Speech by His Excellency, Pastor Umo Eno on the occasion of his First Anniversary as Governor

Speech by His Excellency, Pastor Umo Eno on the occasion of his First Anniversary as Governor

My Fellow Akwaibomites,

1. My wife, Her Excellency, Pastor (Mrs.) Patience Umo Eno, and I share in the joy of this great day, which marks the First Anniversary of my inauguration as the Governor of this remarkable Land of Promise and Fulfillment.

2. Let me begin by congratulating our dear President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR for the manner he has steered the Ship of the Nigerian State in the last one year. We remain loyal and committed to supporting him as he goes into his Second Year in Office, same to our dear Son, the Senate President, Distinguished Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio, CON., the Number three citizen of Nigeria for his colloborations.

3. Let me again thank you my dear people and our stakeholders especially my Predecessor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, CON, his dear wife and our Campaigner-in-Chief, Dr.(Mrs.) Martha Udom Emmanuel, my dear wife, Pastor (Mrs.) Patience Umo Eno, founder and the initiator of the Golden Initiative for All (GIFA), my Deputy, Distinguished Senator Akon Eyakenyi, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon.Udeme Otong, her Lordship, Chief Justice Ekaette Obot, our Campaign Organization headed by Chief Assam Assam, SAN, the Chairman of our great Party, the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Elder Aniekan Akpan and other party faithful, the Maintain Peace Movement headed by Barrister Emmanuel Enoidem, SAN, our Fathers in Faith, Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), the Members of the Arise Blueprint Committee led by my Economic Adviser, Dr.(Mrs.) Uduakobong Inam and indeed all other stakeholders and groups too numerous to mention here for the support and prayers that led to the massive victory we recorded on the March 18, 2023 gubernatorial elections, that culminated in my inauguration exactly one year ago, today.

4. Permit me to specifically thank the Judiciary for being the last hope of the common man, and for affirming the overwhelming choice you our dear people made on the gubernatorial Election Day.

5. It has been one year of God’s grace, of our lifting when there seemed to have been a casting down, of giving us the enablements to execute all that we have done so far, within the resources available to us. We have, indeed as assured in Hebrew 4:15-16 “receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. To God alone be the glory.

6. Even though the journey is still long, but in twelve months, we have shown that we came ready, with a bold and impactful governance instrument: Our Blueprint for Economic Consolidation and Expansion (aptly called, the ARISE Agenda). This agenda envisions a vibrant, inclusive, diversified and highly industrialized economy with lifelong opportunities for the improvement of social welfare conditions and broadly-shared prosperity.

7. In the past one year, we have focused our attention on achieving the eight lofty goals of the Blueprint which are inextricably linked with the 17 Sustainable Goals of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Development. These goals are: Poverty Reduction, Job Creation, Price Stability, Sustainable Economic Growth, Improved Standard of Living, Environmental Sustainability, Highly Educated, healthy and skilled populace, Safety and Security. To achieve these lofty goals, we have intentionally deployed multi-sector strategies and actions that prioritize Agricultural Development, Tourism Development, Environmental Management, Women and Youth Empowerment, Infrastructural Maintenance, Security, and other social advancements.

8. In my Inaugural Speech last year, I had laid out in clear and unambiguous terms the predicates and direction of my administration. While celebrating our past leaders, and the inspirational leadership they had brought to bear, especially in the area of hard infrastructure I had stated that it was now time to focus on soft infrastructure especially in the rural areas. These were my exact words “ To those who may be struggling to put food on the table; to those who may have given up hope because of your current circumstance, hear me and hear me very well; I will be your champion”.

9. Today, one year after, and in line with the Arise Agenda’s emphasis on Rural Development we have deployed a host of social safety net initiatives or kitchen table issues that affect families- especially the poor and the most vulnerable groups in line with the poverty reduction goal of our Blueprint.

10. As we celebrate this great day, I make bold to say that our policy in this aspect has touched lives and helped bring governance closer to the people and in the process connect the dots of growth and development between the urban and rural communities.

