Thursday, 20 September 2018

GOVERNOR OKEZIE IKPEAZU RESTATE COMMITMENT TO TRANSPARENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY IN GOVERNANCE

By Charles Ogbonna

Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has restated his government's commitment in holding the principles of strengthening fiscal transparency, accountability and Sustainability in governance.
Dr. Ikpeazu who stated this during the flagging off/ declaring open of a two day sensitisation workshop on the open government partnership (OGP) organised by the state government in collaboration with Open Government Partnership Secretariat Abuja held at Okpara Auditorium Umuahia said that successful implementation of the OGP would help build trust between the citizens and government.

The Deputy Governor of Abia State, Udo Ukochukwu


He further stated that such trust would help deepen the principle of inclusiveness and participation which the current administration has pursued with dedication.

Represented by his deputy, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, Dr Ikpeazu said that the uniqueness of OGP was the principle which implies that the government, non state actors and civil society organizations would create the synergy in monitoring the activities and implementation of various commitment as outlined in the state action plan.

Dr. Ikpeazu said the desire to sign on to the OGP was borne out of the belief that its implementation would help deepen reforms which have already started through the implementation of different public finance management systems.

The state chief executive warned that government would not tolerate lack of dedication and commitment from those charged with this responsibilities.

According to him, As we are aware, access to development funds through the SFTAS and OGP are hinged on achieving the World Bank's Provided Development - linked indicators and called on all to ensure that the state does not lag behind in any aspect of the programme as government would provide all the necessary support to drive the programme to its logical conclusion for the common goal of all.



In her address ,Mrs Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu ,the National Coordinator of OGP ,commended Abia government for adopting the OGP process in the governance of the state.

Ibekaku-Nwagwu ,who was represented by Miss Chidinma Ilechukwu ,described the OGP process as an initiative which would strengthen anti-corruption reforms in Nigeria.

She said that the implementation of the initiative entailed transitioning towards a more open government by improving inclusiveness in decision making and horizontal communication between the government and its citizenry.

Earlier ,Mr Obinna Oriaku ,the Commissioner for Finance and the state focal person ,said that the state government had resolved to make the public sector to promote improved management of public resources to provide essential services.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

THE UNPRECEDENTED DEVELOPMENTAL STRIDES OF GOVERNOR IKPEAZU PART 2

THE UNPRECEDENTED DEVELOPMENTAL STRIDES OF GOVERNOR IKPEAZU PART 2





By Ferguson Chikwendu

The name Governor Ikpeazu is synonymous with the word “performance”. For the first time in a long while Abia state is witnessing first hand, a Governor that is intellectually functional, purpose driven, transparent, goal oriented; and above all, focused to a touch.

In just three years Abia State has shifted positively at various spectrum of landmark development, from once a onetime dilapidated State to a progressive status, conditioned by leadership transformation of Governor ikpeazu, political imperatives, economic and internal security objectives. All these points to one fact: the interest, yearnings of Abians is his driving force.

The necessity to partner with local and international firms/organisation to grow the economy of Abia State, thereby, creating an enabling environment for business to thrive cannot be overemphasised. This alone has a ‘positive multiplier effect’ in the state’s economy. Happily, the approach adopted by the Governor is all embracing, giving room for both small scale and big business to thrive in the State.

Prior to this time, Abia state was notoriously known by all and sundry as a land plagued with horrific leadership. The system at the time frowned strongly at growth in all sphere of the state. Accordingly, it lost respect in the eyes of foreign investors and sister states, to say the least.

However, the assuring leadership of Governor ikpeazu has transformed Abia State from a once ‘dead’ state to a shining star, and same is now constant as the Northern star. Abia state, as at this time, is blessed with a focused and determined leadership whose utmost concern is the well-being of her people.

We cannot at this time go back to our past: a past bedeviled by bad leadership; a past of bad roads; a past where nothing worked; a past where life was in shamble; and a past where the strength of character, right to be heard and the interests of the people mattered not.

To be fair, Governor Ikpeazu, within his short stay in Office, has ensured that Abia state stands for what it was truly created to be: a shining star amongst sister states. Abians as a people, are most industrious, determined and dexterous, hence the need to create the enabling environment for their entrepreneurial establishment to thrive becomes most imperative.

Again, Governor Ikpeazu has ensure that the political and economic condition in Abia state, which will secure and project the interest of the people is well preserved and protected. This, is not even a matter for debate. Creating a prosperous, sustainable economy goes hand in hand with building world-class communities has been the Governor's trademark. One cannot exist without the other. And this has been one of the many trademarks of Governor Ikpeazu’s led Administration.

Ever since Governor Ikpeazu assumed office, there has been a building of solid domestic base for genuine democratisation of political power, to enable every Abian expresses his-her economical, social and political might and views without any inhibitions.

