FROM: Joe Effiong, Uyo

Apparently jolted by the death of Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, director general of his Divine Mandate Campaign Organization, Gov Udom Emmanuel has devoted a large chunk of his 2020 Christmas Day broadcast to COVID-19 issues.

In his address through various broadcast channels in the state, the governor said 2020 has been bumpy year akin to taking a ride in a gallop-filled rural road.

We passed through the scourge of the pandemic and it did not overwhelm us. We witnessed looting and arson from the EndSars, and it did not consume us.

“We have a lot to thank God for, as this year draws to a close. As the Bible enjoins us let us, in the New Year, “forget those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before us, press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

“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 sanitizers are protocols that have worked in reducing infections. Let us remain committed to applying these protocols. If we adhere to these 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 lock -down.

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“We have put in every conceivable tool to manage this pandemic and our gallant medical professionals have been in the frontline, managing and stemming the spread of the virus. We owe them them eternal debt of gratitude.

“When in 2018, we brought in 13 ventilators and other advanced and modern medical supplies, some people had sneered at us in the media, some went to the extent of saying the equipment were phantom or non-existent. When we also constructed the 300 bed Infectious Disease Control Centre Centre at Ituk Mbang and equipped it with medical facilities that rival the best in the world, some people also took issues with us and questioned the propriety of the construction of the centre.

“Today, our investments in healthcare sector have shown that you can’t go wrong by being proactive. Our State has stayed above the curve and has been able to manage this pandemic and other infectious diseases very effectively.”The governor said.

He however thanked God that despite the may troubles, the state was never consumed rather through Divine intervention, it was able to record remarkable achievements that would lay solid foundation for it’s economic rennaisance.

“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.

Let me on behalf of the government and the grateful people of Akwa Ibom State; thank President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR and the Federal Executive Council for granting us this wonderful gift. The Ibom Deep Seaport will change the economic dynamics of our State and indeed the entire South South and South East respectively and launch us towards a period of unparalleled growth and development.

“This is a great achievement for our State and our people and I thank God that He used my Administration to achieve this historic milestone.” END