A SPEECH PRESENTED BY MOSES ESSIEN, FORMER COMMISSIONER FOR EDUCATION, YOUTHS & SPORTS, AKWA IBOM STATE ON THE OCCASION OF A COURTESY CALL ON THE AHTA OF ORO / ALL THE ORO COUNCIL OF CHIEFS TODAY JULY 22, 2006 IN ORON.
Your Royal Majesty, as I stand before you today I recall with great sense of delight my childhood days, when as a student in Hope Waddell Training Institute, Calabar, I had the privilege of always coming to Oron during long vacations. In essence, I am saying first, that I know the nooks and crannies of Oron more than some people of this extraction and secondly, that I have a strong attachment to Oron as an entity and as a people.
Besides, the teachers that have left indelible impression in my life have come from here and Oro Nation, without fear of contradiction has contributed some of the finest professionals and intellectuals whose notable prowess and endowments have in no small measure led to the advancement of growth and development in Akwa Ibom State and by extension our country Nigeria.
Today, your Royal Majesty, as you can see, I have been led into your Palace as a son, with the full compliments of Royal Fathers, particularly the Paramount Ruler Elect of Ikono, his Royal Majesty, Edidem Akpan Inemme, the Etefia Ikono and the Grand Political leader of Ikono, including other political titans, icons and leaders of thoughts from Ikono / Ini Federal Constituency – an indication that I do not only have the blessings of my fathers in Ikono / Ini Federal Constituency, but also their full resolve to physically demonstrate their support wherever and whenever necessary.
Your Royal Majesty will recall that the people of Ikono, now with Ini have had a relationship with Oro nation that has spanned decades. For instance, in Oro Nation today, we have the people of Ikono Offi, which is a village located near Atak Oro in Okobo Local Government Area. The people of Ikono Offi will proudly acknowledge that they migrated from Ikono Ibom Atai (present Ikono / Ini Federal Constituency) to Ebughu, near Ebughu Fishing Terminal in Mbo, before they resettled at their present location. In essence, your Royal Majesty, the people of Ikono / Ini Federal Constituency will remain keenly interested in the well-being of the people of Oro Nation because from the brief historical background all can see that we are stakeholders in Oron Federal Constituency, just as the Oro people are stakeholders in Ikono / Ini Federal Constituency.
Your Royal Majesty, today you are on the throne of your forefathers and we have come to hear that your forefathers were great men and we are here in the Palace because we also heard that the Ahta of Oro is a very great man. It is our prayers that your descendants that will ascend the throne after you will even be greater than you, by so doing, the Holy Scriptures would have been fulfilled in Oro Nation to the glory of GOD and the overall benefit of Akwa Ibom State.
We have heard from the grapevine that the formal Coronation of the Ahta of Oro to the throne of his forefathers will take place in August, your Royal Majesty we wish to congratulate you in advance for this historic event.
Today in Akwa Ibom State, nationalities, groups and organizations are meeting, negotiating and talking about what political benefits should accrue to them in Akwa Ibom State come 2007.
Your Royal Majesty, of all these nationalities, groups and organizations rushing to occupy space or airtime in either the print or electronic media, non of them has stopped to reason that Oro Nation is part and parcel of Akwa Ibom State or be a part of the articulation of the interest of the Oro Nation come 2007.
Your Royal Majesty, this is why I have often asked wherever occasion such as this presents itself; are the people of Oro Nation no longer stakeholders in Akwa Ibom State? If they are, why is nobody talking about them in the political equation of Akwa Ibom State come 2007?
Your Royal Majesty, none of the nationalities, groups or organizations jostling for various benefits has bothered to attempt answers to these very important questions. But today, I believe that we will get the answers before leaving this Palace so that together we can justify our stakes in the Akwa Ibom Project, come 2007. Your Royal Majesty will agree with me that Oro Nation has been out of power for good eight (8) years now. The Office of the State Party Chairman has no budget of its own, and as such it cannot be self-sustaining. The Office of the Speaker is only first amongst equals and as such cannot be guaranteed, worsened by its lack of constitutional base. The generic line and threat that runs across these two offices in Oro Nation today is that they are all at the mercy of the Executive arm of Government.
Therefore, to be out of power for another eight (8) years is a political disaster that I believe the people of Oro Nation cannot afford. GOD forbid that it happens, then the generations of Oro people to come will never forgive all of us, in whose position and capacity it is to act timely and decisively to avert the looming political suicide that stares us in the face today.
The primary reason why we are here today amongst others is to state to His Royal Majesty, the Royal Fathers, the President and Exco Members of the Oro Development Union and all who are the authentic custodian of the values, norms and belief systems of the Oro Nation, that we of the Ikono / Ini Federal Constituency have come to identify with the Oro Nation and are by this visit extending our warm hand of fellowship to the Oro people as partners in progress on the Akwa Ibom project come 2007.
We want to also say that, our visit is a bold statement that Oro Nation will and indeed must as a matter of necessity be a significant part and player in the unfolding political equation of Akwa Ibom State come 2007.
We assure you of our commitment and the support of our allies all over the State to ensure that this comes to pass for the Oro people come 2007.
It is on this note that I hereby declare before His Royal Majesty the Ahta of Oro, our Royal Fathers, with all Chiefs in Council, the President and Exco Members of Oro Development Union, my aspiration to contest for the Office of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State come 2007. I have no doubt in my mind that I will win the 2007 Governorship Election and become the next Governor of Akwa Ibom State after His Excellency, Arc. (Obong) Victor Attah, by the special grace of GOD and the support of Oro Nation.
