My Good People of Abia State.
It is with utmost joy, honour, sense of fulfillment and an inestimable gratitude to the Almighty God, that I welcome all Abians at home and in Diaspora into this year of our Lord 2015.
I therefore most affectionately wish everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year.
Fellow Abians, by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, which guarantees only two terms of eight years for State Governors, this is therefore my last New Year broadcast to you as Executive Governor of Abia State. It is, thus, imperative to reflect on where we are coming from, where we are today and the expectations for tomorrow.
On assumption of office in 2007, we met a state of insecurity where armed robbery, kidnapping and other illicit acts held sway. We met a state lacking in basic foundational infrastructure. We met demoralized and unempowered youths. We met a political class and elites in Aba State polarized into Abuja group, Umuahia group, Lagos group, etc. We met a culture of impunity where idolatry and oath-taking at shrines were the order of the day.
Today, we have not only achieved unity and peace among our hitherto polarized political class and elites but we have also restored security and placed our state as one of the safest states in Nigeria. Abians have also been liberated from bondage and returned to God and to God Almighty, we give all the glory.
Our Government is building an ultra-modern permanent Government House and Governor’s Lodge to end the era of a Government House being in a makeshift or rented apartment in the state.
This Administration has also built an International Labour Organization (ILO) complaint Workers’ Secretariat and Abia workers have long relocated from their scattered rented offices to the new workers’ secretariat complex. We have built modern office complexes for the Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State (BCA), Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA), Abia State Universal Basic Education Board (ASUBEB), A new modern elibrary located around the Abia State House of Assembly, the Abia State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ASOPADEC) and the Joint Accounts Allocation Committee (JAAC) building, which are all of international standard.
This Government is bequeathing to Abians, a world class International Conference Centre with over 7,000 sitting capacity. My vision for this conference centre which has 12 robot cameras, 16 languages interpretations consoles, 12 hours power inverter and life satellite transmission system is to launch our dear state into global tourism.
An International SPAR shopping mall and cinema with basement are also being constructed at the old Garki site in Umuahia and we have already built network of roads to ease envisaged human and vehicular traffic when these world class projects are commissioned.
This administration has also completed a digital electronic library, compartmentalized to accommodate both children and adults. This will greatly encourage the reading culture of our people.
In the health sector, we have put in place functional diagnostic centres at Aba and Umuahia. We have also built and equipped dialysis and ophthalmology (eye) centres for the good health of our people. The chest clinic has also been commissioned. We have built and equipped over 700 heath centres all over our communities. Work has also reached advanced stages in the 100-bed hospitals we are building in Obingwa, Okeikpe in Ukwa West, Osisioma Ngwa, Ugwunagbo, Abia State University Teaching Hospital in Aba, Amachara Hospital, Arochukwu, Ikwuano and in other parts of the state. We have continued to invite foreign medical missions, at the expense of government, to give free medical services to our people, particularly in special areas.
Amachara Hospital has been upgraded and is now Abia State Specialist Hospital Amachara to specially take care of women and children.
We had to build another international market with over 7,000 shops at Ubani Ibeku and relocated traders at the very old Umuahia Market. The space is now being developed as an event centre. We also had to build 5,000 shops Industrial Market at Ahiaeke and relocated the Timber Market in Umuahia. We are equally building Aba mega mall of international standard in Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area. The Geometric Power Plant in Osisioma near Aba will soon be commissioned and this will guarantee uninterrupted power supply to Aba, its environs and will further activate small scale industries in the area.
We have also built many housing estates for our people including the Luxury Apartments on Finbarrs Road, Umuahia, the Isieke, Amaokwe, Amuba, Ohobo and Ubani Ibeku Housing Estates. Our exploits in the housing sector are legendary.
Government is also working towards realizing the 300 hectares of land Abia International Industrial City located at Osisioma. This city will help to decongest the commercial city of Aba and also provide industrial clusters with modern machines for manufacturers in the area.
This Government established Liberation Farms to place Abia tops as a food basket state. We distributed One Billion Naira Agricultural Loan and provided agricultural inputs to our farmers to boost agriculture. We entered into agreement with a foreign firm to manage the oil palm plantation in Ukwa. It is now Shanid-Abia Oil Palm Ltd which immediately employed 1,500 Abia people as workers. The plantation is now being turned around.
We have built modern court halls in Aba and Umuahia. We have also refurbished others. We have continued to provide free education and free school bus services at primary and secondary school levels in the state.
This administration has returned some schools to voluntary agencies to enhance discipline and morality in our children and improve the standard of our education. Let me state that the exercise will continue and shall include some primary schools.
We have taken steps to revive the moribund Golden Guinea Breweries Ltd, Umuahia. This brewery is almost ready to commence production and I shall commission it before leaving office as another parting gift to my people which will also create employment.
Our Youth Empowerment Scheme has become a reference point as we have distributed over 2,000 cars to our youths free of charge. We also placed 4,500 youths who are not working on monthly salary. All these have helped to reduce crime and unemployment.
This Administration established free skills acquisition centres all over the state. The students who are paid monthly salaries are also given the necessary support to start their own businesses on graduation.
My Administration has also commenced action to realize Abia State Airport. The aerial survey has been completed and discussions with land owners, traditional rulers and the youths are ongoing to fast-track the project.
We have done many roads all over the State including Aba.
As a profound appreciation of my contributions to history and foundational legacy projects to the state, several groups and organizations honoured me with numerous awards. Some of them include:
· Best Governor on Security Matters by African Security Watch in far away Ghana;
· Best Governor in Agriculture by all Farmers Association of Nigeria;
· Icon of Democracy Award by Champion Newspapers;
· Man of the year 2012 by Daily Independent Newspapers;
· Best Governor on Health by Federal Ministry of Health;
· Housing Governor of the Year 2014 by Nigerian Housing group in Abuja, June 2014;
· Best Governor in Sports in the South East zone by Sports Writers Association of Nigeria;
· Governor of the Year 2014 by Nigerian Pilot Newspapers;
· 2014 Governor of the Year by Champion Newspapers;
· Won the Federation Cup under my watch through Enyimba three times.
Fellow Abians, these awards and honours, I rededicate to God and to you, my good people of Abia State. Without you and the Almighty God, I would not have had the privilege of positively impacting on my generation.
Though we have less than five months to the end of this administration, I pledge to continue to give my best in the New Year and equally work to fully realize on-going projects as our resources may dictate.
I am convinced that this administration has laid the foundation to realize an economically virile, strong, affluent and glorious Abia State of our dream. In this success story, I did not act alone. I did it with my party; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). I have always believed in equity and together with our party – the PDP, the governorship position was zoned to Abia South Senatorial Zone. The PDP primaries have also produced a well groomed Ukwa Ngwa man of Abia South extraction with impeccable character. That man is Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu. I call on you to support him to sustain our creative and enterprising Abia spirit and the desired path of irreversible development.
Indeed, I see a greater and more prosperous Abia State, made strong by their toil, triumphant in their travails, ever united as a people and determined never to go back to the dark days of impunity and idolatrous worship.
May the blessings and light of God the Father shine on all of us this 2015 and always.
Once again, I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.
Thank you!