South East Governors working to achieve regional economic, social development – Gov. Otti

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Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, OFR, says governors of the South East states in Nigeria are working together, irrespective of their political leanings, to address collective economic and social challenges confronting the region.

In a release made by KAZIE UKO, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Abia State says,
Governor Otti said that the governors understood that it was important for them to set aside their political affiliations, prioritise governance and address pressing issues affecting the region, particularly security, as no meaningful development can take place in an atmosphere of insecurity.

The Governor spoke on Friday, when he met with a delegation of the Joint Body of South East Council of Traditional Rulers and Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops, led by the Obi of Onitsha, His Royal Highness Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, who called on him.

He noted that regional security challenges required a unified approach by the states’ Chief Executives to curb, adding that he and his colleague governors meet regularly to address the issues of youth restiveness and how to meaningfully engage the young people through the creation of employment opportunities and other empowerment programmes.

“Anyhow you look at it, we must deal with security as a region if not as a country. What feeds insecurity, to a large extent, is unemployment and poverty. It also feeds banditry and insurrection and we need to do everything possible to ensure that our people have something to do,” Governor Otti stated.

The Abia Governor emphasised the need to create a conducive environment to attract investments and businesses into the region. He stressed the importance of government intervention to stimulate economic growth and job creation in the South East region and added that Governors of the region must take deliberate decisions to safeguard the economy of their various states.

“We know that investors are rational. If you don’t make your environment conducive to attract investments, they will not come. I know at the minimum 20 to 25 businesses in Abia, before now, that just relocated at some point and closed shop.

“There must be investments that the states would have to make without looking at the profit. Sometimes, they tell you that government has no business in business. It’s a lie. Government has business in business. Government must step in at some point and take deliberate decisions to safeguard the economy by creating jobs.

“Government needs to come in and support the private sector to create jobs, if not for anything at all, to ensure that insecurity is reduced to the barest minimum,” he said.

Governor Otti enumerated ongoing initiatives in Abia State, aimed at revitalising key economic hubs like Aba and Umuahia to attract investments and spur development, saying that his administration had a clear plan to fix the state.

The Governor, who noted that Aba has the capacity to develop the entire South East region when properly harnessed, disclosed that power supply remains the major enabler required to spur development in Aba and the entire South East region.

He disclosed that the 141 Megawatt Geometric Power Plant in Aba, set for commissioning on Monday, would provide uninterrupted power supply to Aba and its environs. He pointed out that his government had entered into discussions with the investors on how to provide 24 hours power supply to all parts of the State.

The Governor pledged continued engagement with the Joint Body of South East Council of Traditional Rulers and Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops, and assured that he would take into account the concerns raised during the meeting as part of the ongoing efforts to promote unity, development, and prosperity in the South East region.

Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe said the aim of the body, which came into existence three years ago, is for peace building and reconciliation in South East.

Igwe Achebe, who stated that the visit to Governor Otti was the first physical meeting the body was holding, disclosed that the group had engaged with some governors in the zone virtually but not physically.

He said that they were committed to projecting peace, mutual respect, love and well-being of Ndi Igbo, and commended Governor Otti for his remarkable achievements within the short period he has been in office, describing him as a standard for Igbo leaders.

The foremost Igbo traditional ruler called on the South East Governors to come together to bring about integration of the South East region and stressed the need for Ndi Igbo to build a nation within a nation for economic prosperity.

In their separate speeches, the Chairman, South East Traditional Rulers Council Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu; the Chairman, Center for Values and Leadership, Professor Pat Utomi; the Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia Archdiocese, Most Rev. Chibuzo Opoko; and Dr. Uju Agomoh, among other members, said that the body expects the South East Governors Forum to champion the integration of the region, irrespective of Party affiliation.

They called on the South East Governors Forum to come together to make the region an economic hub to enable Igbo business communities all over the world bring their investments home.

Other members of the body who were present during the meeting include, the Anglican Archbishop of Owerri Province, Apostle David Onuoha and a biomedical Scientist of the Alex Ekwueme University, Ebonyi state, Mrs. Pauline Iyke- Ogbo.

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