STATE BROADCAST BY THE GOVENOR OF ABIA STATE, DR. OKEZIE VICTOR IKPEAZU ON THE OCCASION OF THE 28TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CREATION OF ABIA STATE ON TUESDAY, AUGUST 27, 2019
MY GOOD PEOPLE OF ABIA STATE,
It is my honour and pleasure to address you today on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the creation of our dearly beloved Abia, God’s own State.
I am thankful to God that our state has continued to march on resolutely over the years and despite obvious challenges, we have made appreciable progress and I have no doubt that we are firmly on course in our journey to the Abia of our dreams.
As you all are aware, to the glory of God, we have come through an intense electioneering season where we were able to prove once again that we are indeed, God’s Own State. Attempts were made to stoke embers of division and strife among us but we collectively agreed that the bonds that unite us are stronger than those who seek to divide us and we came out even stronger and more united.
I must at this point pay special tribute to our founding fathers for their foresight in conceptualizing the Abia Charter of Equity. It is a template that has ensured that every part of Abia State is equitably treated in the socio-political evolution of the state. I thank God that we have sustained that charter and I will do my best to ensure that the torch of equity in Abia State remains alight.
Since our assumption of office for a second term on the saddle of leadership in Abia State, we have taken steps to consolidate on the successes we recorded in our first term while ensuring that we finish strongly, our second and last lap.
I wish to reiterate that our cardinal objective in our second term is the completion of all the projects that we began in our first term while laying solid foundations for sustainable job creation for our teeming youths in Abia State.
In that regard, we have hit the ground running upon our swearing-in and have taken steps to actualize our objectives as stated above. Permit me therefore to give you a brief rundown of some of our activities since we resumed duty on May 29, 2019.
We set up a Committee to rehabilitate non-functional ones and install new street lights in Aba and Umuahia and I am glad that many of our major streets in both our major cities are brilliantly lit at night at the moment. I am glad with the feedback I am getting on the impact of the streetlights on extended business hours, security and general aesthetics in our cities and we are determined to ensure that the initiative is sustained and expanded. For the record, about 1,000 streetlights have been installed in Aba and Umuahia in the first phase and a similar number will soon be deployed to cover all dark spots within the major cities in our state.
Mindful of the difficulty in constructing roads in the rainy season, we have carried out palliative remedial works on many of the bad roads in Umuahia and Aba preparatory to contractors handling them fully returning to site as soon as the rains abate.
In the meantime, Arab contractors, handling the Aba Road in Umuahia have continued working and they are about completing the Phase 1 of the project. Drainage work is also ongoing on the Phase 2 which will see the project extended to the Port-Harcourt Expressway at Ubakala.
In a similar vein, China Zonghao, the contractor handling the Osisioma Interchange is also on site and the project is advancing. We have also made appreciable progress on the Ururuka Road, Osusu Road, Udeagbala Road, Port-Harcourt Road, the Abiriba-Nkporo Road, the Umuokpara Ring Road and the Umuene-Omoba Road.
I trust that we are all witnesses to the work we are currently doing at Aba-Owerri Road in Aba. The 12 Inches thickness of the concrete underlay we are piling on the perennially bad portion of the road before the final asphalt overlay bears testimony to the kind of roads our administration is desirous of bequeathing to Abians, even as we pledge that the ongoing Osusu road will bear our signature Cement Rigid Pavement Technology.
We are currently concentrating on building new drains and the desilting of blocked ones to allow for free flow of storm water to the natural collection points and as soon as the rains abate, contractors, who have already been mobilized, will resume work on most of our over 95 ongoing road projects across the state.
Beloved Abians, I am not unaware of the complaints that have been made in certain quarters that our projects are slow and delayed. My response to that is that we are more interested in the quality of projects we undertake than the quantity and the speed of completion.
We have no interest in speedily completing projects for accolades and applause only for the projects to fail shortly after. Our administration is building to last. Within the bounds of the resources available to us, we will spread them equitably across sectors while ensuring that we get optimal value for every money we spend. I have said it before and I will like to reiterate it that no road built under our administration will collapse in the lifetime of our administration contrary to what was hitherto obtainable. We do not have the money to be returning to the same project every year. We will rather take time to painstakingly do a project once and for all than rush to finish a project within a year and it will fail by the next year.
It is for this reason that I invite you to take time to check Oomne Road, Kamalu Road, Faulks Road, Ehere, Chima Nwafor/MCC, Ukaegbu, Umuola, Ovom, Samek, Tonimas, ENUC, Umuatako, Isingwu-Ossah, Ukaegbu Estate, Low –cost Housing Estate internal roads and a whole lot of other roads that we have done which have remained undented after several rainy seasons over the past 4 years. I also invite Abians, users and residents of these roads to cast their minds back to the condition of these roads before our administration came on board. We agree that there is still a lot of work left to be done. But we take pride in the ones we have done so far.
We intend to pursue a robust agricultural policy in our second term in line with our 5 Pillars of Development. This drive will see us support the creation of agro-allied industries across various value chains in the agricultural sector. From Livestock to Poultry, Rice to Oil Palm, Cassava to Yams and other cash crops, we are doing big things in agriculture in our 2nd term. As a mark of our seriousness in this regard, we are set to complete the Acha Rice Mill in Isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia State which will serve as a Milling hub for Rice farmers in that axis. Other similar Mills are already established while others are ongoing in other Rice-producing communities in Abia North Senatorial Zone.
Work has reached advance stages in the 2 Shoe Factories about to be opened in Abia State. The NIBRA Leather City at Obuaku, Ukwa West LGA is progressing rapidly while the massive factory-building for the Abia State Automated Shoe Factory, located at Aba, has been completed with installation of machines imminent. It is my projection that despite the initial delays, our dream of automated shoe production will commence in Abia State before the end of the year 2019.
