Imo State Governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha CON, has said significant progress has been made towards rebuilding the state and the nation. This, he said was made possible as a result of the people’s resolve to live together as one, strong and united nation.
The governor said this in his broadcast to commemorate Nigeria’s 59 years of independence.
He noted that, “this is evident in the courage to confront the odds and the resilience shown in pulling back the country from precipice at all times.”
Governor Ihedioha also highlighted the successes recorded so far by his administration since coming on board on May 29, 2019.
In his broadcast to the good people of Imo State at the ceremony to mark the nation’s 59th Independence anniversary celebration, held at the Cenotaph Arena in Owerri, Tuesday, Governor Ihedioha said this year’s celebration affords everyone great opportunity to pay glowing tributes to the nation’s founding fathers such as the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
He said, “Here in the South East region, we must recall with deep respect, our immediate post independence leaders like: Sir Akanu Ibiam- the first Governor of the Eastern Region; Dr Michael Okpara- the regional premier, as well as such other great leaders such as Sir Mbonu Ojike, Chief A.C Nwapa, and Dr.K.O.Mbadiwe, amongst others.
“For these pioneer leaders and other nationalists across Nigeria, there was no sacrifice too much, nor any price too dear, to pay in the efforts to achieve a self-governing and a sovereign motherland.
“Today, we are beneficiaries of this great legacy of freedom – the tree of liberty planted and nurtured by the sweat and, in some circumstances, the blood of courageous men and women who resisted colonialism.
“However, like every other great nation, Nigeria has bravely endured the pangs of birth of an emergent nation. Indeed, at every point, our resolve to live together as one, strong and united nation has been evident in our courage to confront the odds and resilience to pull back from the precipice. We rose up to the demands of liberation struggle, bounced back from a civil war, and have kept faith with the task of nation-building. Together we have overcome, and shall yet overcome.
“As we take stock today, we have cause to thank God for the great progress we have made in nation-building and the abundant human and natural resources that we have been endowed with. Nigeria boasts of a very energetic people, dynamic culture, beautiful landscape, bountiful natural resources and a huge swath of rich agricultural fields, among several other endowments.
Governor Ihedioha explained that Imo State is blessed with people of great potentials and abilities yearning to be harnessed.
He said, “There is, indeed, no state where these blessings have been more evident than Imo State. I am proud to serve a state blessed with a very dynamic, youthful, educated, hardworking and peaceful people. We are a people with great potentials, yearning to be harnessed. Our mission as a government, therefore, is to make our state the beacon of hope for the country and, indeed, for the continent.
“To this end, as we celebrate 59 years of liberation from the clutches of colonialism, I enjoin the collective support and sacrifices of our citizens. We are too noble a people to limit ourselves to small aspirations. For this reason, we are engaging all Imolites to map out strategies to harness our huge human and economic resources.
He said the Imo State is on the path of economic rejuvenation anchored on the Imo Growth and Strategic Development Plan, a 5 year Economic blueprint designed to rebuild the State.
“We will base our growth direction on a development agenda currently being put together, known as Imo Growth and Strategic Development Plan. This involves a 5-year Economic Blueprint for our rebuilding process and for restoring Imo to its former glory.
“Accordingly, we have taken the first sure steps by building a strong institutional framework for Good Governance. We have adopted the ethics of Due Process in all government transactions in keeping with national and global standards.
“Imo State now operates the Treasury Single Account (TSA) system which is today boosting our Internally Generated Revenues (IGR).
The Governor who noted with excitement that the internally generated revenue of the state which was less than N300 Million per month when he assumed office in May, has recorded over 150% increase with N795 Million realized as at yesterday, (September 30, 2019) for the month of September.
“The Civil Service has taken its pride of place as the engine room for the delivery of government services. Reforms are ongoing to improve service delivery across board, motivate the workforce and right the wrongs inflicted on the psyche of the personnel by eight years of misgovernment.
He said rebuilding infrastructure such as roads is underway and revamping key sectors such as Education and Agriculture have received prompt attention from his administration.
“We have embarked on a comprehensive plan of overhauling our infrastructure which was ruined by shoddy contract awards, quackery and entrenched policy of graft. Works are commencing shortly for the reconstruction of 14 critical roads, both within the Owerri Township and across the State.
“It is important to state that we are reviewing our security architecture with a view to ensuring security of lives and properties and restoration of confidence in government.
“We take note that we are a state blessed with a huge population of young people with great thirst for knowledge. The least any responsible government can do is to evolve strategies to satisfy this passion. We are therefore, working to restore education to its place of priority as the biggest industry in Imo State.
“Information and Communication Technology (ICT), we are aware, is a major driver of change and a bridge to the future. As a result, we have reached out to some global IT firms to design and implement programmes to inculcate IT competency and globally competitive skills in our youths and to make Imo State the technology hub of Nigeria.
“In another breath, there is no greater test of development than a people’s ability to feed themselves. To this end, the government has put all machinery in motion to harness our agricultural potentials. Notably, Adapalm, Avutu Poultry Farm and similar establishments, which hitherto were abandoned to rot away, are being revived for optimum production.
“In an effort to expand the funding and donor possibilities in rebuilding the state, we as a policy, have been engaging international bilateral and multilateral partners as well as donor agencies. I am glad to say today that these engagements are looking very prospective as they not only now see Imo as one to do business with, but in fact, one to support and assist. From the World Bank to the Department of International Development to the USAID, the French development Agency, AFD, the Commonwealth enterprise group and most recently the UNDP, all have extended a hand in partnership to Imo State.
“As far as luring the private sector to see Imo State as not only a destination of choice, but an investor’s haven, we have put a lot of measures in place. We have revamped the moribund ISIPA and set up a dedicated Ease of doing business desk among measures to establish the fact that Imo is open for business.
“As you are all aware, one of the foundations of democracy is the participation of the people, at every tier of governance, in the choice of who governs them. We are, therefore, giving expression to Independence by ensuring the devolution of power to the local governments.
“Consequently, in no distant time, our people would go to the polls, after a long while, for a free, fair and credible election at the local governments.
“My good people of Imo State, I must thank you for your resolve to change the narrative of poor governance that became the trademark of Imo State in the immediate past. The task before us is therefore challenging given the pillage experienced in the locust years and damage done to our state institutions. However, things are getting better. Thanks to the crop of patriotic and selfless Imo sons and daughters in the team, the partnership of a very vibrant state legislature and an independent Judiciary. Ours is collective governance, with no organ of government, nor segment of the population left behind.
“As a very educated and enterprising people, I urge us, to show forth the light by the way we carry on the duties and responsibilities of citizenship. I appeal to us all to pray for the peace and progress of our state in particular and our nation in general. Let us also remember Mr. President and our leaders in our prayers. It is for this reason that just two days ago, we committed the nation and the State to prayers at a state service at the Assumpta Cathedral, Owerri.
“It is also helpful that we pay our taxes, as and when due and to ensure law and order without which no progress is possible. I appeal to you all, to always come together in your communities to keep our environments healthy and to make Imo clean and green again.
“We have put our hands together on the plough of restoration. We cannot look back. We can see the silver-lining behind the dark clouds and with God on our side, we are building a great state and indeed, a nation dedicated to the ideals of unity and faith, peace and progress”.