Keep Imo Clean, Gov. Ihedioha Tells LG Chairmen, ENTRACO.

Keep Imo Clean, Gov. Ihedioha Tells LG Chairmen, ENTRACO.

…Orders Closure of Hotel, Pure Water Company over attack on ENTRACO officials.

Ahead of the yuletide and towards improving the sanitation in the state, Governor Emeka Ihedioha CON, has charged Chairmen of Interim Management Committees, IMC and Chairmen of ENTRACO in the 27 local governments in Imo State, rid it of filth and ensure a healthy environment

He also warned that he will not hesitate to take appropriate actions against any LGA Chairman or ENTRACO official, who fail to keep his or her LGA clean.

This is also as the governor has ordered the immediate shutdown of hotel (M2 International Guest House, Amakohia and Tapa Pure Water, Orji over attack on ENTRACO Enforcement Team on Illegal Dumping of Refuse who was on their lawful duties.

At a crucial meeting with the LGA Chairmen and ENTRACO officials held at the Government House, Owerri, Monday, Governor Ihedioha, declared as unacceptable the current state of sanitation, particularly in the state capital, Owerri and harped on the need to adopt strategies to improve on refuse collection and disposal across the State, especially during this festive period.

The governor charged Alex Emeziem, Special Adviser on Sanitation and Environment and General Manager, ENTRACO and his team to immediately ensure that there is improvement on the sanitation in the state.

“We must make Imo very clean and healthy. Therefore I want to see a rapid improvement on our culture of sanitation to rid the state of dirt.

The governor warned that his administration will not tolerate any form of attack on any government official on his or her lawful duties. He further charged citizens to be law abiding and cooperate with the government to deliver on its promises.

While stressing the need for ENTRACO to ensure self-funding to carry out their activities, he vowed never to put the state under further debt burden, adding that citizens should as a matter of civic obligation comply with the payment of sanitation levy to enable ENTRACO discharge its mandate effectively.

He also urged them to generate revenue for their activities and programmes, noting that all over the world, refuse management which include refuse collection, gathering and disposal, has become big business venture, and urged the LGA Chairmen to involve the youths within their domains, to take active part in refuse disposal.

He also directed LGA Chairmen to set up ENTRACO units in the 27 LGAs as part of measures to ensure effective waste management across the State.

Irona Charges Imo Communities on Security of Public Infrastructure

Irona Charges Imo Communities on Security of Public Infrastructure

…As Ohaji Electrification Project Commences

Deputy Governor of Imo State, Engr. Gerald Irona has charged leadership of communities in Imo State to prioritize security of public infrastructure in their local communities.

The Deputy Governor made the call while briefing leaders of Ochia, Awarra, Assa, Obile and Obitti communities in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State on the plans of the present administration for the area.

He used the occasion to inform them that an electrification project, jointly funded by the Imo State Government, through the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission- ISOPADEC and Waltersmith, a multinational Oil and Gas company in the state is about to commence, seeking the cooperation of the communities.

Deputy Governor Irona used the occasion to warn that the state government will not tolerate vandalism of infrastructural projects in any part of the state, challenging stakeholders to evolve strategies towards ensuring security of public amenities in their areas.

“On behalf of the Governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, I invited you. We promised that our administration will ensure the provision of electricity in our place. Our people have suffered for years and God has come to wipe our tears dry. It is difficult to believe, but, it is true that there are some communities in ohaji/Egbema/Oguta that have never had electricity. Your area and Agwa in Oguta Local Government Area are among such communities. While Waltersmith is partnering with us in Ohaji, Sterling Global is partnering with us in Oguta to ensure that the electrification projects are realized.”

“We have done a survey covering Obitti, Awarra, Ochia, Assa, Obile and Umuapu communities in OhajiEgbema Local Government Area. After the survey, we will get back to Waltersmith and Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission – ISOPADEC, which have both shown commitment to doing the electrification project. Before the end of this year, work will commence. The implications of this power project are far reaching. It will be connected to Gas Turbine, being the first of its kind in Imo. When you are connected, your place will become an industrial hub. Your place will be the most attractive for businesses. We shall develop our area.”