11.a.​In the last one year, we have constructed access roads in the rural communities some of which until now were cut off completely from their contiguous communities


b. We have organized free medical outreaches that took care of the healthcare needs of thousands of people,

c.​We have embarked on the construction of modern two-bedroom houses under our Arise Compassionate Homes scheme for the poorest and the neediest, thirty-six of which have now been completed, and the first was handed over last week in Ibiono Ibom to the beneficiary, we hope to construct 400 units before the end of our First Term in Office.

d.​We have completed 236 two-bedroom units named “Grace Estate”, and I have just approved the balance of 264 bringing the total number to be constructed with the same facility to 500. 150 of these units are to be given free to civil servants from grade levels 1-8 through raffle draw

e.​We have commenced the payment of fifty thousand Naira monthly to our elders in all the 369 wards in the State, through our Arise Initiative for the Elderly, adopted from the pet project The Renewed Hope Initiative of Her Excellency, the First Lady of Nigeria, Distinguished Senator Oluremi Tinubu CON.

f.​Through our Arise Free Food Voucher/ Security program under the Bulk Purchase Agency, we have intervened in the food supply chain to stabilize the food and improve the access of the poor and vulnerable groups to basic food items. To date, 208,435 households have benefited from this initiative. We also contributed over five billion Naira to augment the palliatives rolled out by the Federal Government to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal.

g.​We have paid 18.2 billion Naira in gratuities to the retired State, civil servants, retired primary school teachers and retired local government workers as well as our conscious efforts to lift people from poverty through our AK-Cares initiative.

h.​We have given 500 thousand grant to each of the beneficiaries of Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme of the Ibom Leadership and Entrepreneurial Center- IBOM LED as well as the 100 Million Naira Educational Grant for students living with disabilities in tertiary institutions as well as the payment of bursary of 12,839 to students in 223 Public Tertiary Institutions

I​We have provided 2billion counterpart funds to the Bank of Industry (BOI) to enable our people borrow at low interest rates, to the 1.5 billion interest free loan given to our market women and other traders (500 million) to each of the three senatorial districts, to the 200 Million interest free loan given to the Arewa, Yoruba, Igbo and Niger Delta Communities in our State, we have kept our promise to meet the needs of the people at the grassroots levels and beyond.

12. Throughout the 31 Local Government Areas, the impact of the social safety nets we have provided, as is done in other societies, are being felt by our people. I am always deeply touched when I receive text messages from ordinary people expressing such joy for the impact we have made in their lives. I came from their stock, therefore, I feel and understand their pains. I know how it feels to go without the knowledge of where your next meal will come from.

That’s why I want our people to Arise and flourish through hard work and believe in themselves and the infinite possibilities God Almighty has endowed in us all.

13. But it is not only in areas of the provision of social safety nets or humanitarian interventions that we have been applauded and celebrated in the last 12 months. We have, to the best of the resources available, worked to fulfill the promises we made concerning the core areas of the Arise agenda. There is no local government in this state today, that has not felt the impact of our Government. Our One Project per Local Government is on course and again, the choice of projects to be located in those local government areas were products of consensus. It was not a decision taken by one person, everyone has a stake and an ownership in those projects. That has been our style and approach and we intend to keep it that way.

14. On this day of the First Anniversary of my inauguration, let me again; rededicate myself to serving you humanely and, of showing humility in power, because all powers belong to God, and you my people who hold the key to putting us in positions of power and authority. You are the reason why we are where we are today, and we must pay close attention to your needs within the range of the resources available to us. We have done so much in our first year that we cannot enumerate them all in this speech a full compilation of our achievements across all the focal areas are included in the publications by the Ministry of Information whose copy alongside QR Code that will be distributed to you in the course of this programme.

15. We have intervened in 39 FGPC road projects as well as 44 Driect Labour ones at various points of completion from the immediate past administration, and since government is a continuum, we have injected funds to complete those projects. Two days ago, my worthy Predecessor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, CON, helped commission the expanded Airport Road project, one of those finest in the nation. That beautiful gateway is today, named “Udom Emmanuel Boulevard” in recognition of his meritorious service to our people and our dear State.

