•Pledges to support Imo State
•Blames past administration for insecurity, others
•I don’t know why Nigerians are not commending my government’s excellent performance, president laments
President Muhammadu Buhari has declared the readiness of his administration to drive the nation’s economic development through the provision of vital infrastructure in all the nook and crannies of the country.
The president, who spoke yesterday, in Owerri, the Imo State capital during a one-day working visit to the state stressed that his government knows the importance of critical infrastructure in economic development and was determined to drive the economic development of Nigeria through the provision of vital infrastructure across the length and breadth of the country.
The commitment, he stated, could be seen, “in our commitment to certain critical projects such as Deep Sea Ports, new airport terminals and buildings, various railway projects, a network of gas and power infrastructure, roads and bridges including the Second Niger Bridge, telecommunications infrastructure to mention but a few.
“I am therefore happy to see that the APC administration of Governor Uzodimma is doing similar improvement here in Imo State.
“I commend the Governor for being able to do so with the limited resources at the disposal of the State Government. This proves that when leaders are dedicated and focused, much can be achieved for our people,” he added.
The president also expressed dismay that despite the fact that his administration had done “extremely well,” yet people who were supposed to be promoting the achievements of his government were not doing so.
Buhari said when he became President in 2015, many local government areas in Borno and Adamawa states were controlled by Boko Haram.
According to him, that is no longer the case.
Buhari also described Boko Haram terrorists as “fraudulent people,” adding that his government has overwhelmed them.
“Between 1999 and 2015 when we came in, I would like people to check the Central Bank and the NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Company), the average production was 2.1 million barrels per day. Nigeria was earning at this time 2.1 million times but look at the state of infrastructure, look at the road…look at the railway, it was virtually killed. Power, we are still struggling.
“But when we came, unfortunately, the militants were unleashed, production went down to half a million BPD.”
He said, “Look at the problem in the Northeast, check with anybody from Borno or Adamawa, how many local governments were in the hands of the government and how many were in the hands of Boko Haram? Fraudulent people, whoever they are, are fraudulent! But now, go and ask the hard-working governor of Borno State, a very hard-working governor. The Federal Government is in charge now.
“In terms of time and resources, this administration has done extremely well. I have to say it because those who are supposed to say it are not saying it. I don’t know why.”
Buhari also assured that the federal government would support Imo State in the area of infrastructure development.
The president inaugurated three projects constructed by the state government. The projects were the 35 kilometers Owerri-Orlu road, the Owerri-Okigwe road (phase one) and the Imo State House of Assembly Complex, Owerri.
Addressing the people of the state at the Imo State Government House, Buhari also lauded Governor Hope Uzodimma for his efforts in developing the state, saying, “You have written your own history,’’ after he saw the ultra-modern chamber of the rebuilt House of Assembly.
The president said his administration would leave a legacy of major development projects across the country, while saluting Imo State Governor for giving more attention to constructions and institutional reforms that will improve lives of the people.
Buhari noted that the Imo State government had made remarkable progress with infrastructure in three years.
“I am delighted to be back in Imo State – the Eastern Heartland – to commission a number of projects executed by the administration of His Excellency, Governor Hope Uzodimma.
“I am happy to note that within just three years of the administration of Governor Uzodimma, I have made two official visits to Imo State to commission projects in the state.
“On each occasion, I have received a very warm hospitality of Imo people, for which I am always appreciative. Ndi Imo, Ndewo!
“As it is often said in local Igbo parlance, a good road deserves a second passage. It is a pleasant coincidence that the name of your governor, “Uzodimma” is derived from this same idiom. Little wonder, therefore, that he has made the provision of good roads one of his top priorities,” he said.
The president said the federal government would continue to support the government of Imo State to ensure that it continues to provide the dividends of democracy to the people.
“This support is equally available to all the states of the Federation irrespective of the differences in political party affiliations,’” he assured.
The president encouraged Imo State indigenes to keep supporting the governor to actualise his dream for the state, particularly on good governance.
“In my last visit here, I encouraged you all to support your Governor so that he can do more for the people of Imo state. I am happy that you took my advice and today, he has presented to me three key projects for commissioning.
“I have just commissioned the dualised Owerri – Orlu road, the Owerri Okigwe road (Phase 1) and the rebuilt House of Assembly Complex.
“I am told that these two major roads, which I commissioned, cut through several local government areas of the state. The roads will therefore serve as major stimulants to the local economy of these parts of the state,” the president said.
Buhari noted that previous administrations in the state were unable to fix the roads because of their unique and difficult terrains, which were complicated by erosion.
According to him, “it took the sheer determination and courage of the current government to fix these roads. So, I say ‘Bravo’ to the Governor of Imo State, whose name I was informed means ‘good road.”
“I was also informed that the House of Assembly Complex which I have just commissioned was dilapidated and abandoned for over 10 years before the intervention of the present administration.
“This is equally commendable, because of the importance of the legislative arm of government in the sustenance of democracy. I, therefore, applaud the governor for according due respect to this arm of government which is at the heart of our democracy,” he said.
Buhari extoled the Government of Imo state for, “the road revolution”, describing it as “infrastructure revolution.”
In his remarks, the Imo State Governor noted that the Owerri/Orlu dual carriage and Owerri/Okigwe road had significant economic value to the state and other neighboring states.
“Each of the projects has a remarkable history. Behind the dualised road has been a nightmare for decades,’’ he said, adding that erosion made the construction more difficult.
Uzodimma said: “To the glory of God we have found the courage, dedication and means to fix the road. The seemingly intractable challenges have been addressed.’’
The Imo State Governor noted that the renovation of the House of Assembly had made it more befitting for the lawmakers, after it was abandoned for many years.
The Governor thanked President for his interventions to ensure development in the South East, with historic projects, like second Niger Bridge, which would gulp the highest single investment in the zone of more than N360 billion, approval for upgrading of the Federal Medical Centre to a teaching hospital and establishment of a naval base in Oguta, Imo State.
The president who arrived Imo State through the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport at about 10.45am, was received by the state governor and some members of the Imo State Executive Council in spite of the threat imposed by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Shortly after the brief airport ceremony, the President headed straight to Orlu with a Chopper to inaugurate the Owerri-Orlu road, as well as to Amaraku in Isiala Mbano local government to inaugurate part of the Owerri-Okigwe road and the refurbished Imo State House of Assembly Complex, Owerri.
However, citizens of the state strictly complied with the IPOB’s directive of sit-at-home order, but it did not stop the state government and the President from performing the inauguration of the listed projects.
IPOB had issued an order warning citizens from the south-east to stay-at-home in an effort to give solidarity to their leader, Nnamdi Kanu who was to be in court on the same day, in continuation of his case of alleged treason preferred against him by the federal government.