As Abia State marks the 30th Anniversary of it’s creation, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has solicited for patience and understanding from the citizens in their expectations for more dividends of democracy.
Governor Ikpeazu stated this at the Dr. Michael Okpara Auditorium, Umuahia during the grand finale of the activities marking the 30th Anniversary of the creation of Abia State.
He assured that Abia will witness the completion of the critical projects like new Government House, the JAAC building, the Osisioma flyover, the reconstruction and expansion of Port Harcourt road, Aba, Obohia, Uratta, Ngwa Roads amongst others.
He further disclosed that his administration plans to establish one cottage industry in each of the 17 LGAs beginning with 6 pilot Local Government Areas, which will be commissioned shortly.
His words: “I want to congratulate Abia State for this milestone. 30 years of existence is not a mean feat. I just want to acknowledge that we are not where we would have loved to be but we have certainly moved from point A to B and we are making steady progress”.
“The Abia you expect to see between now and the next one year will witness the completion of the new Government House, the JAAC Building,completion of the Osisioma Flyover.
“It will witness the 10 Kilometre per Local Government Area that i have promised Ukwa East and West, Bende , Ohafia and Isikwuato. We have put materials in gear to make sure that as the dry season breaks,we will go to work and God willing we will deliver on our promises”.
According to the Governor, his desire is to use the industries to engage Youths and Women in the grassroot areas thus, reversing Rural-Urban drift and to roll back the years when the Late Dr M . I . Okpara as Premier of the old Eastern Region used Agriculture to transform the economy of the Region.
The Governor who pointed out that Abia is one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria, thanked citizens across party divides who have continued to support development in the state.
He also appreciated Security Agencies in the state for the prevailing peace , security and however reiterated the importance of security in economic development and promised that his administration will give utmost concern to security of lives and property of the citizenry.
Ikpeazu further stated that the aggressive rebranding effort in the Industrial revolution and Manufacturing sector has repositioned the State as the undisputed MSME Centre of Excellence in the Country and beyond noting that Abia Youths are directly engaged by Footwear and Garment industries all over the world and assured that his government is working hard to provide the right ambience for continuous promotion of the SME sector as new things have been done in the area of industrialization.
The Governor noted that Abia is now a net exporter of skilled manpower to the world in shoe making and made public his interest in creating an equivalent of Abia Automated Shoe Factory in the Garment sub-sector.
He disclosed that the World Bank Intervention fund for Ndiegoro Erosion Control Project is still intact, maintaining that the rumour that the state government has misappropriated the fund should be discountenanced as products of mischievous and ignorant persons, pointing out that World Bank Project funds are naturally domiciled in a project account where the State Government does not ordinarily have access nor control over it, noting that payments from such funds to Contractors are usually approved by the World Bank after clear milestones are achieved at the project site and duly certified by Consultants appointed by the Bank.
He noted that with the commendation received from the ICPC on the judicious use of the Paris Club refund fund which was paid directly to the State Government, it is unthinkable for him to authorize the misappropriation of funds which are not even within his reach and earmarked for the development of critical infrastructure in Aba.
Dr. Ikpeazu said that though Abia is not yet where it ought to be, but has certainly made progress in various spheres of development.
He said that 30 years of existence is not a mean feat, adding that Abia has recorded impressive developmental milestones and maintained that the celebration calls for sober reflection on the sacrifices of the founding fathers of the state including the late former Premier of the defunct Eastern Region, Dr Michael Iheonukara Okpara and the first Indigenous Military Head of State, Late General Johnson Aguiyi Ironsi who made great contributions to Abia and Nigeria at large.
The Governor expressed deep sense of loss over the death of Lady Adanma Okpara and Lady Victoria Aguiyi Ironsi who died few days ago, assuring that their memories will continue to sustain the State.
Highlights of the celebration was the presentation of a lecture on the topic: “Insecurity As a Threat To Development” by a retired Director of the DSS, Mr Raymond Nkemdirim, unveiling and a review of the book entitled “Recollected In Tranquility: A Festschrift For Okezie Victor Chibuikem Ikpeazu Ph.D written by Kennedy Onyenma.
he review was by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Professor Sam Erugo, represented by Associate Professor Hargler Okorie.
Other highlights at the event included the presentation of the Abia State Long Term Development Plan 2020-2050 by the Permanent secretary and Executive Secretary of the Abia State Planning Commission, Dr Mrs Nnenna Chikezie.
A carefully developed road map for the development of the State as a guide to successive administrations for the next 30 years in the quest to build a great Abia in the future.He was joined at the unveiling by the Secretary to Government, Barrister Chris Ezem.
Other activities at the event was the presentation of Merit Awards on deserving Abians including former Senate President, Senator Adolphus Wabara, first PDP Chairman ,Chief Tony Ukasoanya ,Dr Uwaezuoke Amaobi Ifeanyi Okoro-“Enyi Abia”, while the Late Onye Isiala Aba, Late Chief Gordon Egbulefu was given a post humous award. Those in the “Oke Oji Abia” category include the composer of the Abia Anthem, Rev. Ogbonnaya Sleek Ogwo l and Dr Godwin Nwabunka while Lady Georgina Ekeoma Ehuriah-Arisa , a retired Federal Permanent Secretary was decorated with “Ada Ugo Abia” award.
The organizing committee had earlier outlined the activities lined up for the epoch making ceremony which started with Press Briefing by the Chairman, Abia State Advisory Council, Ezeogo (Dr.) Anagha Ezikpe to Special Jumat Prayers by Muslims in their various Mosques and Special Church Service at Seventh Day Adventist Church, Aguiyi Ironsi Layout.
However, this year’s event has been properly organized to also feature among other things, early morning broadcast by the State Governor, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu.
Abia State which clocks 30 years on 27th August 2021 has been administered by Military Administrators and Governors with Frank Ajobena being the first military Administrator and Dr Ogbonnaya Onu.being the first Civilian Governor.
Other military Administrators include, Chinyere Ike Nwosu, Temi Ejoor, Moses Fasanya, Anthony Obi while, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and Chief Theodore Ahamefula Orji were democratically elected Governors.
From May 29th 2015, when Governor Ikpeazu took over the mantle of leadership of Abia State, he presented a blueprint which he tagged his pillars of development within which his government hinges it’s developmental agenda to include Agriculture, Small and Medium Scale Enterprise, Oil and Gas, Education and Commerce.
However, six years into the eight year tenure of Governor Ikpeazu, the State has matched words with actions by vigorously pursuing it’s aim of bringing development to all facets of the State’s economy.
The ceremony was witnessed by the Wife of the Governor, Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu, members of the National Assembly including Hon. Abonta Nkem Uzuoma, Hon Benjamin Kalu and Hon. Chimaobi Ebisike, the Speaker of the State Assembly was represented by Hon. Uzodike Aaron of the Aba North State Constituency, Secretary to Government, Barrister Chris Ezem, Local Government Chairmen, members of the State Executive Council, Chairman of the Abia State Elders Advisory Council, Ezeogo Dr Anagha Ezikpe, the State PDP Chairman, Rt Hon Asiforo Okere, Dame Victoria Akanwa, a former state Chairman of PDP Senator Emma Nwaka, Chairman Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Joseph Nwabeke, notable traditional Rulers, Heads of Security Agencies in the State, Vice Chancellors of Tertiary Institutions in the State, the Clergy, Captains of Industry, among others.