By Amina Yahaya
- Today, 29th May, 2019 marks yet another milestone in the history of Ebonyi State. It stands as a fitting end to the remarkable first lap of the Divine Mandate mission and the commencement of the second lap, which I promise you will be even more outstanding and historical than the previous four years.
- Once again, and only for the 6th time in the history of our beloved State, I have raised the Bible and committed myself to another tenure and another oath of faithful public service to the best of the abilities and attributes that it has pleased God bestow upon me. This could not have been possible without Our Lord’s abundance of grace, and the mandate that flowed from the goodwill and solidarity of the vast majority our brethren within and outside Ebonyi State.
- My extraordinary wife and awesome children, my wonderful brothers, their amazing wives and their exceptional children, the full network of my family and friends must share a large proportion of the glory that comes from our success, for they remained rocks and pillars through highs and lows – and not just in the past four years but all through the years preceding our previous tenure; for the triumphs and challenges that we overcame together as a family; and for the years ahead, even long after life in office as Governor, for the greater mercies and blessings that will surely flow from the prodigious kindness of God, and for the strength and courage that will overcome the trials that inevitably come to every family. We shall forever surrender to the tremendous love of God and His benevolence, which have been boundless in our lives. To the memory of my most beloved mother, I owe everything – a debt that can never be repaid and love that can never be measured.
- I pay fulsome tribute to His Excellency the Deputy Governor and his wife, to the Speaker and members of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, to the Chief Judge of Ebonyi State and all the members of the judicial branch, to the members of the Executive Council of Ebonyi State, to the members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), to the members of the Elders Council, our Founding Fathers and members of the Traditional Rulers Council, the Divine Mandate Campaign Organisation, members of the Muslim Community, Market Women, Akubaraoha Youths, Students, GDI, NGOs/CSOs, the formidable PDP family and, above all, to you, highly esteemed Ebonyians, for your unwavering support and confidence in me.
- Four years ago you walked down the valley of political adversity with me; and soared to the peak of the mountain with me too. Together this year, 2019, we faced the struggle once more, and we prevailed like the true descendants of Abraham, with pride and dignity; honour and discipline. Our God was not mocked; shame did not come to us; and the promise of our destiny was made manifest and realized.
- You, my faithful compatriots, have, individually and collectively, demonstrated your unequivocal love for the second time through your overwhelming endorsement of our accomplishments in the previous years, and your optimism that we have a greater and more productive journey ahead of us.
- I owe you a huge debt of gratitude for giving me the opportunity to make positive history in our dear Ebonyi State; and as I work hard to improve the standard of living for Ebonyi people, I fervently pray that God who rules in the affairs of human beings will reward your kindness to me in multiple folds.
- Our government was forged in the fire of unprecedented historical political struggle. Against bitter opposition from the entire apparatus and might of incumbent government, we prevailed – in landslide proportions. Our triumph derived largely from the mass support attracted by both our philosophy of justice and equity in a plural society like Ebonyi, and our manifesto programme of reformation, reposition and regeneration.
- Ebonyi State was created, thanks to the magnanimity and statesmanship of General Sani Abacha of blessed memory, on 1st October, 1996 and has truly come of age. It is a state that emerged from the scalding ashes of discrimination, marginalization, slavish subjugation, socio-political and economic degradation, ignominy and indifference right from Nigerian independence when it served as a mere appendage to Eastern Region and East Central State right up to the period when its people were carved up and appended to old Anambra and old Imo States and then to old Enugu and old Abia States, respectively. Its emancipation to statehood and self-determination in 1996 has not altogether eliminated poverty, disease, backwardness, stigmatization and derision, but today we stand proud as a people and have boldly taken our own destiny into our own hands.
- In the last four years, we worked diligently to announce to the world that Ebonyi has arrived. In the course of the next fours years, we will make a bold and courageous statement that Ebonyi State is here to stay, here to dine with the elders because we have washed and cleansed our hands!
- The broad image of Ebonyi within the Nigerian polity has been one of gross misrepresentation, caricature and insolence all in attempt to inject into our honourable and hospitable people the negative complexes of inferiority and inadequacy. Having stated this, however, it is equally true that our standing amongst the comity of states in the republic was not edifying.
- For example, let us take a few moments to digest a load of unpalatable facts, figures and general statistics: The United Nations’ Global Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) uses 10 indicators to measure poverty in three dimensions: Education, Health and Living Standards. The most recent report was published in June 2015, and it is based on data collected between 2004 and 2014.
- The South Western States of Lagos and Osun occupy the top two positions as having the lowest incidence of poverty at 8.5% and 10.9%, respectively. The South Eastern State of Anambra occupies third position at 11.2%. In 6th, 7th and 15th positions are Imo, Abia and Enugu at 19.8%, 21% and 28%, respectively.
- Our beloved Ebonyi State occupies 21st position at 56% multi-dimensional poverty index, being the singular State from Southern Nigeria to be in the depressing company of the Northern States that make up the 18 poorest states in the federation. Thus, Ebonyi constitutes a negative drag on the entire South East, plunging its zonal average down to 27.36%, which is a higher incidence of poverty than the South West at 19.3% and the South-South at 25.2%, respectively. This is entirely unacceptable to us!
- Admittedly, compared to Zamfara at 91.1%, Ebonyi is in a princely position. However, we are not interested in a race to the bottom. We are not interested in looking down to see who is our inferior, for that breeds complacency and indolence; instead, we are interested in looking up to see who is ahead of us, for that will fire up our aspirational and competitive spirit.
- Upon assumption of office on 29th May, 2015, we met a state treasury on the brink of bankruptcy – local debt burden of about N15 billion that required immediate liquidation, and financial commitments to uncompleted or ongoing projects initiated by the out-going administration which stood at about N50 billion. The state’s revenue from federal allocation had shrunk by more than 67% and the internally generated revenue was a meagre N250 million per month. The primary burdens imposed by workers’ wages and entitlements stood at more than N2.3 billion, excluding obligations to Local Governments. This set of circumstances compelled us to think deep, work extraordinarily hard and plan meticulously to come up with a broad range of plans, adjustments, re-ordering of priorities and actions framed into a structural agenda for survival and progress; development and empowerment agenda to lift the burden of poverty on our society.
- It is by positively looking and marching forward that we have articulated both our mission and our vision for Ebonyi State in the years ahead – “programme of reformation, reposition and regeneration.”
