Friday, 26 August 2016

ABIA @25: Gratitude For Where We Are Coming From, Hope For A Better Tomorrow "- Ikpeazu


BEING A STATE BROADCAST BY DR. OKEZIE IKPEAZU,
GOVERNOR OF ABIA STATE ON THE OCCASION OF THE 25TH
ANNIVERSSARY OF THE CREATION OF ABIA STATE ON
SATURDAY, AUGUST 27, 2016


My good people of Abia State.

It is with a heart of immense gratitude to God almighty that I
address you all today on the occasion of the 25thanniversary of
the creation of our state.

Without a doubt, 25 years is a milestone. At 25, it is time for us
to take stock and review where we are coming from while setting
a clear agenda for where we are going to. Our founding fathers
had lofty aspirations for Abia State upon creation. While we have
not fulfilled all of their aspirations, we have made remarkable
progress.

I have no doubt that the founding fathers of Abia State would be
glad to know that today, a man from the Ukwa Ngwa axis of Abia
State is the Governor of Abia State in keeping with their aspiration
for just and equitable distribution of political power in Abia State.
I consider it a major milestone because by this singular action,
every Abian from all the quarters of the State can confidently
aspire to the leadership of this state in the full knowledge that
they enjoy the full rights and benefits of an egalitarian state united
by a shared history and confidently marching towards a shared
future.

Beloved Abians, as we celebrate our 25th anniversary, I would
love to dedicate this anniversary to a call for unity and healing in
our land.

I am aware that as a result of the circumstances of electoral
politics in Abia State, we experienced some bitterness and
acrimony. A lot of people felt aggrieved and till date, some
wounds of pain are still open. I am therefore taking responsibility
as the Governor of Abia State and the custodian of the mantle of
this state to urge all who were aggrieved for one reason or
another to let go of their pain and let the past remain in the past.
By the same token, I wish to call on all those who are fanning
the embers of disunity and playing the drums of hate to
immediately cease and desist.

Abia state belongs to all of us. We pull together, we succeed
together, we stand for each other and we take the glory together.
I therefore urge us all to, as a mark of respect to the founding
fathers of this state, sheath our swords and come together for
the greater good of Abia State. Abia state has illustrious sons
and daughters who have excelled admirably in their various
chosen fields. Now is the time to pull those expertise, resources
and passion together for the good of our state. I make this call
solemnly in the belief that all will hear and heed my call.

We are all aware of the difficult economic realities facing our
country today. As a component state in Nigeria, these harsh
economic realities have affected the finances of Abia State and
greatly hampered our ability to fully meet our obligations. The
circumstances not-withstanding, we are proud of the great strides
we have achieved so far.

From road construction to our interventions in health, education,
housing, agriculture, environment and other critical sectors, this
administration has defied the negative economic indices to march
resolutely forward.

Today, as part of activities marking our 25th Anniversary, we have
completed the construction of the Abia Revenue House, the
Corporate Headquarters of the Abia State Board of Internal
Revenue and our One Stop Investment Centre which will house
the mechanism to fast-track ‘Doing Business in Abia State’. The
foundation stone for this edifice was laid barely a year ago and
today, the project is a reality. It is a signpost of what we will do
in the years to come.

For the 2nd year in a row, Abia State came first in the May/June
West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination conducted
by WAEC. Students from Abia State scored straight As and made
the state proud.

It has always been my assurance that Abia State has all it takes
to succeed under any circumstance. My confidence stems from
the indomitable spirit of our people, the resilient blood that runs in
our veins and the resolute determination of our administration to
succeed even in the face of stiff challenges.

We are mindful of the fact that before the discovery of oil in
Nigeria, agriculture was the main-stay of our people. We are
aware that some of the most enduring legacies our founding
fathers left for us is the belief that we can always get our
sustenance from the land around us. We are now moving into a
phase of deliberate embrace of the advantages that we have
ranging from our arable lands to the traditional know-how of our
people when it comes to agriculture.

Our administration has prioritized agriculture which is one of the 5
pillars we hinged our developmental plans on. We have set aside
funds to acquire equipments and machinery needed to embark on
massive cultivation of the crops in which we have comparative
advantage. We are massively acquiring new species of cassava
and oil palm that guarantee us greater yields and higher
resistance to diseases and other harvest-decreasing agents. I
therefore call on Abians to key into this vision and join hands with
this administration as we seek to increase the opportunities
available to our people.

My dear people of Abia State, I wish to also use this occasion to
address a concern that has been raised about our seeming
concentration of road construction projects in Aba.
So far, our administration is on 60 active road construction sites
out of which we have completed about 35 roads. 22 of those
roads we have completed are in Aba raising concerns that we are
concentrating development in Aba. Permit me to provide some
perspective on this issue.

