Governor Ikpeazu’s commitment to transparency and accountability in Governance, took a great turn today, as the Governor engaged the people of Abia North Senatorial Zone on a State Wide Interactive Town Hall Meeting.
It was another avenue to relate with people so as to access the impact of his one year administration on the people of Abia State.
It was an avenue to entertain questions from youths, women, political leaders and civil servants in the State.
Dr Ikpeazu who was received by the Deputy Governor, Sir Udo Oko Chukwu, TC Chairmen of Ohafia and Arochukwu LGA and other Abia North Stakeholders, went straight to a Foundation laying ceremony of two and three bedroom 600 housing units estate at Ohafia local government headquarters. Also a guest house for the Governor at the Ohafia Secretariat.
It was made known to us that the TC chairman hon. Sampson Anagha had already started construction and building of 180 shops at the local Govt headquarters, similarly, Ohafia General market at Elu Ohafia is being constructed simultaneously.
The Governor after laying foundation for the estate, urged Abia North industrialists to always remember home as Development of their local Govt should top their agenda
The Governor at the podium, created avenues for people to ask him and his commissioners questions. He assured that he runs an open Govt that dwells on accountability and transparency.
Questions came from representatives of different bodies and village leaders from the Zone.
Women were interested in Govt plans for youths unemployment and how the Governor plans to empower women.
Students were interested in scholarship schemes and Bursary for students in the Zone. The Student leader who spoke with so much courage, asked the Governor to tackle the issue of Fulani Herdsmen, that have destroyed crops in Abia North.
The village head of Akanu Ohafia spoke specifically about access roads in Ohafia especially roads that link Ohafia /Arochukwu through Akanu. He asked the Governor to intervene in the issue of displacement of villagers in Ebem Ohafia and Ndi Ibe by Fulani people and also asked Governor to help the zone in the area of Youths empowerment.
The Governor responded by stating that he will construct roads in Arochukwu and Ohafia. He also promised to construct an Udumeze Golf court which will attract people to Ohafia.
On youths Empowerment, Dr Ikpeazu asked everyone to develop skills so as to participate in Youth empowerment programmes of the State.
He assured that Govt is constructing a multi skill training institute in the three Senatorial zones. He said that the one in Abia South has started, Abia North Zone will start in November.
He said that the skill acquisition centers will train youths on how to fabricate streetlights, Tables, Chairs, building tools and other electrical tools with more sophisticated equipments. He also asked youths to leverage on opportunities in Agriculture, That the State has secured #1 billion farm loan for Agric programmes but is only targeted at core Farmers and those interested in practical and commercial Agriculture.
On Bursary, he assured that Abia is reviving the scholarship board and that scholarships must be concentrated only on tertiary institutions within the country.
On the issue of roads, He said that the road between Ohafia and Arochukwu is a federal road, considering paucity of funds, State wont be able to tackle it now but will always remind the Fed Govt on the importance of that road. He went on to say that , Govt is constructing other routes to Arochukwu which is targeted through Ndi Okereke Abam. He also assured that a link bridge to those villages has been funded.
On Fulani Herdsmen, he assured that our State has taken a position. He said that Abia has no grazing place and that Our landmarks are not enough to build houses, farm and create roads not to talk of grazing cattle.
He explained that we have treasures, so God understands that we needed no grazing zones for cattle, that’s why he did not give us enough land for grazing.
At Isuikwuato, the Hausa community distance themselves from the herdsmen that have continued destruction of crops and farmyards. They asked the Governor to treat any of such person as a thug and tout.
Also at the Isuikwuato Council headquarters, where Governor met with people from Bende Isiukwuato, and Umunneochi LGA, Dr Ikpeazu entertained questions on road projects, Salaries Of civil servants, free lunch scheme and water projects in the three local Govt.
He said that Government is working towards making sure Workers are paid. He further explained that Abia wage bill is in excess of her revenues, that it takes strategies such as, developing markets, reviving moribund industries etc towards improving IGR and rationalizing payments of workers, to make sure Abia workers are happy.
He decried the issue of ghost workers in the State, which he said Government is tackling head on through biometrics. Once such is settled, income will be saved. In his words, “once they comply with biometrics, I will make sure teachers are brought at par with other ministries in terms of payment.
He explained that the free feeding scheme is a pilot programme and will cover 4 schools per LGA. It is only for Primary Schools at rural areas. He went on to State that Govt will build warehouses in the three Senatorial Zones.
The scheme will encourage Agriculture in the State cos of the use of local contents in all aspects of the programme.
Isiukwuato,Arochukwu and other hospitals in the Zone will experience some touches. The Governor said that hospital equipments have been ordered from America and are already on the way to Abia so as to equip the hospitals and health centers.
On roads, he said that roads leading to the Local Governments from different areas will receive attention, he also used the opportunity to tell the people that Government has awarded construction of two bridges in the Zone.
He appealed that Abians work together in love and unity. He appealed that citizens should harmonize and work for the greater goal of the govt.