Sunday, 15 January 2023

Pictures From Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration At Akwa Ibom State Today


 This was the speech delivered by Akwa Ibom State governor Udom Emmanuel at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day held in Uyo today 


BEING THE SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MR. UDOM EMMANUEL, GOVERNOR, AKWA IBOM STATE, AT THE ARMED FORCES REMEMBRANCE DAY, JANUARY 15TH, 2023, UYO.


PROTOCOL


1. We are gathered here today, for this deeply solemn annual event, to honor the sacrifices, patriotism and gallantry of our proud men and women who wore our military uniforms, bore arms and went out, motivated mostly by the ennobling spirit of volunteerism to fight for our country and in the process helped secure the peace we now enjoy.


2. Thomas Campbell, the 19th Century Scottish poet  was spot on when he once said that “  a patriot’s blood is the seed of freedom’s tree”. Today, the seed of our freedoms,  the building blocks of our territorial integrity, the pillars of our unity  however, fragile  were secured through the blood of these patriots.


3. The ultimate sacrifice which these gallant soldiers paid so we may live in peace is  further aptly captured by the searing words of the  19th Century, Chancellor of the German Empire , Otto Von Bismarck “ anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war.”


4. It was the  ultimate sacrifice that Brigadier General Dzarma Zirkusu and three other army officers made when they lost their lives while confronting  terrorists in Borno State in November 2021. It was the same sacrifice  Captain Samuel Attah and four others made  last November 8th, 2022, when they were killed during an operation in Bwari, in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja.


5. The question we should ask ourselves as we gather here to observe this annual ritual is “ Did they pay the ultimate sacrifice in vain? Have we given them the corresponding rewards and appreciation for the price they paid?


6. While we acknowledged as former American President, Harry S. Truman once said that “ our debt to the heroic men and women in the service of our country can never be repaid” we must redouble our efforts in showing our undying gratitude to those they left behind. We must improve the welfare of our soldiers, ensure that they live in decent environments and guarantee a future of growth and development to their children, who oftentimes bear the brunt of the sacrifices their fathers made in the service of the nation.














7. Here in our State, we have, as a mark of appreciation for the huge sacrifices our gallant Men and Officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces have made, in ensuring we enjoy peace and security in our State and also recognizing the scarifies they have equally made in various theaters of operation across the nation and internationally, remodeled, and construct 168 blocks of flat to  the Nigerian Army Battalion in Ibagwa, complete with water reticulation.


8. We have also helped in the construction of  internal roads and residential blocks of flats at the 2nd Brigade of the Nigerian Army Headquarters in Mbiokporo, Nsit Ibom, as well as the donation of gun boats for Marine Response Unit, all of which led to our State being awarded  : Nigeria’s Best Security and Safety State “during the last  African Security Summit in Banjul, The Gambia last November. I am eternally grateful for the cooperation we have received from the Nigerian Security Services in the course of my administration, as we begin the process of handing over the baton of leadership to my Successor whom I am convinced will carry on this tradition of gratitude we have shown  for the service these heroic patriots have given to our State and the nation.


9. As we honour these great patriots, let us be reminded that the factors that led to the various wars they participated in, or the internal operations to secure our peace for which they paid with their lives are still with us. All across the nation, some rhetoric that enlarge the chasm of separation and weaken the cords of our national unity are still being  propagated and amplified through various echo- chambers.


10. Our diversity which should form a rainbow of strength is being exploited for narrow political advantage, while  zero-sum game tactics are still being employed and deployed all over the nation.


11. A day such as this, should help us lower the temperature of incendiary and unhelpful rhetoric. We should fan the embers of our unity deeper and extend the frontiers of love and brotherhood further, so the sacrifices of these gallant officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces we have come here today to honor, will not be in vain.


12. As we get ready to elect our new set of leaders, I urge our political class to understand that we need the country to be one indissoluble entity, in order for our aspirations for leadership to be actualized. We must not threaten the unity of this nation for the narrow desire to be in power. If these gallant men and women paid the ultimate price for us to remain in peace and harmony, we must also pay them a corresponding price of appreciation and gratitude by ensuring that the cords of our unity, justice, equality, fairness and love remain our abiding articles of faith.


13. God bless our Armed Forces, God bless Akwa Ibom State, God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria,


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