- There is no doubt that in Ebonyi State every sector is competing for priority attention, but the experiences we gained in private enterprises, political party administration and as Deputy Governor equipped us with informed opinion, ability for careful judgment, the patience to weigh priorities and of course the immense benefit of experience. These attributes gave us the benefit of high appreciation of the ingredients and contents of good governance. These helped us to make a positive departure from the old order. It is therefore necessary to use this occasion to examine our performance in the past four years because, as the Greek philosopher Plato correctly submitted, “An unexamined life is not worth living”.
- This review is necessary to determine the extent to which we succeeded in the fulfillment of the contents of our manifesto which were not just mundane electioneering promises and vacuous jargons, but were rather solemn commitments made with divine inspiration and faith; duties of our social contract with Ebonyi people, hence their projection into the realm of divinity by equally making them the ingredients of a covenant between God Almighty and ourselves. For the record, our covenants with God were:
(i) To serve Ebonyi people with the fear of God
(ii) To prosper Ebonyi State with the word of God
(iii) To make Ebonyi State the number one economy in the whole country
(iiii) To passionately help the widows and the oppressed
(v) To build a befitting place of worship like Solomon did so that any Ebonyian that is faced with any difficulty anywhere in the world and turns to the direction of the temple and calls upon the name of the Lord, God will answer such prayers.
- Ladies and gentlemen, it is my humble submission, to both God and humanity, that not only have we kept faith with every item of this unshakable covenant, we accomplished and exceeded all expectations. Ebonyians and Nigerians, at home and abroad, bear positive testimony to the great name that the Great Lord is making for Himself in this little corner of the universe!
- The truth of the matter, ladies and gentlemen, is that the freedom bequeathed on Ebonyi people since its creation has finally began to yield the anticipated dividends. It will suffice to state that the Divine Mandate administration in Ebonyi State, the leadership of which it pleased God in His infinite wisdom to entrust in our hands, is alive to its responsibilities in all ramifications, and will remain so for another four years.
- The reward for Ebonyians for electing and re-electing us is that we have refused to waver in our resolve to make the welfare of Ebonyi masses the crux of our administration. This is true even though our administration began at a time the economy of the country was set for a free fall under the worst economic recession that Nigeria had faced for more than 30 years. So far, our sincere and unrelenting efforts to transform the fortunes of Ebonyi and its people have resulted in the following achievements, which represents only a very condensed summary:
- A State of Peace and Harmony: Like blessed Pope John Paul II, we have continued to insist that “War belongs to the past.” In the Divine Mandate administration that I lead in Ebonyi State, I declare with profound solemnity that peace is and shall always be the first fruit of democracy.
- Through God’s unlimited compassion and kindness, we have achieved peace between our Ezillo and Ezza-Ezillo brothers. We made the peace permanent through the creation of two autonomous communities of Izzo and Amaleze. The planting of the Tree of Peace in Ezillo soil and the spiritual cleansing of blood through the all-conquering word of God in the many state crusades held in this stadium and in other parts of Ebonyi State stand as a permanent testament to the universal human hunger and quest for peace, harmony and concord. Our gratitude goes to the Peace Committee led by the Very Rev. Fr. Dr Abraham Nwali and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for this great achievement.
- The resettlement programme for the people of Izzo community in Ezillo is in top gear and, pending finishing touches, will soon be fully consummated. The success recorded in the peace programme for Ezillo has provided Ebonyi State with comprehensive autochthonous peace template, which we are applying to the unfortunate dispute between Enyibichiri and Enyigba people of Ikwo and Abakaliki Local Government Areas, respectively. As the Tree of Peace in Ezillo and the peace efforts in Enyigba/Enyibichiri continue to flourish, it is hoped that our brothers in other parts of the state will continue to appreciate the value of peace and tranquility as the basis for development and progress. We will not rest on our oars till Ebonyi State becomes a truly peaceful state where brothers live in amity. This is why the Ministry of Border Peace and Internal Security has been repackaged for greater efficiency and proactivity in nipping sundry conflicts in the bud before they fester. We equally seek the cooperation of all Ebonyi citizens, just as we shall continue to involve God with whom all things are possible in our search for peace.
- Security of Life and Property: Related to peace is our continuous effort to ensure security of life and property in Ebonyi State. I am happy to state that this too has been successful to a great extent and I sincerely appreciate the security agencies in Ebonyi State whose devotions to their respective duties are highly commendable.
- Operatives of our Neighbourhood Security Watch scheme have been very useful in achieving the security that prevails today. Their sense of decorum and commitment to duty deserve commendation. I appreciate the Honourable Speaker and members of Ebonyi State House of Assembly for providing legal backbone for Ebonyi Neighbourhood Security Watch through the enactment of Ebonyi Neighbourhood Security Watch Act to which I have since given my assent.
- We give God the glory that Ebonyi State is rated the most peaceful and secure State in the Nigerian federation. I seek the continued cooperation of Ebonyi people in our determination to maintain our top rank amongst the comity of States in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
- Economic Regeneration and Human Capital Development. Ministry of Human Capital Development was created in December, 2018 as replacement for the Ministry of Economic Empowerment and Job Creation. It was a direct response to the imperative need to develop the abundance of human capacity, talents and skills of our people. This ministry will continue to receive priority attention as the bulwark against poverty and deprivation in our society and as the engine room for the development of the talents, entrepreneurial spirit, skills and ingenuity of our people, particularly women and the youths.
- Already, the ministry has accomplished the following: Tricycle Empowerment of 400 Ebonyians at a cost of N263,200,000; empowerment of wives of security personnel to embark on farming at a cost of N80,600,000; empowerment of 5008 Divine Mandate Pastors/CAN Blocks at a cost of N500,800,000; six young unemployed graduates selected across the three senatorial districts in Ebonyi State were sponsored to be trained in horticulture – after the training, my administration empowered them to set up their respective horticultural businesses by providing each of them with land space, water bore-holes and the sum of N1,000,000; the sum of N2.036 billion for the financial empowerment of 10,526 Ebonyians, the majority of whom are widows; N250,000,000 was disbursed to 6,520 beneficiaries; 4000 widows got N100,000 each.
- These financial empowerment programmes cover unemployed graduate and non-graduate youths, men, women, widows and indigent Ebonyi citizens in Lagos and elsewhere for whom the special Diaspora Empowerment Programme tagged “street-to-skill” was created.
- Furthermore, the sum of N263,200,000 was spent to acquire 400 TVS tricycles which were distributed free to deserving Ebonyians at home and in Anambra State. We then proceeded to make N4 billion loan facility available to civil servants and prospective entrepreneurs on single-digit interest rate for the establishment of agro-based industries.
