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Read Full Text Of Governor Ikpeazu's Radio Interview

Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu was live on air at Family Love FM Umuahia, on Thursday 28 October 2016, he spoke on his achievement as he has spent 17 months in office. and he also reacts to questions that critics are raising about his government.

Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu
Q: You are 17th months in office, how has it been these months?

A: I greet you Abians, what we are doing today is in line with our promises of keeping Abians informed of how our governance is going. That is why we are here to give periodical account of our stewardship. We thank God for his mercies. Our programmes are intact and on course. When we started we told Abians that Abia of tomorrow will be built on five major pillars which are trade and commerce, agriculture, education, oil and gas.

As I speak to you we have concluded 30 roads out of 64 in Aba. In Umuahia, we have done several roads including Abam, Arochukwu, Club Roads among others. Arab contractors presently is handling Aba road which is a federal road. Thank God we are going into dry season we shall bring all our contractors back to site and we will continue to fill pot holes in Umuahia and Aba.

Some people are wondering why you are paying so much attention on roads while salaries have not been paid?

It is not true that we are not paying workers salaries, the fact is that we cannot give all our allocation to 22,0000 workers; what happens to the other over three million person in the state. Our policy is to teach people how to fish not to give them fish. That is why we believe in developing our artisans who are in trade and commerce. Those in this sector need good roads to do their business. How ever we have been paying salaries and we will continue to do so while other programmes will equally be on course.

You promised to pay workers’ salary on 24th of every month, right now there are complaints that some parastatals are being owed several months salary, some are said to be owed 3 months, others six months. Some people say you have not kept your campaign promises in this regard?

We are keeping our campaign promises. We have kept to our programmes, road construction is part of our programme and what we are owing is September salary. Our federal allocations sometimes is N1.8b. I am serving the people with good conscience. I do not play politics with governance that is why I will tell you that, which I can do, I will also tell you that which I cannot do. We applied for bail out fund for payments of arrears of workers salary, we were given a little and what they gave us, I gave to workers in the State. I am serving the State with clear conscience.

Our federal roads are in a very bad state in Umuahia, Ikot-Ekpene road, Aba Ikot-Ekpene road Umuahia Bende, Ohafia, Arochukwu roads and others. What are you doing about these roads?

I went to Aba – Ikot-Ekpene Road. I wept because of what I saw. You know we have state owned roads and Federal Government roads. I am disturbed over this and we have been working to see that something is done on these roads. The governor of Akwa-Ibom State, that of Rivers State and myself went to the federal minister for works, Raji Fashola to come to our aid or allow us do some of these roads and recoup our funds later because our people are suffering. The minister said yes to Rivers State Governor but refused to allow myself and the governor of Akwa-Ibom State to construct ours, saying federal government would do the roads. However, we have worked on some federal roads in Aba, in Umuahia.

Aba Road is being handled by Arab contractors, Aba-Owerri road Aba, we are doing the drainage system there. As we are going into dry season if we wait and federal government did not care we will continue to construct the roads. They are our link to other communities and we want others to come and invest and trade with us.

Some people say you are using Aba as your base and that is why most of your roads construction are concentrated in Aba, that your projects on roads are not evenly spread?


It is not true that we are concentrating on Aba alone. However Aba is our major focus because it is Abia State’s commercial nerve centre, yet we have done several roads round the State. In Umuahia, I remember Niger Street, Abam, Umuwaya, Ubakala street, Club road, Calabar road, Arochukwu road among others. We are constructing roads at Umuneochi, Isuikwuato, Abriba ring road to Mkporo. We are doing another road to Arochukwu, one of my friends who is a footballer from Arochukwu lost his mother and we are seeking an easier route to Arochukwu for easier movement. The entire Abia is my constituency; people believe if we get Aba we have gotten it all. We know there is money in Aba and that is why we have to recover that city to boost commercial activities.

A community in Abam has been cut-off from other communities due to the collapse of the bridge that links them to other communities. Do you have any plan for these people?

Definitely the bridge will be reconstructed. I did a bridge at Okon Ohafia and at Ndioji Okereke Abam road we are doing a bridge there. I did Okon Bridge through fabrication. Oher bridges will be done same way. So I promise to do the bridge.

There are some industries in the state that have remained moribund for a long time, such as Golden Guinea Breweries Umuahia and Glass Industries Aba and Ceramics Industry Umuahia that is said to be owned now by Catholic church, what is really the problem here?

