Speech by the Governor of Northern Bahr El- Ghazal State During Independence Day Celebrations

Speech Delivered by H.E. Lt. Gen. Paul Malong Awan Governor of Northern Bahr El- Ghazal State on the Independence Day Celebration of the Republic of South Sudan, July 9th 2011

Right Honorable Speaker of NBGS Legislative Assembly
Hon. President of High Court NBGS/Aweil
Your Excellencies Advisors and Ministers
Hon. Members of the State Legislative Assembly
Hon. SPLM State Secretary NBGS/Aweil
Hon. Representatives of other Political parties NBGS/Aweil
UN agencies & NGOs NBGS/Aweil
Heads of the State security organs
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen
Before I begin my speech, on this historic day and occasion, let us all stand-up and observe a minute of silence to remember and honor our heroes and heroines who laid down their precious lives in the course of liberation struggle. Thank you
Fellow Citizens, Ladies and Gentlemen:
The mission for which our people took up arms against successive and oppressive regimes in Khartoum in 1955, 1982, 1983 and for whom millions of our brave men and women willingly and courageously gave up their dear lives is accomplished, we have achieved our independence. But first let us thank and adore Almighty God for his unfailing blessings and guidance throughout the long years of struggle.
On behalf of the government and people of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State, let me salute and thank our martyrs for their heroic sacrifices. Nothing is precious than life, but millions of our brothers and sisters have given up their lives so that we celebrate this independence. They will forever be remembered.
Let me also salute and thank our courageous war disables who have willingly and bravely accepted to shed their precious blood in defense of the land and integrity our people. As we celebrate today, we have with us many brothers and sisters who gave up parts of their bodies for the sake of our people and the land. No words of mouth would thank them enough for their sacrifices.
Let me equally express similar gratitude to our civil society who stood solidly with us during the long armed struggle. It was our civil society that provided food for our gallant forces, it was civil society that took care of our children, it was the same civil society that borne the brunt of long and brutal war. This day would not have been possible without able contribution of our women, chiefs, spear masters, youth and churches.  I would like to give special thanks to our mothers and fathers who willingly offer their sons and daughters to partake in liberation struggle. Many mothers are not celebrating with their sons or daughters today, their children have fallen in the cause of struggle. We cannot thank them enough.
Above all, let me salute and thank our gallant forces, the SPLA, who fought long and hard since 1983 and who forced the (NIF) National Islamic Front currently (NCP) National Congress Party to the negotiating table.  As we celebrate this Independence Day, our forces are in trenches in MajokYienthou, Warguet, Kiir Adam and across South Sudan ready and willing to lay down their lives for the cause of our people and the land.  This Independence Day would not have been possible without the readiness of the SPLA. Without the presence of the SPLA, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), would have been abrogated like Adidas Ababa peace agreement of 1972. I am deeply honoured to thank them on this historic day and occasion.
Dear compatriots, ladies and gentlemen
The struggle of our people did not begin in 1955 but way back in 19 century when our great-grandfathers fought against slave masters and conquerors. They succeeded in resisting and defending our land by using spears and shields.  However, the quest to conquer and to control the South by the North continued on.
In 1955, our people felt enough was enough and staged an armed struggle against oppressive regimes in Khartoum. They were poorly armed but they never gave up until they forced Khartoum regime to sign Adidis Ababa agreement in 1972. The Adidis Ababa peace agreement was not implemented as per text. This became clear to many of our people and so many went to bush forming Any-Anya II. The Any-Nya II offensive against regime intensified in 1982.
In 1983,the  then President of the republic of Sudan, Jafaar Nimeri abrogated Adidis Ababa peace agreement saying that it was “neither Holy Bible nor Qur’an” and imposed Sharia law on the whole of Sudan. This sparked mass anger among our people. That anger was responded by members of 105 battalion under the command of Lt. Col. Karbino Kuanyin Bol and 104 battalion under command of Lt. Col. Wiliam Nyuon Bany. Karbino’s forces rebelled and shot the first bullet in Bor Town on May 16th, 1983 and were quickly joined by Nyuon forces in Ayod and the armed revolution began in earnest.
Our people responded in massive numbers trekking for months to Ethiopia where they would receive military training and equipments. Many of them died on the way either in the hands of militia forces, wild animals, hunger, thirst and diseases. Their sacrifices have not been in vain.
This Independence Day did not come cheap; we have paid for it so dearly. In 17 years of Any-nya I war, we lost one and half million people while in 21 years of SPLM/A struggle; we lost more than two and half million people. Majority of these fallen heroes and heroines are citizens of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State. No single family in this State has not lost a son or daughter during the struggle.
