As Akwa Ibom, Nigeria’s 21st state, marked its 33rd creation anniversary, Governor Udom Emmanuel has unveiled the state Anthem, Flag and Coat of Arms to create identity among the people, thereby firing the spirit of unity and patriotism in mobilizing the people to the overall development of Nigeria.
Already, Nigeria has the symbols designed to unite the people through the creation of verbal, visual and iconic symbolism of Nigerians.
Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly passed the resolution on Tuesday, September 22 giving stamp of approval for the government to adopt the state symbols.
At the unveiling at Government House Banquet hall, Uyo on Wednesday, September 23, three Akwa Ibom sons stood tall as the progenitors of the symbols.
For instance, the Anthem was composed by Dr. Iberedem Iwok. The Flag designed by Mr. Nsikak John and the Coat of Arms designed by Mr. Mbuotidem Ukpe.
Consequently, the Akwa Ibom State Executive Council and passed into law by the State House of Assembly to become the official Anthem, Flag and Coat of Arms of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria.
Mr. Aniekpeno Mkpanang, who was the Chairman of the State Symbols Selection Committee, noted “It gives me great pleasure to be asked to say some words of welcome at this August event. First, let me give thanks to the Almighty God for keeping all of us alive to witness another Anniversary of the creation of our dear state.
“Since Wednesday, September 23, 1987, precisely 33 years ago today, we can count the numerous blessings we have had as a people and the milestones we have achieved as a state and we know it could only have been God who has sustained and blessed us.”
Mkpanang who is also the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture and Tourism observed “We trust that He who has brought us this far will be faithful to guide us as we march forward as a great people of a great state, destined for great things.
“Your Excellencies, Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen, I think it is very fitting that we are having this Presentation of State Symbols on the Anniversary of our State creation. I see it as an idea that was waiting for the right time to be born.
“It is, therefore, on this note that I salute His Excellency, The Governor of Akwa Ibom for not only initiating this noble idea, but also ensuring that the process is brought to a successful conclusion.”
According to him, “The selection committee, which was made up of seasoned experts in the relevant fields, received a total of 912 entries for the State Anthem, Coat of Arms and Flag.
“These entries came from Akwa Ibom indigenes residing in different parts of the world, a testimony to the sense of patriotism and creativity that runs through the bloodstreams of our people.
“The entries were assessed for originality, creativity, content, relevance to the state, timelessness, sustainability and adaptability. This painstaking process took the 12-man selection committee well over four months to assess and draw up a shortlist of finalists which the committee recommended to Government for the final selection.”
“This will go down in history as one of the landmark moments for not just our state, but also the administration of His Excellency, Governor Emmanuel. On behalf of the Committee saddled with this onerous responsibility let me respectfully thank His Excellency, The Governor for finding us fit to serve.
“It has been the pleasure of our lives to be part of this historical process and we will treasure this experience for a long time to come. Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me to welcome you one more time to this history-making event,” he added.
Before now, Comrade Ini Ememobong, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, stated the government’s plans during a public hearing of a bill titled “A Law To Establish And Regulate, Akwa Ibom State Official Symbols, And For Other Matters Connected Therewith”, which took place at the Old Chapel Auditorium, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Complex in Uyo.
Ememobong emphasized that the quest by the Akwa Ibom State Government to have a distinct and a recognisable identity was borne out of the acceptance of a preponderant similarities existing amongst states, tribe, countries and purpose, and with the consciousness that despite the glaring similarities there were still manifest differences existing between one state to another and therefore it became imperative for Akwa Ibom people and the state to be defined through a commonly shared heritage and ideologies.
He maintained that all over the world, people, states and countries have always sort to acquire features that would differentiate them from competing and complementing peers, thus the desire by the state government to use the historic 33rd anniversary of state creation to introduce critical identity items like the proposed state anthem, coat Of arm and emblem was a commendable move by the Udom Emmanuel-led administration.
The state spokesman hinted that the symbols were selected through a citizen-participatory processes which made it very competitive, applauding members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly for their intellectual inputs and for the accelerated hearing with which the bill has been given.