The Ebonyi State Governor, Chief David Umahi, on Friday scored his administration low in the housing sector.
Umahi made the remarks while delivering a brief report card of his administration at the International Conference Center, Abakaliki, prelude to the swearing in of the newly appointed Caretaker Chairmen for the state’s 13 local government areas.
The Governor, however, maintained that his administration was focused on tackling critical sectors that would pull the State out of the dungeon of years of neglect and deprivations.
According to him, his administration has blazed the trail in priority areas of infrastructure, agriculture, health, education and empowerment of citizens which are stimulants for sustained economic growth and development.
He stressed that he would never rest until he fulfils all the promises he made to Ebonyians, adding that the Ebonyi Airport, Teaching hospital, Olympic standard stadium, among other gigantic projects must be completed in record time.
He flayed those who opined that there is poverty in the State, challenging them not to lose sight of all his government has done and is still doing to empower the people and eliminate poverty, adding that it demands that all hands should be on deck in the fight.
Umahi explained: “We will be working till the last day of May 29, 2023.
“This is the promise we made to Ebonyi people and that is what we are going to do, God giving is strength and health.
“We are also going to look at the completion of our airport.
“By this time 2021, by God’s special grace, our Airport shall be fully ready.
“The Hospital will be fully ready by this time next year, and the Stadium, we must have gone half way into the completion.
“We are not going back in the dualisation of Abakaliki-Enugu and Abakaliki-Afikpo roads.
“They are all ongoing and the Commissioners are doing fantastically well over there.
“One of our greatest task is to complete the 35km road that is running from Ntezi to Agba, to Isu, and we have so far achieved 10km
“The ring road project is also another key project in our administration, and we believe strongly that with the amount of work we are doing, we would have started some of the segments of the road.
“We have done about 35Km of the 198km road in the course of our rural roads construction, and the AfDB loan will be used to complete the rest.
“I ask our critics to criticise us constructively, and hate us constructively too.
“It is our commitment to leave Ebonyi State without debts.
“It is our commitment to ensure that Ebonyi State is lifted from years of neglect.
“If you say we are poor, that’s not a problem; what is important is what are we doing to come out of it?
“We have not left any sector underdeveloped.
“The only sector I will score myself low is the area of housing.
“But I think our priorities: the roads are important to us; agriculture is important to us, health care, education are very important; empowerment of the people is very important.
“So we have massively done quite enough to uplift the lives of our people.
:We don’t run on sentiments or blackmail.
“We run on reality.”
Umahi, whose speech was reflective of his fifth year anniversary and democracy day address, regretted that the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic has posed great challenge to the State in particular and Nigeria in general.
He however noted that the emergence of COVID-19 has brought some opportunities for Africans to develop health institutions, agricultural potentials and technologies, cautioning that the fear of the pandemic should not be allowed to hamper development.
Umahi said in the coming months, the state would be working with the Federal Government on re-opening of its schools and economy.
He observed that though Ebonyi did not completely lock down its economy, it still could not operate in isolation being an integral part of the national economy.
He said: “The virus infuses fear into people but God has given us strong heart to overcome fear.
“We will not allow anyone to use COVID-19 to instill fear into us, and the disease is still avoidable through observance of personal hygiene, adherence to all precautionary protocols and prayers of our religious leaders.
“We did not completely shut our economy but because we could not operate in isolation, our economy could not grow the way it was supposed to grow.
“Presently with the gradual opening of the economy in the country, we believe that we will reach the level we planned with or without COVID-19.”