BreakingNews 30/5/15 - Full Text of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu Inaugural Speech

[ Masterweb Reports: Governor Okezie Ikpeazu Inaugural Speech ] - My beloved Abians, I am humbled by the great and onerous responsibility you have bestowed on me to serve you and lead our State as the 4th democratically elected Governor, to develop her potentials and achieve our collective dream of uplifting the life of every Abian. I accept it with a heart full of love and commitment for our dear state. I regard it as the highest honor to lead Abia at this time in our democratic journey. I pledge to use all my strength and ability to live up to your expectation of me, as your Governor. 

As we acknowledge our electoral achievement, let us remind ourselves that it is not so much a victory of one party over another but a celebration of our democracy and our collective resolve to deepen and sustain it in Abia and Nigeria. We thank GOD and our great party men and women who through their selfless efforts and hard work contributed to our victory. I salute you! Your clamour for an even and effective distribution of our common wealth is captured in our slogan “Okezuo Abia”. Your desire and aspirations shall drive our actions in Government.

I am personally indebted to: 

 -The Immediate past Governor of Abia State, His Excellency Theodore Ahamefula Orji
 -The people of Abia, who came out in hundreds of thousands under rain and sun, in long queues for many hours, to elect me. These include; Mothers, Fathers, Youths, Market Women, Trade Unions and Town Unions
 -The People Democratic Party on whose platform I have been elected and given this mandate
 -Ndi Eze
 -Religious Leaders
 ….and many others out there. May God continue to bless you.

We extend the hand of fellowship to our brothers and sisters in other Parties, who contested with us in the elections. I share these words of Tom Wilson, for our benefit “Many of us are more capable than some of us…but none of us is as capable as all of us” We are all winners. We all desire the upliftment of the living standard of our people and for Abia State to achieve greatness. Now is the time to set aside our differences and work together to deliver the greatness we recognise in ourselves and aspire to for all of us.

Our dear State is known as ‘God’s own State’ and the time has come for us to explore and optimize fully all the resources and advantages that God has bestowed on us. The resourcefulness and diligence of our people, our unique geographical location and natural resources must be developed and utilized to the collective benefit of our people and those around us.

To the glory of God, the hitherto pervasive insecurity which plagued Abia in years past has been reversed, thanks to the diligence of our dear Governor Theodore Ahamefule Orji. Ochendo, his commitment to ensuring the entrenchment of security, peace and equity in our state is very much appreciated and we shall build on that Legacy to transform our state. 

Our story as a people is one of entrepreneurship, resourcefulness and diligence. This is our pride. We have astounded the world with our homegrown technical skills, especially during a period of pervasive adversity, and followed it up with our trade and commercial prowess elevating one of our cities, Aba, into a prominent commercial hub within the West African region. This historic renown is to become our future narrative. The time is ripe to use the over 110,000 shoemakers and 50,000 garment makers as a launching pad to enable Abia to truly become the undisputed SME capital of Nigeria. 

I agree with the view of the great American industrialist, Harvey Firestone, “The growth and development of people is our highest calling of leadership”.

Great Abians, our administration is fully committed to providing the enabling environment and infrastructure to facilitate the growth and development of Abia and its people; positioning it as a premier residential, business and tourism destination, with the ultimate objective of uplifting the lives of our people. It is achievable!!! But it requires our collective commitment, sacrifices and contributions, ‘ka oke zuo onye obula’ as well as upholding our values of Being God fearing, Belief in Abia, Integrity, Innovation and Quality.

Aba was for many years a thriving hub for manufacturing and commerce until epileptic electricity supply and insecurity forced the shutdown of most of our indigenous and foreign owned industries. We must therefore recognize and appreciate the efforts of the Geometric Power Group and the Federal Government’s NIPP project at Alaoji towards providing a solution to the perennial challenges of electricity supply to our state. The forthcoming operationalisation of these plants will provide a critical input towards the actualization of our blueprint and roadmap for the regeneration of Aba and the entire Abia State. We shall pursue it with vigor.

In line with our commitment to strengthening the existing security situation in the state, we will continue to provide support to the law enforcement agencies to improve and sustain a more efficient incident response time and introduce contemporary technology-based solutions to assist in the enhancement of Security. This is the dawn of the new Abia. 

In this new Abia, instead of giving our people fish (handouts), we will focus on leading them to grow economically. Fortunately, the average Abian is hardworking and enterprising, we shall therefore launch Abia into an accelerated economic growth phase by building on the following FOURENABLERS or FACILITATORS of economic and social development:

1. Ease of Business and Governance Pledge - As we strive to increasingly devolve to a largely private sector driven economy in the State, we will undertake a re-orientation and restructuring of the public service aimed at instilling private sector models and mindsets, professionalism and efficiency in the delivery of services to our people. To encourage increased private sector participation in the State’s economy we will constitute and empower an Investment Promotion Agency (a One-Stop Shop) to streamline processes, and facilitate investment inflow into Abia Their remit will include ensuring that it becomes easy to do business in our State and accelerate the rate of investment attraction. As an example of what we plan to do, our pledge is that the time for processing land titles will be comparable to any other state in Nigeria. 

2. Infrastructure Pledge – We will put in place infrastructure that drives economic development but also makes our society, environment clean and sustainable. To this end, we will actively engage the Federal Government and private sector partners to give life to our development plans for our transport systems, for drainage rehabilitation, construction, channelization of storm water and erosion control. Initiation and beautification of leisure parks will be encouraged, just as we introduce coordinated traffic management initiatives to resolve traffic chaos. The regeneration of Aba, will create modern neighbourhood markets and parks, including crucial developments of business and leisure along the Aba river, and new residential and business locations.

3. Security Pledge – Security of lives and property is of great importance to me and will be reflected in our coming actions and policies. My administration will continue to provide necessary support to the security agencies to sustain and uphold the current peaceful atmosphere. 

4. Healthcare Pledge – “Health is wealth”! This government aims to improve access to effective and efficient healthcare services for all. Our blueprint for strengthening the existing 710 government-owned primary healthcare facilities across the state will be implemented with PPP support. As part of our first 100 days in office, we will work with the private sector to equip up to two hospitals in each of our three senatorial zones. We want all our communities to have access to quality modern healthcare. So in addition to improving medical facilities, we will invite leading healthcare providers to ensure also that necessary training and quality healthcare is available in our state. 

Our land Abia is blessed with its strategic geographic location and direct accesses to 7 other states. We can regain our status as a major commercial and transport hub in the South-East/South-South region of Nigeria. We have opportunities to forge partnerships that enable us all to implement economic goals, drive accelerated growth in our KEY ECOMOMIC SECTORS so our hopes and dreams are achieved.

These sectors include:
1. Agriculture - Our land is blessed, fertile and is supportive of agriculture. My government will actively engage and support agriculture activities especially in mechanized farming of Cassava, Rice, and Palm Oil in line with the Federal Government’s programs and our state’s areas of natural advantage. In addition to the creation of a Commodity Marketing System, we will support our small farmers through organized cooperatives, agricultural extension services and partnerships with foreign donor agencies and development finance institutions. We will actively procure FG funds targeted at the agricultural areas we want to focus on and also encourage large-sca

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