“Why I called this meeting is to plead that you take deliberate steps to ensure the security of the electricity installations in your area. You know your children, including the bad ones. As you get back home, invite your children; warn them to desist from any temptation to vandalize the electricity installations. Set up systems locally to ensure adequate security of the installations.”

In his response, Chairman, Interim Management Committee, Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area, Hon. Damian Ezeru expressed gratitude to the Deputy Governor for what he described as his commitment to taking development to the door steps of people of the area.

He urged him to extend their gratitude to Governor Emeka Ihedioha for his good governance exploits, assuring him of the continued support of people of the area.

Adding his voice, member representing Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area at the Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Cyriacus Okoro commended the state government for steps towards providing electricity in the area, assuring the Deputy Governor of their continued support.

Also speaking, Chairman, Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission-ISOPADEC, Magnus Obido commended the state government for the initiative, assuring the Governor of the continued support of people of the area.

In his submission, Traditional Ruler of Assa autonomous community, His Royal Highness -HRH Eze Emmanuel Assor commended the Deputy Governor for changing the narrative of people of the area, particularly, reduction in violent crimes in the area.

“We are very excited that these days, we are no longer invited to recruit cult boys and people to fight our brothers, but for developmental issues. Honestly, we have never had this kind of leadership before. Now that you are laying this foundation, God will bless you.”

He however called on the government to make a declaration that “any community that allows any public infrastructure in its vicinity to be vandalized forfeits it forever.”

In their separate submissions, Traditional Ruler of Obile, HRH Eze Abyssinia Ogbuji; his Obitti counterpart, HRH Eze E.C. Odunze; HRH EzeEkwueme Ekwueme of Ochia and His Royal Highness, Eze A.N. Ezenwaike poured encomiums on the person of the Deputy Governor, describing him as a good friend of the area.

They gave their blessings to the setting up of a joint security outfit to combat crime in the area, even as they vowed to secure the electricity installations. The monarchs further commended the state government for the new security measures in the area, pursuant to resolutions of the recent Security Summit of Ohaji/Egbema/ Oguta local government Areas.

Imo Pilgrims

Imo Pilgrims

Photo: The Secretary to Government of Imo State, Hon Uche Onyeagucha, after Addressing the 2019 Imo Pilgrims, Ready to Take-Off to the Holy Land, in Owerri.

Governor Ihedioha proposes N197.6bn budget for 2020

Governor Ihedioha proposes N197.6bn budget for 2020

Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha CON, has presented, ”Rebuild Imo Budget One” to the Imo State House of Assembly.

In his presentation at the Assembly Chambers Wednesday, Governor Ihedioha presented to the House a total proposed budget of N197,607,272,328, with recurrent expenditure at N91,377,822,129, which is 46.2 percent of the budget, while Capital expenditure stood at N106,229,450,200, which is 53.8 percent of the budget.

He said, “In summary, the Recurrent Expenditure is N91, 377,822,129. However, this figure includes the repayment to FGN on debts including bail out funds and rescheduled service of bonds.

“Our capital expenditure is N106, 229, 450,200 which represents 53.8 percent of the proposed budget. This is a welcomed development in an era where many other administrations have well below 40 percent in capital expenditure. It goes without saying that capital expenditure drives development and growth.

He said the focus of the 2020 Budget is six pronged aimed at “rebuilding infrastructure, especially roads, smart electricity sub sector, Agriculture by laying the groundwork for sustainable agriculture, health delivery, with focus on health insurance, primary healthcare and cleaner environment, human capital development, especially technological advancement, technical education, women and youth empowerment, Ease of Doing Business, job/wealth creation and youth empowerment.