The Governor Ikpeazu led Administration focuses on strengthening key industries, expanding trade, helping small businesses grow, providing training to a new generation of Abians, and providing access to funding too.

Happily, Governor Ikpeazu’s strategy focuses on targeted industries that can spur rapid growth in Abia state. It is of essence to state that small businesses drive Abia State’s economy. To help them succeed, the Ikpeazu’s Administration offers a range of programs designed to meet the specific needs of small businesses in the state, from education and technical assistance to disaster preparedness and recovery tools.

With his groundbreaking developmental strides, it is not in doubt that Governor Ikpeazu deserves a second term. And the good people are ever ready to vote him back to office to continue the good works he started.

Mr. Ferguson Chikwendu writes from Umuahia  and can be reached via 0738272201.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

GULLY EROSION: PICTURES Ikpeazu visits Isiukwuato erosion site

Ikpeazu visits Isiukwuato erosion site















Abia State State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, in the company of his Deputy, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, Commissioner for Environment, Dr Aham Uko, visited the erosion site at Nkwonta Village in Isiukwuato LGA of the state...

The Governor promised that palliative will commence immediately...

NIGERIANS ARE ECONOMICALLY POORER UNDER BUHARI ~ EX MINISTER

NIGERIANS ARE ECONOMICALLY POORER UNDER BUHARI ~ EX MINISTER


A former Minister of Health and a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Muhammad Pate has said Nigerians are economically poorer under the new dispensation.

Pate, who is now an adjunct Professor of Global Health at Duke University in the United States, revealed that most Nigerians currently live on $1.90 per day.

Pate faulted APC’s nomination fee which is an equivalent of $120,000 at a time the economy is in a poor state.

He explained that he could not come to terms with the development considering the party had in 2015 campaigned to fight against corruption if elected to lead the country.

He spoke on Tuesday at the 10th Anniversary Colloquium of the Financial Nigeria Magazine in Abuja, where he also suggested that the party’s decision indicated it was not fighting corruption as it claimed.

“How can we explain, for instance, that a popular party that came to power to fight corruption is asking its aspirants to spend equivalent of about $120,000 to apply for candidature for an office in a country where almost half the population is living on $1.90 dollars a day?”

He argued that Nigeria’s political system now allowed mediocrity to thrive, while the country’s population suffered for poor leadership practices.

“Our political system has adopted mediocrity as its central ethos without regard to competency or character. Instead of pursuing development agenda, some of the political leaders appear to be consumed perpetually with the next election.

“Political parties have been reduced to mere vehicles for entering into office, and even the current ruling APC which is my party by the way, came to power with a popular mandate in 2015 but is now on the verge of making a similar or worst blunder as the PDP which was my party as well,” Pate stated.

Speaking further on the planned primary elections of the APC, Pate, noted that if the party adopts, “a dual-track measure of justice for its aspiring candidates in the upcoming primaries. If it takes one track for justice for the president and another for the state governors,” without respect for popular will, it would face a lot of difficulties in the upcoming elections.

He also lent his voice to ongoing calls for a restructuring of the country by some people across Nigeria, saying: “Our governance system has become unstable and inconsistent. We know that the current structure of the country needs to be revisited to deepen our legacy federalism beyond just monthly FAAC allocations. But our political leaders appear stuck.”

According to Pate, political accountability mechanism have become weak or almost non-existent in Nigeria while arbitrariness had become the norm in government businesses.

He said these developments could be linked to the many conflicts going on across the country which he claimed undermined the legitimacy of the Nigerian state.

“We have epidemic proportions of unresolved grievances and conflicts. Everywhere there is a grievance or the other, violence and humanitarian emergencies, these are all symptoms of underlying dysfunctional governance,” he noted.

On the 2019 general elections, he called on Nigerians to elect people who have the means to lead the country responsibly, adding that the year was pivotal to her accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

OKEZIE IKPEAZU: We Have Raised the Bar of Governance in Abia

OKEZIE IKPEAZU: We Have Raised the Bar of Governance in Abia

Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, in this interview addresses issues revolving around governance and development. He is of the opinion that leaders in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa often fail to succeed because they alienate the people they are elected to govern. He spoke to Tobi Soniyi. Excerpts:

What are your achievements in the past three years?
My greatest achievement in the past three years is what I will regard as being able to mobilize my people socially. They understand my vision and they have keyed into that vision and they see what I see. This is important to me because the tragedy of leadership in Africa is that more often than not, we fail to carry the people along. And it gets to a point where it looks like the high-speed train is moving at a high speed but the coaches are not part of it. So, you arrive at your destination but you haven’t arrived with either the passengers or the goods. And then, it makes it difficult to lead the people if they are not mobilised. But the only way you can mobilise the people socially, going forward, is to be able to be a man of your words. Your vision must be clear and then you must be able to keep to your words, then you must speak to the quality of infrastructure you are delivering, so, they can say that if this man is willing to eat from the same pot with us, then, he is not likely to poison us. Today, there seems to be some disconnect here and there. People destroy infrastructure and you end up looking back to see that whatever you delivered to the people had been vandalised within one month. What it means is that there is a rejection of that infrastructure as in this is not good enough.