16. We have, in line with our goal of ensuring safety and security of lives and property worked to maintain this status. For the first time in our State’s history, we created a full-fledged Ministry of Internal Security and Waterways dedicated to deepening our collaborations with the security agencies on land by sea and waterways.

17. To ensure our waters are made safe for both travelers and for our blue economy, we bought and donated to the Nigerian Navy, 14 gunboats and a few weeks ago, donated 20 Hilux trucks to help our security agencies patrol and police our neighborhoods and roads. We have made it clear that there will be no hiding place for criminal elements in our dear state. We created the Ibom Community Watch, a neighborhood watch service that will employ over 5 thousand of our people across the three senatorial districts.

18. In recognition of the critical role of the aviation sector in the growth and development of our State’s economy, we have kept our obligations to Ibom Air, our pride in the Nigerian aviation sector. Last month, we received and later took the inaugural flight on our brand new Airbus A200-300 series – the first of the ten of such aircrafts that will boost the fleet of the airline. We have injected funds into critical areas such as the International Terminal Building at the Victor Attah International Airport, with the view to having it ready for commencement of operations. We have constructed Parallel Taxiway Rapid Exits and Apron Extension at the airport, the 8.5km Airside Internal /Security Road at the airport among other interventions.

19. In my inaugural speech, I stated that as a Pastor, I will work to lower the temperature of partisan politics, and reconcile our people to see politics not as blood sport or a zero-sum game but a noble game of ideas and service. So far, everything we have done, has been to work together with our compatriots across party lines. Even though I was elected on the platform of the PDP, but I am a Governor for all Akwaibomites and that has been the way I have run this administration so far.

20. We are one people, united by our shared aspirations and hopes. Political parties are vehicles to win political offices, after which governance sets in. As I have always said, no single party or individual has the monopoly of wisdom, knowledge and power. We must work together across party lines and when the time for politics comes we play the game without bitterness.

21. I call on our leaders not to inflame the passion of our people to score fleeting political points. We should handle and manage our political differences without heating up the system. Even though we are bipartisan in our approach, no one should test our resolve in maintaining peace and order for which I placed my hands on the Bible and swore to protect.

22. It is pertinent to mention that, apart from being the flagship program of our administration, the ARISE Agenda represents my Social Contract with all Akwaibomites. We are totally committed to implementing this Agenda as it is poised to create life-long opportunities in our state economy and improve the living conditions of our people.

23. Government cannot do this alone. That’s why we’re leveraging on existing partnerships with the private sector and forging new collaborations with a broad range of stakeholders to achieve our eight lofty goals. We remain unequivocally committed to creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. We have attracted investments with massive income and employment potentials. So far we’ve been intentional about creating jobs. For instance, approximately 4000 persons were employed in the projects we’ve implemented across sectors in the last one year. We will continue to partner with the private sector to create decent jobs for our people because we recognize that job creation is an imperative for poverty reduction.

24. As earlier stated, we intervened in the food supply chain to stabilize prices of staple foods and improve the access of the poor and vulnerable groups to basic food items. To date, 208,435 households have benefited from our Free Voucher Food programme.

25. With the steady provision of diverse security infrastructure in the last one year, we have ensured the safety of lives and property in the state. Indeed, we make bold to say that, in our First Year in Office, we have literally ticked all our eight lofty goals.

My dear Akwaibomites, we have done all these by the help of the Almighty God and we are willing to do more.

26 . Let me at this point extend my heartfelt gratitude to my dear wife, Pastor (Mrs.) Patience Umo Eno for initiating the Golden Era For All (GIFA) which is a perfect complement to our Arise Agenda. By employing SMART multi-pronged empowerment schemes through the eight thematic areas, GIFA is poised to enhance the wellbeing of families and vulnerable groups in our state.

27. Let me say that what we have achieved together in the last one year gives us hope for what is going to happen in the next three years and beyond. As I begin my Second Year in office, I am fully committed to implementing our 2024 Budget, which was duly passed by the State House of Assembly and signed into law by me. Christened the “Arise Budget for Growth and Expansion”, the 2024 Budget is completely linked to my Blueprint and is focused on delivering a variety of people-centric projects.