Aba is undeniably the commercial and entrepreneurial capital of
South Eastern Nigeria. With this reality, it then follows that Aba is
very important to the economy of Abia State. This is both in
terms of the taxes that can accrue to the Abia State Government
from all the commercial activities that go on in Aba and the
attendant impact on the Gross Domestic Product of the State.

It is therefore on this premise that our administration has
concentrated development in Aba with the understanding that a
vibrant Aba economy has the potential of meeting the needs of
the entire Abia state. If we get Aba to its full capacity, Abia State
will be a buoyant state.

It is however imperative to point out that developments in Aba do
not in any way translate to the abandonment of development in
other parts of Abia state. The Abiriba-Nkporo Road, the NdiOji-
NdiOkereke-Ozu-Abam Road, the Abiriba Ring Road, Bende-
Arochukwu Road, Mkpa-Enugu Express Road, the Eke-Obuzo-
Ngodo Road, the Eluama-Amibo-Acha road, the Amibo-Otamkpa
Road, the Okon-Aku Bridge and the Imo-Ndimkpa Bridge are all
massive infrastructure projects completed and on-going in Abia
North Senatorial Zone. We equally have a number of ongoing and
completed roads spread in all the Local Government Areas of
Abia Central Senatorial Zone. I wish to assure all sections of our
state of a balanced attention in terms of infrastructural and social
amenities.

Our strategy for the rapid socio-economic renaissance of Abia
State recognizes the fact that massive agricultural activities and
mining industry can thrive in Abia North Senatorial Zone, Agro-
based incentives, health tourism and mining will remain the major
contribution from Abia Central while the foregoing narrative
supports major commercial and small/medium scale enterprises
to remain the emphasis in Abia South.

Therefore, all our effort in road rehabilitation, electricity, health,
education and security are all geared towards creating a sub-
structure upon which these businesses will sprout.

Beloved Abians, Government is touched by the plight of our
citizens who reside in areas where construction has slowed down
due to the rains especially Ibere Street, Port Harcourt Road, Aba-
Owerri Road, Faulks Road, etc all in Aba in addition to Aba Road
and Agbama Ring Road in Umuahia. Mindful of the plight of the
users of these roads, Government has ordered all contractors to
return to site immediately and to ensure that all drainage works
are completed within this rainy season. Therefore, Setraco Nigeria
Plc will remain on Faulks Road, Aba while Arab Contractors
should remobilize to Aba Road, Umuahia as soon as possible.

In response to the many distractions that this government has
faced, we have decided to adjust our priorities to include:

1. Renewed Resolve to complete most of the on-going projects
before the end of the year.

2. Ground-breaking ceremony of the Osisioma Interchange by
October 2016.

3. Our desire to build a new Enyimba Industrial City is still on
course.

4. 100% cultivation and application of all our existing farm estates
which were hitherto under-cultivated.

5. Maintenance of zero tolerance for touting & illegal revenue
collection.

Let me seize this opportunity to assure all our people that the
mandate, which they freely gave to us in 2015 remains
sacrosanct and safe, under Gods watch.

As custodians of this sacred ‘Equity’ mandate, we shall remain
loyal and faithful to the supremacy, authority and ultimate will of
God almighty. There shall be no other God beside the God of
Shedrack, Meshack and Abadnego in our land which our founding
fathers rightfully named God’s Own State.

Dear Abians, at this juncture, I implore us to spare a moment and
pray for the repose of the souls of our founding fathers who have
gone to be with the Lord. In the same vein, let us also pray for
those of them who are still with us that God will continue to
imbue them with strength and good health that they will continue
to serve as a beacon to us all. We may have gone through the
crucibles in our 25-year history but I have no doubt that our future
as Abians is far greater than our past. We will do all within our
powers to ensure that Abia State is not only the first in
alphabetical order in the comity of states but indeed, the first in
all positive ramifications.

Permit me to also pay special tribute to all Abians who are
making Abia State proud in various fields of endeavour. From
Politics to Business, Sports and the Arts, the Academia to
Philanthropy and indeed, all other endeavours of life, we say we
are proud of you. May you soar even higher.

At 25, if we look around us, we definitely have a lot to be proud
of. I therefore implore us all to join me as we give thanks to God
for his grace upon this state in the past 25 years.

I congratulate you all and my prayer is that the good Lord will
continue to bless you and bless Abia State.
I thank you all for listening and I say happy 25th anniversary.
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