In 2015, we were clear-minded about the direction we were going to take. We defined what we wanted to do to create a better life for Abia people, leveraging on those things we can do better than other people. And then, looking at the vision, we were able to craft our five pillars of development. We can’t do everything at the same time but we must focus on the things that are tangible, attributes that can give us a comparative and competitive advantage over other states especially when we were not going to have the kind of money we required. We were able to have some logical basis for prioritisation. So, the five pillars were agriculture, because Abia has the most fertile soil in the world and I prove it by asking people to just enjoy your mango fruit and throw it through your window and you get a mango tree; if you throw pawpaw, you get a pawpaw tree, orange the same thing. So, agriculture for us is one of the pillars.

The other one is the Small and Medium Enterprise; Small and Medium Manufacturing. Today, Abia exports about two million pairs of shoes to the rest of African countries and you cannot ignore that. We do the best shoes, bags, belt and everything that is leather-based and we are also very strong in garments. So, the World Bank recorded 250,000 people doing this. And when we did a deep study, we found that each of the 250,000 people the World Bank recorded had four people in their employ. So, simply, about a million people are involved in one kind of manufacturing or the other. As I speak today, I am proud to invite you to the Presidential Villa on Thursday where we are expected to receive an award as SME Governor in Nigeria. Beyond SME is oil and gas because we have oil deposits in one or two of our local governments in the southern part of Abia.

Education, for us, is also key – a pillar and we regard education not only as a pillar but also as an enabler. So, the things you look at are those things that facilitate or enable the pillars to stand and become economic relevance to the people. So, our enablers are roads infrastructure, security and all of that and if you come to roads, we are active on about 150 to 160 roads but we have delivered over 80 roads completed and all the roads we have delivered, even the ones we commissioned within the first 100 days are still standing without one pothole. I stand to be challenged. From Aba which is at the heart of Abia South to Arochukwu in Abia North, what it means is that today, we are beginning to do a few things differently from how it was done before. We run a research and data-based government. We must do an analysis of the soil. The treatment we deployed in Aba for road construction is different from the one we deploy in other parts of Abia and that’s why we started the cement pavement technology in Aba, which comes on a road that has had water sitting on them for between five and seven years.

Some were abandoned for ten years, so, if you come and want to recover that road, the best thing to do is to do cement pavements technology. We have done a couple of roads in Aba. We pioneered it using cement pavement technology. But the roads we were set to do and most of which we have done today are around Aba and some people, those who are not deep enough in terms of developmental strategy or not deep enough in terms of the philosophy of the government find it difficult to understand that Aba is at the confluence of South-east and South-south. You can’t ignore Aba. It is 30 minutes from Ekott Ekpene and Port Harcourt to Aba and about 45 minutes from Owerri and there is a catchment business population of about 25 million people coming to do things from Delta, Bayelsa, from everywhere – coming to do business in Aba with 15 markets and one of those markets has about 100,000 shops. So, the economy of my state, if I want to speak in terms of internal revenue, is Aba. So, if I get Aba right, I probably would be able to generate enough revenue to develop other parts of the state.

Again, the roads we have been doing in Aba are short roads, streets and all that. But the roads in Abia north are long roads. You can do 25km, 11km of roads and all of that. But we have concentrated on Aba because we think that if we unlock Aba, it will have a multiplier effect and it had worked. So, if you come to Aba, we targeted roads that lead to specific economic hubs. For instance, Ariaria International Market. Why should I be talking about trade and commerce which is the last pillars? Why should I be talking about the development of trade and commerce or small and medium scale enterprises without alluding to the roads that lead to Ariaria? If I am unable to unlock Ariaria, then, I am not serious about trade and commerce, because the essence is to oil the wheel that moves personnel and goods from one location to another. Nothing drives somebody away from a marketplace as much as traffic jams. So, we decided to create access and that is what brought us to Faulks road. Faulks road was one of the worse streets in Aba, you couldn’t access the Port Harcourt-Enugu expressway from the beginning, which is Brass Street, but today, in Ama Ikonne axis they said there were a huge mermaid and another mermaid around Ukwu Mango axis; all the mermaids along that road are a thing of the past now courtesy of Setraco. But what people are enjoying today is that every part of Aba is about 15 minutes to Ariaria but the rigour and thought and planning deployed into that road is something else. So, a lot of people were saying you took two years, three years to deliver that road, it took too much time and we would have delivered it like this and I said yes, you were delivering like this before and it was failing like this. So, today we had to start by planning and we did a six and a half kilometre tunnel to the waterside and installed three pumps, pumping water intermittently from a collection point we call Ifeobara and that is why the road will not fail in the next 10 to 20 years.