The Governor said the six planks of the budget will be achieved through, enhancement of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), aggressive road reconstruction programmes, enabling environment for private sector investment, smart public private sector partnerships, capacity building especially for the youth, provision of agricultural inputs and development of agricultural infrastructure, local governments partnerships, health insurance, primary healthcare and cleaner environment.

He stated that the 2020 budget proposal which encapsulates government’s political, economic and social development strategies, aims at giving the citizenry a sense of belonging.

Governor Ihedioha recalled the state of Imo before he was sworn in as Governor and how far his administration has gone in actualizing the Rebuild Imo Agenda.

He said “The State of colossal ruins this government met upon the inception of our administration is no longer news. It was an all round devastation spanning every facet of infrastructure, public utilities, health, education, industry and the public service to mention but a few.

“Imo State was like a pariah state avoided by investors, ignored by International donor agencies and denigrated by national agencies.

He noted that “Last year, the State was among few States in Nigeria that could not qualify to receive 18m dollars World Bank grants due to absence of transparency and accountability in governance.

“Reports upon reports lamented the unwillingness of the then Government to work with constitutionally approved structures of governance, its lack of due process and resort to ad hoc and episodic approaches to governance. This came along with a huge loss in investor confidence and absence of international development assistance.

He said on assumption of office, he pledged to rebuild the State and restore its glory.

“Mr.Speaker, I am glad to report that we have not wavered on that pledge”.

He stated, “Consequently, I am here today, in keeping with the Constitutional requirement to present to this Honourable House, the Budget proposal for 2020. As you are all aware, prior to our inauguration, we began by harnessing our huge human and economic resources to set a clear path in the rebuilding process. We had set up a high-powered Transition Technical Committee (TTC) comprising very distinguished ladies and gentlemen from both within the state and the diaspora. These resource persons met and articulated a possible development path.

“Consequently, government set out a vision to elevate Imo to become one of the top three state economies in Nigeria by 2025 and ranked within Africa’s top ten economies by 2030. To this effect, we are leveraging the abundant human capital and natural endowments of the State to build an economy anchored on good governance, accountability, wealth creation, rule of law and sound management of state resources. We have also mapped out a Short-term Plan involving, some quick-wins, particularly restoration of critical infrastructure, public utilities and security. In the same vein, we activated the State Health Insurance Scheme.

“Furthermore, we have set up a structure for transparency and accountability in the governance process. On this score, I signed the Executive Order 005, known as Treasury Single Account (TSA) Order. The essence is to consolidate all government revenues under one account. Similarly, we have signed to implement the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). These measures are designed to plug leakages and increase Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) in the State coffers.

Governor Ihedioha revealed plans of his administration to embark on massive roads construction across the State.

“Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I am very glad to inform you that works have commenced on 25 critical roads across the State. Also recently we awarded portions of five major roads leading into the State capital. These roads are the Owerri-Orlu Road, Owerri-Okigwe Road, Owerri-Obowo Road, Owerri-Aba Road and the Owerri-Port Harcourt Road. Notably, these roads are federal roads but impact the ease of movement and doing business in the State hence our intervention. In all, about N40Billion is being committed to these projects. Likewise we have awarded contract for the construction of Oguta link road to connect the Oguta Lake Resort to enhance access to this international tourism haven.

“Mr. Speaker, we have also paid attention to the rural road construction. Essentially, we have harnessed resources and paid N500Million counterpart funding to the World Bank and so attracted N13.5 billion from the Bank, under its Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP). A cumulative distance of 380.7 kilometers is already under construction across 26 local government areas under this programme.

He said lives of the people of the State has also received the attention of his government

“Similarly, we have given priority attention to the security of lives and property in the State. The Operation Iron Gate is on course and has significantly brought down the level of insecurity we met at the inception of this administration. In this regard, we have directly engaged special units of security agencies including anti-cult and anti-kidnapping units. We have also held security summits on flash points in the State and mapped out special policing strategies for the areas. Likewise we have activated an emergency call centre which has enhanced rapid response to security alerts. In the same manner we have acquired special gadgets to help forestall the menace of these undesirable elements in our society. Currently, we are effectively participating in a collaborative manner with sister states in the South East towards strengthening regional security. Tellingly, we are coordinating this effort.

