FOR THE RECORD
BEING THE ACCEPTANCE SPEECH BY PASTOR UMO ENO, AS THE PDP GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE IN THE NEXT YEAR GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION
I stand here before you, humbled by the grace that has found me, strengthened by Invisible Hands of the One who has guided and ordered my steps, motivated by the silent whisperings of His endless love, propelled and shielded by His ever protective Hands as I accept this onerous task, you have just bestowed on me, as the Gubernatorial Candidate of our great Party, the Peoples Democratic Party for the gubernatorial elections next year.
Let me first and foremost thank the Almighty God for making this day a reality. To His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel, words fail me to express how profoundly grateful I am to you for seeing in me, what others may not have seen, and for the faith in my capacity, character and competence to continue moving and accelerating the pace of development of our dear State which you have painstakingly and creatively piloted. I am deeply humbled by your endorsement.
Permit me to express my thanks to my wife, my children and grandchildren for your support. To our great Party and the delegates who have found me worthy of being the Flag-bearer, I want to assure you that you made the right choice and that I will not sacrifice this trust and faith you have reposed in me.
Before I continue, please permit me to quote from St. Luke’s Gospel, Chapter 1 verses 46-50 using the King James version “And Mary said “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour, for He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.”
Standing here this afternoon, and fully conscious of this inspirational moment, I cannot help but get a little emotional. I was born in the Police barracks and those who understand how dreary life was in the barracks, especially in the years I grew up there, will understand what I am talking about here.
In those days, hope seemed a distant object and most of what one saw, appeared to be conditioned to bring out the worst instincts in you, but through the will to succeed and overcome adversities, I summoned hope and God answered my prayers. I lost my father when I was young, and all seemed bleak, but my late Mother, a true Amazon, summoned hope and went on her knees to pray and God answered her prayers.
Today, God has blessed me in many ways words cannot describe. This moment, therefore, represents the ultimate vindication of those who trust in the Lord in accordance with Psalm 125 that “those who trust in the lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.” If the child of a lowly maidservant like me could overcome and thrive, and today, has just been given the nomination to solicit for your support to be the next Governor of this great State, you too, can and you will!
My dear Akwa Ibomites, as I accept this task to commence the process to succeed His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, and continue writing the Akwa Ibom enchanting story of development, I want you to be inspired by my story.
To those of you who may be struggling to put food on the table, if I overcame, and today, by the grace of God I can stand here, as a Candidate for Governor, you too can! To those who may have given up on life because of the circumstances you currently find yourself, if I overcame, believe me, you too can!
To the youths of Akwa Ibom State, my story is your story. I could have joined a bad company; I could have been recruited to engage in unholy activities, but I embraced hope in God and hope brought opportunities, and I tapped into those opportunities because I was READY. If I overcame, you too, can!
Don’t let anyone tell you violence is the way out of your current situation, that joining gangs and unleashing mayhem is the pathway for success.
I want you to reject such notions and incitements and be inspired by my story. Again, let me repeat, my story is your story. If I overcame all of life’s vicissitudes to stand before you here today, on this historic moment, believe me, you too, can!
Together, we will continue to inspire hope in our people; we will continue to rise to the faith of their greatness. We will continue to ensure that our children are trained for the globalised market place of ideas and opportunities.
In the last almost seven years, His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel has shown in practical terms that what was once thought impossible can be made possible. We have seen those giant strides through Industrialisation, Aviation Development, Roads and other Infrastructural Expansion, Healthcare Delivery, Power, Human Capital Development, Agriculture, Food Security and Sufficiency, Maintenance of Peace and Security, Rural and Riverine Development, Youth and Women Empowerment, Sports Development, Tourism etc. I pledge to you that we will continue with these developmental strides.
You may have already seen that we are ready to continue with the glittering story of the development of our State through my Blueprint aptly called THE ARISE AGENDA: – Agricultural Revolution, Tourism, Sports/ Social Development & Environmental Management, Rural Development, Women and Youth Empowerment, Infrastructural Maintenance/ Advancement and ICT Development, Security Management, Sound Educational & Healthcare Sector Management and Economic/ Industrial Advancement & Wealth Creation. Together we will continue to ARISE to the faith of our greatness.
Before I end this speech, permit me to make this fundamental point: All along, I have been like the Biblical David tending the sheep in the field, and focusing on my assigned duties and responsibilities. Little did I know that God Almighty had even greater and higher responsibilities for me, to prepare me for His Glorious and fulfilling days ahead on the next level of the Akwa Ibom Project.
I find solace, however, in the popular line of His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel that when God calls, he qualifies. I hereby offer myself as an instrument in the Hands of God Almighty, to be used by Him in achieving His continuous Glorious plans for Akwa Abasi Ibom State and her people.
Let me end this speech by assuring all that we remain committed to running an inclusive campaign based on issues germane to our development, not on acrimonious posturing. We will run a campaign where the cords of unity and brotherhood will remain the enduring articles of faith. We will not besmirch character or the reputation of our opponents. We will not indulge in unsanitized rhetoric, we will focus on the issues that will elevate and hold aloft the ideals of our development, of our unity, of our common purpose and our common essence.
I extend my hands of fellowship to my fellow contestants and urge them to join me in moving our dear State forward. Akwa Ibom State is all we have and we have no place else to call our own. We must be wholly invested in her growth and development. We must safeguard and protect jealously the peace we have enjoyed in the last almost seven
This is our moment of continuity and I know together, and with God’s ever Invisible Hands, we will continue to overcome and ring true the inspiring words of Barack Obama “Yes, we can!”
Thank you and God bless our people, God bless our State and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.