Akwa Ibom rounds off 36th anniversary with thanksgiving
*Eno commends founding fathers, vows to promote unity
As Akwa Ibom people celebrate 36 years of statehood, Governor Umo Eno has taken the lead to ensure continuous peace and unity of the various components of the State, as he urged stakeholders to rid the state of divisiveness and other tendencies inimical to the peace and growth.
The calls are contained in his speech when he led top government officials, including the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, past governors, and other dignitaries, to a special interdenominational thanksgiving service to round off the State’s 36th anniversary at the Apostolic Church, Obio Imo Street, Uyo.
Eno, who paid glowing tributes to the former Nigerian Military President, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, for his benevolence in hearkening to the yearnings of forebears by creating Akwa Ibom State in September 1987, acknowledged with deep appreciation the giant strides recorded by past administrators and governors since the creation of the State.
“We cannot forget our former military governors and their contributions to what we have today. They are truly our ancestors.
“They are the ones that laid the foundation that brought us to this place. So we thank them.”
The governor described himself as a bridge builder and pledged his readiness to unite all interests in the state for a common goal, which he identified as development, thanking the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, for attending the service with his colleagues in the National Assembly, adding that his presence spoke volume to all Akwa Ibomites.
Noting that the collaboration would bring good tidings to the state as development would be attracted from all fronts, he used the occasion to pour encomiums on past leaders in the state, stressing that the Senate President’s uncommon transformation development matrix and his political Godfather, Mr Udom Emmanuel’s Completion Agenda had dotted the landscape of the state with giant strides of development, adding that he would consolidate on the strides to take the state to her zenith of development.
The governor, who solicited prayers from the church for sustained peace and growth of the state, said the service was designed to thank God, who has been there for the state.
He announced plans to form a think tank, comprising former governors, deputy governors, and past speakers of the State House of Assembly, as well as set up a Christian Leadership Advisory Council to also give the religious leaders a stake in charting a way forward for the growth of the State.
Eno used the occasion to shed light on the recently enacted Akwa Ibom State Traditional Rulers Law Cap 155, explaining that he did not mastermind the enactment but only facilitated its passage by the House of Assembly and warned against interferences on chieftaincy issues by the people.
“The law that has just been passed by the House of Assembly is not my law. The Paramount Rulers of this State sat together, I was there at that meeting and I did not say anything. They agreed on what that law is. They, themselves agreed. I said it yesterday and I am saying it today on this altar.
“If any paramount ruler that was there, let the paramount Ruler prove that he uttered a voice. The only paramount ruler who raised a voice and said something to add was the paramount ruler of Itu. No one paramount ruler, whether Ibibio, Annang or Oron, none of them said anything. All I did was to implement their decision. You couldn’t implement a law without going through the House of Assembly.
“If they feel that is no more their position, it is a simple thing. They are our fathers. It is to call the Governor and say, please, what we did, we did not understand. This is what we now think we should do. It has nothing to do with ethnicity. It has nothing to do with favouring one tribe over the other. I will never have sided one tribe over another because I belong to Jesus. We all belong to one kingdom and it is the kingdom of God.
Anyone who knows me, knows I am a Barracks boy. I grew up in the Barracks and in the Barracks there is no room for ethnicity”
Earlier, the Senate President and former Governor of the state, Senator Godswill Akpabio, expressed delight in partaking in the State function and thanked Governor Umo Eno for extending the invitation to him.
Senator Akpabio also paid tributes to the past leaders of the state and urged the Church community to continue to uphold the state government in prayers, expressing optimism that with Governor Eno’s godly disposition, the state will witness great peace and progress under his reign.
The Senate President assured the people that his position as President of the 10th Senate and his good relationship with President Tinubu would yield landmark blessings for the state in terms of federal projects.
On his part, the State Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Bishop Christian Nyong, congratulated the State on her 36th anniversary and commended past and present leaders and the people for their contributions towards the making of the present-day Akwa Ibom State and thanked Governor Eno for making the Thanksgiving Service void of political undertones, while assuring of the continuous spiritual and advisory support of the Christian leaders in the state.
Delivering a homily on the theme, “Jehovah Our Ebenezer”, with scripture reference from 1st Samuel 7:12, the Guest Speaker, Prelate Isaiah Isong, assured the people of Akwa Ibom State that as long as Jehovah is their God, he will always show up to help them as he did for the children of Israel when they remained faithful to him.
He therefore admonished the people of the state to be steadfast in their walk with God and never stir his jealousy by resorting to demonic mediums for help.
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