- Additionally, there are 300 widows receiving N10,000 monthly stipend and bungalows being built for other indigent widows in all the 171 Wards through the office of the First Lady. Those amongst our citizens who are living with various forms of physical disabilities have been receiving stipends and periodic support and empowerment programmes through the Department of Welfare and Religious Matters. Our Traditional Rulers are not left out. We have increased their allowances by 100% and distributed SUVs to them to enhance the efficiency of their work and the prestige of their office. The sum of N150,000,000 has been released for the empowerment of Ebonyi Market Women to augment their entrepreneurial efforts. Just a few days ago, precisely on the 22nd of May, 2019, the Executive Council of Ebonyi State approved the purchase an donation of sports utility vehicles to senior ministers of God and leaders of the Islamic faith within our State – in fact the vehicles have already been distributed to the beneficiaries.
- Ladies and gentlemen, I have gone to these great lengths to enumerate our accomplishments in these areas of empowerment, charity and welfare because these are the hidden elements of our achievements that are not always visible to observers and the general public, but they are directly inspired by God and they are the most important aspects of our achievements and legacy. The roads and bridges, flyovers and streetlights, hospitals and other physical structures are visible to everyone to appreciate, but not the massive endeavours that we make in uplifting the most vulnerable members of our society.
- Environment: The cleanliness of Abakaliki, the capital of Ebonyi State is today generally regarded as belonging to the top bracket in the nation. Ebonyi has become pristine, after a couple of years of innovating and putting a number of ideas into operation. This has led to tangible success in the following areas: Waste management in the capital city has become comprehensively streamlined so that today the state is ranked as one of the cleanest cities in the country; the city is adorned with ornamental trees and flowers, garden lights and water fountains which give the entire city an outstanding aesthetic ambience; the 200 tons per day capacity Waste Recycling Plant is 100% completed. It will turn the waste and garbage generated in the state into wealth, thereby providing worthwhile jobs for Ebonyians. A lot has been achieved in this sector through Ebonyi NEWMAP that had embarked on the crucial task of dredging Ebia, Iyiokwu, Iyiudele and Esu rivers and Nguzu Edda erosion sites. Our urban renewal plan saw us re-design and re-build fences and appurtenances of premises that abut on roads and open spaces to bring them in consonance with the aesthetic slant of the new face of Abakaliki Capital City.
- Education: This sector brims with great achievements, new innovations and regenerative ideas. All Universal Basic Education funds due to Ebonyi State that were hitherto abandoned in Abuja have been accessed through fulfilling our counterpart funding obligations. Consequently, we gained the financial muscle to accomplish the following: procurement and distribution of 20,000 two-seater furniture to primary and secondary schools; reconstruction of over 200 classroom blocks; construction of modern buildings in 10 model primary/junior secondary schools; ICT infrastructure has been constructed and e-learning programmes have resumed in some Junior and Senior Secondary Schools. These efforts culminated in Ebonyi State attaining 10th position in WAEC/NECO results for the past three consecutive years.
- We have introduced the School Evangelism programmes as a tool to morally re-arm our children and youths. The positive impact so far is reflected in the increasing disgust which our children have started to display towards destructive habits such as smoking, consumption of alcohol, drug abuse, cultism and other negative vices in preference for positive and disciplined lifestyles.
- Disbursement of funds to overseas scholars has been ongoing, to best of government’s capacity to pay. A grant of $18 million was recently attracted from the World Bank for Better Education Services for all in Ebonyi State. The construction and elevation of the School of Nursing and Midwifery in Uburu to international standard has been completed and its accreditation has been achieved. The comprehensive renovation of the School of Health Technology Ezzamgbo has been completed.
- Ebonyi State College of Education, Ikwo has been upgraded and affiliated to Ebonyi State University through the approval of the National Universities Commission (NUC). Thus, the College can now run degree programmes. The tuition fees of Ebonyi State University has been reduced by N10,000 at a time when other state-owned tertiary institutions were increasing their fees. We have equally donated coaster buses to take students to school and other engagements at highly subsidized rates.
- Other achievements in the education sector include the reconstruction of our three Government Technical Colleges; establishment of fully-stocked and functional ICT departments in pilot schools; establishment of 41 neighbourhood supervision centers for secondary schools and 130 supervision centers for primary schools. The Permanent Site of Ebonyi State University, CACS and Ikwo College of Education will soon be enjoying 24 hours electricity and water supply once the ongoing constructions at those locations are completed. These premises will also be equipped with standard close circuit television (CCTV) as an effective security tools.
- Finally, the education sector has witnessed some groundbreaking measures in the last couple of months or thereabouts. For instance, a new Faculty of Engineering and a new Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences will be established and given proper enablement to commence in EBSU within this year. And to top it all, we are currently calling for a competitive bid through national advertisements for the award of contracts for the construction of a new College of Medicine in Uburu, which will in due course serve as the University Teaching Hospital for Ebonyi State University.
- Finally, the point must be made that the education sector is the lynchpin of our progress and advancement as a society. We strongly believe that from the platform of sound and quality education, everything else becomes achievable. I will continue to aggressively pursue our counterpart funding formula with the Federal Government in order to sustain our present momentum of large-scale investment in this subsector. The comprehensive restructuring of our educational system and creating more modern boarding schools will be integral to our second tenure agenda, as well as the renovation of the remaining primary schools and of course junior and senior secondary schools across the state. We will proceed to equip them with furniture, books and essential facilities, as well create enabling environment for sporting activities to thrive. We will select some primary and secondary schools and modernise them to a very high standard such that they will meet our expectations of modern institutions that will deliver the best quality education to our children. We shall endeavour to provide more boarding facilities to the students and accommodation to teachers. Training and retraining of teachers will be made a priority and they will be provided with incentives to motivate them to deepen their commitment to giving our children the very best within their capacities. We shall work extremely hard to ensure that every child of school age is in school and all out-of-school children brought back to school We will encourage school feeding in order to improve the nutritional value of the food the pupils eat which will in turn lead to improvement in their health; the school agriculture programme will become irreversibly entrenched in our primary and secondary schools. Where we have shortage of teachers, we will introduce the e-learning system especially in science subjects, English and Mathematics. We are determined to handover more schools to the religious missions in a positive partnership programme. We will strive for effective monitoring and supervision of both primary and secondary schools. We will introduce and encourage Annual Compulsory Inter-house Competition in public and private schools. This is aimed at harnessing young talents in sports among the students. Seeking grants/donors from international agencies and organizations.
Other areas of attention will include:
i.School Agriculture shows
ii.Compulsory Reading Club
iii.Sourcing support from NCC for provision of computer services to enhance information technology in schools.
iiii. Ensuring that quotas meant for Ebonyi State in Federal Schools in terms of employment and admissions are filled up with Ebonyians.
v. Creation of Educational Platform: This will be created by the ministry, while all the education sectors, private and public schools are expected to create their own platform to enable the ministry follow up their activities.