In year 2003, I presented a speech here in Oron at the invitation of the KOFO Club led by my dear brother and family friend, the Late Dr. Unanawi Selong Edem. In it I spoke on the topic: ORO NATION VERSUS AKWA IBOM STATE, WHAT PROSPECT WITH MOSES ESSIEN AS GOVERNOR.
It is about four (4) years now since I made that covenant with the people of Oro Nation, today your Royal Majesty, I am standing before you and your entire Council, with His Royal Majesty the Paramount Ruler Elect of Ikono, Edidem Akpan Inemme and our highly revered leaders from Ikono as witnesses to eloquently and irrevocably state that, I have not only come again to uphold that covenant, but to improve upon it when in 2007, I become the Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
In my 2003 political blue print, I proposed the establishment of one of the largest seaport in West Africa, here in Oro, as well as the reactivation of old fishing terminals and the building of new ones for effective commencement of large scale fishing activities to meet the needs of International and local market, vis-ŕ-vis improve upon the protein intake of our people all over the State.
My administration plans to establish industrial estates in all the thirty-one (31) Local Government Areas of the State with the view of putting in place a minimum of three hundred (300) industries across the State, we envisage that not less than fifty (50) of these industries will come to Oro Nation. The projection of government, apart from improvement in the quality of life of the citizenry, is to create a minimum of one million jobs in four (4) years.
These industries, your Royal Majesty, will not be managed nor owned by Government, but will be managed from inception by your sons and daughters whose ability to fully own them will also depend on their ability to repay the cost investment.
We have further proposed the building of three hundred (300) three-bedroom apartments in each of the thirty-one (31) Local Government Areas of the State per year for four years. In addition, the multi-city development programme of my administration will witness the total transformation of all the major towns within the existing ten (10) Federal Constituencies of the State, in which Oro town is one.
Government will not negotiate with the attainment of complete, free, qualitative and very compulsory education in the State, up to the Secondary School level, while full and complete scholarship programme has been proposed for our sons and daughters pursuing various post-graduate programmes in tertiary institutions across the country.
Your Royal Majesty, it may interest you to know that my administration will not spare any effort on the attainment of self-sufficiency in food production. Our plan is to use ten farmers across the Federal Constituencies of the State, to embark upon large scale and highly mechanized farming programme, with the projection to feed at least ten million population. We have adequately planed to manage every surplus through adequate storage facilities and systems across the State.
Your Royal Majesty, my administration will restore all means of marine transportation across the riverine areas of the State. In this case, we intend to put a minimum of two Ultra-modern ferries in Oro beach to assist passengers living within the sister States of Cross River and Rivers and their Akwa Ibom counterparts. This will also apply to Ibeno and Eastern Obolo Local Government Areas of the State.
On health, we have proposed the provision of free health care services for all children, pregnant women, disabled persons and the aged members of our society. This is to be complemented with the building of Ultra-modern hospitals in the thirty-one (31) Local Government Areas of the State.
Besides the proposed multiple industrial establishments across the thirty-one (31) Industrial Estates in Akwa Ibom State, my administration plans to establish a productivity and management development centre, where our male and female Secondary School leavers who are unwilling to go to Higher Institutions will be trained in various skills and trades.
We have observed that almost all the thirty-one (31) paramount Rulers across the State, discharge their official functions in their private residences, besides the fact that they also drive their privately and personally owned vehicles. Your Royal Majesty, my administration will feel very uncomfortable with this development. Consequently, we plan to build thirty-one (31) befitting Royal Palaces and Office Complexes, which will serve as official residences of all Royal Fathers. This, we believe will assist them discharge their duties effectively. This is in addition to official vehicles and the full compliments of their offices.
We have further planned to put in place a befitting official accommodation for all the Royal Fathers in Uyo, which will be turned into an Ultra-modern State Capital. The essence of this is to enable majority of them now outside the State capital to meet and respond to the demands of Government at very short notice in the State capital without the fear of returning home at late hours.
Your Royal Majesty, this is only a brief introduction of some of my administration’s plan of action. The full details will be laid before the entire Akwa Ibom State at the appropriate time.
At the same time, your Royal Majesty, my administration will continue to complete on all the projects already embarked upon by the present administration of His Excellency, Arc. (Obong) Victor Attah, most especially, the Independent Power Plant, Five Star Hotel, University of Science and Technology to mention but a few.
My concern now your Royal Majesty is on whether the Oro Nation will have enough land to accommodate the volume of development that my administration has envisaged for this part of the State. That to me is food for thought to his Royal Majesty and Oro Nation in general.
I will not end this speech, if I fail to commend His Royal Majesty, his Chiefs in Council and particularly the President of Oro Development Union, Chief O. I. Medekong and his entire Executive members for the rare demonstration of maturity and courage in handling the P.D.P Chairmanship tussle, thereby saving our party and also saving us. I say thank you very much.
Once again, your Royal Majesty, Council of Chiefs of Oro nation, His Royal Majesty the Paramount Ruler of Ikono, Edidem Akpan Inemme, the Etefia Ikono, Chief U. U. Okoruen, the Grand Political Leader of Ikono and a Philanthropist par excellence, Clan heads and all Leaders of thoughts from both Oro Nation and Ikono / Ini Federal Constituency, I thank you all for this wonderful opportunity given to me to speak with you.
Thank you and GOD bless you all in JESUS name.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP)
Governorship Aspirant for Akwa Ibom State
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