Sports he said, has not been left out in the Rebuild Imo Agenda

“As a government and a people, we have lofty plans for sports development in the State. This is borne out of the well-established pedigree of Imolites as national sporting icons. We are also mindful of the huge sporting potentials amongst our people and are determined to mine these talents to the overall benefit of the State. On this score, we are investing heavily in upgrading our sports infrastructure such as the rehabilitation of Dan Anyiam and the Grasshoppers’ stadia. We are also partnering with the local governments in the construction of 27 mini-stadia in the Local Government Areas. Drawing from these investments into sports infrastructure, we would be bidding to host the National Sports Festival for 2022.

Governor Ihedioha revealed plans of his administration to improve the quality of education in the State and give due attention to technology

“As I indicated in my inauguration address, we have commenced the rebuilding and upgrading of the four technical colleges in the State under our Technical & Vocational Education Training (TVET) programme. The beneficiary institutions include Government Technical College Owerri, Ahiara Technical College, Government Technical College Okporo, Orlu and Government Technical College, Osu, Mbano. Our target is that by 2020 we should have hit 60 percent mark of post-Basic students as enrolees in the TVET system.

“In the same vein, we are giving attention to capacity building in technology. For instance, we facilitated training of 200 teachers in Microsoft office and basic internet skills by Digital Bridge Institute – a training arm of the Nigerian Communications Commission – NCC. Similarly, we are in collaboration with Leo Stan Eke Foundation for the training of 5400 Imo Youths in information technology. So far 2300 youths from 13 Local Governments of the State have benefitted from the training. An additional 3100 beneficiaries for the remaining Local Government Areas would proceed for the training in due course.

“Other investments in this sector include training of 250 women in partnership with Microsoft on Computer Coding and Web development, most of whom have already gained employment. Others include 100 Imolites on artificial intelligence and machine learning in partnership with 6-Factor, a California-based tech company. Similarly 2000 youths have been trained on financial technology, in collaboration with e-Transact and Iwuanyanwu Foundation. These programmes are meant to make our people acquire globally competitive skills and therefore more employable. So far, 500 Imo Youths have been trained in sustainable agricultural skills.

Governor Ihedioha also spoke on the success his administration has recorded in offsetting the huge pension bill of pensioners in the State

He said “Mr. Speaker, Honourable members, I am glad to inform you today that what seemed impossible a few months ago has been resolved. Here, I refer to the pension debacle. We have reformed our pension administration system, developed a credible pension data-base following a painstaking verification exercise. Notably, this action has saved Imo State approximately N280m monthly. Accordingly, we have commenced payment of pension arrears.

“It is pertinent to state that payment of salaries and pensions remains the bulk of our recurrent expenditure. Indeed about N3.5b (70% of an estimated N5b from the monthly FAAC receipts) is spent on salaries and pensions. These figures are significantly higher than what was expended by the previous administration, primarily because while they paid workers a reduced sum based on an arbitrary percentage of their earnings and owed pensions, we have not only commenced payment of pension arrears, but also full payment of workers entitlements.

“My fellow compatriots, following these various strategic reforms and fiscal responsibility interventions, Imo State is now in the Open Governance Partnership League. This thus qualifies us for performance-based grants of the World Bank States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme. As a result of these measures, Imo State has gained positive image in the international community and multilateral development institutions.

In his address, Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Chiji Collins, while welcoming the governor, noted that this is his first budget proposal after assuming office.

He reassured of the commitment of his colleagues, irrespective of political party affiliations, adding that, “the indelible achievements Governor has recorded since assumption of office is worthy of commendation, despite inheriting a state in ruins with humongous infrastructural and institutional decay”.