- Commerce and Industry: Pursuant to our pledge to make Ebonyi one of the most economically viable states in Nigeria, we have in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, UNIDO, developed the first industrial policy for Ebonyi State for the first time in its history. Work is progressing on the three industrial clusters at Uburu, Ishieke and Ezzamgbo. These industrial clusters are designed to catalyze industrial revolution in Ebonyi State, create innumerable jobs for Ebonyians and diversify our mono economic base. These will run on renewable energy through the affordable and environmentally friendly biomass technology. Our middle-class engineers have made remarkable progress in the development of the biomass technology through their successful fabrication of biomass gasification plants while government has demonstrated sufficient commitment to the power project by investing in the necessary equipment.
- Through the biomass technology power programme, a cumulative 50 megawatts of power is being targeted in order to sustain the industrial revolution project, and earn income for the state through sale of excess power to distribution companies.
- In line with the industrial policy and our partnership with the Bank of Industry (BOI), three out of the four factors of production have been provided for industrialists who want to establish their factories in Ebonyi State.
- The Ebonyi Pipe Production Company is being repositioned to function at installed capacity to enable it produce high quality PVC pipes for water reticulation and for sale to the general public. St. Margaret International Market in Abakaliki has been comprehensively upgraded. Added to these are the development of a regional market in Afikpo and the renovation of all markets in Abakaliki.
- A shopping mall modeled after the great Dubai Mall is being constructed in Abakaliki. The mall, which has potential for e-commerce, holds even more exciting promise such as the attraction of foreign investors, showcasing of our agricultural output to the world and revenue generation for the state.
- Following the impressive performances of the Divine Mandate administration in Ebonyi State, foreign direct investments are being attracted. The Tongyi smelting plant under construction in Uburu is one of them; establishment of cement factories are underway; solar plant and a bulbs factory is currently under construction by a Chinese company; factories for the production of bags and batteries, respectively are in progress, etc.
- Infrastructure and Rural Development: Our resolve to build a dependable and durable infrastructural base upon which our anticipated economic boom will rest is informed by our full appreciation of history. It is impossible for any society to attain economic and social transformation without first laying a solid infrastructural base, underpinned by rural and urban roads, with an overarching highways and superhighways.
- As a professional civil engineer, I have always yearned for the opportunity to demonstrate that there is nothing wrong with us as a people, or our system for that matter – our deficiency can often be directly traceable to the narrowness of the vision and philosophy of governance which we bring to bear or even a total lack thereof. My beloved Ebonyi brothers and sisters, your mandate provided me the great opportunity to bring a broad vision and articulated philosophy of governance to bear. I am unshakable in my determination to bequeath to Ebonyi a solid infrastructural base which will not only be a reference point in excellence but one which will last for more than a couple of generations.
- To meet the very high standard we have set for ourselves, my administration introduced the use of concrete in road construction. Today, other states are copying the concrete road culture from us – and this is the highest accolade that can be paid to us. This simply shows that we have become pacesetters in the infrastructural sector in Nigeria. So far, we have built three 800-metre twin overhead bridges at Akanu Ibiam Roundabout, Offia Nwali Roundabout as well as the International Market Junction. Another flyover at Abaomege is nearing completion, even as others are maturing on the drawing board. A pedestrian overhead bridge at EBSU Permanent Site Gate is not only a landmark but also a statement on life-saving measures.
- The most creative and impressive of all our overhead bridges is the overhead glass tunnel which has an overhead roundabout that interconnects Ebonyi Mall, Ebonyi Ecumenical Centre, the African Trans-Saharan Highway, and the Abakaliki-Onueke-Afikpo Road. Apart from creating a sophisticated ambience, their most practical utility lies in saving lives, as the incessant accidents which were witnessed at those spots before the advent of the projects no longer occur.
- We have equally achieved the reconstruction of the entire Abakaliki urban road network and Onueke, Afikpo and Uburu internal road networks. Other roads built with rigid concrete pavements by my administration are the 23.5km Hilltop-Nwofe Agbaja Road, 30km Onueke-Ezzama-Oshiri-Onicha-Uburu Road, 20km Ezzamgbo-Effium Road, 15km Amasiri-Owutu-Oso Edda Road, 8.3km Onicha-Isu-Obiozara Road, 12.3km Uburu-Isu Road, 11.2km Ogwor-Nzerem-Okue Road, 12.2km Okposi-Umuoghara-Ebiaji Road, 15km Ishieke-Odomoke Road and 6km internal roads at Nkwagu Military Cantonment, Abakaliki.
- We believe that while some roads in Ebonyi State are federal roads, all roads within Ebonyi State, however, exist for the primary benefit of Ebonyi people. This was why we equally intervened in the reconstruction of three federal roads with a cumulative distance of 53.4 kilometers. They include a section of the Abakaliki-Onueke-Afikpo Road, the Nigercem-Nkalagu Road and Abaomege-Ishinkwo-Ukawu-Ugwulangwu-Okposi Road. We are also constructing a minimum of 15km rural roads in all the 13 council areas in Ebonyi State. A total of 16 bridges with spans ranging from 2 to 6 as well as numerous box culverts with channels ranging from 1 to 3 have been constructed across various roads in the state.
