AN ADDRESS PRESENTED BY HIS EXCELLENCY CHIEF T. A. ORJI (OCHENDO), GOVERNOR ABIA STATE, ON THE OCCASION OF THE 53RD ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF NIGERIA’S INDEPENDENCE, HOLDING AT THE UMUAHIA TOWNSHIP STADIUM, ON THE 1ST DAY OF OCTOBER, 2013
PROTOCOLS DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!
It is my pleasure to address you today as we celebrate the 53rd anniversary of our Nation’s Independence. This is yet another annual opportunity to remember, renew of our faith in our Nation, and appraise our nationhood.
This year’s celebration offers a unique opportunity to share and appraise our collective journey towards improving the lives of our citizens, as our Nation pursues a more robust democracy capable of providing sustainable security and progress towards a more inclusive development of our people.
Our journey towards a viable nationhood in the past 53 years of Nigeria Independence remains a story of courage, tenacity, and commitment as our leaders search appropriate ways of advancing the interests of our diverse people within a united Nation. Thank God that we have endured despite our often conflicting individual and collective aspirations, and we will continue to endure!
Over the years, it has become more evident that ‘you’ – the entire people of Nigeria and our State, have been the only sure preservation for our unity, our democracy, our liberty, our security and our development as a State and as a Nation. I commend all our citizens for keeping faith with Nigeria and for remaining tenacious with our leaders, despite all odds.
There is no way our State and this Nation can continue to go forward expect we are united as a people; and there is no way any State and our Nation can develop except by serving the urgent needs of our citizens. This is the promise the Federal Government has made to the Nation, and the commitment our Government has made to the Good people of Abia State. We will surely keep these promises and excel!
Today’s celebration of our independence anniversary reminds us and all Nigerians that we cannot stand still or slip further backwards in developing our people and our economies. We cannot stand still in preserving the peaceful environment of our State, and we cannot stand still in deepening our democracy to serve the interests of our citizens at all levels. But we can do all these and yet go forward standing as a united people under one Nation and one Federation of shared values.
As we all celebrate today let us keep faith with Nigeria and rejoice that this Nation and this State have been growing, even as the challenges of resources still fail to meet all expectations. Yet our achievements can also be measured in the sincerity, devotion, accountability and the selfless leadership we continue to bring to our democratic process.
Our leaders at all levels, especially in Abia State, are assuming greater responsibility as change agents and laying the foundation for the sustainable development of our people. We will continue to pursue this route.
We are through our legacy projects in the State, seeking to build a sustainable economic foundation for our people, especially in providing for the best affordable health care in all areas and with a world class health institutions and diagnostic centers in Umuahia and Aba that can sustain the test of time and demands.
We are upgrading our judicial infrastructures and institutions in all areas to improve the delivery equitable justice. We have created access to new employments by building new markets to serve the commercial interests and needs of our people, especially in Aba, Umuahia. We are refurbishing our Educational Institutions, improving teaching and excellence and building a knowledge-based industry and tourism in our State.
We are creating self employment for our citizens, especially the youths – through empowerment with working tools, equipments and vehicles to ply new trades, and creation of massive employments in our privatized Palm and Rubber plantations at Abam and Ukwa-East.
We are creating young entrepreneur farmers in all LGAs of our State through our Liberation Farms, and new rural wealth through our refocus on agriculture as the mainstay of our State economy; and we will continue to pursue the expansion and servicing of our urban and rural roads and other infrastructures.
To consolidate these efforts, I call on all Abians to come on board and support our Government, so that our legacy foundations in Abia State will be made stronger, faster and intensive for the realization of our collective dreams of a better Abia State.
Also, as we celebrate this year’s independence anniversary, I call on our citizens to begin to re-evaluate your potentials and re-engage in our State and Nation building. We must move away from the anachronistic belief that Governments alone can do everything to develop the people, the State and the Nation. Our Government remains ready to partner with individuals and groups willing to devote their knowledge, resources and expertise to develop our State.
That is why we are now partnering with some reputable organized private concerns to build a new Aba International Industrial City (ABIIC) at Osisioma near Aba. When completed within 2014-15, this Mega City will relieve other Aba markets, and will be the host of cluster industries with modern equipments and machineries located within a conducive and business friendly environment that support healthy living and industrial activities.
