A journalist came to my office to find out what the Abia State Government under able leadership of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu is doing to survive in recession.
He asked me three questions.
1. Is Abia State planning to sale any property like cars to cut cost?
2. Is Abia State prioritizing roads to construct?
3. Is the Governor considering cutting his salary and allowances?
Permit me to share my answers with you:
Even before the Federal Government declared that the country is in recession, those of us in Abia, with the Governor at the driver’s seat, had planned for alternative sources of funds to the inadequate federal allocation. We knew that the allocation from Abuja wont be enough for what must be done, so we planned how to manage the meager allocation as well as how to raise our IGR in a humane way that does not stifle entrepreneurship and businesses in the state.
So we asked ourselves very important questions; what do we have as a state that other states don’t have? And how can we capitalize on what we have to ensure that we achieve our set goals?
And we said, we have Aba. No other state in Nigeria has Aba with the volume of commercial activities going on in Aba. We therefore prioritized Aba in everything. We are doing more roads in Aba than elsewhere in the state because, if we get Aba right, we’ve gotten Abia right. Aba’s infrastructure is in bad shape. But
in 14 months of this administration, we’ve done 14 brand new roads in Aba alone. They are: Omeni Link Road, Kamalu Street, Chima Nwafo Road (former Umuojima Road), Umuocham Road, Umuehilegbu Road, Umule Road, Owere Street, Ochefu Road, Weeks Street, Owerenta Street, Umuola Road, Ukaegbu Road and Ehere and Adventist close off Udeagbla Road.
Setraco has resumed work on Faulks road, a new contractor is coming to take over Aba Owerri and Udeagbala roads. Work will resume on Ururuka road and Opobo down to Ngwa road etc.
These does not include the roads we’ve reasphalted or resurfaced as the case may be, in both Aba and Umuahia. We are also doing roads in other areas of the state.
The Governor would have loved to fix all bad roads in the state, including federal roads, but the situation we find ourselves in Nigeria today, it’s tough, but we are not relenting. What the governor said, which we are doing, is that we will develop Abia from Aba. Our target is to construct 50 roads in Aba, including Port Harcourt and Ikot Ekpene roads and a flyover at osisioma junction before 2019. The resources generated from a fixed Aba will be used to fix the rest of Abia.
On the issue of selling government properties, Abia does not have any to sale. Apart from the Governor’s official car, the cars on the Governor’s convoy are those used by immediate past governor. Apart from members of the state House of Assembly and commissioners, the government of Dr Ikpeazu is yet to buy any official car for present government functionaries. Those you see with official cars are the ones used by their predecessor in the immediate past government. As the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, I don’t have any official car, I’m using my personal car. It’s not that the Governor want it so, but there is no money to do that now…of course the Governor preferred buying vehicles for the security agencies in the state as part of the state’s support to them to ensure adequate security of life and property.
On the issue of cutting salaries and allowances. One of the first decisions of the Governor when came into office was to slash his salary and allowances and that of all political appointees by 50 per cent. That has been the case till date.
God bless Abia!
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor