From: Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, assured the people of South East region of fair share of his developmental projects next year.
He said that already, some key projects designed for the region, especially in the area of road infrastructure, agriculture and social services, had been captured in the 2018 budget already presented before the National Assembly.
The President gave the assurance while addressing stakeholders of the state at Government House Exco Chambers, in Abakaliki. The president was on a one-day working visit to the state to commission some projects executed by Governorf David Umahi.
In the words of President Buhari, “My presence here today is a demonstration of our strong belief in the unity of Nigeria. As the most populous country in Africa with over 300 ethnic groups, our diversity is almost unique among nations.
“When I met with the leaders of the South East, in Abuja, last month, they raised several issues of concern including the state of the roads and infrastructure in the region.
“I want to assure you that we will deliver on our promises. Our 2018 budget included many strategic projects for the region in the area of road, power, agriculture and social services” the president pledged.
President Buhari also expressed delight to be in the state, noting that he was glad that the state has fared well. He also praised Governor Umahi for his developmental strides in the state. This was even as the president thanked the traditional rulers in the state for bestowing him with a chieftaincy title.
“I am delighted to be in Abakaliki today to interact with the good of Ebonyi State and again with the South East region as a whole. I want to extend my gratitude to the people of Ebonyi State for their hospitality and the warn reception since my arrival a few hours ago.
“I will like to commend His Excellency, Governor David Umahi, for his vision and commitment to the development of Ebonyi State which included some of the projects I commissioned since my arrival. They are laudable.
“I also unveiled the statue of a great Nigerian, Dr. Akanu Ibiam, who had a notable record for his humanitarian services to the people which included free primary education, which will continue to be an inspiration to all.
I am also grateful to the traditional rulers of Ebonyi State who bestowed on me the traditional title: Ezi Enyi Oma 1 (Good Friend 1). I thank you for this honour and kind gesture.
Earlier in his speech, Governor Umahi had thanked the president for “supporting the state in many ways.”
“First is to congratulate our President for this highest honour bestowed on you today. It is an honour that is well deserved, Your Excellency. You have helped us quite a lot especially in the area of agriculture revolution and solid mineral.
“And today, sir you are with us. As the always the prayer of everyone that you plan to see it, you will be alive to tap from the seeds that you are planting. Today, you made us a giant in agriculture and so, we have here with us 2,000 bags of rice and 2,000 pieces to give to our president.
“It is a prayer answered because you have sown in the land of Ebonyi and God has given you the strength and health to partake in that seed that you planted, we are grateful to give back to our father who has given so much to us,” Governor Umahi said.
Some of the projects commissioned by the president are: 14.5 km Abakaliki-Afikpo Federal Road reconstructed by Umahi; Akanu Ibiam and Ofia Nwali Flyovers located at Spera-In-Deo and Presco Roundabouts respectively; foundation laying for Muhammadu Buhari Rice City Tunnel and Overhead Bridge; unveiling of Akanu Ibiam statue mounted on Afikpo Road, commissioning of Ebonyi State Showroom built inside Government House among others.
However, many journalists were barred from entering the Exco Chambers where the president addressed the stakeholders of the state except for about three who later made the voice clips available to their colleagues.
Meanwhile, a former governor of the state, Sen. Sam Egwu, commended the President for the recent decision to pay former Biafra Police officers their pensions.
“Such an act of accommodation is what translates a mere leader to a great father of the nation,” Egwu said.