It is our hope that through this new project, we will be able to recapture the fame of ‘Aba made goods’ and the ingenuity of the Aba entrepreneurs. Our goal is to re-make Aba as the true ‘Japan of Africa’ and the commercial hob of the South Eastern region and the entire Nation.
We are also giving support to Geometric Power Plant through assistance in road infrastructure; and to the other NIPP projects in Alaoji, so that their pursuits of a constant and reliable 24 hours supply of electricity will become a reality in Abia State, and especially in Aba, before Nigeria celebrates her next independence anniversary. This will accelerate the pace of commerce and development in Aba and entire Abia State.
I continue to see huge potentials and capacities in our people in direct engagement in the building of a growing, enduring, and a stable economy for the benefit of our citizens. Our Government will continue to support and partner with all those who dare to rise to be counted as champions of our State development.
For them and for every citizen, we will continue to invest heavily in the sustenance of our security and the protection of lives and property of citizens, so that all forms of criminal violence, especially kidnapping will be completely eliminated in Abia State, and our environment made more conducive for local and external investments.
Our Government will continue to build and maintain the cleanliness of our cities, especially Aba. We will address more consistently, our lingering infrastructural deficits, especially in Urban and rural roads; and we will work towards completing our legacy projects in the pipelines. However, I need to remind our citizens of the need to pay your taxes to enable Governments finance our many projects to serve you better.
I am ever confident that Abians will uphold their inviolable contract of fiscal commitment which binds Governments and citizens, especially in a democratic setting, and live up to their tax paying responsibilities. On our Government’s part, we pledge to remain prudent, responsible and accountable in the management of our collective resources.
Fellow citizens of Abia State, even as we celebrate our independence anniversary today, I need to re-assure you that our democracy, our State and our Nation will continue to endure in-spite of our growing teething problems, our inevitable internal conflicts and the many disagreements we sometimes face in our Party politics.
As we continue to endure and move towards the centennial anniversary of our Nation, we need to accept the fact that democracy itself – by giving voices to the voiceless, tend to create its own conflicts. But these conflicts must be addressed in the spirits and values of democracy. We must accept the caution that there is no alternative to the collective unity of our people under one Nation, just as we all continue to seek genuine resolves to addressing existing areas of imperfections in our political system, and do so with justice and fairness.
I therefore call on all Abians to continue to support our Government and the Federal Government of Nigeria under our able President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR for all the efforts everyone is making to preserve the unity of Nigeria in a prosperous environment, devoid of rancor and violence. Together, I am sure that we will reap the fruits of Mr President’s committed transformation agenda for Nigeria, even in the not too distant coming years and anniversaries.
Our Government of Abia State will remain an active player in the search for solutions to the many challenges that today face our State and the Nation, especially in the areas of deepening our democracy, advancing the development of our economies and people in all vital areas, and providing for a sustainable ‘human security’ of our citizens.
I therefore, advise our politicians and citizens to endeavor to promote peaceful conducts at all times, as we all seek to pursue our democratic rights and aspirations even under different banners.
But more especially, as we celebrate this year’s independence anniversary, I call on all Abians to continue to uphold and promote the ideals of distinction and uniqueness which formed the bedrock on which the State of Abia was founded by our fathers, and which is now very essential for a new Nigeria to emerge.
Let us all join hands with our Government and the Federal Government to transform this State and our Nation to match those dreams. We must do so by supporting hard work, honesty, ingenuity, fairness, justice, the promotion of excellence and rule of law under democratic values.
Let us approach the next independence anniversary with hope, harmony, mutual respect to each other and commitments to peaceful existence with other citizens – which are all imperative to sustainable development of our resources and our Nation.
Let us also renew our resolve to making the required sacrifices, bearing the necessary pains if need be, and making our individual contributions in the laying of the foundation for a greater Abia State. Let us support and sustain for the future, the Legacy projects of the Government and its commitments to the new Abia State and for the future of our new generations. Let us support the peaceful transformation of Nigeria under equal and shared coexistence of our diverse people, while we continue to pray that justice reigns through-out our land.
These ways alone, we can enrich and give better meaning to future celebration of the independence anniversaries of our Nation according to our dreams and our hopes.
Thank you and God bless the Good People of Abia State!
God bless the Federal the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Happy Independence Nigeria
Tags: Abia, Abia State Governor, Governor T.A. Orji, Nigeria