2023: Orji bares mind on completion of Umahi's projects


Ebonyi Commissioner for Information and State                       Orientation, Barr. Orji Uchenna Orji.

Ebonyi Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Barr. Orji Uchenna Orji has in interview with a veteran journalist, Kenneth Ofoma bared his mind on possibility of Governor David Umahi completing his  multi-billion projects ongoing in the state and assured that the governor would not abandon any project before bowing out from office in 2023. NATIONAL PANEL reports accordingly:

Ahead of 2023 when the tenure of his administration will come to an end, do you think the governor will be able to complete the many gigantic projects he initiated talking about nine flyovers, airport, housing, roads, stadium?

Yes, looking at the track records of the Governor David Nweze Umahi, you will appreciate that he is not like any other politician who makes promises and fails.

Looking at the achievements he has attained over these five years that he has been in the office, you will agree with me that all the promises he made; all the projects he started before now, he has finished them before embarking on new projects. You will agree with me that first tenure of the governor came with a lot of promises which he made exactly on May 29, 2015 and people were wondering whether he was going to make this a reality.

He promised flyovers, he promised concrete roads system that will be very durable, he promised a new environment, a new infrastructure that is long lasting. And it was as if it was not going to happen.

But we can see that all the promises he made in the first tenure he has accomplished all of them beyond even the number that he did mention.

So you strongly believe he will do same on the ongoing and new projects being introduced?

Yes, and that brings us to the fact that he is a man of extra ordinary ability. He is not like any other governor; he is an extra ordinary governor in terms of his capacity, in terms of his passion for job.

And so all the new introductions he made, all the new projects that he initiated and that he is still initiating, one will have no doubt the he is going to accomplish them. Yes, I agree with you that it’s really incredibly amazing that he is still promising to do more projects even when he has a lot in his hands.

Can you speak on the ongoing projects?

We are having about 12 flyovers and counting. He has completed about five of them, all other ones are going on as I speak with you. And the airport that he promised to do, four kilometer by four kilometer airport with 3.5 runway, the governor said it’s going to be one of the best fashioned after Abuja and Lagos with a lot of very beautiful facilities.

He is saying that before he bows out in 2023 all the projects are going to be a completed. He is also doing stadium, in addition to the rehabilitated stadium which is the best in the South-East as I speak with you, with very wonderful pavilion that is with a lot of facilities. But he is saying that he is going to complete the stadium within this second tenure

So, I do agree with everything the governor says he will do. The shopping mall is about 90 per cent completed and the biggest mall in Africa at that, obviously by any government in Africa. Like I said all the materials are on ground, they are just fixing it to be 100 per cent.

People felt the International Market, the biggest in the South East and one of the most beautiful in Nigeria wasn’t going to be completed. It has been completed and more extension is being made. If I tell you about the brand new Governor’s Lodge you will appreciate the fact that the governor can do mighty things.

This, I call it three arms zone Government House; three arms zone Government House in the sense that its housing the Governor’s Office, the Governor’s Lodge and the Presidential Lodge.

And that is the most beautiful Government House in Nigeria and by extension the most beautiful Government House in Africa. It’s a beauty to behold, you have to appreciate that.

When the governor said “I will build a befitting worshipping centre for God”, people didn’t understand, I didn’t  understand but God gave him the inspiration, the vision, he built the biggest Christian ecumenical centre ever built by any government in Africa; it’s bigger than the National Ecumenical Centre, very beautiful and resplendent like gold.

And so, these are the things that the governor has done which will convince me that whatever he says he will do he will do. God is with him, he has that passion.

Now I can tell you that he has completed four-way tunnel that’s the biggest in Africa, it’s a light tunnel that you need to appreciate its beauty in the night, and I can tell you also that when it was being done people didn’t know what it meant.

At a time they called it a kind of confusion point whereby you don’t know the dimensions, it’s like a multi-faceted structure, four-way light tunnel, drive that’s the biggest, very beautiful. And so these are issues that are telling us that whatever he says he will do God will help him to do it.

As I speak with you virtually all the rural communities are being connected with concrete roads and he does the supervision by himself. He does the supervision day and night and ensures monitoring and evaluation; he ensures quality assurance in all he does both the ones on contract and the ones done by direct labour.

And so these are the indications that the governor is going to really anchor very well by the year 2023 when he will be bowing out.

Don’t you see the dwindling national revenue on the one hand and the politics of succession ahead of 2023 as challenges?

Yes, the challenges to his vision and mission in governance are not unexpected. Incidentally, the challenges are already here with us. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought very low the revenue profile of the state, both the internally generated revenue and the federal allocation.

This was really unexpected and it came at this point that we have a lot of projects across the various nooks and crannies of the state. But I want to say that from what the governor rolled out in his revised budget, which he has just signed, I think he is about one of the first governors that did sign the revised budget in line with international practices and best practices; and I can say that he had to refocus his priorities on the area of agriculture, area of health, education and human capital development.

At least those sectors that will bring about multiplication of job creation propensities and those are the areas that he is looking at. How can he galvanise these that he has really put in place and see how they can be providing revenue, providing job, in creating wealth for the people of Ebonyi State and in so doing we are expecting that in the near future the revenue profile especially the IGR will increase more especially the economic development indices looking at human capital development, looking at increase in their health index, looking at of course education and agriculture, that they will grow and that will enhance our revenue profile, that will enhance the economic development of the state.

So, again I want to also say that the governor is looking at the fact that despite the COVID-19 pandemic that he will do a lot to see how to engage the rural farmers, the rural communities to participate in the various empowerment and agricultural programmes of government.

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