Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki
President Muhammadu Buhari wednesday reiterated his commitment to deliver on his promises, including addressing issues of agriculture, power and social services in the South-east zone.
The President noted that the 2018 budget also captured many projects in the zone, stressing that his visit to the state signalled the unity of the country.
He, therefore, commended the state governor, Chief David Umahi for his warm reception and his commitment to the development of the state.
The President said â€œ I am delighted to be here in Abakaliki to interact with the good people of Ebonyi state and indeed the South east region as a whole. I want to express my gratitude to the people of Ebonyi state for their hospitality and warm reception since I arrived the state.
â€œMy presence here today is a demonstration of my strong belief in the unity of Nigeria. As the most populous country in Africa with over 300 ethnic groups, our diversity is almost unique. When I met with the leaders of the South-east in Abuja last month, they raised several issues of concern including the state of the roads and infrastructure in the regionâ€.
â€œI will like to commend His Excellency Governor David Umahi for his vision and commitment to the development of this state. Some of the projects I commissioned since my arrival are laudable. I am also grateful to the traditional rulers of Ebonyi state for the honour bestowed on me with the traditional title of Enyi Oha 1. I thank you for this honour and warm reception.
â€œI want to assure you that we will deliver on our promises. Our 2018 budget included many projects for the region in the area of power, agriculture and Social servicesâ€.
Buhari landed at the training field of the Nkwagu Military Cantonment at about 11:15 am in a Nigeria Air Force Helicopter with the registration number NAF-540.
He was earlier received at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport ,Enugu by governors of the South East led by Ebonyi State governor, Engr.David Umahi from where he was airlifted in a chopper to Abakaliki,the Ebonyi state capital.
Buhari was received on arrival in Ebonyi by the deputy governor of the state ,Dr. Kelechi Igwe; Minister of Science and Technology, Dr.Ogbonnaya Onu; former governors of Ebonyi state, Senator Sam Egwu and Chief Martin Elechi; former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim ; former Minister of Culture and Tourism,Amb.Frank Ogbuewu; ex Minister of Health(State), Engr.Fidelis Nwankwo; former Deputy governor of the state, Prof.Chigozie Ogbu and Zonal Vice Chairman of PDP,Chief Austine Umahi; CEO Orient Global Ltd, Chief Chukwuma Odi among other top political leaders from the state.
This visit to Ebonyi is Buhariâ€™s first ever visit to the South-east since he took the oath of office in May 2015.
In the course of the visit, President Buhari is expected to commission some projects executed by the Ebonyi state government such as flyover bridges, roads and access the stateâ€™s developments in agriculture and also perform the foundation laying ceremony for new projects.
The President commissioned the dual flyover bridges along the Trans-African Mombasa highway named after the first governor of the Eastern Region, Dr Akanu Ibiam and the Second Republic Senator of Abakaliki zone, Late Senator Offia Nwali.
Earlier, the State Governor, David Umahi said the state is appreciative of the Presidentâ€™s support to the state especially in the area of Agriculture.
He, however, appealed to the President for refund of funds expended by the state government on some Federal Roads in the state.
Former Governor of the state, Sam Egwu commended the President for the recent decision to pay former Biafra Police officers pensions.
Also, the National Coordinator of Initiatives For Demonstrating Change, Comrade Chinedu Ogah noted that the President by such action has displayed uncommon love for the Biafra warlords and further advocated for the indivisibility of the country.
The Youth Leader said his group would mobilize all the people of the south east zone to support the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
Ogah noted that Buhariâ€™s administration has really empowered the south east zone with key appointments and infrastructure that were neglected during the past administration.