Aba Glass Industry is working; the problem is that some of the equipment are obsolete and need to be replaced while others need to be maintained. The Industry depends on oil and gas industry in Port-Harcourt for the supply of gas and the activities of militants in Port Harcourt are not helping matters. On Golden Guinea Breweries Umuahia, we ought to have started production but the rise in dollar makes this impossible right now. We can not source for Dollar anywhere not even at the Central Bank. So we are waiting for a change in the nation’s financial and fiscal policy that may force down the price of Dollar, but we are hopeful, soon Golden Guinea Breweries will start operation all we need is patience.

On Ceramics Industry, there was an understanding between Catholic Church and Diamond bank but soon problem and misunderstanding came between both parties over payment of debt. We plead with both parties to sheath their sword and allow work to begin there. Government is now a go between in the matter we want that industry to be a training ground for our youths. We will pay back the debt only let the Industry began operation.

What of the youths that went to Turkey for training

Yes, what they went there to do is to learn how to mechanize their businesses. We have agreed with Turkey to bring in machinery for us especially in our shoe industry. Our target here is to produce N50,0000 pairs of shoes daily. The shoes are to be of good qualities good enough for export.

Abia obtained N1 billion Agric loan from CBN, farmers says they have not been able to access this loan?

In 2012 Abia got N2b. Under commercial Agric loan scheme, up till now I have not seen the list of beneficiaries, not to talk of repayment of the loan and this administration has been paying back this loan. That is why we are able to access this N1b loan from the CBN even when they have almost stopped giving this loan. The loan was given to promote agriculture. It is not for farmers and it must be paid back. This government is laying foundation for diversification of the economy through agriculture. We have complete agricultural implements. In Ohambele, we are using tractors to plant palm seedlings.

We want to build an agro based economy. If we must survive as a state we must develop our own source of revenue. We paid FARDAMA III counterpart fund. This will enable FARDAMA to access fund and in turn give grants to farmers not loan. Abia is a major rice producing State, the problem is that we mill our rice in Ebonyi State and Ebonyi takes the credit. For this we are establishing two rice mills in Umuahia North and Bende LGAs. Ministry of Agriculture in conjunction with C.B.N is to give loan directly to farmers under the Anchor growers’ programme. Government through ministry of land and survey acquire land, plot it and give to farmers to farm on.

How far on the ban on street trading?

The Commissioner, Trade and Investment (Lady Kate Nwosu) please answer.

Lady Nwosu: Yes we have been doing our best to stop this very trade called street trading. The bill against street trading has been passed by Abia State House of Assembly. We are waiting for the governor’s ascent on this bill and once this is done it becomes a law. Our problem is that people do not cooperate with us. Plead with parents and those involved to cooperate with government to stop this illegal trading.

Talking on the trading going on at Isi Gate. It is painful that people refuse to go to Ubani market instead they cluster at Isi Gate. The law enforcement agents only go there to collect money from the traders. We are going to set up a mobile court to try and sentence any one caught trading at Isigate Umuahia.

There is dirt all over Umuahia especially at Isi Gate. What is government doing to clear the city and what are you doing about the structures there called event center?

Governor: Every street is not dirty in Umuahia, the issue is that we have waste management problem in Umuahia. There are three stages of clearing refuse before it gets to refuse dump. The present site of our refuse dump is very bad, the rains worsened the situation there. So we have concluded arrangement to get another refuse dump. I want to turn waste into wealth. I assure you that waste management in Umuahia will improve this coming Xmas period. We shall restructure the sanitation sector and will invest on this area. We have acquired waste disposal trucks. They are right now in Government House. I do not want to distribute them now till we finish the restructuring.

Giving it out now is like pouring a new wine in an old wine skin. What I prefer is for people to request for government attention not when people convert their residential houses into stores. Very soon offenders will pay N1m fine to government on the event center at Isi Gate. We want to get enablers there to help the place function properly.

At Ubani market, the roads are bad and there is no water in that market?

I thank you for that question that is why I say people should tell government their problems. Let me assure you that very soon water will be provided in the market and the road challenges will be tackled.

Your political opponents are of the view that you travel a lot and your travels yield no positive result for the state?

I do not embark on travelling all the time; my opponents are always seeking what to say about me, so I am not worried. One thing they do not know is that I am afraid of travelling. I have only visited United States twice since I became governor and this was on the invitation of my elder sister. My opponents even said I went to India for juju. I have never been to India before. Turkey have requested that we bring to them 50,000 pairs of shoes so how can they say my travels bear no fruit.

People say you are using state funds to prosecute your court cases?

