By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State is one of three governors nominated as Outstanding Governors for the period 2007 to 2015. The impact of the administration in the area of infrastructure development and in the psychological reorientation of a state hitherto reckoned as the largest reservoir of servant workers have been generally lauded.
Receiving the notification of the award before an august assemblage of some of the state’s political class from the management of Vanguard, the governor opened up on his legacy.
It is an uncommon award
I want to say thank you to the Vanguard family for the honour and for this wonderful New Year gift and the gift of a lifetime for this is like a crowning glory, because I have not seen this kind of award before, because this is a very uncommon award.
Dominance of PDP governors in awards
This is Vanguard’s Most Outstanding Governor of the period 2007 to 2015, it is truly uncommon and they have also recognised other governors who have been very outstanding. One of them is Governor Babatunde Fashola and the other is Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa. You can see that even in this award that two of the most outstanding governors are PDP and that is why PDP is the leader. Only one is APC and that is why APC will take second in the election. PDP has the reach, the PDP is like NTA, you can’t beat the reach. I doff my hat for PDP even in this uncommon award, you can see that PDP came first.
Governance is about performance not propaganda!
You must let people know that governance is about performance and not about propaganda. Nigerians should judge politicians by their performance not through propaganda. Nigeria has changed since 1999 when the PDP took over the Federal Government. My state, Akwa Ibom has changed since the PDP administration came onboard.
In the hospital we are building, there are six modular theatres coming up and as you are doing open heart transplant, it is being shown in 73 countries so that other experts can take part in that surgery.
The problem we have in Nigeria is that they say that good news does not sell. If you go about saying all these, they will say the governor has paid them, so we kept quiet.
Uncommon psychological transformation
You cannot get an Ekaette or Okon as your house girl or driver now, because they are all in school. We have more than tripled school enrolment (1.4 million are enjoying free education here) and we do something uncommon that other states are not aware of. We pay subvention N100 per child per term to the school headmaster for logistics and N300 per child per term to the principal for logistics it is not done anywhere else. The lady clapping there (Mrs. Christy Edward Akpan) is one of the special assistants to the governor on education monitoring, they go round the state to ensure that no child is left behind. We have made free education compulsory for the Nigerian child and it is a criminal offence not to allow a child of school age not to be in school.
When I was doing campaign in Oron, a woman received four wheel chairs and came and met me and said, my children will fight at home and I asked, how many children? And she said six children and she wanted more wheel chairs so that they would not fight at home. She did not know that poliomyelitis is an avoidable disease and we had to tackle that. So we declared free medical treatment for children from day one to the age of five. A lot of women were dying within the first year of my government as a result of obstructive labour and because of high hospital fees, so we declared free medical treatment for pregnant women. So, they deliver free, they go for ante-natal free and we have reduced to the barest minimum, incidences of infant mortality and maternal mortality in the state and we have not had a single case of polio in the last six and a half years.
If somebody is telling you about uncommon transformation in Akwa Ibom State, you probably will think it is because of the 2,000 kilometres of dualised roads we have done which you drive without pot holes or the beauty of Uyo which we have turned into a small metropolis or the security network we have put in place or the hotels we are doing.
Anybody who knows the history of my people, my people were being used as sweepers and cleaners all over the country for years, this government brought an uncommon psychological change.
The uncommon spiritual transformation
If you look at it from the angle of the ecclesiastical which is also important because whatever is done of the earth is not just settled, but if it is done in the spiritual realm it will be manifested in the physical. This award before you brought it was already there in the spiritual.
Our people believe that the greatest achievement of my administration is being able to take my people back to God. On daily basis we call on God in everything we do. We end the year by assembling the largest choir on planet earth to sing to the glory of God for preserving our lives. Every time we have a security infraction, we always ask, “what if we were not praying?” today, if you goggle www.guinessbookofworldrecords.com you will see it there that Godswill Akpabio choir has broken the Guinness Book of World Records for 2013. We have now been noted for assembling the largest choir on planet earth. Never done before in the history of the world, 25,272 choristers singing. We are now in the Guinness Book of World Records for positive things.
Didn’t lobby for Uncommon Award
All I can say is that with this uncommon award, Vanguard will be uncommonly transformed. On behalf of the government and the good people of my dear state and all lovers of progress, I accept this award with humility and I thank the Vanguard Group for finding me worthy. I did not lobby for this, I don’t know how it came about.