Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has expressed gratitude to God for giving him the grace and enablement to do his best for the uplift of the state, which has earned him The Sun Governor of the Year award for 2022.
He promised that the recognition would spur his government to do more for the people of the state in the remaining months of his tenure.
Gov Ikpeazu and 25 others will be honoured at The Sun Awards ceremony on January 28, 2023 at the Expo Convention Centre, Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Speaking in Aba, when the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr Onuoha Ukeh, led a delegation to present a letter notifying him of his nomination as the Governor of the Year 2022, Ikpeazu said he was excited about the honour, which he dedicates to God and the people of Abia State.
Describing Abia people as resourceful, honest and hard-working, the governor said The Sun award was important to him “because the journey to this point hasn’t been very easy, but I thank God. The Almighty gave me the strength and resilience to continue to move on. Manifestations of our burning of the midnight oil has begun to show and the eagle eyes of The Sun has caught the reflections.”
On what he has done since assuming office, Ikpeazu said: “The things that our people need to eke out a living for themselves are few as it were and we have dedicated all our time this past seven years to create a platform that will enable our people to blossom to their full potential.”
He predicted that the days ahead will be better because his administration has laid a strong foundation for an economically strong, viable and sustainable state.
His words: “I could say if I want to be immodest that some of the steps we have taken are irreversible. I say this because Aba, Umuahia and Ohafia had no masterplan by the time I came in. But today, we are in collaboration with UN-HABITAT to develop a masterplan for these three cities and indeed we were commended recently through a letter from UN-HABITAT for our vision towards ensuring that we bring about structured and organised development for our major cities and they adjudged them among the contending cities for most resilience cities in Africa.
The governor paid glowing tributes to The Sun for always sticking to professionalism and resisting external influence in news judgments.
He described The Sun as one of the most credible platforms in Nigeria, saying: “When you talk about journalism and pushing the narrative for positive change in our society, The Sun has remained a very strong brand since inception and it has grown from strength to strength. So, for me to be considered for this coverted award, is very, very humbling.”
Earlier, The Sun MD said the things Ikpeazu has done as governor in the past seven and half years have not gone unnoticed.
Listing some of them, he said “To boost trade and commerce, His Excellency established the first ever Abia SME Bank; you partnered with the Rural Electrification Agency of the Federal Government to provide uninterrupted power supply to 25,000 shops in Ariaria International Market.
“Under your watch, Abia government invested in Geometric Power Company to provide steady power supply to the commercial city of Aba, and nine other local governments of the state.”
Ukeh noted that owing to the importance the Ikpeazu government attached to the Ariaria International Market in Aba, the governor had embarked on remodeling of the market, with good access road that has drains and culvert for channeling of storm water..
He said that it was under Ikpeazu’s watch, Golden Guinea Brewery, Umuahia was reactivated, and the Inner Galaxy Steel Company in Ukwa West Local Government Area, established.
In the area of infrastructure, The Sun MD said the Ikpeazu administration has completed more than 156 road projects across the state, with 27 of such roads directly leading to significant centres of commerce in the state.
He said Abia State will always remember Ikpeazu for establishing the Automated Shoe Factory, with capacity to produce 5,000 pairs of shoes daily; and for championing the made-in-Aba, through a focused promotion of home-made brands.
Apart from Ikpeazu, others who will also receive awards are, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and Mallam Mele Kyari, Group Chief OperatingOfficer, Nigerian National PetroleumCompanyLimited (Man of the Year); Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State and Governor Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa (Governor of the Year); Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State (Courage in Leadership); Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State (Political Icon) and Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu (First Lady of the Year).
Other award winners are, General Overseer, Omega Power Ministries, Apostle Chibuzor Chinyere, Chief James Chijioke Ume, Chairman, Unubiko Foundation (Humanitarian Icon); Mr. Festus Mbisiogu, Chairman, Shanghai Engineering Works Limited, Lady Ada Chukwudozie of Dozzy Group (Industrialist of the Year); Barr Mrs. Ngozi Ekeoma, Managing Director, Nepal Energies Limited, Chief Benjamin Igwe (Entrepreneur of the Year) as well as Dr. Stanley Uzochukwu, Chairman of Stanel Group and Dr. John-Kennedy Opara, Chairman, CSS Ingrated Farms Limited (Investor of the Year).
Also to receive awards are, Chief Kelvin Jumbo Onumah, Chairman of Sublime Group Limited (Hospitality Personality), Mercy Johnson-Okogie (Nollywood Personality); philanthropist and elder statesman, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, ex-Anambra State governor; Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu, ex-Lagos Deputy Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, former Jigawa State governor (Lifetime Achievement).
Others are, Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna, Executive Vice Chairman, National Agency for Science, Engineering Infrastructure; Dr. George Moghalu, MD, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA); Dr. Richard Okoye, Chief Medical Director, Save A Mission Hospital, Port Harcourt (Public Service) and Mr. Olukayode Pitan, MD, Bank of Industry (Banker of the Year).