This is not true, I have 150 volunteer lawyers who are helping in my court cases without payment. One thing is that they can not distract those who are in court with me. My opponents have no agenda for the State except to destroy it.

People say the son of your predecessor is controlling your government. For example Abia Line Ltd allegedly gave to him all proceeds that accrue to the company; hence the company is owing several months salary and on the verge of collapse?

The son of my predecessor has nothing to do with my government; I am fully in charge and in control and take responsibility of my actions. But the problem with the company is that it makes no profit.

We are going to do the needful; I saw one rickety bus bearing Abia Line this simply means that Abia is rickety because they portray the image of the State. I will plead with my people to stop rumours that some people are controlling my government, I take responsibility of my government.

Teachers are suffering due to non-payment of their salaries and salary arrears, pensioners, what is happening here?

It is not true that teachers are not being paid their pensions and salaries. I am a teacher, my father is also a teacher. We have embarked on training and retraining of teachers to make them more efficient.

The welfare of all Abians are uppermost in my mind, but I have to do things within the limits of available resources. We can borrow to pay salaries. Many Civil servants are saboteurs; they conceal important documents or information from government officially thereby encouraging ghost worker syndrome. We have been paying teachers their pension. As I said before the welfare of the people is important to us and that is why we are committed to serving the people creditably.

There is dirt all over Umuahia especially at Isi Gate. What is government doing to clear the city and what are you doing about the structures there called event center?

Governor: Every street is not dirty in Umuahia, the issue is that we have waste management problem in Umuahia. There are three stages of clearing refuse before it gets to refuse dump. The present site of our refuse dump is very bad, the rains worsened the situation there. So we have concluded arrangement to get another refuse dump. I want to turn waste into wealth. I assure you that waste management in Umuahia will improve this coming Xmas period. We shall restructure the sanitation sector and will invest on this area. We have acquired waste disposal trucks. They are right now in Government House. I do not want to distribute them now till we finish the restructuring.


Giving it out now is like pouring a new wine in an old wine skin. What I prefer is for people to request for government attention not when people convert their residential houses into stores. Very soon offenders will pay N1m fine to government on the event center at Isi Gate. We want to get enablers there to help the place function properly.

At Ubani market, the roads are bad and there is no water in that market?

I thank you for that question that is why I say people should tell government their problems. Let me assure you that very soon water will be provided in the market and the road challenges will be tackled.

Your political opponents are of the view that you travel a lot and your travels yield no positive result for the state?

I do not embark on travelling all the time; my opponents are always seeking what to say about me, so I am not worried. One thing they do not know is that I am afraid of travelling. I have only visited United States twice since I became governor and this was on the invitation of my elder sister. My opponents even said I went to India for juju. I have never been to India before. Turkey have requested that we bring to them 50,000 pairs of shoes so how can they say my travels bear no fruit.

People say you are using state funds to prosecute your court cases?

This is not true, I have 150 volunteer lawyers who are helping in my court cases without payment. One thing is that they can not distract those who are in court with me. My opponents have no agenda for the State except to destroy it.

People say the son of your predecessor is controlling your government. For example Abia Line Ltd allegedly gave to him all proceeds that accrue to the company; hence the company is owing several months salary and on the verge of collapse?

The son of my predecessor has nothing to do with my government; I am fully in charge and in control and take responsibility of my actions. But the problem with the company is that it makes no profit.

We are going to do the needful; I saw one rickety bus bearing Abia Line this simply means that Abia is rickety because they portray the image of the State. I will plead with my people to stop rumours that some people are controlling my government, I take responsibility of my government.

Teachers are suffering due to non-payment of their salaries and salary arrears, pensioners, what is happening here?

It is not true that teachers are not being paid their pensions and salaries. I am a teacher, my father is also a teacher. We have embarked on training and retraining of teachers to make them more efficient.

The welfare of all Abians are uppermost in my mind, but I have to do things within the limits of available resources. We can borrow to pay salaries. Many Civil servants are saboteurs; they conceal important documents or information from government officially thereby encouraging ghost worker syndrome. We have been paying teachers their pension. As I said before the welfare of the people is important to us and that is why we are committed to serving the people creditably.
-----------------------------------------
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, granted the interview and was conducted by Family F.m Umuahia On October 28, 2016. The Governor was accompanied to the radio station by some of his commissioner: Chief Obinna Oriaku, Commissioner for Finance; Eziuche Ubani, Commissioner for Works; Uzo Azubuike, Commissioner for Agric and Lady Kate Nwosu, Commissioner for Trade and Commerce.

Recorded by David Chimezie

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