My beloved Abians,
Let me first thank you for your enthusiastic and overwhelming support during the ceremonies that ushered me into office as the 4th Governor of our great state. During the election campaigns, I travelled the length and breadth of this state and felt your collective yearning that Abia was due for a comprehensive transformation. Today as your Governor, I pledge, that before the expiration of my tenure I will deliver “A New Abia”. An Abia state that is better and more focused on uplifting the lives of all Abians.
The new Abia will be defined by the our people’s time honoured values;
• Performance – We deliver to the “best in class” standards and operate at the highest ethical standards
• Ownership - We live, breath & think Abia and we take full responsibility all the time
• Innovation - We create solutions to optimize every opportunity & Challenge
• Commitment – We put our best effort into play
• Integrity – We say what we will do and we do what we say. We have zero tolerance for corruption.
As contained in my inaugural speech, I will like to emphasize that our direction will revolve around our 5 key growth pillars; Manufacturing, Trade and Commerce, Agriculture, Infrastructure and Environment.
Mindful of the importance of infrastructure to economic development, we will focus on the improvement of electricity, potable water, rural & urban roads and the railway system. Partnerships will be activated to facilitate the provision of necessary infrastructure. Our Manufacturing programme will focus on re-igniting the brand “Made In Aba” and make Abians once more to be proud of their products. Trade and Commerce will be anchored on the regeneration of Aba and her recreation as a hub for business in West Africa. We will exploit agriculture aggressively to create employment, ensure food security, grow our economy and empower our people. Finally no longer shall our cities be associated with flooded streets and nauseous refuse dumps
While we will be strategic in our approach to achieving the “New Abia”, we have also identified some quick wins. We have flagged off our “Clean Aba Programme” and the rehabilitation and reconstruction of several arterial roads in Aba and Umuahia. Over the next few days we will be making major interventions in some very key areas.
Waste Management remains a very big challenge in our state. Our major streets, especially in Aba have been taken over by refuse. In the New Abia, this will no longer be tolerated. Commencing tomorrow we will start a massive intervention on domestic waste management. We will be deploying equipment to the streets of Aba. We are also exploring the fastest and most efficient ways of managing waste dump sites, to avoid our major highways being blocked with refuse. We must collectively take responsibility for this task. Henceforth dropping of refuse in non-designated places is prohibited and offenders will be sanctioned. If there are no designated refuse drop points in your area, we strongly advise that you call our waste management hot line for prompt intervention.
Road Construction/Rehabilitation will be a major thrust of our 100 days plan. A lot of our roads are impassable and we feel the pains and frustration of Abians in this regard. With our lean resources, it is impossible to fix these problems all at once, so it has to be phased. We will begin the simultaneous rehabilitation of 10 major roads in our State and you have our commitment to deliver them to the highest standards possible. This will be made possible by simultaneously managing the drainage problems that undermine our roads, making them to fail soon after completion. We have commenced the assessment of the Aba underground tunnels as a possible solution to fixing the perennial drainage challenge in Aba. In line with this, drainage rehabilitation, construction, channelization, storm water and erosion control will receive immediate attention. These roads will be delivered with street lights which will extend the business hours in our urban centers. In the spirit of this development I urge all those with unserviceable or abandoned vehicles to remove them immediately. Structures that are erected on the way of the roads and drainages will certainly be pulled down irrespective of who is involved.
As part of our plan to improve on the ease of doing business in Abia, we have commenced the process of harmonizing our tax collection process. Until this process is completed, all forms of Multiple Taxation must stop henceforth and all Agents and Touts are hereby advised to stop collection henceforth. Any agent that is caught collecting taxes and rates illegally will be sanctioned.
We are determined to pay salaries and pensions as at when due, but we shall lead Abians to challenge our public service to fish out ghost workers as well as plug all leakages in revenue. We shall deploy technology in keeping with world best practices to streamline our payroll and audit system. However, I assure all diligent and resourceful staff that their hard work and commitment will be rewarded.
Security of lives and property is of great importance to us and will be reflected in our coming actions and policies. We have commenced meetings with the Security Chiefs in the state and we are committed to providing the necessary support for the security agencies to sustain and uphold the prevailing peaceful and secure atmosphere of our State.
As a bold step to managing Unemployment meaningfully, empowering our youths and meeting the capability needs of our industries, we have concluded plans to launch an education for employment (E4E) program which will enable 100,000 youths acquire fit-for-purpose skills over the next 4 years. We are commencing a pilot at BTC Aba during these first 100 days.
Agriculture is of critical importance to our economy and we have a need to boost our agricultural production for food security and to create jobs. Against this background, over the next 3 months we will distribute 2,000 bags of fertilizer per Local Government and supply agro-chemicals at 50% discount to all our farmers. Both interventions will help improve our crop production yield this farming season. During the period, we will train and equip 10 youths per Local Government in agro-chemical deployment.
Our desire to claim our position as the SME capital of Nigeria will be realized through the proposed New Industrial City with emphasis in leather and garments. We will begin to develop our industrial clusters within our first hundred days.
My beloved Abians, I will like to state that we cannot achieve our goal of uplifting the lives of Abians, without participation and commitment from every Abian. We all have our roles to play on this journey; I therefore solicit your support. We all have to embrace and live the 5 Abia Values, which we have proposed earlier in this speech.
I urge everyone to be a watchdog. Please report any breach of our laws and non-conformity to our values to relevant authorities and demand feedback on actions taken. We need sincere, constructive assessment and feedback of our performance. We have opened-up feedback platforms to enable you criticise and send your suggestions on how we can meaningfully improve our performance and achieve our collective dream.
We would urge you to Pay Your Taxes as at when due, your demand for performance only becomes credible when you perform your civic responsibilities. We urge you to Think Abia all the time.
Let me use this opportunity to thank the outgoing members of the Abia State Executive Council for a job well done over the years. I will also like to use this opportunity to request that they handover to their Permanent Secretaries latest close-of-business, Wednesday 3rd of June 2015. I join other Abians to congratulate them for their selfless service to our fatherland and promise to call you up as the need arises, because the reward for hard work is more work.
Finally, I will like all Abians to demand the same high standards of delivery that we have promised, because I am most optimistic, that with good conscience as our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, and with God on our side we will provide the leadership that we all will be proud of.
Kanyi Mezie Abia !!!
God Bless Abia State!!!
OKEZIE IKPEAZU PHD
GOVERNOR OF ABIA STATE