It was Sir Winston Churchill who uttered these famous words, “The price of greatness is responsibility”.
On Tuesday the 21st of October, 2014 as I, Udom Emmanuel stood on that rostrum and surveyed the see of heads that came to hear me declare my intention to contest for the Governorship election of Akwa Ibom State 2015, I was humbled. I suddenly felt a great sense of responsibility over each and every person gathered and I thought to myself, from here on there is no going back with this divine mandate.
This great number of people did not gather there for a carnival, they were there for me because they see in me their hope, their dreams, their vision and their collective destinies, all melted into this one momentous declaration.
Dear friends, your massive presence had such an impact on me, it hit me that this was one declaration I will never see again in my lifetime. I felt weight of history on my shoulders and I am compelled to remember the famous words of Sir Winston Churchill; on the Greatness and Responsibility.
My dear friends, patriots and fellow supporters, becoming your Governor is a price I am willing to pay and the great weight of responsibility that comes with it, I am willing to bear. For your sake my fellow patriots, I am willing to pay that price. Let me be your price and you be my value; and I make this solemn pledge to you, I promise to increase your value and my value in the eyes of Nigeria, Africa and the world.
That is my promise to you, hold on to it. God has been with me on this great adventure and he will be with me to the very end. He did not fail me yesterday, He has not failed me today and He will not fail me tomorrow, when He anoints me as your next Governor in 2015.
Words fail me as I pen down my gratitude to all of you on the unprecedented outpouring of support the world witnessed on that day. Let me thank all who came and stood under the hot scorching sun to hear me declare my intention. That crowd has been recorded as one of the biggest crowds Uyo Township Stadium had ever witnessed. A big thank you, to you all.
I must first of all express my profound gratitude to God through whom all blessings flow. It is God who has given me the Grace and the courage to contest the soon coming election. My whole being is humbled before His Presence and I prostrate and worship Him in gratitude.
Let me start by saluting and expressing my gratitude to the great leader of our nation and party. A man whose quiet, visionary and pragmatic approach to Nigeria’s development has made him the greatest patriot of our time; Dr Goodluck Azikiwe Ebele Jonathan (GCFR). His deep love for our great nation has built in our time, the first credible economic infrastructure for sustainable development in sub Saharan Africa.
A great leader must have a great political organization. For over sixteen years the People’s Democratic Party have demonstrated that when a people have a passion and are committed to sustaining the fundamental principles towards democratic ideas, the African continent can succeed in its quest to bring the dividends of democracy, good governance and sustainable development to the grassroot, wherein the Peoples’ Commonwealth reside. Therefore my gratitude goes to the Chairman of our great political party, Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu, whose firm and reconciliatory style of leadership has consolidated the fortunes of our great party for another record fifth Presidential victory come 2015. I extend the same gratitude to all members of the PDP’s Central Working Committee for the great unity shown.
I will not fail to mention, my mentor, my boss and my teacher. A man whose patriotic visionary audacity and passion towards total development has caught the attention of the whole world. Your Excellency, Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio (CON), let me thank you for the trust and faith you had in me and my colleagues in the State Executive Council. You demonstrated this by permitting us to contest the primaries and gubernatorial elections. Thank you for your political magnanimity.
Special mention and thanks has to go to Her Excellency, Mrs. Ekaette Unoma Akpabio, whose unwavering support buoyed the women of the State to come out in their thousands to stand by me on that day.
My sincere thanks also goes to our former Governor, father and foremost elder statesman, His Excellency Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, the chairman of the occasion, for his guidance and wise counsel. Also are members of the rally declaration committee who worked tirelessly to ensure the event was both grand and hitch free. My sincere thanks goes to the chairman, Sir Monday Ebong Uko, Secretary Hon. Enobong Uwah and other members of the committee.
It will be impossible not to mention the engine room that fitted the different component parts of this great and memorable occasion; Akwa Ibom Consolidation Alliance (ACA) and its over 600 affiliate groups. Going into every ward, every community, every clan and villages to gather my supporters must have been a most daunting task that needed weeks of meticulous planning and the evidence was the deluge of people that poured into the stadium and strained its capacity to breaking point. Every banner, every t-shirt and all the flyers on the day were produced and distributed by ACA, not to talk of the logistical challenges and the massive vehicular mobilization across the thirty one local government areas to Uyo. I am therefore most grateful to the BOT Chairman of ACA, Sir Emem Akpabio, International President, Pastor Andrew Uwanta and other members of it executive council.
I will not fail to mention and thank the political class, both past and present, members of the State and Federal Legislature, led by the Speaker Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Hon Sam Ikon, my colleagues in the State Executive Council, Student groups, the business community and Captains of industries, various political groups outside the state that were present especially Transformation Alliance for Nigeria (TAN).
Special thanks go to the hundreds of political groups inside the state that attended. I thank my fellow contestants in this great political race who watched the event and commended me afterwards; friends and family who travelled far and wide to be with me on that day, various heads of our traditional institutions who were present. Special mention has to be made of our Elders whose presence gave the event the blessing of age, wisdom and experience. I am therefore grateful to Sen. Ibokessien, Sen. Anietie Okon and Hon Nduese Essien and other Elders who were with me at the event.
I am equally grateful to members of the diaspora and by extension Akwa Ibom indigenes and Nigerians who followed the proceedings on live TV. I cannot leave out the security Agencies, the press, the drivers and the technical crew. Thank you all for your support.
Finally, let me thank someone very special. The one who is the first to see me rise every morning and the last to see me go to bed. To my dear and loving wife Martha, thank you for standing by me and coming on this journey with me. I am aware that there are many who are not convinced of my intention and my expertise to govern Akwa Ibom State. I want to employ this medium to let them hear my patriotic call.
My passion and faith in humanity and government have compelled my steps in this great political project. The economic map of the world is changing and the fortunes of our people will change with it. Akwa Ibom State at this moment in her history needs a leader in the mould of the Biblical Joseph, a leader who has a vision of the economic times ahead, a man who has been prepared for such a time as this, with the empathy, the expertise and the experience to bring in investors and to revolutionize the industrial map of the Gulf of Guinea and transition Akwa Ibom from a fossil fuel dependent economy to the first burgeoning industrial economy in sub-Saharan Africa.
With over twenty-five years on the highest financial corporate boards, approving, funding and reviewing multi-billion dollar investments in Nigeria, I am that man; I am that leader that will turn our economy around. I give you all, this solemn promise; that I, Udom Emmanuel will not fail you or generations after you. The future is ours. Come and join me and let us change history together and in the process let me give you, the good people of Akwa Ibom State, the government you truly deserve.
Thank you, May God Bless You and May God Bless Akwa Abasi Ibom State.
Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel.