Jubilee and the symbolic blowing of the horns was a clear signal to herald the new dawn of government on the shoulders of Emmanuel.
The Director General of the Divine Mandate Campaign, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga who set the tone for the array of goodwill messages in his remarks was emphatic on the choice of the people to support the PDP to victory once again as he urged party faithful to defend their votes.
‘’ We must stand firm with the PDP, protect our votes. We are witnessing an ambience of peace and prosperity in our dear state with the establishment of 15 industries which has guaranteed the future of our children,’ he said.
The Fathers of Faith led by Arch.Bishop Cletus Bassey re-affirmed the support of the Church behind Governor Udom Emmanuel, the youths led by Comrade Aniefiok Iwaudofia re-assured the governor that he has served as a model to the younger generation and with the future assured, there would be a basis for his re-election, while Senator Helen Esuene who spoke on behalf of the women said that as mothers, the peace upon the state in the present dispensation was a landmark phenomenal achievement which every home in the state has acknowledged.
For the people of Eket Senatorial District, they were proud to have produced a leader who has taken governance to a new phase of national and international focal destinations. In the words of Obong Obot Etokafia who spoke on behalf of the area, ‘’Emmanuel is a genius and we are proud to have produced an inspirational leader, a trademark of integrity.’.
Senator Bassey Albert Akpan who spoke on behalf of the people of Uyo Senatorial District re-affirmed the stand of his people to support Emmanuel for a second term and that the position of Uyo Senatorial District in 2023 would never be compromised.
‘’Emmanuel is the best choice and the people of Uyo Senatorial District stand with him. Your performance has been exemplary. We are a stronghold for your re-election and we will never compromise our stand for our interests in 2023,’’ Akpan re-assured the governor.
The National Legal Adviser of the PDP, Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem while speaking for the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District stated that there was no alternative to the re-election of the governor insisting that no selfish interests of any clique of individuals can sway the minds of the people of the area.
‘’ There is no alternative to your re-election. It is not possible for a candidate who couldn’t be deputy governor and complete his tenure to govern Akwa Ibom State. Their selfish interest has united them and they will fail,” Enoidem re-assured.
For the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, they have remained steadfast with the administration of Emmanuel. In the words of the Speaker of the State Legislature, Rt.Hon. Onofiok Luke who spoke quoting from the Bible, 2nd Chronicles 32 boldly stated that one with God is majority describing the governor as a leader with courage.
‘’ We are proud of your leadership. Do not be afraid, be courageous, the hand of God Almighty is with Governor Emmanuel, victory is assured,’ Luke stated.
For the state chairman of the PDP, Obong Paul Ekpo, the event was an opportunity to appreciate God’s blessings upon the party with development achieved under Emmanuel
‘’Today, the manifestation of God’s blessings is upon us all as a people. We are witnesses to the testimonies that abound within the party. We will never be intimidated, we will defend our votes. No man can play God with the people of Akwa Ibom State, Ekpo boldly stated.
The return of thousands of members back to the party including Rt. Hon.(Engr.) Ignatius Edet, a former Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly alongside the Chair of Chair of the Positive Change Movement of Senator Udoedehe with 5,000 supporters was a major milestone as they denounced the impunity and deceit in the All Progressive Congress (APC) with the dark days of violence and other social vices.
For Emmanuel, the candidate of the PDP for the March 2, 2019 governorship election, the presentation of his manifesto was a time to take stock and a re-affirmation of his commitment on the Completion Agenda.
‘’ We must rise to defend our future, we are not traitors, we are people of integrity and we must avoid the dark days of violence. Our manifesto is consolidating Akwa Ibom State to industrial excellence, he stated while laying out his visionary template for the future.
The manifesto of Emmanuel is re-assuring as it addresses and focuses on the consolidation of the strides of the administration in all sectors that will enhance a prosperous future for the people.
The Completion Agenda, as announced by Emmanuel seeks to sustain the set targets of full implementation of the five point agenda of his administration. It will involve the continued patronage for large-scale foreign investment and the development of micro, small and medium enterprises to boost entrepreneurship.
The Completion Agenda will focus on industrialization, aviation development, agricultural growth, security, human capacity development rural and riverine area development, maritime development as well as the consolidation on the industrial revolution in the state as the projected dependence on statutory allocations will reduce with an improved Internally Generated Revenue, above all, an enabling environment of peace for a thriving and prosperous future.
Part of the target of the industrialization sector will be the establishment of a Petroleum Refinery, a thermal plant, a Liquefied Natural Gas Plant, a steel plant and a fertilizer manufacturing plant before the end of this administration in 2023 and with the establishment of the Ibom Industrial City, a long term economic strategy has been laid to harness strategic investments in making Akwa Ibom State a preferred destination to investors.
Emmanuel assured the gathering that the Ibom Deep Sea Port will be completed and operational before 2023 just as much emphasis would be placed on the growth of small and medium enterprises with the resuscitation of various vocational schools converting them to full-fledged entrepreneurial schools that will serve as powerhouses for the economic policies of the SME’s. These projects will be spread evenly across the local governments in the state.
One of the greatest milestones of the industrialization policy of the Emmanuel administration is the aviation development sector with the remarkable achievements which include the construction of the second airport run way, upgrade of the airport main runway to Category Two and the construction of a new commercial building terminal at the Victor Attah International Airport and the biggest unique selling point in the aviation sector is the scheduled commencement of operations of the Ibom Air, a opening new windows of opportunities for economic growth.
The rural and riverine development is targeted at improving the standard of living of the people through sustained life touching projects, while security, a major template of the success story of the Emmanuel administration will continue to reveive priority attention.
The Emmanuel administration has clearly re-defined the path of the future of Akwa Ibom State and with the commitment to serve and re-write the economic story of the state and the acceptance of the people to keep faith with his administration till 2023, a new destination of leadership and economic thrust has positioned dynamic variables for the greater dawn that has been ushered.