Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has called on citizens to seize the overflowing goodwill of the Christmas season to embark on peacebuilding through reconciliation as this will further unite the State.
The Governor anchored his Christmas message on the scripture – Luke 2:10 which reads “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people”.
He expressed hope that the celebration of Christmas will not only bring mortal enemies as friends, but “will also cause some of our people who are still in the trenches of tribalism, ethnicism, petty-mindedness, and other vices, to emerge from the foxholes and join us to build a State which would be defined by faith, love and brotherhood”.
“Let us be reminded that Christmas is only Christmas when we celebrate it by sharing gifts with our neighbours and shining the light of love to everyone.” He said.
He appealed to those who desire to stoke the embers of division and cause unnecessary tensions because of their ambitions to allow the wheels of governance to move gingerly forward.
“We pray that joy; peace and hope will fill the heart and soul of every Akwaibomite as we savour the joyous commemoration of our Saviour and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.”
Governor Emmanuel called for deep meditation among citizens to reflect on the challenges the State has surmounted including the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic, debilitating national recession, #Endsars protest and massive destruction of public and private property among others.
He listed remarkable achievements recorded in 2020 in spite of these challenges including Ibom Air which has become a roaring success, “a source of pride to us all as Akwaibomites. God has answered our prayers for a sustainable industrial base. Earlier this year, the Federal government approved for us the Oil and Gas Free zone which is a huge step in our industrialization agenda. A little over a week ago, the Federal Executive Council finally granted us the approval to commence work on the long-awaited Ibom Deep Seaport Project.” And, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Executive Council for granting the State this wonderful gift.
The state chief executive called for a collective effort to move the state forward.
“Fellow Akwaibomites, let us press forward by doing all we can to stay alive and beat the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic. As you may already know, we are currently experiencing the second wave of the pandemic, but as we had succeeded in stemming the rate of infection when it first hit our shores, I ask you to join hands with us again to beat this second wave.
“The use of facemasks, social distancing, regular hand washing, hand sanitisers are protocols that have worked in reducing infections.”
He, therefore, warned that by applying these protocols, which are simple but effective rules, “there may be no need for us to impose another lockdown, but if we observe that these rules are flouted, then we may have no other option than to put the State under lockdown”.