A BROADCAST MESSAGE TO THE GOOD PEOPLE OF ABIA STATE, BY HIS EXCELLENCY, CHIEF T. A. ORJI (OCHENDO), GOVERNOR ABIA STATE, MADE THROUGH THE BROADCASTING CORPORATION OF ABIA STATE, ON THE OCCASION OF THE 20TH BIRTHDAY ANNIVERSARY OF THE CREATION OF ABIA STATE, HOLDING ON THE 8TH DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 2011
MY GOOD PEOPLE OF ABIA STATE!
DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!
I am very delighted today, to take this opportunity to address you on this 20th birthday anniversary of the creation of our State of Abia. This occasion is not only to celebrate with you, but for us to review our lives and our achievements in Abia State, and to move forward to revive and cherish the patriotism of the Abia people which in the past years was our strong plank of support.
Abia State, which is now twenty years of age, was one of the additional nine States created on the 27th day of August, 1991, under the then Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida.
The creation of our State was made possible through the committed agitation and resources of many of our eminent sons and daughters, who hoped to create a unique State with exemplary enduring values of the Igbo man. I salute all these founding fathers, many of whom are still alive, for their exemplary patriotism.
Truly, Abia State came into existence with high hopes, reflecting on the past glories of our people, especially our major contributions in the development and sustenance of the major infrastructures that distinguished Imo State, and from where Abia State was carved out.
Abia State was a creation of a Military fiat, and the State was administered under many Military Governors, who did not share the patriotism of the founding fathers. The advent of elected civilian Governors in the State, that followed, sometimes, combine to show that Abia State in the past 20 years has not always reflected the great hopes and aspirations of the founding fathers.
The early patriotism of our people, has not been advanced large enough to distinguish Abia State in line with the great deeds of some of our past trail-blazing heroes, like Dr Micheal Okpara and General Aguinyi Ironsi, and especially, the harnessing of the indomitable can-do spirit of Aba, Enyimba City and in many Abians.
I will be the first to admit that Abia State, at 20 years of creation, need to have done more than where we are now, especially in the creation of decent urban cities, durable infrastructures, and creation of employment for our people. The reasons for these, is that some of our past leaders failed to look beyond the needs of the moment.
They refused to have the sense of justice, failed to listen to their conscience, and failed to galvanize the mutual purpose and can-do spirits of Abians, in creating a new era in the history of our people. Our State therefore remained an ad-hoc State, sacrificed on the altar of personal aggrandizement and family dynasty, but without the necessary foundation to propel a collective development.
This is why our new Government of Abia State, is now committed to being the new instrument of restoration of our people and our economies. We will take Abia State to its true age of 20 and beyond.
We will lay the enduring foundation to take Abia State to a sustainable economic and social level, which has been missing in the past. But, re-building wasted opportunities, take efforts and sacrifice, and Abians should be reminded of these.
If we are going to make any advantage of this day as we remember and review our 20th birthday as a State, I will use this occasion to appeal to the present, as well as to the past. I wish to arouse our collective conscience, as well as the known pride of our people.
We should remember that the future of Abia and whatever our State becomes, lies not only with our leaders, but with all of us, our young people and our entrepreneurs. Whether, or not we will go on to finish the building of Abia State of our dreams, and that of our founding fathers, will depend on us.
Sometimes, when I look at the many perspectives of our State, I see some great menace, that call for restoration, patriotism, fairness and patience from our people. The inordinate desire and impatience of some of our people, in the drive for instant wealth, have created conditions that are despoiling our cities and other human settlements through indiscriminate constructions and infrastructures that bloc drainages and mess up the city plans.
Such disregard for rules and orders in our cities, certainly run counter to our Government’s resolve to building a solid foundation for the development of our State, and for the greater benefit of all Abians.
To secure the economic future and environments of Abia State, our Government recently sought to relocate many markets in our cities, especially, in Aba, and also remove many illegal structures that bloc drainages and constitute environmental hazard, a situation that has brought chaos and near lawlessness to that city.
This situation has also encouraged the constant flooding of Aba and the destruction of existing and rehabilitated infrastructures, especially roads. A permanent solution has to be found for this menace, by taking concrete action, without looking at faces, as it is not targeted at anybody.
While these actions affect some people’s livelihood, the general good is at stake, and must be respected, while the State seeks for amelioration of the effect on those affected. But, I expect our people to show better understanding of these restorations, and patiently support our well-conceived efforts. Other States have done same, and some are still doing it where many Abians live and do business, yet heavens have not fallen, because it is for the greater good of all.
My Good People of Abia State, also as we soberly, reflect on our State’s 20th birthday, let us not forget that it was the patriotism of our private and public spirited men and women that brought the State to creation in the first place. With a new and thoroughly aroused conscience and renewed commitments, we can all contribute further to building the Abia of our dream, which is beyond Individual, Party and Ideological differences.
We should avoid the obsessive cronyism and injustice in the sharing of State resources that only looks inside and not beyond our personal gains.
That is why this Government has implemented a policy that will spread out all government appointments through all nooks and crannies of the State. Also, our highest office of Permanent Secretaries and Directors of Government, which was hither-to, was not well spread out, will now be
made to serve for 4 years and a maximum of another 4 years on satisfactory performance, making it only 8 years for any officer at those ranks.
The reason,is for these juicy posts, to rotate to other areas in due course, and to encourage the growth of younger officers, and employment of more new entrants.
This Government will not allow anything to be a clog in our wheels, as we surge forward to the highest ideal in creating the new face of Abia. That is why we have also consulted and decided to transfer to their various State Services, the many indigenes of other States, who were absorbed in the Civil Service Sector of Abia State, at creation.
The compelling reasons for our action are as follows:
1. There are many Abians displaced from the Northern part of the country, as a result of the activities of Boko- Haram, who are anxiously waiting on Government for re-absorption and rehabilitation. This we cannot do, with our present bloated workforce.
2. The pupil-teacher ratio in our public schools is not encouraging, indicating that we have excess teachers, who are virtually redundant. And the echelon of this profession is predominantly, dominated by non-indigenes, to the major disadvantage of the indigenes, who themselves need to be encouraged by promotion, so that new people will be recruited to reduce unemployment.
3. Sometimes in the past, Abians working in other neighboring States were disengaged and forced to return to their States for re-absorption. They were accordingly, absorbed, and non indigenes from those States in Abia, have since been retained and peacefully accommodated.
4. Now that Abia State is committed to the payment of N18,000= minimum wage, the State cannot pay this if we silently continue to bear the burden of accommodating displaced Abians from other States, non indigenes in our workforce, and the existing work- force.
This policy, nevertheless, does not affect the indigenes of other States working in our tertiary institutions.
5. To authenticate this, I have written to my brother Governors of the South-East, explaining this situation, and urging them to accept the returnees.
For me, I continue to see great things for the future of Abia State in the next four years of our Administration in office. We will continue to do everything possible to repair past damages, strengthen old structures, reach out to build new bridges of friendship, and sparing no efforts in laying the solid foundations for the effective take-off of the New Face of Abia Socio-Economic Development.
Throughout the length and breadth of Abia State, there is a yearning for the peaceful and conscientious miracle of a sustainable development, delivered with honesty and integrity of purpose, even if there are limitations. I assure you that this Government will be the vehicle to deliver on these yearnings of Abians.
In all our efforts, we will be fair, and guided by a keen sense of justice, patriotism, and genuine love for our citizens’ welfare. All I ask of you, is your patience, support and understanding,
MAY GOD BLESS THE GOOD PEOPLE OF ABIA STATE.
THANK YOU FOR LISTENING