Do you intend to seek a second term in office?
I will take that decision in two weeks’ time.

This question is coming because your major opponent in 2015, Dr. Alex Otti, has already declared his intention to contest the governorship election and his posters are everywhere.
I will tell you then but for us in Abia, we don’t think Alex is a formidable opponent, because contemporary politics today is about your track records and what you have done. We have things that we will show people that we have done and we would challenge anybody coming to show us what he has also done. Otti is not an opponent to worry about.

What exactly is Enyimba Economic City?
Enyimba economic city is an alternative city located between Aba and Port Harcourt. It will take a piece of some chunks of lands from three local governments. This city is borne out a need to recreate Dubai and that is the concept I am working towards and we are designing it to work for the best in the world. The idea is to create an efficient technology-driven digital city for light and heavy manufacturing and we have done all the surveys and we found out that it is the choicest and the best economic city today in Africa. There is none like it because it is 30 minutes away from two seaports. One is in Abonima and the other one is in Onne. It has a rail line straight from there to Kano. Again, it has gas for energy, because that is where we have our gas belt but most importantly, it is beside the highly skilled and energetic Aba manpower. So the energy and the skilled manpower that will drive whatever activity in that city are available.

Already, in 2018, the federal government committed N10billion. That is a far cry from what we require for infrastructure. We have an anchor company coming in from China. That is coming with $20billion. They are prepared to underwrite the one hundred and twenty something million naira, which Geometrics requires to provide electricity in which case Aba will become the first city to enjoy uninterrupted power supply in Nigeria and that will come before the end of this year. That is our vision and that is our prayer. A lot of people worry that I have been to China more times than many people have been around there in their lifetime. It is because they don’t understand. The future of Abia is the Enyimba economic city. We are targeting employment for about 70,000 youths. And we are targeting, first of all, a garment factory that will occupy 200 hectares of land, which will put a stop to our people frequenting China for the raw materials they use for their garment business. So, we have it all planned out and it doesn’t take one trip to achieve that. But I am proud to say that the MoU has been signed between Enyimba economic city and some core investors such that one investor is bringing in $20 billion.

https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2018/08/05/okezie-ikpeazu-we-have-raised-the-bar-of-governance-in-abia/amp/

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

IKPEAZU ASSURES ON CLEARANCE OF SALARY ARREARS BY DECEMBER 2018

IKPEAZU ASSURES ON CLEARANCE OF SALARY ARREARS BY DECEMBER 2018

Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has given assurance that all outstanding arrears of salaries owed all the categories of workers in Abia State will be cleared latest by December 2018.

The Governor gave this assurance while inaugurating the Special Committee he set up to ensure the realisation of this objective.

Governor Ikpeazu reiterated that the State has been up to date with salaries of staff of Ministries and most Parastatals  noting that it was the salary of teachers and a few Parastatals that had issues.

He called on Heads of Tertiary Institutions and money-yielding Parastatals in Abia State to take a cue from the ingenuity of the Vice Chancellor of the Abia State University by judiciously managing resources available to them while prioritising remuneration of their staff warning that Heads of Agencies who persist in mismanaging their Agencies and causing salary delays will be relieved of their appointments.

He expressed sadness that the issue has lingered for a while and charged the committee to expeditiously work out the modalities for the commencement of payment of all outstanding salary backlogs.

The Governor assured that Pensioners are also being accommodated in the arrangements being made and noted that Labour Unions will be carried along when it is time for disbursements.

Members of the committee  inaugurated include
1. Mr. Obinna Oriaku, Honourable Commissioner for Finance.
2. Mr. Udochukwu Ogbonna, Chairman, Abia State Internal Revenue Services.
3. Sir Gabriel Onyendilefu, Accountant General, Abia State.
4. Chief Sam Nwogu, Chairman, ASOPADEC
5. Rt. Hon. Christopher Enweremadu, Hon.  Commissioner for Local Govt.  & Chieftaincy Affairs.
6. Sir Onyii Wamah, Head of Service of Abia State and
7. Engr. Emma Nwabuko, Principal Secretary to the Governor.

The Committee has began work in earnest.

Signed.

Sam Hart
Special Adviser to the Governor, Communications.