Gentlemen of the Press
Ladies and Gentlemen.
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
It is my honour and pleasure to call all of you today for purposes of interaction and finding solutions to a number of questions bothering Akwa Ibom State and its people. The questions are legion and together we have elected to be the answers to these questions.
As you are aware, Nigeria has stabilized its democratic experience and practice; having experienced and practiced it for 19 uninterrupted years. Over the years, Akwa Ibom State has been a part of the democratic story of Nigeria. As at now, it has produced 3 governors, namely; Arc (Obong) Victor Attah (1999-2007), Senator (Obong) Godswill Obot Akpabio (2007-2015) and Deacon Udom Emmanuel (2015-2019).
With regards to the latter, in 2019 he would be through with his tenure of office. To the glory of God, Akwa Ibom State has internalized the concept of rotation of governorship among 3 Senatorial Districts of Uyo, Ikot Ekpene and Eket. So far, a Local Government Area in a Senatorial District that has produced a Governor has had the privilege of two tenures of eight years spread across first and second terms of four years each. These are structured to be embodied in one person, if the holder of the office engages in superlative performance or another person from the same Local Government to take over and complete the tenure, where the current holder is incompetent as it is the case of Onna Local Government Area.
Following from the above, it is a fact that Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area that produced His Excellency, Arc (Obong) Victor Attah, had the exclusive privilege of completing eight years for Uyo Senatorial District; same with Essien Udim Local Government Area that produced His Excellency, Senator (Obong) Godswill Akpabio, for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District. Today the governorship of Akwa Ibom State is currently domiciled in Onna Local Government Area for Eket Senatorial District. Therefore, Onna Local Government should have the privilege on the platform of the APC to produce the next Governor to complete the last four years (2019 – 2023) for Eket Senatorial District since the PDP has failed woefully.
STATE OF DEVELOPMENT IN THE FOURTH REPUBLIC IN AKWA IBOM STATE AND THE IMPERATIVE OF PARADIGM SHIFT
The Fourth Republic began in Akwa Ibom State on May 29, 1999 when His Excellency, Arc (Obong) Victor Attah was sworn in as the governor. Under Obong Victor Attah, the foundation of the future of the state was ably laid. His testimonials would include mega investments and projects such as the Airport, Ibom Power Plant, University Of Technology, Five Star Hotel, Etc. Politically, he formalized the rotation principles of governorship among the three senatorial districts by handing over power to his successor from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District.
His able successor, His Excellency, Senator (Obong) Godswill Akpabio raised the bar of development of the state and his heritage includes several kilometers of dualized highways across the state, flyovers, expansion of opportunities in tertiary education, e-Library, the stadium project, the turning of the blueprint of the airport project into reality, resourcefulness in tourism potentials of the state (Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Four-Point Sheraton Hotel), huge human capacity building, massive infrastructural development and improved welfare packages to the civil service including AKPABIOMBA, to mention but a few. Politically, he sustained the rotation principles of governorship of the state by graciously choosing Onna Local Government Area to produce the Governor for Eket Senatorial District.
Regrettably, instead of the present government sustaining the tempo of development of the past administrations in the state, it rather engages in infantile and spurious projects. The list will include low performance of establishing toothpick, syringe and pencil workshops; tomato gardens (along Airport Road), claims of establishing a coconut plantation that is curiously called St. Gabriel coconut farm; unidentified rice processing unit In Ini Local Government Area; ill treatment of teachers; civil servants and pensioners; staggered and haphazard roads construction; fake Armored Car Assembly Plant In Itu, false claims of re-activation of peacock paint factory (now overgrown with weeds); numerous false claims and uncountable but malicious ground breaking projects that are only heard on radio and or media. These call for an urgent shift in the direction of governance of the state. Indeed, the cacophonies of deceit in governance, clueless nature of the PDP administration in the state and sheer ignorance of positive ideas to promote and propel prosperity in an environment full of potentials for development should be of concern to the people of Akwa Ibom State.
