In line with his administration transformation agenda and in keeping with his promise of fast tracking the development of the state, the Abia state government under Chief TA Orji has continue to embark on development projects across all sectors of the state?s economy. The last few months has witnessed unprecedented activities in the various sectors which could be best approached.
Governor T. A. Orji is presently building a new Abia State for the good of all. governance,breakdown of all traditional values of hard work, integrity, honesty, communal and self help spirit,discipline, transparency and accountability in conducting community and government business.
Today weak infrastructure, decline in quality of education and a legacy of impunity are things of the past and no more in the character or identified with the people and government of Abia, God’s own State. Starting with the first ever Economic Summit, which was organized between the 6th and 7th of December 2011, a new Abia as envisioned by her great scholars of international reputation and a cream of other technocrats fashioned out, “A modern, prosperous and secure state built on the energy, drive and enterprise of its people”.
This new vision was all that was required to under pin an agenda for creating shared prosperity through the development of desirable infrastructure, industry, agriculture and mutually beneficial linkages.
Tremendous achievements have been recorded under Gov. T.A. Orji as enunciated and enumerated below.
More than anytime in the history of Abia State, agriculture has received a boost with the reactivation and revitalization of a 5-ton/hour industrial oil palm at Mbawsi, a 2,600 hectare (1,500/ha of improved seedling) of oil palm estate is already in place at Ohambele and 200 hectares of oil palm plantation at Ulonna North and South and Ozuitem – Amamba.
Altogether, 1 million improved seedlings have been planted at the fallow areas of these plantations.
These excluded the pilot songhai integrated farm on 55 hectares at Okwoi Ibeku for plantain banana and pineapples while another 200 hectares have been cultivated for rice and fish farming at Ndibe-Abam in Bende LGA.
Recently, 55 tractors were acquired under PPP initiative for farmers hiring services. The state has continued to honour its counterpart obligations and is part of the new cassava and oil transformation initiative (COTI). As a pacesetter, Governor T.A. Orji recently signed the irrevocable payment order (IPO) to empower Abia commercial farmers to access the N1 billion Agriculture loan domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The mega farms otherwise called Liberation farms are being established in the 17 LGAs of Abia State in collaboration with ASOPADEC. The project is estimated to create 40000 jobs while a modern abattoir is been set up in Aba under another PPP agreement with an Ottawa-Canada based food company.
Umuahia is the only state capital in the entire South East that has electrified the entire streets and roads with street lightings. It is also very peculiar to state here, that it is only in Aba,Umuahia and its environs, that regular and uninterrupted electricity supply has been successfully achieved. This came as a result of the commissioning of the new 2 x 40 MVA, 132/33kv Transmission substation and the 132KVDC transmission line located at Ohiya in Umuahia by the Governor. That is not all, the Abia State government under Chief T.A. Orji had facilitated the ferrying of the gas turbines across Imo River to ensure early completion of the NIPP project at Alaoji. In line with Governor T. A. Orji’s determination to ensure regular availability of electricity for Abia’s numerous small and medium scale industries, the State is leading other South East States to procure the Enugu distribution of PHCN of Nigeria while at the same time installing transformers
in the rural communities.
New Asepa Permanent Site Umuahia
Governor T.A Orji has embarked on more than 50 different road projects in various parts of the state in the recent times. While a good number of these roads have been completed others are at various stages of completion. Some of the roads are Faulks Road Aba, Nkata – Alaike roads,Umuahia, Ndiokereke-Ndioji, Abam–Arochukwu road, and the Aba -Owerri road, Aba which has opened up another vista of business opportunities for Aba residents. Also commissioned is the popular Ukwu-mango road in Aba which hitherto had remained not just unmotorable, unpassable but in a very deplorable condition. Ukwu-mango is a very indispensable link into the Ariaria International Market.
In line with Governor T.A. Orji’s promise to sustain primary health care delivery system, he has already upgraded all facilities at the state owned specialist hospital at Amachara and Abayi to the extent that it is the most functional and adequately staffed state owned hospital around here. The Amachara hospital is also an annex ofthe ultra modern diagnostic centres in both Umuahia the State Capital and Aba, the commercial city of Abia with the the new chest clinic at Amachara-Umuahia.