28. In our Second Year in office, we plan by the Grace of the Almighty God and the support of all people both at home and the diaspora to increase the tempo of governance in the coming years, will be focusing on implementing projects in line with the five pillars of the ARISE agenda. In Agriculture, we will complete the Ibom Model Farm and Resort, in partnership with the Songhai Farms of Porto Novo, we will significantly increase food production and price stability of our staple foods among others. We plan to link up existing infrastructure to a full value chain and consolidate on existing policies and programmes.

29. Rural Development will continue to be well funded. I have approved the next 31 projects in continuation of the one Local Government one project initiative to commence immediately. The next set of LGA/Ward projects will be executed and completed; as well as the next set of ARISE compassionate homes. We will continue to construct more strategic rural roads to give access to agricultural produce. Improve the living conditions of our people via the provision of potable water, reconstruction of primary and secondary schools, and primary healthcare centers.

30. In the area of Infrastructure, we will undertake the construction of:

• ARISE Shopping City, Uyo around Etoi before Ring Road 3, to be built like an outlet mall where certified licensees of global brands will be attracted to operate

• Government will be active in the commercial property market in both in Lagos and Abuja respectively by converting our existing strategic facilities in those cities into commercial use for the benefit of our people. These planned investments in infrastructure will bring huge returns to our State and signpost our determination to play big in the thriving real estate business in those two major cities

• AKBC Corporate Headquarters and studios (drawings are ready, contract award soon to be announced) and eventual placement on DSTV.

• Medium Density Housing Estate at Ewet Housing (modern-styled uniform-duplexes to be built and sold to the upwardly mobile professionals who desire decent and modern living

• Industrial Park to come alive with activation of different industries and provision of basic amenities

31. In our Security Maintenance, we will activate our Command and Control Center, complete with an emergency response system and telephone numbers, donate more operational vehicles and equipment to our security agencies, and make our State unwelcome to criminal elements. We will overhaul and resuscitate the State Fire Service, improve the operations of Ibom Community Watch through the Ministry of Internal Security and Waterways.

32. In Education, we will continue to undertake the construction of more model schools, implement students exchange programme to London, consolidate the Dakkada Skills Acquisition Centre among others.

33. We will support medical tourism in the State by upgrading the Ibom Specialist Hospital and adding a Renal Centre on the corridor as promised in our campaign, as well as the Elderly people’s recreationary centre in fulfillment of our campaign promise.

34. We will commence work on Oron Beach to open up water transportation between our State and Calabar in Cross River State. We will also build International Markets in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area, as well as the construction of Local Government Chairman Lodges in all the 31 Local Government Areas

35.​We remain committed to our obligation with our flagship Airline Ibom Air. In July, we will receive the second A220-300 brand new Airbus to Ibom Air fleet. We will complete and put to use the Smart International Terminal Building Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) building and the Taxiway and we will build a complete Aviation ecosystem in Akwa Ibom State. Our State is ready for investors and we will continue to provide the enabling environment for business to thrive. We invite our diasporan citizens to partner with us in this effort. Our Industrial Park stands ready to lead in this drive.

36.​We will continue to prioritize the welfare of our Civil Servant. We have concluded plans to bring Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) in collaboration with Ibom Led to train our Civil Servant to scal up their human capacity development. The Head of Service is in charge of this. We have already provided 250 Computers for the ICT Center in Ibom- Led to conduct exam, interview and JAMB

37.​We will continue work at the Dakkada Luxury Estate as well as revisit knotty issues surrounding the Tropicana Hotel with the view to actualizing the vision of that hotel for the full benefit of the State

38. We came to serve our people and work hard to provide opportunities for our young people across board. We will continue to consult our Elders and use the best brain to achieve our vision of development. Let us be guided in the knowledge that life is dynamic and there are moments when change must occur which is a standard practice in most human activities. By the grace of God and your continuous support, we will continue to roll our sleeves and work for you. That’s why you elected us. I therefore, call on you to continue to support and pray for us as the bible enjoins us to do in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, “KJV I exhort therefore, that, first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for Kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

39.​Together let us all Arise and shine because our time and light has come.

40. Happy First Anniversary and God bless Akwa Ibom State, God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

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