On a very fundamental note, Akwa Ibom State is in opposition in PDP whereas the central government is APC. This poses a huge setback on national integration and constructive engagement in the state. It should be noted that when PDP governed both the state and the central government between 1999 and 2015, both the Attah and Akpabio administrations were able to synergize with the central government with ease to push the frontiers of development of the state. A typical example is the Airport Project. Although the project is in the exclusive list in the constitution of Nigeria, sameness of political party in both the federal and the state made the then administrations to realize the dreams Of International Airport and Ibom Power Plant Projects.
The Akpabio administration leveraged on the PDP structure at the Federal level to launch its uncommon transformation. With the PDP platform in Akwa Ibom State and the APC platform at the Federal level, there is nothing in logic or historical experience to assume that Akwa Ibom State will move even beyond average possibilities. For reasons of statesmanship and being quite insightful, the political leader of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has correctly read the barometer of national politics and has come to the ultimate conclusion that it is in the best interest of the state to engage in paradigm shift and quickly embrace the APC platform for the development of the state.
WHY PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI?
His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari has come to re-jig the Nigerian political economy in order to establish social discipline, financial discipline, and accountability and transparency. He has redeemed the image of Nigeria among committee of nations and now renewed the confidence of the global community in Nigeria as well established confidence in his democratic leadership of the country. He is the most credible and the best thing to happen to Nigeria at this critical time. He needs to be supported to complete his second term of four years so that from 2023 a Southerner will take a shot at the presidency. Any other new person will want to make an argument for another 8 years and that will be against the enduring peace between the Northern and Southern Nigeria. Therefore, the whole of the South-South, The South-East, and The South-West should come together to return Mr. President for his constitutional final term.
Against the above background, I, Archbishop Samuel Friday Akpan, have offered myself as the instrument for the realization of the new agenda for Akwa Ibom State on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC). The new agenda also embodies the fact that Onna Local Government Area in Eket Senatorial District should be given the opportunity to govern the state for another final four years.
SUMMARY OF MY BLUEPRINT FOR DEVELOPMENT OF AKWA IBOM STATE
I shall use the office of the governor of Akwa Ibom State to bring about peace, harmony of interests, deepened democratic ideals, create wealth and enhance opportunities for the people in the following ways:
GENERAL ADMINISTRATION AND WELFARE OF WORKERS
I shall be obligated to the welfare of the civil servants and teachers in the state under my leadership. These categories of government workers shall be entitled to prompt payment of salaries and allowances, gratuities, pensions and promotion as at when due.
To engage in giant strides in the development of the state, we shall strive to cut the cost of governance and plug all areas of wastage.
I shall deepen the principles of rotation of political offices which are now the accepted heritage of the state and its people. To this extent, I shall serve for four years only, 2019 – 2023, in order to complete the 8 year period that the state has graciously granted Onna Local Government Area.
As a rule, I shall ensure that the governorship position rotates to Uyo Senatorial District after my tenure in 2023.
I shall push the frontiers of health care system to reach all families in Akwa Ibom State. This implies the development and upgrading of primary, secondary and tertiary health care system in the state. The health policy shall be anchored on the need to postpone unnecessary deaths and increase lifespan.
In the educational system, I shall engage in free and functional education in the state. I shall inspire all local government areas in the state to establish Monotechnics/Academies for the teeming youth of the state who are yearning for opportunities to upgrade their skills and improve their careers.
I shall expand the opportunities of university education by establishing a Campus of Akwa Ibom State University in Uyo Senatorial District. Already, Eket and Ikot Ekpene Senatorial Districts have had Campuses of the State University In Ikot Akpaden (Eket) and Obio Akpa (Ikot Ekpene).
In the area of technical education, I shall establish in each federal constituency of the state a technical school.
To take care of the products of the technical schools in the area of furtherance of careers, I shall establish two Polytechnics at Ikot Ada Idem in Uyo Senatorial District, where the World Bank Assisted Technical School had existed and Afaha Eket Government Secondary School, which was built to become a Campus of The University Of Calabar, Calabar. Already, Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District has a state Polytechnic at Ikot Osurua.