In addition, a storey building has been
constructed for house officers alongside the 2 story building complex meant for resident Doctors. Besides renovating the theatre, work is completed at the accident and emergency units of the hospital. These were executed to enable it cope with increased activities and prevailing challenges. More importantly, Governor T.A has constructed and equipped more than 250 health centres in the different parts of Abia State under its primary health care services and development programme. Each of these health facilities has, in compliance with the MDG been provided with a bore-hole and a tricycle to convey patients to and from the health centres. It is therefore heart worming that Chief T.A Orji kept his assurances that every political ward in Abia State most have a health facility to attend to the health and social needs of the constituents.
As part of his efforts to provide quality health care and services to Abians, Governor T.A Orji is also constructing an auditorium at the specialist hospital Abayi, Aba for student doctors while at the same time meeting the counterpart obligation to the health partners and affiliate agencies such as WHO, UNICEF as demonstrated by the polio-free status of Abia State.
As a tertiary referral centre, Abia’s diagnostic centres are readily accessed by a cross section of Nigerians. Patients who would have been flown abroad for emergency medical treatment are now patronizing the Abia diagnostic centres which boast of world class and State- of- the- art-equipment.
COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY:
The Abia State Government being piloted by Chief T. A. Orji is bent on providing the enabling environment for business to thrive in the state.
That is why many investors are now interested more than ever before in partnering with the state government. The government has signed MOUs with various companies within and outside the country willing to do business with the state. Not long ago, Alkamali Oil of United Arab Emirate entered into partnership with Abia State towards exploring opportunities in the oil sector. There is a similar plan by a private investor to set up a cement manufacturing plant in Arochukwu following the abundance of limestone -a major raw material for cement production. There are many of such partnership between investors and the Abia State Government going on in the state.
The Abia State Government has also taken a giant leap forward in its effort to-relocate the Umuahia Main Market from its present location to a more spacious and ideal place. It has therefore vigorously pursued the plan to realize the Ubani Ibeku Ultra Modern Market project in the shortest possible time after the former contractor handling the project failed to deliver.
At the moment, work is progressing steadily at the site of the new market at Ubani Ibeku where about 5,000 shops have so far been built. All things being equal, by December this year traders will start moving over to the new market while the space where the old market was situated will be converted to another use by government.
In the same vein, the state government has concluded plans to relocate traders at the old Industrial Market to a more conducive location at Azueke Ibeku in the Umuahia North Local Government Area of the state. Government plans to build more than 5,000 shops in the new market while already, about 3,000 shops have been realized. The rest will soon be completed.
Government’s desire is that by the end of the year, movement of traders to the new market would have commenced. Apart from constructing new markets, some old markets have been receiving the attention of the state government. Not long ago, the executives of market associations in the state were provided with brand new official buses for their executives. Infrastructural development of the markets is a continuous process. For instance, rehabilitation of internal roads in Ariaria International Market is nearing completion.
Transformers have been donated to the markets.
SINCE the inception of the present administration in Abia State, it has recorded giant strides in the field of sports. The most recent are:
1. The reconstruction and re-sing of the Umuahia Township stadium/ Upgrading of the stadium.
2. Acquisition of World Class wrestling Ring.
3. On-going collaboration between Abia State Government and Vejie Bold Club of Denmark for the establishment of a sports academy his the state.
4. Signing of the Abia State Sports Endowment Fund by the governor.
5. The state qualified to play in the 2012 WAFU
competition (Continental Football Competition).
6. The state now presents two club sides in the pro-league in the 2012 football season. It is on record that Abia State has over the years produced notable and international sports men and women who have excelled in various fields of sports. Names like Kanu Nwankwo, world champion in power lifting, Obioma Aligekwe are Abia sons.
Recently also, the Enyimba Football Club’s chairman, Felix Anyansi Agwu was elected into the board of the Nigeria Football Federation. The director of Sports, Abia State Sports Council, Mr.Ejikeme Ikwunze was also appointed into the nine-man ministerial committee to reform football in the country.
The housing sector of the state has not been left out in the state’s supper transformation. In the last six months, a lot has been done in this sector.
The fencing of the site for the new Abia Government House at Ogurube Layout is nearing completion. The new civil servants secretariat, a four storey building has already been roofed and the other(l no.) four storey building is at the roofing stage even as the old one is undergoing renovation, while work at the 5,000 capacity International conference centre, Umuahia has reached 90% completion. The government has also deemed it necessary to alleviate the accommodation problem facing other government establishments in the state. Hence it has embarked on the construction of a 48-room office complex at the Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State, fully remodeled and expanded the Customary of Appeal building Umuahia and embarked on the construction of two massive storey building at the ministry of Justice. The old structures at the ministry have been given a face lift. The modern Abia State Planning Commission office complex has been completed.
