Wednesday, September 9, 2015 2:31 pm
To mark the first 100 days in office of Governor Okezi Ikpeazu of Abia State, his chief Press Secretary, Mr Godwin Adindu, spoke with journalists in Lagos on the journey so far in different sectors. Apart from such strides that are as concrete as brick, there are some intangible achievements in the area of value reorientation.
Governor Ikpeazu, on assumption of office, placed road rehabilitation as his top priority. He immediately identified 27 roads across the three senatorial zones that needed urgent intervention. As Adindu explained, due to the economic importance of Aba, the commercial nerve centre of the state, 13 road projects were slated for rehabilitation in the sprawling city. The governor was so passionate about fixing the dilapidated road infrastructure in Enyimba city that he awarded seven road contracts, which he intended to complete within his first 100 days in office.
According to Adindu, “Within the 100 days of the incumbent governor, appreciable achievements have been recorded in road construction, opening of blocked drainages, harmonization of the payroll system for salaries and pensions. The Abia governor in his desire to set the state on a solid economic footing has been working on medium and long-term policy initiatives by engaging with the private sector, development financial institutions and wealthy Abians to attract investments into the state.”
“He started his first day in office with the flag off of the construction of seven major roads in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of the state, to give the city a face-lift. The roads which are to be completed within the first 100 days of his administration include the Umuocham Road (1.7km) awarded to Ferotex Construction Company Limited, Old Express Road (6km) awarded to Irishgreen Global Concepts, Ukaegbu (1.4km), Umuola (1.4km) and Ehere (700metres) Roads awarded to Macol Construction Company Limited. The rest are Kamalu Road (1.5km) awarded to Raycon and Faulks Road by Ariara (5.5km) awarded to Bills Limited Civil Engineering.”
On the demolition of illegal shops and structures in Aba, Adindu posted “What we did was to pave way for ease of traffic for the citizens in Aba. You may have noted that Aba was really congested traffic wise, so the completion of Kamalu Road which will link Okpulo Umuobu in Osisioma LGA will ease traffic in Aba. And those who have attachments on the roads where construction is going on were directed to remove such attachments immediately to quicken the pace of work.”
The governor on assumption of office also created an agency, the Aba Urban Renewal, In the words of the Chief Press Secretary, “The reason Governor Ikpeazu established the office of Aba Urban Renewal is to demonstrate the high premium he has placed on the rebuilding of the ancient city of Aba. The rebuilding of roads and the general infrastructural renewal of Aba is a top priority of Dr. Ikpeazu administration. The vision of the governor to bring Aba back to its old pride of place also finds eloquent expression in this policy.
The Aba Urban Renewal Office will, as Adindu explained, be a key driving force of the administration and the governor shows personal interest and commitment to the activities of the office in order to ensure it performs to the utmost expectation. A Special Adviser oversees the office. The Governor has also appealed to the residents of the city to cooperate with the administration as many drastic measures will be taken for the general good of the people and the state. While some of these measures may seem harsh initially, the people will be happy at the end.”
Indeed Abia state is moving on. Within these 100 days that Governor Ikpeazu assumed leadership to put Abia back on the roadmap, according to Adindu, some political appointments have been made. Some of the appointments include Chief of Staff, Mr. Chijioke Nwakodo; Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr John Nwagborogwu; Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Godwin Adindu; Special Assistant, Media, Mr. Ojo Maduekwe; Special Assistant Media, Mr. Ugochukwu Emezue; Special Adviser Project Monitoring and Implementation, Engr. Emma Nwabuko; Special Adviser Political (Aba Urban Renewal), Dr. Solomon Ogunji; Special Adviser on Special Duties, Chief Ukpai Agwu Ukpai; Director of Protocol, Mr. Valentine Ifeanyi Okpechi; Special Adviser on PPP and Investment Promotion, Mr. Austin Ufomba; Special Adviser on Economic Planning, Mr. Obinna Oriaku; Special Adviser on Due Process, Chief Hon. Kalu I. Udoma; Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Eme Okoro; Special Adviser on Security, Captain Awa (Rtd); Special Adviser on Legislative Matters, Rt. Hon. Barr. Chinedum Elechi.
Also the governor dropped his “Excellency” title, and insist on ‘common governor status’ and also has cut his salary and allowances by 50%; fly in economy class whenever he is travelling; recovered N160m from ghost workers; engaged reputable consultants to harness the huge IGR by the from targeted N500m monthly to N1.5 billion; dredging of the Aba River for tourism and enhancement of drainage flow while pensioners have been verified and their pensions paid straight into their accounts.
The 100 days of Governor Ikpeazu has seen total reclamation of the state as, according to the CPS, “The governor embarked on an aggressive promotion of Aba products by being the first governor to the chief brand ambassador of ‘Made in Aba’ goods, and also set up Marketing and Standard Regulatory board to ensure that the Aba entrepreneur is encouraged.”
His 100 days in office would have been empty if the governor is not the people’s governor. “He made the giant move of reinstating 102 sacked non-indigenes in SEMB (Secondary Education Management Board and paid their June salary; and out of 295 in ASUPEB (Primary Board), 63 have been cleared and slated for their July salary, while the rest are awaiting their clearance. He also has been in the forefront to settling of protracted industrial disputes – JUSUN, ABUTH etc.
Also on Tourism, Adindu hinted that “Arrangements are on top gear to organise the maiden Enyimba Carnival in Aba in December and has sent a bill to the House of Assembly for the setting up of Abia State Investment Promotion Agency.
On Health, the CPS said “The governor has identified two tertiary health centres in each of the three senatorial districts in the state and brokered a public private partnership arrangement and also is reviewing the state health insurance policy with a view to reactivating and strengthening it.”