Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel has called on citizens of the state not to let their guards down with regards the Covid-19 pandemic as they celebrate the festivities, advocating on the need to follow the simple but effective protocols aimed at curtailing the spread of the Covid- 19 virus.
The Governor who stated this on his Christmas broadcast to the state warned of the dangers such carelessness may bring forth especially in view of the mutation of a new variant, Omicron.
He warned that at a time the world thought we had turned a corner with this virus, the Omicron variant has returned the world to the starting point. He advised that since the variant has been discovered in Nigeria, it is incumbent upon us, to do all we can to curtail its spread.
“The simple protocols of social distancing, regular washing of hands with liquid soaps, the wearing of facemask, use of hand sanitizers etc. plus the robust healthcare facilities we have provided, had helped us a great deal in stemming the spread of this virus when it first appeared on our shores. We should remain committed to doing same with this new variant”.
“We do not intend to impose another round of lock- down. This will however, depend on how we obey the protocols. This is a serious matter and should be treated as such”, he declared.
The Governor stated that the through the season, we are once again enveloped in a mood of festivities, heralding the birth of the Prince of Peace and the Saviour of mankind, our Lord Jesus Christ. “This, therefore, is a season of peace, of goodwill, love and giving. This is a season where we should banish all ancient animosities and celebrate our oneness and unity, our development and the strides we are collectively making as a State and as a people. It is a season of joy and thankfulness to God for holding us together as a people and as a State, in spite of the economic difficulties brought about by the Covid -19 pandemic, which unfortunately has now mutated to the Delta and Omicron variants respectively”, he stated.
According to Governor Emmanuel, Christmas “is a season of hope, of our determination to continue to forge ahead and deliver on our campaign promises; to leave this State better than we met her, and to proclaim with certainty that the Akwa Ibom story will not be reversed, that the things which had hitherto defined us negatively as a State and as a people shall be permanently cancelled and erased, and it will be Forward Ever Backward Never!
He admonished that the season signifies peace and goodwill to mankind, and the peace Akwa Ibom State have enjoyed shall be permanent as any resort or attempts to reverse it and reintroduce the orgy of violence and security challenges that the State had earlier witnessed before now, will, and shall never return.
He warned that the Akwa Ibom story must and will continue to be told in enchanting colours and its trajectory of growth and development shall be Forward Ever Backward Never! “This motto of progress is what should ring through in our heads and hearts”, he admonished.
The Governor warned that anyone, who, for selfish political purposes, wants to reverse the prevailing peace in the state must be rejected as anyone who aims to grab power through the instrument of violence must be stopped and rejected.
” And let me even add, anyone who aims at getting power by using violence against his or her people, will end up ruling with violence. May the season of peace which Christmas represents, never see our State go through such politically-motivated years of violence again”.
He promised that his administration will continue to ensure that issues concerning education, agriculture, health care or the social infrastructure are given the prime attention they deserve.
Hear him, “We owe our children the responsibility of preparing them to be competitive in an information technology-driven world; we owe them the right education to make them future employers of labour, as opposed to being job seekers. The new world that is unfolding before us, is one where students learn and imbibe entrepreneurial spirit and skills, aimed at freeing them to explore the world and take a slice of it, through the marketable skills they have acquired”.
“We remain committed to ensuring that we produce, and at an affordable price, the staple food items for our people, through the robust investments we have made in agriculture. Our healthcare delivery service remains top in our agenda. We promised to remodel, construct and equip with modern amenities General Hospitals in all the Ten Federal Constituencies. We have successfully done nine; the last in Ikot Abasi is currently on-going”
Continuing he said, “We promised to provide Power for All by December 2021, which actually means the provision of electricity to the 2,274 gazetted villages that make up this State. As I speak, out of the 2,274 gazetted villages, only 265 villages yet to be connected to the national grid, that’s about 92 percent score in this regard. We hope to connect the remaining 265 villages to the national grid as soon as possible, thus meeting our target in this regard. This is a huge achievement that no State, and I repeat no State can match. This is absolutely the best in the nation and I stand to be corrected. We came to serve; to work diligently and quietly to improve the material and living standards of our people and nothing will distract us from achieving those set goals”.
He promised that the infrastructural Renaissance of his government is on the ascendance as even his worst critics will agree that the State is experiencing huge road and other infrastructural expansions. “We remain committed to finishing our turn-key projects. Our contractors are out there working at their designated sites, now that we have some respite from the rainy season, and I want to thank them for heeding my directive to remain at site even during this festive season”, he stated.
In a related development, Governor Udom Emmanuel has joined Christians in Akwa Ibom State to celebrate the 2021 Christmas with a renewed call for fervent prayers for peace in the various regions of Nigeria and appreciation of the peace enjoyed in the state.
The Governor was was speaking at the 2021 Christmas Day Service, at United Evangelical Church, Awa Iman in Onna, said for Nigeria to attain the needed stability and progress in 2022, peace was inevitable and such peace, he added, does not just come but by efforts and sacrifices of some people behind the scenes.
Elucidating on the significance of Christmas, Governor Emmanuel, likened Nigeria’s present situation to that of Judea before Christ came and prayed that the 2021 Christmas birth the needed help to reposition Nigeria in the coming 2022.
“Peace does not come by accident. Peace comes by prayers and the bible says we should pray for peace. That is why I always appreciate men of God who stand in the gap to pray for the peace of our land. Nigeria needs a lot of prayers, but my prayer is in accordance with the significance of Christmas. At a time Judah was in turmoil and the entire Israel in a state of confusion, Jesus was born and brought hope to mankind. So my prayer is as we are coming again into another political journey, may it be born to Nigeria, a child that will redeem and give peace to this country”, the governor said.
He cautioned Akwa Ibom people against taking the peace enjoyed in the state for granted, attributing the celebrated developmental feats in the state to its peaceful and accommodating ambience.
“I use this opportunity to thank the pastors and the entire Church for praying for me and the entire government. People take things for granted, I don’t do that. If you know what is going on in other places you’ll thank God for the peace we enjoy here”.