- FOR THE AVOIDANCE OF DOUBT: THE CHECKLIST:
(i) Construction of International Market 25-span flyover bridge
(ii) Reconstruction of Abakaliki – Afikpo Road (14.5km)
(iii) Construction of Ugwuachara-Water Reservoir Road (6.9km)
(iv) Construction of Stephen Omege-Ogboloko-Watchman-Awkuzu-Igu-Nwojiji Road (8.41km)
(v)Construction of Golf-Quarry-Enugu Expressway/Ezza Road-Emefor (7.09km)
(vi)Construction of Ndiagu Layout Roads (6.6km)
(vii)Rehabilitation of 14 streets within Abakaliki capital city (5.76km)
(viii) Construction of Nkalagu-Ehamufu Road (15.5km)
(ix)Construction of Kpirikpiri Junction-St. Patrick’s-Unity FM and Osborn La Palm-Otozi-Stephen Mgbabor Street (5.64km)
(x)Reconstruction of Ezzamgbo-Effium section of Abakaliki Ring Road (20km)
(xi)Construction of International flyover bridge ancillary works
(xii) Construction of Presco Junction flyover bridge ancillary works
(xiii) Construction of Margret Avenue in Uburu
(xiv) Construction of Onicha-Isu-Obiozara Road (8.3km)
(xv) Construction of drainage and earthworks on the road to the School of Nursing, Uburu (12km)
(xvi) Construction of Uburu-Isu Road (12.3km)
(xvii) Construction of 6-span Bridge across Ebonyi River at Ishinkwo
(xviii) Construction of 2No 2-span bridges along Hilltop-Nwofe Road
Apart from the completed or near-completed projects, the following have been awarded to both domestic and external contractors:
(i) Reconstruction of Internal Road at Nkwegu Cantonment, Abakaliki
(ii)Construction of 6-span reinforced concrete bridge along Ogwor-Nzerem-Okue Road
(iii) Construction of 4-span reinforced concrete bridge along Amangu-Uburu-Akaeze Road
(iv)Construction of 2No 2-span reinforced concrete bridge at Ishieke-Odomoke Road
(v)Reconstruction of Aforezunna, Anikpe and Ojebogene Streets (1.4km)
(vi)Construction of Umuobo, Oboma, Ihenu Ring Road (7km)
(vii) Construction/Extension of 3span, 2-span and 4No single span bridges along Nkalagu-Ehamufu Road
(viii) Construction of 16-span President Muhammadu Buhari overhead bridge
(ix)Construction of bypass tunnel with retaining wall from Aforezunna to Nkaliki Junction
(x)Construction of concrete-lined drain at Abakaliki Fertilizer Blending Plant
(xi)Construction of Road Safety Corp Road in Abakaliki
(xii) Construction of 490m concrete lined drain and 2No box culverts at Industrial Cluster, Uburu
(xiii) Construction of Abaomege Flyover bridge
(xiv) Construction of Uburu-Akaeze Road (13.9km)
(xv) Construction of Onuigboji Junction-Nwanoyo (5.8km)
(xvi) Construction of a section of Umuoghara-Achiegu Road (1.6km)
(xvii) Construction of GTC Agba-Agbaelu-Eguenu-Isu Road (10.3km)
(xviii) Construction of Okoffia-Internal Roads (5km)
(xix) Construction of Ntezi-Agba-Isu Road (15km)
(xx) Construction of Sharon – Iboko Road (7.69km) at Abakaliki & Izzi LGA
(xxi) Extension of the construction of Ishieke – Odomoke Road (5km)
(xxii) Construction of Ukwuachi-Oshiegbe Road (11.2km) in Ezza North LGA
(xxiii) Construction of Obujia-Nwanwu Road (9.8km)
(xxiv) Construction of Ojum-Nwida Road (5km)
(xxv) Dualisation of Mile 50-Ishieke Road (7.2km)
(xxvi) Construction of Oferekpe-Ovuduechi-Oyege-Nduofutu Road in (9.3km)
(xxvii) Dualisation of Amasiri Junction to Amuro Junction in Afikpo, Afikpo North LGA.
(xxviii) Additional works on the construction of a section of Umuoghara-Achiagu Road Project in Ezza North LGA (5.82km)
Among our primary agenda in this second term is the completion of all the projects that we have commenced and the ones that will soon commence. All on going projects awarded by this administration which are nearing completion are as follows:
(1) Rehabilitation of Amuru-Eke Market Roundabout-Ngodo-St. Mary-Amangbala with a spur to Idu Igariwey Road (5.5km)
(2) Construction of Ogwor-Nzerem-Okue Road (11.2km)
(3) Reconstruction of Onunwedu Junction-Elunwovu Roundabout (4.5km)
(4) Construction of Abaomege-Ishinkwo-Ukawu-Ugwulangwu-Okposi Road (25.4km)
(5) Reconstruction of Onueke-Ezzama-Oshiri Road (28.5km)
(6) Construction of Amakporo-Isu Road (3.5km)
(7) Reconstruction of a section of Obubara Junction – Oferekpe Road (2km)
(8) Construction of Amenu, Enuegu, Urobo and Umuchima Eweze Road in Uburu
(9) Construction of Obvuduechi-Oyege-Nduofutu Road (3.5km)
(10) Filling and covering of Median and Walkway along Enugu-Abakaliki Expressway and other projects still on going.
The following new projects are in the process of being commenced or have actually commenced on a rudimentary basis:
(i) Construction of the 198km Abakaliki Ring Road
(ii) Construction of 2-span bridge across Ebyia River off Udemezue Street
(iii) Dualisation of Abakaliki-Afikpo Road
(iv) Dualisation of Abakaliki-Enugu Road to Ebonyi Boundary
(v) Construction of Uburu-Okpanku Road
(vi)Construction of a Bridge across Oferekpe River
(vii) Construction of a Bridge across Ndibe Beach River.
- Health: In the health sector, we have recorded major landmark achievements. Not long ago, Ebonyi people celebrated the Virology Center and Chest Clinic we built and equipped in Abakaliki. The renovations, upgrading, equipment and perimeter fencing of the 13 General Hospitals in the state are on course. The free medicare programme and the Hospital Amnesty, which we run through the churches, have generated positive testimonies from both our supporters and detractors. Currently, a modern and spacious Accident and Emergency ward is being constructed by my administration at the Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital, FETHA II, Abakaliki.
- A statutory Ebonyi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency has been established by this administration. Each of the 171 Primary Health Centres across the various electoral wards in Ebonyi State have been refurbished, stocked with drugs under the drug revolving scheme and equipped with power generating sets, just as 346 health posts across Ebonyi villages and hamlets have been revived to handle minor health challenges. Added to these, a creative and effective tricycle ambulance service system that connects all the Primary Healthcare Centres in Ebonyi State have been put into use to handle medical emergencies right from the ward level. A baseline survey of health facilities in Ebonyi State has been concluded with a view to determining the gap in the health sector for priority and immediate remedial intervention. A world-class School of Nursing and Midwifery, as well as a College of Health Technology have been established at Uburu and Ngbo, respectively to train qualified manpower for the health sector.
Summary of the outstanding feats:
- Upgrading of the 13 General Hospitals (completion of hospital buildings, landscaping and perimeter fencing of hospital premises);
- Construction of Ebonyi State College of Nursing and Midwifery, Uburu and commencement of academic activities with provisional accreditation by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria;
- Upgrading of 171 Primary Health Centres (provision of one hundred and ten 7.0KVA generators, establishment and operation of the Drug Revolving Scheme in the 171 PHCs, provision of 39 customised tricycle ambulances) to the 171 PHCs;
-Upgrading of the School of Health Technology Ngbo, completion of abandoned building projects and securing accreditation of two departments;
- Control of Lassa fever outbreak and cholera outbreak;
- Training of 330 Health workers in Basic Emergency Obstetrics, Newborn Care (BEMONC) and use of modern family planning techniques (LARC).
