July 9th 2012,: Speech delivered by Lt. Gen. Paul Malong Awan, Governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State on 1st Independent Anniversary of Republic of South Sudan
Right Honorable Acting Speaker of NBGS Assembly
H.E President of High Court NBGS/Aweil
Honorable, Advisors, Ministers & Independence Commissions Chairpersons
Honorable Members of Parliament
UN Agencies and NGOs
State Security Organs
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Before I begin my speech, let us stand up and observe a minute of silence to remember our fallen heroes and heroines who paid the ultimate price in the cause of long struggle. Thank you.
Fellow citizens, ladies and gentlemen,
On this historic day and occasion, I would like to first and foremost express my special tribute to our fallen martyrs, on top of whom is our dear leader Dr. John Garang Mabior, whose sacrifices brought us this Independence Day. I also wish to equally express my sincere thanks and appreciations to wounded heroes and heroines for their brave sacrifices throughout the long war and to our gallant forces who bravely continue to protect the territorial integrity of the Republic of South Sudan. I would equally like to register my sincere thanks to the people of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State for their remarkable contributions and perseverance in untold suffering during the war.
One year ago, South Sudan became the world’s newest nation. Many people wondered how the young nation would progress. Some thought we would not make it as a nation and that we might be a failed State. But today as we celebrate this 1st Independence Anniversary, we can confidently pronounce that we have proven our critics wrong – we have succeeded.
Many attempts were made by enemies of South Sudan to fail us as a nation. One most notable among these is the Republic of Sudan which continues to project a serious security threat to our sovereignty but they will fail. You are all aware that prices in the market have continuously risen. This did not happen by chance. It was a design by Sudan to destroy us economically. You are aware that Republic of Sudan has imposed economic blockade on South Sudan since last year by closing their border with us. The North also went as far as openly stealing our oil which forced our government to shutdown oil production. These were attempts by the Sudan to try to shock us economically.
Ironically, however, the Republic of Sudan is worse off today than South Sudan. You have heard of demonstrations in most part of Sudan in the last couple of weeks. These demonstrations are a clear manifestation of frustration by the people with the regime’s failed policies. The government of the Republic of South Sudan has major plans to address the current economic situation. Before we celebrate our 2nd Independent Anniversary next year, we shall have our oil refinery up and running here in South Sudan and the question of fuel shortages shall be solved once and for all.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me remind you that there is no short cut to economic prosperity. We can only become prosperous nation if we accept to work hard. We are a nation blessed with abundant natural resources including arable land for agriculture. If we all go to farm and cultivate, we shall definitely become the bread basket for the whole of East African region. I am therefore asking all of you to give agriculture a priority it deserves. I must also acknowledge that majority of our people have successfully tilted their farms this year. This is a great achievement. Youth must stop wasting times playing cards and dominoes. Everybody must cultivate in order for us to eradicate hunger in this State.
What is freedom if we fail to liberate ourselves from hunger? We took up arms against Khartoum regimes for more than 50 years because we did not have freedom to decide for ourselves. We are now a year old as free and independent people, will it make sense if we refuse to work and continue pointing fingers at others? Building South Sudan requires that all of us work hard. In so doing, we shall all appreciate the meaning of freedom.
I am aware of enormous task we have ahead of us. After attaining the independence, we are required as a government to delivery basic services to the people. In this regard, my government will continue pursuing policies and strategies that will expedite the delivery of basic services to the community particularly in areas of equipped health facilities, schools, clean water and efficient road network. In this one year of independent, we have made a lot of efforts to provide services to our people but our efforts were adversely affected when tension between the Republic of Sudan and South Sudan heightened which culminated in total shutdown of oil production.
We will also continue to give special attention to our security. When I came to this State in my current capacity, I made a pledge that security of the State would top the list of my priorities and this has not changed. Development only happens when security situation is stable. I thank the people of this State for being law abiding citizens. Your peaceful orientation has made this State an exemplary one. You continue promoting peace in your communities and with your neighbors.
Last but not least, I would like to express my special appreciation to our friends and allies of SPLM/A who firmly stood with us during our darkest hours of need and to all partner agencies which are doing special role of filling the gap created by the long war. I encourage our allies, friends and partners to continue supporting us as we transition toward fulfilling the dreams of our people.
Finally, I would like to sincerely thank the families of our fallen martyrs for without their heroic sacrifices this day would not have been realized. I urged all of you, citizens of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State, to remain united and work together in order for us to collectively build this nation. This is the only way we can thank those who sacrifice so much for this freedom.