I shall open an international world market by the Atlantic Ocean to boost global trade in the Gulf Of Guinea. Furthermore, I will improve the market conditions and welfare of traders in Akwa Ibom State.
I shall inspire the people of Akwa Ibom State through low-interest loans to own agricultural plantations and commercial farms. These shall include banana plantations, plantain plantations, cocoa plantations, coconut plantations, papaya plantations, oil palm plantations, raffia plantations, rubber plantations and Indian bamboo plantations. Other areas shall include rice farming, cocoyam farming, cassava farming, poultry farming, piggery, goat rearing, etc.
I shall equally inspire the people of Akwa Ibom State to own and operate standard dairy farms/ranches in order to produce quality meats and dairy products for the citizens of Nigeria.
I shall encourage commercial fish farming and prawns/shrimps farming for export. To this extent, we shall give enough financial aids to the people to purchase modern fish/shrimp/prawn facilities. We shall also engage in deep sea industrial fishing.
In the industrial sector, we shall engage the state in Agro-Allied industries arising from our local raw materials. To promote industrialization of the state, we shall establish Industrial Parks in strategic locations.
We shall encourage robust services Industry to thrive in the state.
We will develop a dependable tourism road map that shall include the entertainment industry.
As a state where oil and gas was first discovered in Ikot Akata in 1953, I shall inspire investors of the state to invest in the oil and gas business as major players. In addition, we shall create oil and gas parks that will facilitate the development of tank farms, refineries and other associated business in the industry.
Under my leadership of the state, I shall aggressively open up the maritime sector that will enhance ports, jetties and the safety of sea farers.
I shall endeavor to construct selected dualized highways in the state.
I shall seek to upgrade the facilities of the Akwa Ibom Airport and establish International cargo freight in the state.
I shall open up the water transportation sector and bring the benefits thereof to boost the economy of Akwa Ibom State.
I shall liaise with the Federal Government to do the interface and the inter-modality of rail system to the seaport, airport and industrial locations. This is why the state needs to engage the Federal Government on the platform of the APC.
Under my administration, the focus of security will be human security where we shall strive to train and retrain our youth and provide them with boundless employment opportunities and facilities for the development of their skills and careers.
In terms of physical security, we shall work with all military and paramilitary services, and particularly the police to secure lives and property. These would entail provision of transportational, communicational and technologically-support system to enhance the overall security of the state.
We will develop a state security consciousness with the architecture that will sustain the wellbeing and the welfare of the people and their properties.
JUSTICE FOR OIL-BEARING COMMUNITIES
I shall establish Oil Wealth Fund to develop communities that are players in the oil wealth of the state. To this extent, a percentage of the oil revenue per month shall be deposited in the Fund for this purpose.
We shall establish oil museum in Ikot Akata in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area to preserve the historical heritage of the oil industry in Nigeria for posterity.
Under my leadership of the state, I shall encourage the Local Government System to serve the immediate needs of rural dwellers. To this extent, developmental strive shall be community-driven from the grassroots; bottom-to-top approach.
I shall strive to complete strategic projects that I will inherit from the past administrations of the state. These shall include, but not limited to, uyo – Ikot Ekpene road, 4-Point Sheraton Hotel, Uyo – Oron Road, Uyo –Etinan – Ndoneyo Road, Etinan – Eket Road, and Eket urbanization, Ibaka deep sea port and the Science Park In Uyo.
COVENANT AND DECLARATION
I, Archbishop Samuel Friday Akpan, have today humbly presented myself to you for the office of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State and I hereby have the honour to enter into a covenant and contract with you regarding the development of our dear state and its people and solemnly declare that this document captures the irreducible minimum vision of my mission for you.
My dear people of Akwa Ibom State, your hundreds of billions of naira, for four years of my serving you as Governor, will be spent judiciously to achieve the set goals. As you have collectively decided today to trust in my leadership of the state, count me in because I count on you. I hereby declare to contest for the office of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State in 2019. So help me God, Amen.
Gentlemen of the Press