Also, the Ochendo led Abia State government has embarked on the construction of 12 additional court halls at the High Court Complexes in Aba and Umuahia. No doubt, when completed, they will impact positively in the quick dispensation of justice. The projects are expected to be completed before the end of the year. The 3(no) new NYSC hostel blocks and 1 (no) staff building projects embarked upon by the state government at the permanent orientation camp at Umunna has almost been completed just as construction work at the Isieke Housing Estate, Umuahia is progressing steadily and nearing-Completion. An initial 30 units of 3-bedroom bungalows.
Renovation, construction and installation works at the Abia house, Abuja is also in progress.
Works on basement, interlocking tiles,, drainage and lift have been completed.
The High Brow Amokwe Housing Estate has been completed while Amuba Housing Estate is also ready for occupation. Finishing is ongoing; works on relaying of interlocking stones is also nearing completion. Still on housing, the state government is extending the commissioner’s quarters to accommodate all the commissioners with additional (6 no) duplexes. The project will soon be completed as work is in progress.
To ensure quick dispensation of justice, government has through the ministry of justice prosecuted over 3000 criminal cases, handled over 2000 civil matters in courts, prepared over 1000 contract agreements among others. Monumental structural developments have been witnessed. These include complete renovation of 12 room office block for lawyers in the ministry of justice, construction of a gigantic office complex at the ministry headquarters, Umuahia. The project is more than 80% completed. Harmonization of the salaries and the conditions of service of law officers with those of the magistrates in Abia state is a major milestone recorded by the Chief T. A. Orji present administration within this period.
Many states in the federation and even the federal government are yet to carry out such harmonization. At the judiciary level, renovation of old court halls and construction of new ones are ongoing at both the Umuahia and Aba judicial divisions of the state. Six new court halls each are springing up simultaneously in Aba and Umuahia
Abia state government since the inception of the 2nd tenure of Chief T. A. Orji has made tremendous achievements in the area of water and electricity through the ministry of public utilities.
In the area of water,” a comprehensive consultancy services has been carried out on how to rehabilitate the old Umuahia Urban water scheme and other water schemes in the state through the ministry of public utilities and water Resources. The ministry is also liaising with the federal ministry of Niger Delta for the Regional water schemes in the state to be captured in the federal government’s subsidy Removal Reinvestment programme (SUREP).
This will involve the reconstruction, rehabilitation and expansion of the water schemes. Also, the rehabilitation of Umuokpara water scheme has been executed. In the area of electricity the timely intervention by the state government facilitated the inspection and pre -commissioning tests of the Completed 132kv network from Alaoji- Umuahia and the 132/33 KV injection substation equally energized. Consequently, the state government in 2011 awarded contract for the construction of 5no 33kv High Tension feeder lines from the Ohiya 2×30 MVA, 132/33kv injection substation.
The 5 No 33KV feeder lines radiates from Ohiya injection sub-station to the following locations – Afara, Ubakala, Nkwoegwu, Ntigha Umungwa. Construction work along Afara, Ubakala, Nkwoegwu and Umungwa has been completed while work on the Ntigha axis is in progress. This has greatly increased the electricity supply situationin Umuahia metropolis and its environs.
In addition, government initiated and completed the installation of solar energy streetlights in the following areas of Umuahia metropolis-house of Assembly junction to Bende Road, Ndume Otuka Road, Road 3 Low Cost Housing Estate, Health centre Road, World Bank, Adelabu street and Bende road which has reached about 80% completion.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND CHIEFTAINCY AFFAIRS:
One of the greatest legacies of the Chief T. A. Orji’s administration in the state is the sustenance of peace in the communities. This has impacted positively on development. Through its relevant agencies like the ministry, of local government and chieftaincy Affairs, it has resolved Ezeship and , inter- community disputes in rural, grassroots communities through prompt, settlement of 76 ezeship and inter-community disputes.