- In the course of our second tenure, we will initiate and complete the underlisted priority agenda:
- Launching of the Ebonyi State comprehensive social health insurance scheme with a takeoff sum of N800 million. With this level of cash injection, we are hopeful that this scheme will completely transform the healthcare delivery system in Ebonyi State;
- Equipping and staffing of the 13 General Hospitals;
- Continued upgrading of the 171 Primary Health Centre by working on the renovation of the hospital buildings, provision of water, landscaping and perimeter fencing of the premises of the 171 PHCs;
- Establishment of central drug warehouse and three zonal drug centres;
- Launching of the e-health and also establishing emergency health services.
- Agriculture: Our commitment to the diversification of the economy of Ebonyi State is serious and unrelenting. The agricultural sector represents one of the many multi-pronged sectoral approaches to achieving this central objective. In the 3 cycles of wet season farming from 2016 to date, our administration has poured a total of about N11 billion primarily into rice cultivation and tangentially into cassava and poultry farming, as well as the construction, procurement and installation of fertilizer blending plants and rice parboiling equipment. This figure includes the N3 billion EBSG Agro-based loan facility for civil and public servants. We will sustain this tempo in our second tenure, as we presently has N3 billion in fixed deposit account awaiting the completion of the profiling of farmers by the Ministry of Agriculture for disbursement to commence.
- The “one man one hectare” programme has tremendously helped in our effort to attain total food security. The ban on the sale and consumption of foreign (or plastic) rice and its proper enforcement has made farming a profitable venture. Ebonyi Rice has equally become an international brand for which we have received several presidential and international encomia. My administration’s commitment to making agriculture the mainstay of our economy is unpretentious. This is why we insist on both corporate and individual involvement in practical agriculture or farming.
- As an exemplary leader, my executive council members are committed to farming – be it rice or cassava cultivation, fishery or animal husbandry. We have encouraged our people and civil servants with grants, agricultural inputs, high-breed grains, agricultural equipment and soft loans, exemption from work on Fridays and we shall continue to do that.
- A functional modern fertilizer plant to adequately meet the demand of farmers has been established. The School Agricultural programme is one unique feature of Ebonyi state’s agricultural revolution programme, and it is designed to make farming attractive to teenagers who are encouraged to become agro-wealth creators upon leaving school. We introduced irrigation or dry season farming. We have established the largest functional mushroom factory in Nigeria in Ebonyi State. As I read this address, Ebonyi State Agricultural Loan Scheme is on and farmers’ bank accounts are being credited to enable them farm.
- Power: In the power sector, we have sustained the first functional biomass gasification power plant in West Africa, which is located at Ngbo. Not resting on our oars, we commenced the pursuit of a radical renewable energy power project through which Ebonyi mid-level engineers locally fabricate UNIDO-approved biomass gasification power plants.
- My administration has acquired equipment for the targeted cumulative generation of 7.5 megawatts of power from biomass. This will provide power to drive the industrial revolution and for sale to power distribution companies. Through the Light Up Ebonyi Project, all the streets in Abakaliki capital city have functional streetlights. The 13 council secretariats and satellite towns and settlements across Ebonyi State equally have streetlights, which, beyond the sense of civilization it confers on our towns and satellite communities in the nighttime, have helped to curb burglary, and other crimes that thrived under the cover of darkness.
- My administration has extended electricity over 3 km in Umuogudu Akpu Ngbo in Ohaukwu LGA; 5 km in Nkaliki, Abakaliki LGA; 7.5 km in Amekka, Ezza South LGA; over 14 km in Ettam, Okpuitumo in Ikwo LGA; and installed 500 KVA at DSS headquarters, Abakaliki. Others are rural electrification of a distance of 9.5 km at Oferekpe Agbaja; acquisition of one set of 1000 KVA and one set of 500 KW biomass gasification power-generation systems for our renewable energy programme. We capped this up with the collation of data from 140 communities for rural electrification.
- Rural Development: Conscious of the fact that majority of our people are domiciled in rural areas, and the need to stem the tide of rural-urban migration, we have extended our developmental drives to the rural communities as well. This informed the extension of streetlights to council headquarters and satellite communities and the construction of a minimum of 15 kilometers of roads on rigid pavement in every council area. To cap it all, a N10 million special project grant has been approved for each of the 140 autonomous communities through their respective Town Unions to enable them execute development projects which will meet the peculiar needs of the respective communities.
- Housing: Apart from the 5000 units of two-bedroom bungalows attracted to Uburu, we have focused on the maintenance and construction of public buildings. So far, the old Governor’s Lodge has been renovated and remodeled into a more convivial abode. The Presidential Lodge has equally been renovated. However, Governor’s Lodge, Presidential Lodge and Governor’s Office are going on simultaneously at the Centenary City. A Recreation Centre is equally being built at the Centenary City to provide our workers a place of leisure and relaxation. We have encouraged housing development through private sector initiatives from which have resulted in two housing estates being presently developed.
- Industrial Relations: We have sustained Ebonyi’s position as one of the nine states in Nigeria where workers have never been owed salaries. We are the only administration in Nigeria that pays annual bonuses, known as the “13th month.” The State Executive Council approved a whopping sum of N1.5 billion for payment of backlog of arrears of pensions and gratuities of retired civil servants that had piled up since 1996. Our N4 billion single-digit interest agricultural credit scheme for Ebonyi civil servants to enable them diversify their income base by engaging in farming is still very much on course. The funds are being disbursed to the workers through cooperative society framework. I have already undertaken, on record, to pay the new minimum wage as soon as the issues connected thereto are resolved nationally.
- Water: “Water”, they say, “is life”! With the reasonable progress made in the rehabilitation of the Ezillo Water Scheme and replacement of galvanized pipes with PVC pipes, water supply has considerably improved in Abakaliki metropolis. Boreholes with overhead tanks have been provided in the 13 General Hospitals. Some special intervention water borehole projects have been executed in the rice clusters at Iboko, Onu Igboji and Oso Edda. Outstanding progress has been made in the greater Ukawu Water Scheme that will supply water to the southern part of Afikpo. The modern water schemes in Ivo and Uburu are completed up to 90%, while frantic efforts are being made to fully rehabilitate the Oferekpe Water Scheme.
- Sports: Abakaliki Township Stadium (Pa Ngele Oruta Stadium) has been reconstructed and refurbished to a modern stadium that has become the envy of critical stakeholders in the Nigerian sports sector. The Secretary of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has inspected and approved the Stadium for use during NFF-organized competitions.
