By Peter Okolie, Owerri.
President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated three “signature projects” of Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, assuring that the Federal Government would sustain its support for more development projects in the state.
Buhari, who arrived the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri at exactly 10:46 a.m., proceeded to inaugurate the reconstructed 35-kilometre Orlu-Owerri dual carriageway and 52-kilometre Owerri-Okigwe dual carriageway.
The president also inaugurated the renovated the state’s House of Assembly Complex.
Speaking at the Government House Banquet Hall in Owerri on Tuesday, Buhari expressed delight that in less than three years of Uzodimma’s administration, he had visited the state twice to inaugurate projects.
Buhari said: “Our administration recognises the importance of critical infrastructure in economic development, and we are determined to drive the economic development of Nigeria through the provision of vital infrastructure across the length and breadth of the country.
“This can be seen in our commitment to certain 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, telecommunication infrastructure, to mention but a few.
“I am happy to see that the All Progressives Congress-administration of Uzodimma is doing similar improvements in Imo.
“I commend the governor for being able to do so with limited resources at the disposal of the state, which proves that when leaders are dedicated and focused, much can be achieved for the people,” he added.
The president, who described Uzodimma’s completed and ongoing projects in the state as “infrastructural revolution”, said that the Federal Government’s support to Imo was equally available to other states.
He decried the loss in the production of crude oil, following activities of militants, noting, however, that the Federal Government had improved on infrastructure with lean resources at its disposal.
In his speech, Uzodimma said that the event served as another evidence to the unassailable resolve of his administration to serve the people with dedication and a sense of purpose.
He said that the Orlu-Owerri federal road had been a nightmare for motorists for over a decade and the situation was complicated by gully erosion for over 40 years.
He said that the road, which cut across seven local government areas of the state, was economically and geographically strategic, particularly to local farmers, traders and markets along the road corridor.
“The second project, which is the 52-kilometre Owerri-Okigwe road, facilitates our access to parts of Abia, Enugu and Ebonyi, also experienced the same fate of abandonment.
“This was also partly because of seemingly intractable gully erosion at Akabo and many other failed portions of the road.
“To the glory of God, we found the courage, dedication and means, and the requisite technology to fix these roads and the erosion menace,” he said.
The governor said that he undertook the reconstruction of the state House of Assembly complex, which was abandoned for over 10 years, due to the dilapidation of the infrastructure.
“I had to do it because I am aware that the legislature is the bastion of democracy as well as the symbol of the people’s power,” he said.
Uzodimma said that his administration had done more than 105 roads across the 27 local government areas of the state since its inception.
He said that the Owerri-Mbaise-Obowo-Umuahia road and Orlu-Mgbee-Akokwa-Uga road projects, recently inaugurated by his administration, would boost inter-state trade and tourism when completed.
“Under our prosperity agenda, encapsulated in Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Recovery, we intend to connect all communities in the state with motorable roads before the end of our first term.
“Our goal is to leave Imo State far better than we met it. In the pursuit of this goal, we have remained steadfast, tenacious and resilient,” he added.
He commended President Buhari for the completion of the second River Niger Bridge, upgrading of Enugu Airport into an international airport and the reconstruction of the Aba-Umuahia-Enugu-Onitsha dual carriageway.
Earlier, the President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, Prof. George Obiozor, said that the greatest challenges facing the South-East geopolitical zone were the issues of security and infrastructure.
Obiozor, who commended the President for his support toward the development and growth of the zone, also applauded Uzodimma’s commitment to the development and transformation of the state.
The president-general assured Buhari that the people of the zone were committed to the Nigeria project.
“We desire a country that provides us the platform and opportunities to contribute our utmost best to the growth of our fatherland.
“We seek justice, equity and fairness,” Obiozor added.