The Governor- elect of Benue state, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has described his victory in the Saturday’s gubernatorial election as remarkable and historic.
The Catholic Priest, in his victory speech at his Makurdi residence, shortly after being declared winner of the polls Monday by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, acknowledged the enormous support he got from the people to emerge victorious promising to meet the expectations of the people.
He said, “The long and anxious wait for the results to be officially declared is over; we can now roll out the drums in celebration of this great victory.
“I recognize what an enormous privilege and honor it is to be trusted with the government of the State especially at this time and am deeply conscious of it. I would like to say that God does not call the qualified! He qualifies the called.
“I may not be the most qualified Benue son to lead the State at this time but the Good Lord who has called me will qualify me.
“Never in my life have I seen a people express their desires and wishes so passionately as I saw from you in this election.
“The volunteers who came together under various support groups; those who travelled to all nooks and crannies of our State to knock on doors; the poll watchers who stayed vigilant to ensure that our votes were counted; every one of you. You all are the true heroes of this victory, and your names will be written in gold in the annals of our State.
“It has been a remarkable and historic victory for our Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). I am in no doubt at all about the enormity of the challenges that lie ahead and what this victory means in the face of these challenges.
“My dear people, this victory belongs to you. It belongs to all of you who thirst for the dividends of democracy. And by this victory, the liberation we have all yearned for is at hand.
“Change is coming to Benue State. I take this opportunity to appreciate the Leader of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue state, Senator Dr George Akume, who has remained strong like the Rock of Gibraltar and guided us along the path to this happy moment.
“I appreciate the State Working Committee of the Party under the leadership of the ebullient Comrade Austin Agada, as well as the other organs and critical stakeholders of the Party for their resilience and resourcefulness.
“I doff my hat for the most hardworking and ingenious campaign team ever assembled in the political history of Benue State led by the Director General, Rev. Dr. Frederick Ikyaan. They represent the building blocks to this victory.
“I am grateful for the friendship and support of my running mate, Barr. Sam Ode. He has worked so hard on the campaign trail, and I look forward to fruitful collaboration with him in Government House.
“I would like to congratulate my opponents from the other parties for making it an interesting contest. But the anxious period of politicking is over. Now is the time to unite and face the challenges of development.
“Our State, Benue, needs a total reset. Governance in our State has hit a historic low. This election is a mandate to reform and recalibrate governance in Benue.
“We need all hands, all good and ready hands, to be on deck. We need men and women whom the spoils of office cannot buy. We need all who believe that a new
Benue is possible.
“I believe there is an even greater obligation on me, in fact on us all, to tell the Benue people very clearly the difficult choices and challenges that we face and how we will work our way through them.
“We will clear the backlog of arrears of salaries, and pensions and gratuities, resettle our IDPs in their ancestral homes, address persistent insecurity challenges and set the stage for a prosperous Benue.
“We need to set the foundations for a strong economy. And on top of
that, we need to start building an economy of the future based on skills and talents and education and the application of technology; knowing that the forces of global competition and technology mean that we can only compete based on skills and talents. Let us unlock our wealth!
“My fellow citizens, a new Benue is possible, and I enjoin all of you to join hands with me to make it a reality.
“Let us begin by embracing a new way of thinking and action – by cultivating a new ethos that expresses the best of us, that brings forth our better angels and not our worst demons.
“The smallness of unending political recriminations and willful economic sabotage must give way to accommodation and the pursuit of loftierideals.
“There is a lot we can achieve through consensus and synergy. Our points of difference cannot be greater than the things that unite us.
“Let us resolve, walk and work together as one people united by a common destiny. We the people of Benue, through this victory, have taken a new step in a new direction.
“We have voted to realize the vision of our founding fathers, the vision of a peaceful and buoyant society where both indigene and settler, the rich and the not-so-rich will engage in the pursuit of happiness unhindered.
“We have voted to defeat the politics of backwardness, hate and division, in preference for a social contract that enhances our common brotherhood and adds value to lives.
“Let the word go out to the wretched of the earth in our hinterlands – the poor farmer in Sankera, the palm wine tapper in Otukpa, the petty trader at Abinsi, the rice farmer in Gwer-West, and the artisan in Gboko, that through this election, a new dawn has broken in Benue – a new dawn of equal opportunity and shared prosperity.
“And let the word go out to all the ends of the earth, that a people, through this election, have risen from the ashes of deprivation and depression and are marching in lockstep towards their rightful place in the hall of greatness.
“As we get set to begin the arduous task of rebuilding our state, May the God of all Goodness, who has answered our cry for freedom today, fortify us with the strength and wisdom to succeed.”
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