The Enyimba Economic City Project is also fully on course with key preliminary components of the project being tidied up. In a short while, we shall be hosting a grand event at the project site for the formal groundbreaking and commencement of construction works.
Our young ones we took to China to train on automated show production are poised to resume at the factory as pilot producers. In the meantime, they are all doing well having expanded their operations and incorporated new skills. One of them just won an award for the best Female Entrepreneur in Nigeria with a brand new car and N1M as award price which she has just brought to show to me. Who says that something is not happening for those who are dedicated, committed and ready to work in Abia State?
My commitment to creating jobs for the teeming youths of Abia State remain unwavering and with the number of different Public Private Partnership projects we have on ground, it will be jobs, jobs, jobs in Abia State going forward.
I have paid a visit to the New Government House Complex in Umuahia and have opened discussions with the contractors handling the project to see how our administration can complete the project and bequeath it to the people of Abia State. In the meantime, I am glad to announce that we have completed a brand new Headquarters Complex for the Zone 9 Command of the Nigeria Police Force. They will shortly be moving out of their rented temporary offices at Ehimiri Housing Estate in Umuahia into the purpose-built headquarters our administration has provided for them at the Government Station Layout.
We are also constructing a new road to Ubani Market and adjoining Housing Estates through Amuzukwu, Umuahia that will take commuters 5 minutes to get from Isi gate to the Ubani area.
We are building a new market for groceries in Umuahia and it will be ready before the end of the year. We will subsequently decongest Isi-gate and commence beautification and round about works around that axis.
In addition, the Abia State Universal Basic Education Board (ASUBEB) and the Abia State Internal Revenue Services have moved into their permanent Headquarters Complexes while other Agencies and key Government Offices operating out of inadequate facilities will be supported to erect befitting permanent headquarters.
We will soon retool our Housing Corporation to reclaim and revive all abandoned Housing Estates around the State and ensure their speedy developments. These are deliberate strategies to give our State Capital, Umuahia and other key cities the modern outlook befitting their status while opening them up for rapid development.
Ndi Abia Ndi Nwem, I am proud to announce to you that once again, Abia State students were exceptional in the just concluded May/June 2019 WAEC Examination. We are proud to have sustained this feat which we started upon assumption of office and with the work we are doing in the educational sector, I have no doubt that we will remain on top for the forseable future in that sector.
Let me add that we are concluding arrangements with various international partners for massively-discounted Scholarship packages for Abia State students wishing to pursue Graduate and Post-Graduate Studies abroad. We have reconstituted the Abia State Scholarship Board and they will make the necessary announcements but suffice it to state that we are planning for the future of our students in Abia State and I promise to ensure that about 500 candidates will be leaving the shores of Abia for further education within the next 6 months.
We are set to deliver 250 new classroom blocks across Primary and Secondary Schools in Abia State, deploy Community Security Officials to protect school infrastructure and students and sustain the training and retraining of our teachers both locally and internationally.
We will also continue our Home Grown School Feeding Programme this 2nd Term.
Dear Abians, it will not be fair of me to finish this broadcast without providing accurate update on the salary status in Abia State. I make bold to say that all Ministries and Departments in Abia State have received their July 2019 Salaries and are on track to receive their August 2019 Salaries by the end of this month. The workers being owed salaries are mostly staff of Agencies who receive monthly subventions from Government and who were expected to manage their affairs including payment of staff salaries. As the father to all, I will not leave the staff of these Agencies to suffer. I have set up a Committee headed by the Head of Service of Abia State, Sir Onyii Wamah to work out modalities for the liquidation of these arrears so that they can be up to date like their MDAs counterparts. We are also reviewing the operations of all revenue-generating Agencies in Abia State to ensure their financial discipline.
Let me use this opportunity to also plead with Pensioners for their patience as steps are being taken to ensure a more efficient pension-administration regime in Abia State.
I make bold to state that every funds we have received till date, released for the purposes of payment of salary arrears, were judiciously utilized according to their stated purpose of release. It is still a matter of public record that the ICPC commended the Abia State Government for effective management of its bailout funds at a time other states were being investigated for mismanaging same.
Beloved Abians, I state unequivocally that the welfare of every Abian is of paramount importance to me. I am your Governor. You elected me to serve you. I understand your challenges. I feel your pain. I assure you that your welfare and wellbeing will always be my topmost priority.
I assure you that one thing you will never doubt where I, Okezie Ikpeazu is concerned, is my commitment and sincerity of purpose in serving you. I will remain transparent and honest with you. I will keep you updated on what we are doing and I will take your feedbacks. I am one of you. I am here for you. Together, we will do that which is right to the glory of God and for the benefit of Ndi Abia.
Let me at this juncture pay special tribute to our founding fathers of Abia State and reassure them that we are carrying aloft the flame of development which they lit.
I commiserate with families of our dearly departed founding fathers while celebrating those still among us. I salute the Ezeogo Dr. Anaga Ezikpe-led Abia State Advisory Council for their painstaking dedication in putting together events commemorating our creation every year. May God continue to strengthen them.
I congratulate all those who have been chosen for conferment of awards this year and urge them to continue to be worthy of the recognition accorded them.
To all Abians in every walk of life, I remind you that this state belongs to all of us. Odinma Abia should be our guiding principle in all of our endeavours. We have no other state to call home. I promise you that by the end of our tenure, we shall be bequeathing to you, an Abia, far greater than the one we met. This is our solemn pledge. So help us God.
God Bless our Founding Fathers
God Bless Abia State
Abia ga adi Ukwu.
I thank you all for your kind attention and I say happy 28th anniversary.