The governor was accompanied by his deputy, Gerald Irona as well members of the expanded executive council.

Governor Ihedioha Condoles Family Of Late Tony Okere, Commissioner of Environment and Petroleum

Governor Ihedioha Condoles Family Of Late Tony Okere, Commissioner of Environment and Petroleum

Governor Emeka Ihedioha CON, has commiserated with the family of Late Tony Okere, who until his death was Imo State Commissioner for Petroleum and Environment.

Governor Ihedioha who led members of the Expanded State Executive Council on a condolence visit to the family of the deceased, described Hon. Okere, as a committed member of his administration, who was dedicated to the success of the Rebuild Imo Agenda.

He recalled that the Hon. Okere had also served the nation and the State as a member of the House of Representatives and as State Commissioner respectively. He said Hon. Okere died in active service for the State and will always be remembered for his contributions to the progress and development of the State.

Governor Ihedioha urged the family to bear the loss and accept the condolences of the government and people of Imo State. He said, “We commiserate with the family and urge you to accept the condolences of the government and people of Imo State on the demise of one of us.   “Take heart and do not despair. Hon. Okere died in active service for the State.”

Photo: Governor of Imo State, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha CON, signing the condolence register opened for late Hon. Tony Okere.

He expressed the readiness of the state government to participate in the funeral arrangements of the deceased.

In his remarks, younger brother of the deceased, Okere Simon Azuka, thanked the Governor and his entourage for the condolence visits, and pledged the support of the family to the Rebuild Imo Agenda of the present administration.

`The Governor was accompanied by his Deputy, Gerald Irona, and Secretary to the Government of Imo State, Uche Onyeagucha as well as commissioners and senior appointees of government.

Irona Charges Medical Practitioners on Professionalism

Irona Charges Medical Practitioners on Professionalism

…As NMA Honours Imo Deputy Governor

Deputy Governor of Imo State, Engr. Gerald Irona has charged Medical Practitioners in the State to always uphold the ethics of the Medical profession, even as the Imo State Chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association-NMA weekend honoured the Deputy Governor with a Meritorious Service Award.

The Deputy Governor gave the charge while speaking at the grand finale of the Association’s 2019 Physician’s Week celebration held in Owerri on Sunday.

Represented by his Senior Special Assistant, Media and Communications, Dr. Walter Duru, the Deputy Governor also called on stakeholders to continue to support the administration of Chief Emeka Ihedioha to move the state forward.

Photo: SSA, Media and Communications to the Deputy Governor,Dr. Walter Duru(L) receiving Meritorious Award from Imo NMA Chaiman Dr.Kyrian Duruewuru

He further urged them to take steps to rid the medical profession of quacks.

Earlier in his speech, Imo State Chairman of NMA, Dr.Kyrian Duruewuru commended the Governor Emeka Ihedioha-led administration for his timely resolution of the industrial disagreement between resident Doctors in the state and the state Government, a challenge inherited from the last administration.

He pledged the commitment of the Association to continue to live up to expectations in the discharge of their duties.

Duruewuru also used the occasion to pour encomiums on the Deputy Governor on the leadership role he played in resolving the industrial dispute between resident Doctors and the state government, describing him as a good friend of the Association.

Other beneficiaries of the NMA Meritorious and Distinguished Medical Practitioners Award are: former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission-INEC, Professor Maurice Iwu, Dr. Barthy Okorochukwu, Emeh Chukwuemeka, Dr. Josephat Nnebo and Chief Richards Abarakwe.

The 2019 Physicians’ Week, with the theme “Care of the Unknown Patient: an Overview”, had “curbing the increasing trend of suicide in Nigeria: the role of NMA” and “the Doctor as an Entrepreneur” as sub themes.

High points of the event were presentation of the NMA Meritorious and Distinguished Medical Practitioners Award, special cultural presentations, among others.