- Sporting activities in the state have been revived with the hosting of the Dave Umahi Tertiary Institutions Games (DUMTIGA 2018); Dave Umahi Para-military Games; Primary and Secondary Schools’ Games; and the just concluded Divine Mandate Super Cup competition the finals of which I personally watched at Uburu. Pursuant to my administrations bid to fully revive sports in Ebonyi State, the State Executive Council has approved the establishment of two clubs for the state and the award of contract for the construction of an ultramodern international stadium.
- Prospering Ebonyi State with the Word of God: the Ecumenical Centre project, which is a 5000 capacity world-class architectural masterpiece, has been completed. The fifth component of my 5-point Covenant with God has been dedicated to God. Beyond that structural edifice, the spiritual content of our administration has increased through unabated propagation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our engagements; the many crusades we have hosted and will continue to host, as well as support to churches and God’s work within and outside the state.
- The Second -term Agenda: My beloved people of Ebonyi State, there are no doubt that my first tenure was an eventful one and that to the glory of God and for the benefit of Ebonyi people, we have completely and positively transformed Ebonyi State on all fronts.
- It has been my earnest prayer that the glory of my second tenure shall surpass that of my first tenure. Consequently, we shall use the second term not only to consolidate on the achievements of the first tenure, but to also expand our transformational agenda to the whole of Ebonyi State, especially the rural areas so that all the amenities that make life worthwhile shall be available at every nook and cranny of Ebonyi State.
- Our resolve to construct and complete the 198km Abakaliki Ring Road is one promise that must be kept through the unlimited grace of God. That special grace of the Lord has been made practically manifest by the recent approval by the Federal Executive Council of the loan facility from African Development Bank for the construction of the Ring Road. This road, which connects eight of the thirteen local government areas in Ebonyi State, is both strategic and important.
- We intend also to design and build a new ring road for the remaining five local government areas in Ebonyi state. Our target is to completely solve the problem of infrastructure by 2023 when we shall be handing over to a new administration.
- Ladies and gentlemen, our mission is to build and consolidate on the foundations we have meticulously and methodically laid in the past 4 years, with a firm commitment to the ideals of the founding fathers of Ebonyi State. Specifically, my administration will be pursuing an integrated policy of economic development and transformation geared towards:
▪ Aggressive prospection/exploitation of the rich mineral deposits of our State, for rapid industrialization and its multiplier effects;
▪ Enhanced internally-generated revenue;
▪ Generation of sustainable employment, particularly in the private sector;
▪ Financial empowerment of citizens leading to a higher quality of life;
▪ Making the state a choice destination for cultural and eco-tourism and a global leisure resort;
▪ Creating a haven for investors through a balanced and vibrant economy; and
▪ Providing effective leadership and political governance that will ultimately lead to significant improvements in the standard of living for all Ebonyians.
• Diversification of the economy – to reduce reliance on central allocations and engender local content in our domestic economy;
• The policy of Public-Private-Partnerships for critical social and economic infrastructure and consolidating economies of scale;
• Poverty alleviation and self-sufficiency in food production;
• Aggressive pursuit of Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship training of our youth with the aim of making them self-reliant and facilitating full and gainful employment for all citizens;
• Improvement of the tax collection systems, under the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) framework, while protecting the poor; and
• Reduction of the gap between the rich and the poor thereby creating the middle class that will strengthen democracy.
- I dream of an Ebonyi State that will be a land of abundant opportunities, where every man and woman will live life to their fullest potential; a land where citizens’ lives and liberties are safeguarded and properties protected; a land of equity, peace and security where no one is oppressed. I dream of a united Ebonyi where no one suffers discrimination on any basis whatsoever. I desire a land where every child will have access to qualitative and comprehensive education and where qualitative healthcare is accessible and affordable to all; a land where the fruits of our soil can be harnessed to put food on the table and thereby banish hunger; a land that brims with employment opportunities for our teeming population of young people.
- Our vision is to produce men and women who will not be derided as truck-pushers and street-hawkers, but men and women who will be renowned as leaders in all spheres of human endeavor – in politics and government; in academia, in arts, science and technology; in agriculture; in commerce and industry; in sports, culture and entertainment and of course in Christian religious affairs.
- The full manifestation of this vision will be the creation, through our collective effort, of an Ebonyi State where our skilled youth, like elsewhere, will be the most valuable resource; where there is social justice and where there is true freedom and prosperity. I see an Ebonyi that will be the Food Basket of Nigeria – providing integrated, full scale agri-business services across the entire value chain, and engaged in the industrial conversion of selected agricultural produce into processed and semi-processed forms; leading the way in green and inclusive growth and wealth generation.
- Specifically, it is our vision to take Ebonyi to a point where the following should be taken for granted:
• Accessible high quality education – an education that produces young, skilled, talented and confident people that will form the bedrock of our growth and development;
• Availability of adequate and quality healthcare to all – a healthcare system that gives our people good health, happy, long and productive lives;
• Availability of high quality and functional infrastructure and social amenities (including roads, electricity, water and sanitation) to propel the wheels of our social and economic life;
• A clean, healthy and safe environment guarantees that we nurture a sustainable future for ourselves and our unborn generations;
• Guaranteed security of life and property – such that our citizens and visitors freely engage in their social and economic activities without fear of molestation or intimidation;
• Open-mindedness, friendship and partnership will form the basis of our relationship with the national and international communities, such that Ebonyi benefits from the global wealth of ideas, innovation and prosperity;
• Above all, to very strongly situate Ebonyi and indeed Ebonyians at the centre of national and international economic and political activities, since we have all it takes to play on those stages.
- Like their compatriots elsewhere, our people deserve and yearn for more of the dividends of democracy. Their ultimate desire is to see a dutiful and committed leadership that will harness our natural endowments for the economic advancement of Ebonyi people.
- The Pillars of Our Strategy: The basic thrust of our development strategy is the creation of a self-reliant, sustainable economy that could thrive with or without allocation from the Federation Account. This strategy revolves around the following main elements:
(i) Focus on Agriculture as a business and working with the Private Sector to develop all elements of identified agricultural value chains, including input supplies and provision of effective extension services, mechanized production, processing and marketing of crops as well as livestock;
(ii) Harnessing and beneficiation of various mineral resources – Limestone, Granite from igneous rocks, Salt, Lead. Zinc, Coal, etc. that abound in Ebonyi State, to their fullest potential;
(iii) Transiting the State from a resource-based to a knowledge-driven economy, positioned to benefit from the world-wide explosion in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) spheres;
(iiii) Accelerating rural development and changing the development paradigm from Poverty Reduction to Wealth Creation as well as, creation of employment opportunities outside of Government, especially in commercial agricultural ventures;
(v) Consolidating the transformation of the Civil Service as an enabler of private sector-led development; and
(vi) Remaining firm in our intolerance of greed and corruption. This is because we have enough for everybody’s need, but not enough for the greed of a few.