Had it not been for the determination of our people, peace would not have been realized. We faced many challenges throughout 21 years of conflict; our struggle was characterized by splits and internal fighting. In 1990s when many splits occurred and when many people deserted the movement as the war had reached bloody and destructive phase, people of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State remained unshaken and kept the fire of struggle burning. They fought at every corner of the South Sudan and beyond.   Nowhere in Southern Sudan, Blue Nile, Nuba Mountains, or Igassena Hills were battles were fought that one will not find a bone of our son but they died for a just cause.
Compatriots, ladies and gentlemen
When war became too expensive both in terms of lives lost and resources used, Khartoum finally accepted a negotiated settlement to the conflict. We ended the long war with the signature of 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement ( CPA).  At this juncture, I must congratulate the people of South Sudan in general and people of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State in particular for their patient during the difficult years of CPA implementation.  Without the patient and courage of our people, National Congress Party would have dragged the nation back to war but our people were mature and wise enough to know where their interest lie – it lies in peace.  The patient of our people has now paid off.  We have attained our independence through ballots during the referendum in which our people unanimously voted for separation of Southern Sudan from the North by a result margin of 99%, the highest separation vote in the world.  Referendum was a pivotal moment that will not be forgotten by Southern Sudanese and those who stood with us.
While we have attained our independence, many challenges lie ahead of us. Among them, border demarcation, Abyei protocol, national debt, distribution of resources, among others. The SPLM led government of the Republic of South Sudan, under able leadership of 1st Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit will find a peaceful solution to these outstanding challenges.
 Fellow citizens, ladies and gentlemen,
I am aware that expectations of our people are high. However, let me remind all of you that the task of building a new nation State from scratch is going to be difficult and challenging. This task will require participation and input of every citizen for without your active participation in our nation building, we may all fail.
I completely understand that our people need services but I must assure you that your SPLM led government will deliver services to you. During the difficult years of interim arrangement, your government managed to bring some services to you. For the first time in the history this State, we have new government structures, roads connecting Counties, public electricity, to mention but a few. As SPLM pledge to bring town to people, we will ensure that social services are delivered to people in their own villages. Your government will ensure that every Payam, Boma and village in this State shall be connected by roads and that each one of them has clean water, schools and hospitals. We will ensure that quality of education in this State is promoted so that those who send their children to East Africa will not have any reason to continue doing so. I must add that these social amenities will not be delivered in one day, it will be a gradual process but ultimately, they will be delivered.
While we promised to deliver social services, we encourage our people to actively contribute towards our nation building by being self reliance. As an independence State, we must all work hard to bring about the change we fought for.  Let me remind of all of you that we must go back to our farms for cultivation; we are blessed with fertile soil that can produce any kind of crop. Let us also learn to practice business; we have been relying on Northern traders since the dawn of time. You now have full responsibility to control of your own market by actively engaging in marketing activities. A lot of investors will come from all over the world to do business here. This is good for our people because these companies will create job opportunities for our youth but unless our businessmen and women work extra hard, they will be pushed out of the market. I am encouraging you, particularly chamber of commerce to play special role in encouraging and promoting business activities. I am confident that you will do it.
Finally,  I call on the people of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State to put behind all their differences and open a new chapter for a new nation. Let us forgive each other and unite for the sake of our country-the Republic of South Sudan. I appeal to all political forces in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State to work hand in hand with the SPLM in order to construct our State. Regardless of your political affiliations or religious beliefs, together we are sons and daughters of this great State and the nation.
                                                                              SPLM Oyee 
!SPLA Oyee
Long live the Republic of South Sudan
Long live the great struggle of our people
Long live Independence Day
Go ahead the makers of freedom
May God bless our State and the Republic of South Sudan!

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