The government has provided conducive environment for local government administration by taking proactive decisions ‘fed actions on security reports received from the local governments. The Abia state government has continued to pay allowances of Ndieze regularly in addition to facilitating payment of over NI00m old debts as well as arrears of salaries owed by the 17 LGAs and ensured regular prompt payment of salaries owed by local governments in the state. The state government during the period under review completed the construction of the JAAC / Ndieze secretariat crescent with asphalt by direct labour; procured and distributed 3711 300KVA transformers to the 17 local governments and institutions in the state. Government also procured and distributed 72 vehicles to the 17 transition committee chairmen and all Revenue units of the 17 LGAs as well as the principal officers of Abia state traditional Rulers council. Government has also made funds available for the renovation of the local government headquarters and also produced uniform sign posts for them. The ministry in keeping with the governor’s directive empowered 6000 Abia youths across the local government areas.
Education remains a key priority of the state government. Accordingly the state government has invested huge resources to that sector. There is a functional free transport services for students in Aba and Umuahia and this has alleviated the financial burden on parents. Scholarships have been instituted by the government for bright indigenes of the state to pursue academic programmes locally and overseas. Renovation of public primary and secondary schools is a continuous process and many dilapidated schools have benefitted from this gesture.
The Abia state government gives premium to the development of women, children, the indigent, elderly and persons living with disabilities. Over 200 women have been trained in various skills. A total of 1500 women had benefitted from the free pre and post natal treatment for pregnant women for the first six weeks. The Abia state government through the ministry has continued to take care of destitute and the less privileged by collaborating with the Itumbuzo mentally destitute home in the evacuation of some mentally ill persons in the state. Various sensitization programmes on child trafficking and abuse, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy, harmful traditional practices, child right law, child immunization, maternal mortality have been carried out by the government.
PETROLEUM AND SOLID ^ MINERALS DEVELOPMENT:
Abia state government has been able to achieve 100% maintenance on the vandalized system at Port Harcourt Refinery Osisioma Depot pipeline in collaboration with the independent petroleum marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN). The depot is expected to commence operation soon and will boost the social and economic development of the, state. The government has been able to clean up and take remedial actions on the 16 spill incidents that occurred in the state in the last one year due to sabotage. Solid minerals Data Bank has been created and has indicated the locations of solid minerals site in the state. This has helped attract foreign investors to solid minerals sector and invariably will create employment and increase the state governments revenue.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
It is the desire of the Abia State government that her citizens do not lag behind in this technological age. Its relevant ministry, the ministry of science and technology thus initiated the Ochendo free computer training designed to train Abians in all local government Areas of the state to be computer literate. The training programme has been on for public/civil servants. About 700 candidates have so far been trained. There is also the computer for All Abian initiative CAAI designed to enable interested public/civil servants in Abia state to own their own computer sets at affordable prices, without interest. About 500 public servants have benefited from the programme. The state also keyed into the federal government ECOWAS/CUBA initiative of replacing high energy consuming incandescent bulbs with lower energy consuming fluorescent lanterns deployed in government buildings and estates across the state. The ministry has completed work on the Abia state science and Technology policy.
The state government through the ministry of finance has taken proactive measures that have meaningfully enhanced the revenue base of the state government. The financial management organs of the state government have been overhauled to ensure efficiency and transparency.
Consultants on revenue base have been engaged that have assisted the government identify many revenue windows and potentials hitherto untapped previously. This has resulted to the marginal increase in the internally Generated Revenue; (IGR) profile of the state government.
Efforts have been intensified to complete the data capture of all state civil servants with a view to actually determine their number in the government payroll to eliminate ghost workers. The state government through the department assisted the former community banks to recapitalize to micro finance banks as part of the state government empowerment programme for the people at the grassroots. The ministry set up and inaugurated a committee on E-payment solution. Payment of salaries and pensions is up to date in the state.
All categories of retired civil servants have been paid up to March this year. The finances and General Purposes Committee has been strengthened to entrench due process, transparency and accountability in the award of all government contracts. The reconstruction, evaluation and updating of the state government’s debt had been done at the state level, the first in the south East zone. Plans have been concluded to extend same to the LGAs before the end of the year. The government has fine tuned appropriate framework and strategy that would compel remittance of collected revenue to the Board of Internal Revenue (BIR). This has become necessary because revenues expected from various internal sources have failed to reach projected levels.
The Ochendo government seems to have made the greatest achievement in this sector.
Till date the state government has given out more than 150 patrol vehicles to security personnel in the state to help fight crime as well as communication equipment. The exercise is still on going. Besides, the state government was instrumental to the rehabilitation the Army barracks at Ohafia which has boosted the security of the state. The joint military -police patrol has copiously tackled crime. Today Abia is not only the most peaceful state but the safest
state in Nigeria to the glory of God.