1. It is with deep and very profound sense of gratitude to the Almighty God that I address you today. Like you all know, I returned home on Tuesday evening after God’s grace and mercy saved me from the battle against Covid-19. The past one month has been a very challenging time for me and my family. As your Governor, I also know that it was also a difficult one for you. I am fully aware of the fact you all interceded on my behalf. You all cried to God and he heard your prayers and restored me to fullness of health. I am happy to report to you that I am in good health and strength.
Your unending flow of goodwill messages and regular intercessions were catalysts to my recovery.
Let me specifically acknowledge the statesmanship of the Deputy Governor of Abia State, Rt. Hon. Ude Oko Chukwu and his wife. He held the forte in my absence and ensured that peace reigned throughout the period. I am particularly thrilled by the fact that Abia State has remained one of the most politically stable states in Nigeria and we give God all the glory.
The event of this health challenge has left me without words nor means to appreciate all those who interceded, both spiritually and physically on my behalf to ensure my speedy recovery. The outpouring of love and emotional investment in me are quite disarming.
I shall remain indebted and eternally grateful to our dear President and Commander in Chief, the Vice President and members of the National Economic Council (NEC).
How can I forget the support, I received from my colleagues in the Nigerian Governors’ Forum under the able leadership of Governor Kayode Fayemi. The ‘Jewel in the pack’ Governor Dave Umahi will remain a true brother and friend. I am grateful to members of the National Assembly, especially those from Abia for their sustained love and solidarity.
The Honourable Speaker and Members of the State House of Assembly, members of the State Executive Council and all our leaders at all levels, leaders and members of various religious organizations, our Traditional Rulers, Ndi Abia State Advisory Council, Political Leaders from across party lines. Umunnem liile, ‘AFO NNE MBU OGURU’, Unu E meela Woo! Whe nu la unu akodila m taa ma o bu echi. Nde kanyi, eriri afo nwanne toro ogologo!
Ndi Abia, Ndi Oma, ya gazie. O dila nma, na aha Jisos.
2. If there is one message we all must take away from this, it is the fact that the reality of Covid 19 is beyond dispute.
My fellow Abians, Covid 19 is not only real but has the capacity to kill and destroy lives, if not properly managed and attended to. At the same time, we must understand that contracting this disease is not a death sentence. What is required us that all necessary steps be taken, ranging from early diagnosis and treatment. But at this time, the most important point to note is that all of us must take individual responsibility for our health and those of our family members, especially the vulnerable ones among us.
More than ever before, we must take seriously, all the prevention protocols as advised by the NCDC and other relevant Government Health Agencies.
On our part as Government, we will leave no stone unturned in this fight against Covid-19. I pledge the strong commitment of my administration to this fight. Right from the initial outbreak of this pandemic, we have done a lot of work to strengthen and support our existing facilities as well as ensure the upgrade of the very necessary ones. At the outbreak of Covid-19, Abia did not have a molecular laboratory anywhere in the state, and we had to take samples from our people to other states. Undertaking such excruciating journey at a time when life is on the line, made me take a decision to put an end to that cycle. Today, I am happy to inform you that the molecular laboratory we ordered from abroad had since arrived and has been running for some weeks now. With this facility in place, our people now have the opportunity to present themselves for the test. I urge everyone to take advantage of this window.
3. The global community is in agreement that life can not end because of this pandemic. This is why after the initial global lockdowns, life is gradually returning to normal. Trade and Commerce are returning slowing on a global scale. Lockdowns have been scaled down considerably and markets opened.
Here in Abia, we are responding to the Global and National trend. To a large extent, we have allowed our people to resume economic activities. Religious activities have also resumed. We are also taking all issues into consideration as it relates to the reopening of schools. Our major concern is the health and safety of our children.
In all of these however, we must realize that Covid-19, remains a potent threat. We must not let our guards down. The risk level remains high. I want to personally appeal to our Religious Leaders and leaders of our various markets to rise to the challenge of carrying this message to our churches, mosques and markets. We must all embrace the ways of living. We must wear face masks at every time we are outside our homes. We must form the habit of regular use of hand sanitizers and generally take personal charge of our hygiene.
4. Fellow Abians, you would have noticed that even as the pandemic is raging, our Government has kept on with construction works on some of our roads in Aba and Umuahia. The phase 2 of the Aba Road Project in Umuahia has commenced and the results are visible. Our plan is to push the project down to the Ubakala Junction of the Enugu Port Harcourt highway to provide a seamless and dualized entry into our capital from that flank, just as we have it from the Abia Tower flank. Worthy of note here is that the seemingly intractable stretch of bad road from Afor Ibeji to Uchenna Junction all along Aba Road have been fixed using using our popular Rigid Cement Pavement Technology. I am sure that we will not forget in a hurry how it was few years ago.
In Aba, several road projects are on and a number of construction sites remain active even in the middle of the pandemic. Work is proceeding steadily on our Flyover Project at Osisioma and immediately after the rains, one of the men at critical aspects of the project, the mega sand filling of the risers will be done. This very important aspect cannot be done under the rains and I am confident that by December 2020, we would be almost ready to commission our first ever traffic Interchange in Abia State.
Our resolve to construct new drainages that will stand the test of time have remained on course. Flooding on Aba Owerri Road is gradually becoming a thing of the past with the massive investments we are making on the drainage systems in that road. We are determined to complete the work on those drainages this year.
Today, Osusu Road has been completed using the Rigid Pavement Technology. We will commence the last stage of asphalting once the rains recede. This road will have a life span of at least 20 years. Here again, I am sure that we will not forget how this road was just a few years ago. Same Rigid Pavement Technology is ongoing along Immaculate Road, Umungasi. Egege Road, Ogbor Hill which used to be an eye sore on account of years of erosion has come back to life. Obikabia Junction is an emerging spectacle in infrastructural aesthetics and will be our standard of beautification of major roundabouts going forward. In addition, the dualization of Ururuka Road remains on course. Please be assured that we are fully committed to the completion of these projects.
5. The the glory of God, a new lease of life is coming into the Aba Community through the intervention of our administration and the NEWMAP. Palliative work has already commenced on Obohia Road, a diversion to pave away for the major drainage works on Ngwa Road, Ohanku, Uratta and Port Harcourt Roads.
6. As part of our signposts for Covid 19, this administration is committed to the delivery of an ultra-modern hospital in Abia, with state of the art diagnostic facilities, surgery/organ transplant capabilities, with potentials to reverse medical tourism. Similarly, all the three senatorial zones will have at least two (2) well equipped General Hospitals each. By the end of 2021, we would have created a platform that will repatriate the expertise of Abia medical practitioners in the Diaspora, who rank among the best on global ranking.
7. Umunnem Ndi Abia, this broadcast is my own way of informing you that your Governor is back on his feet and back to work. It is my own way to reassure you that the grace of God which has led me all my life remains alive in me. It is my own way to tell you to you that your prayers concerning me were answered by God. Permit me to say that this my song of gratitude shall continue for a long time to come, until I give my heart. Finally, it is my own way to reaffirm my avowed commitment to serve you with all my heart, all my strength and with a renewed vigour. I shall remain committed to discharging the mandate you freely gave me and I won’t stop until my very last day in office. We may not solve all the problems we have in Abia, but we will surely leave Abia better than we met it and hand over a State that is more economically viable, infrastructurally updated, and generally, a state that is far better when viewed from all available indices of development.
8. Thank you very much. May God bless you all, and may God bless our dear State, Abia.
Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, PhD
Governor of Abia State.