i, Governor of Bayelsa State, on the occasion of Nigeria’s 62nd Independence and 26th Bayelsa Creation Anniversary on Saturday, October 1, 2022
1. Fellow Bayelsans, today, for the third time as your governor, it is my duty and privilege to address you once again on the auspicious occasion of the Independence Anniversary of our dear nation.
2. For us Bayelsans, the further joy of October 1 is that we also celebrate another important milestone; the birthing of our dear state of Bayelsa 26 years ago, which was a long-cherished dream for a wholly homogenous Ijaw entity.
3. On behalf of the Government of Prosperity, I bring you warm felicitations and best wishes for the twin celebrations.
4. It was my honour to be a part of what came to be known as the Ijaw struggle and I recall with nostalgia the herculean efforts, courageous steps, unity of purpose and lofty dreams of the Bayelsa founding fathers. As I salute their dedication and collective wisdom, let me restate this administration’s irrevocable fidelity to the ideals and the vision espoused by our great leaders.
5. Today, the baton of running the race and the duty of executing the mandate has passed to us. It is a responsibility we are keenly aware of. You have our assurance that we will not fail in it.
6. Just like our nation’s independence 62 years ago, the creation of Bayelsa is not an end in itself. But rather it is a journey to self-reliance, opportunities and greatness. So, whereas we may desire it to be more like a sprint, it is a marathon, with several highs and lows. Success is inevitable if we work together and persevere through our adversities and setbacks. It can only be the product of teamwork, not individualism.
7. Anniversaries provide important lessons, give background to the present and offer a canvas on which to paint the portrait of a glorious future. Our administration is single-mindedly focused on the social contract to deliver shared prosperity to the Bayelsa people.
8. It is also a time for gratitude. We catalogue during our anniversary, to the glory of the Lord who sits in heaven and rules in the affairs of man, the blessings of many legacy projects we have undertaken in the intervening year. This is not because we feel the need to brag. As the hymn writer eloquently admonished, “count your blessings, name them one by one.”
9. Without being vainglorious, let me be bold to say that in the two years and eight months of our administration, we have made modest and visible progress, which has set us on a firm path of growth and development. We have embarked on big-ticket as well as smaller projects that have impacted the lives of our good people in Southern Ijaw just as in Kolokuma/Opokuma, Sagbama, Ekeremor, Nembe, Brass, Ogbia and Yenagoa Local Government Areas. So far, this administration has constructed nearly 150km of road infrastructure, including internal road projects, either completed or ongoing across the three senatorial zones of the state.
10. We have equally done very well in the health, sports, education and agricultural sectors as well as in human capacity development and empowerment of our people.
11. We do not thump our chest that we have arrived at our desired destination. While admitting that Bayelsa at 26 is still a work-in-progress, any honest commentator will agree that in just two years and eight months, under the careful watch of this administration, commendable development has been accomplished.
12. If we are to succeed in bringing about the shared prosperity envisioned by our founding fathers, we must be deliberate in embracing all shades of opinion and criticism. Expectedly, some have been harsh in their assessment of our performance. While I believe everyone is entitled to an opinion, I dare say with every sense of responsibility and honesty that this administration has done very well.
13. In this consciousness, we have elected to follow the path of peace with all, regardless of political persuasion or point of view. Peace is, after all, the irreducible minimum for development and prosperity.
14. On behalf of your Government of Prosperity, I thank the citizens of Bayelsa State that have continued to identify with us in the onerous task to develop the state.
15. Let me conclude with a thought about the future. Some people persist in making baseless allegations and weaponizing our legitimate frustrations, fears and uncertainties for political exigencies. But as I have consistently reiterated, we are stronger together. As we make critical choices in next year’s elections at various levels of government, let us be guided by patriotism and eschew violence. We can disagree without being disagreeable. Let brotherly love and the greater good be what the 2023 elections must be about. It must be a conversation about ballots not bullets. The lives of our citizens should not be sacrificed on the altar of the ambition of selfish politicians.
16. Finally, let me thank all Bayelsans and the people of goodwill for their prayers for the well-being of this government. I wish you a joyous twin anniversary.
GOD BLESS YOU!
GOD BLESS BAYELSA STATE!
GOD BLESS THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA!