Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen, the only constant thing in life is change and life’s greatest gifts is the gift of reproduction. Today, we begin the process of electing the next governor and national assembly of our dear state. This is by no means a casual affair or one to be treated with levity.
Our party, the All Progressive Congress has a plethora of qualified men and women who can take our state to enviable heights. I am particularly pleased that we can select from this pool of men and women of passion and integrity and present them to Rivers people to consolidate on our gains and indeed improve on our records. Let me thank our party chieftains, elders and loyal members for how peacefully they conducted the House of Assembly Primaries.
Your conduct, which was exemplary, continues to set the tone for democracy, which guarantees the rights of all the people and their participation in their own governance. As Rivers State people, we are witness to the state of affairs before we took over office in October 2007.
Today is not the day for us to present our scorecard of our activities in the last seven years, but suffice it to say that we have moved thousands of kilometres from where we met our state. Our doggedness in the face of discouraging dwindling revenues and unwarranted attacks on our psyche as Rivers people has been only by the grace of God and the strength of our collective unity. Let me remind us however that the days ahead will be even more demanding and disturbing. The signs of what we should expect are already here, the police harassments, attacks and economic strangulation are some of the weapons that the opposition have wielded in their attempt to prevent the people’s will. But we cannot give up. We must resolve to snatch our state from the jaws of death and the predators whose only desire is to sink the ship of state. We must remain the voices of our people and work for their betterment.
As we choose our representatives today let us bear this in mind. While they will be our torchbearers, they cannot achieve anything by themselves. They will need us. So we must all roll up our sleeves. The journey has begun and the work has started. No one can be a bystander and indeed no one should be a bystander. We must have all hands on deck. That is the only way can achieve our desired results.
Finally let me congratulate all those who have emerged from this process. Remember you are not gods but the people’s representatives. You must remember that what you carry is the people’s mandate and you must carry it with awe and great care. You must see yourselves as mere custodians and not as feudal lords and therefore must engage the people at all times. All of us together are greater than any one person and therefore our collective destiny should guard and guide all that you do.
While I congratulate you for your emergence, let me especially thank our party men and women for being committed to the greater course and their sacrifices and patriotism. God bless APC God bless Rivers State I thank you for listening