Nigeria @ 61: Igbo will continue to engage FG on grievances – Uzodimma

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The Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, on Friday said the people of the South East Zone would continue to engage the Federal Government on whatever grievances of the region.

Uzodimma said this in Owerri, as part of the October 1st Independence day broadcast to the people of the State.

The governor said the Igbo stand to benefit from one united country of justice and equity.

He said: “For us in the South East, we should use the occasion of the Independence to re-evaluate the recent activities of our youths as they relate to our relationship with other Nigerians, our economic growth and our future aspirations. As a people who suffered the devastating consequences of a 30-month civil war, reason demands that we should be extremely circumspect in the pursuit of our agenda.

“I have said it repeatedly that we stand to benefit more in a united Nigeria where justice and equity define our group existence. As a people who are everywhere in Nigeria, we need to remain agents of consolidation, not division and destruction.

“We cannot afford to suffer in our own country, by our actions or inactions, what our people are suffering in Ghana and other African countries. The benefits of hindsight and lessons of history demand that we should constructively engage the Federal Government on the need to address whatever grievances we have, be it injustice or marginalization.

“But we may not be taken seriously if we continue to send out mixed signals. As our people say, it is easy to count the items left in the basket of a woman who falls twice on her way back from the market. Put differently, it is only a fool that allows the same stick to pluck his eyes twice. Let us put on our thinking caps.”

On how he was able to arrest the insecurity situation in the state among other things, Uzodimma said: “For Ndi Imo, the 61st Independence Anniversary is a clarion call to move closer as a people in the pursuit of our common goal which is to make Imo state better for our future generations.

“The 2019 elections have long been concluded. Those still looking back at it stand the risk of suffering the fate of Lot’s wife. Let me use this auspicious occasion to once again extend my hands of fellowship to our brothers and sisters on the other side to join our prosperity agenda-driven Government to offer quality service to our people. This is not about me. It is about the future of our youths. Those who genuinely and patriotically want to serve Imo people would not have any problem joining us to do so.

“However, while we wait for them we shall continue to work tirelessly for the people in line with our prosperity agenda as encapsulated in reconstruction, rehabilitation and recovery. Apart from reversing the decay in infrastructure, addressing the rot in the civil service and halting the corruption in the payroll system, we have touched the lives of Imo youths, spending more than N 8 Billion in their training and empowerment in the past year.

“As you are aware, there is relative peace in our state today. That peace came with a price. I cannot thank President Muhammadu Buhari and the security agencies enough for their invaluable support to the state government in tackling the worst form of banditry and criminality ever witnessed in the state. Everyone in the state was witness to the savagery and cannibalistic brutality that defined the regime of violence and criminality that enveloped the state for some months in the recent past.

“As a government and a people, we have crushed them. Anybody who attempts to disrupt the peace of the state again may not live to tell the story. That is why parents and guardians need to rein in their children and wards as the security agencies have our directive to deal decisively with those who may be tempted to foment trouble again.

“I have just inaugurated a Judicial Commission of inquiry to investigate the security breaches in the state and come out with recommendations on what Government should do to ensure that there is no recurrence of such. I believe that both the perpetrators and their sponsors would be unmasked for Imo people to know their enemies.

“But all of us have a collective duty to protect our state against renegades. We should assist the security agencies and government with useful information to enable us to take the war to the hideout of criminals and flush them out to face justice.”

While listing out the benefits from the last visit of the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, he said: “It is indeed my pleasure to inform the good people of Ndi-Imo that we are reaping bountiful benefits from the President’s recent visit. Such benefits include the approval for the installation and conversion of Otamiri River to a Dam capable of powering a 10 megawatts plant that can generate electricity when completed and help improve water supply in the State. This as you know is a fallout from the Balloon drove technology underground tunnel which Mr President commissioned.

“In a few weeks, the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osibanjo will be coming to Imo State, precisely on October 15th, to administer an N12billion empowerment programme to the private sector. Imo traders, artisans and the vulnerable are expected to benefit from this massive empowerment. This is a direct benefit from the presidential visit.”

“Another benefit from the visit is that the Federal Government has graciously included Imo State as a beneficiary of its special Agric Processing Zone Project for Livestock farming. Out of the seven states in the country that will benefit from a Federal Government of $850 million for the programme, Imo State is Number two! Consequently, a whopping $120million will soon be released to our state for the livestock programme.

“That is not all. Out of a $1.4billion facility secured by the federal government from the World Bank for Urban and Rural Water development, Imo State, representing the southeast zone, is among the States approved to benefit from the programme,” Uzodimma said.


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