Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has assured Imo State indigenes that 2023 will be far better than 2022 given his determination to complete critical road infrastructure his administration initiated in the year that just ended.
Specifically, the Governor said that the Owerri-Umuahia road, the Orlu- Mgbee- Akokwa-Uga road and the Oguta- Okporo-Orlu road will all be completed this year and with the already completed Owerri-Orlu and Owerri-Okigwe signature roads, Imo can never be the same again in terms of road network that will catalyse trade and commerce and boost the economy of the State.
Governor Uzodimma said 2023 is a year to watch because “it is a year that Imo people will look back to and further appreciate this administration for keeping faith with our social contract with the people.”
He said though 2023 is an election year and demands that the citizens “should conduct themselves peacefully before, during and after the elections,” he added that “things are looking up and 2023 is likely to be better than 2022.”
Governor Uzodimma who gave the assurance in his New Year message to Imo people, noted that despite the fact that 2022 came with a lot of challenges nationally , “we have every reason to thank God for sparing our lives to see this year.”
The Governor noted that the transformation that had taken place in Imo State since he mounted the saddle in 2020 due to the hard work, sacrifice, honesty, prudence and tenacious dedication to duty by his team will continue, and urged the citizens not to despair, but remain steadfast in their prayer as God’s blessings will be certain.
Governor Uzodimma’s message reads in full:
“My beloved NDIMO, Ndewonu. I wish you all a happy and prosperous new year.
To the glory of God, we have seen the end of the year 2022, and we are alive to celebrate the beginning of another year – 2023.
As people of faith, we give God all the glory and adoration for the divine privilege of being alive to see this new year of our Lord – 2023.
“The last year – 2022 – was a challenging year for the entire country and we have every reason to thank God for sparing our lives to see this year. As we know, many of those who celebrated the beginning of 2022 with us are no longer alive today to see the beginning of 2023.
“Yet, it is neither by our might nor by our righteousness that we have been so favoured to see this New Year; It is only by the special grace of God. So, as we celebrate and congratulate ourselves for surviving the New Year, we should also pause for a minute to appreciate and praise God for His abundant mercy and grace on our lives
“Therefore, as I say very happy new year to all of us, let me, on your behalf, express our profound gratitude to God Almighty for keeping us alive to witness yet another year in our pilgrimage on planet Earth. Indeed, for Imo people and Nigerians in general, the preceding year of 2022 was a very challenging one. Yet to the glory of God, through all the trials, we all came out triumphant. May God be praised?
“My beloved NDIMO, as Imo people, looking back into last year it wasn’t all about trials and survival. Many of our prayers were also answered and some of us received some blessings from God, both individually and collectively as a people. For example, I am aware that some families were blessed with new babies, new houses, new jobs, and some got promoted to new positions. Some also started new businesses while others grew their old businesses. Thus, in addition to being alive, we have other reasons to thank God for.
“On the part of government, we are thankful that in spite of the monstrous challenge of insecurity which was deliberately contrived to frustrate and cripple my administration, we were able to accomplish our objectives in governance. For instance, two of our signatures projects – the Owerri – Orlu road and the Owerri – Okigwe road were commissioned by no other person than President Muhammadu Buhari.
“This is in addition to several other roads and infrastructural projects which were completed last year. (I am satisfied and encouraged by the testimonies I received from our citizens who retuned and used these roads during the festive season).
“We were also able to get the Federal Government to upgrade the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, to a University Teaching Hospital for use by the Federal University of Technology, Owerri. Of course, these developments come with abundant employment opportunities for our people and the additional prospect of value addition to the growth of the economy of the state.
“The same goes for the Alvan Ikoku College of Education, which we got the Federal Government to take over as a Federal University of Education. We also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigerian Navy for the dredging of Oguta Lake/ Orashi River to the Atlantic Ocean. This will grant Imo State, and indeed the South – east, the much needed access to the sea with vast potentials to boost international trade and commerce in the region.
“This also comes with the concomitant opportunities for investment in the oil and gas sector. With the establishment of a naval base at Oguta, facilitated by my administration, maritime security is assured in the area which will help to combat crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.
“Equally heart – warming is the fact that in the preceding year, we were able to wrestle the remaining pockets of security challenges and banditry to a standstill. The few remaining kingpins of bandits were rounded up and are now dancing to the music of the law. To the glory of God, security agencies were able to act with greater precision in confronting banditry as witnessed in the foiled attempt to burn the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Owerri. So, on the whole, I can assure you that we are on top of the situation and Imo is relatively safer each year. A clear evidence of this is that no incident of insecurity was reported in the state during the festive season.
“The good news is that things are looking up and 2023 is likely to be better than 2022. We hope to complete the Owerri – Umuahia road and the Orlu – Mgbee – Akokwa and the Oguta to Okporo- Orlu road, this year. Adding these strategic roads to the two already commissioned signature roads will serve to catalyse trade and commerce and would ultimately boost the economy of the state.
“Let me also assure you that the security situation will continue to improve this year. Our security agencies are now better equipped and better trained to confront the security challenges. I can further assure you that this year, the few unrepentant ungodly people and their sponsors, who want to continue to unleash violence and insecurity in the state, will be doing so at their own peril. NDIMO should be assured that we will all be safer this year. Above all, I give you my word that our dear state will do better this year in all ramifications than it did last year.
“It is noteworthy that I have already signed the 2023 budget of N474.4billion into law, and we are set to go this fiscal year. As you know, the budget is tagged “The Budget of Wealth Expansion”. It seeks to improve the state’s economy, with priority on security, agriculture, education and transportation, among the others. With a capital outlay of N373 billion – that is about 72 percent of the entire budget – nothing will stop us from attaining our developmental goals for the year.
“This is a year to watch because it a year that Imo people will look back to and further appreciates this administration for keeping faith with our social contract with the people. Today, even our worst critics will acknowledge the huge difference between the Imo State of today and the Imo State we inherited in 2020.
“I must tell you that this great transformation that has taken place is as a result of hard work, sacrifice, honesty, prudence and tenacious dedication to duty by my team. Needless to add that we could not have done much without your support and prayers which crowned our modest efforts with God’s blessings. To God be the glory.
“I should also remind our people that 2023 is an election year. My appeal is that the good people of Imo State should conduct themselves peacefully before, during and after the elections. I do not want our state to be in the election news for all the bad reasons. Let us go out peacefully and elect the candidates of our choice.
“Ndi Imo nwem, let us collectively resolve that Imo shall not witness any bloodshed in 2023. Let us resolve to work together to ensure that peace, unity and progress shall be our goal and that the interest and welfare of Imo State shall supersede our narrow selfish interests.
“May God keep us safe and bless the works of our hands in 2023.
“I wish all of us a happy, prosperous and blessed 2023.”