- In pursuing the above, our strategy will continue to hinge on three critical planks:
PEOPLE, INFRASTRUCTURE, ECONOMY (PIE) Ultimately, government and governance is about the PEOPLE, making sure they are safe and secure, ensuring they are protected from injustice, improving their welfare through social and economic empowerment and safeguarding their future through good education and good health.
- A political philosopher stated eloquently that the greatest happiness for the greatest number of citizens is the prime purpose of Government. This is precisely the philosophy by which we have strived to abide in the course of the last 4 years.
- However, Government needs to provide the critical INFRASTRUCTURE that will enable people to thrive and achieve their full potential. These are infrastructure of a fundamental nature, requiring resources beyond the capability of individual citizens and which have a long-term impact. We have identified and embarked on the simultaneous execution of priority infrastructure such as roads, electricity, water, reconstruction of schools and designation of model science schools, renovation and construction of 13 General Hospitals in all the 13 Local Government Areas in the State, etc. etc.
- We have taken bold steps to create a domestic ECONOMY for Ebonyi to ensure substantial self-reliance and to generate wealth and prosperity for our people. Indeed, our enduring success with the People and Infrastructure strategies will be underpinned by a radical transformation of the Ebonyi Economy. This will create jobs, which will create incomes, which in turn will fuel demand for goods and services and ultimately, be an impetus for industrial development.
- Creating a New Ebonyi Economy: The objectives of our Core Strategy in creating a new Ebonyi Economy are as follows:
a. To create an Ebonyi Economy that will be self-propelled, self-sustaining and self-reliant within 10 years and thereby reduce the risks of dependence on Federal Government statutory allocations;
b. To create jobs for our citizens, most especially in the private sector, thereby addressing the current huge dependence on civil service employment, and its clearly adverse implications for over-head costs;
c. To optimize our God-given natural endowments including mineral and agricultural resources and ensure that we develop value-chains in the use of our natural resources from primary production to processing, to manufacturing and to marketing, both nationally and internationally;
d. To actively engage the Private Sector and build strategic partnerships with International Development Agencies in our development programmes and thereby open up access to private capital and know-how for harnessing our rich endowments and making the state one of the top destinations for investors;
e. To create Sovereign Investments and Savings for the state and thereby allow the state to benefit from opportunities in the Capital Market and provide a bulwark for fluctuations in earnings and revenues;
f. To shift emphasis of our economic policies away from poverty reduction to WEALTH CREATION and in the process, improve the ranking of Ebonyi State and Ebonyians in Prosperity Ratings.
- Conclusion: My fellow Ebonyians, I will be the first to acknowledge that a number of key challenges remain on the path to taking our state to the next level, and making the Ebonyi Project a truly self-sustaining success story that will endure for a century.
- Because I am an unwavering optimist, I will continue to direct government policies towards creating an enabling environment that will make Ebonyi the competitive investment destination of choice, unlocking opportunities for growth vis-a-vis private sector economic activities across the state; promoting entrepreneurship, improving the quality and functionality of our education and addressing youth unemployment (our biggest social challenge), as well as continuing on the trajectory of transformation.
- The last four years defined our character, the impetus, the philosophy and vision of our administration. In character we have been resilient, our impetus has been relentless, our philosophy has been pragmatic and our vision has been focused like a laser beam on the single target of positively changing the Ebonyi story in a profound way and with a national impact. Without these solid attributes, we would never have accomplished the unprecedented feats that we have attained in Ebonyi State.
- While I can boldly declare that we have done a great amount, I equally have the humility to insist that there is still a greater amount to be done. The definitive statement on how far we have travelled in this extraordinary journey of transforming our dear state will be made in four years’ time when we will stand here to handover the baton of leadership to our successor. That will be the appropriate time to take full stock of God’s mission in Ebonyi through us.
- In keeping with our promise of making Abakaliki the best state capital in the country, we are on course and we are almost there – four years is far too short to build a city, but we have taken giant strides towards realising our ambition.
- Four years ago we promised to make Ebonyi State the number one economy through agricultural revolution. Today, we have a positive story to tell. Ebonyi Rice has become synonymous with supreme quality in purity, wholesomeness, affordability and nutritiousness. We have kept faith with our promise of inspiring Ebonyians to rediscover the natural gift that God has bestowed on us in the area of agriculture. And yet we still have plenty more to do in this area.
- Four years ago, we promised to bring security to our land and extend a friendly hand of brotherhood and cooperation to our neighbouring states. Today, we have made giant progress in the resolution of internal conflicts, the crown of which is the final settlement of the Ezillo-Ezza Ezillo crisis that had for several years seemed so intractable. We still have a lot more to do, especially in persuading our neighbouring states, particularly Cross River and Benue States to accept our hands of friendly relationship and to join us in bringing lasting peace to our borders and unleash the developmental potential in those areas.
- In the area of infrastructure, we took Ebonyi by surprise and the nation by storm! In short, as far as the area of infrastructure is concerned, permit me ladies and gentlemen to be a little bit effusive and loquacious because the subject warrants it. What we have accomplished in Ebonyi State in the last four years stands as a resounding testimonial to the immense miracle of God at work. When in the first quarter of 2016 we received less than 40% of the federal allocations that used to accrue to the previous administration, it appeared that the dark tunnel had catastrophically collapsed on our head. There was a sense of paralysis, doom and gloom all over the country; but God’s perfect glory continued to hover over the horizon, pointing to the luminous light ahead.
- There are no words that I can deploy here that will be sufficient to fully distil the narrative of infrastructural development in Ebonyi State. Suffice it for me to say that the dust of the nation has been buried and a sparkling piece of polished silver has risen in its place. The darkest corner of the nation has become the luminous city on the hill. The truth is that we have changed the Ebonyi narrative. The truth is that the old language of insult and abuse has changed to a language of praise and commendation.
- One chapter of the story of God’s miracle has drawn to a close today. And what a fabulous story it has been. Another chapter will open at midnight today.
- Ladies and gentlemen, my brothers and sisters, my great compatriots, highly esteemed Ebonyians, it is with total humility and immense gratitude to our God, that I accept your mandate for a second term in the journey on the path of God Almighty to take Ebonyi to His promised land.
God bless you all and thank you for your kind attention.