President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday pledged that his administration would urgently address the infrastructural challenges confronting the South-East zone of the country.
Buhari who made the pledge in Abakaliki during a reception held in his honour at the Government House, noted that the Igbos remained an integral part of the country.
The president recalled that he had pledged to fulfill all campaign promises he made to the zone when the leaders visited him in October.
“The leaders raised several concerns on the condition of roads and other infrastructure in the region and I want to assure you that we will deliver on all our promises.
“The 2018 budget captures several strategic projects in the region which include roads, power, agriculture, social services, among other,” he said.
Buhari noted that his visit to Ebonyi was an affirmation of his government’s commitment to achieve a united Nigeria for the benefit of all citizens.
“We are the most populous country in Africa with over 300 ethnic groups as our diversity is unique among nations of the world.
“I thank the citizens of Ebonyi for their warm reception and hospitality since my arrival which has made me happy to be in the state.
“I also commend the State Governor for his numerous infrastructural strides some of which I have commissioned,” he said.
He also paid glowing tributes to former Governor of Eastern Region, Dr Akanu Ibiam while unveiling the statue the State Government erected in his honour.
“Ibiam was a great Nigerian whose contributions and notable record in humanitarian work, free primary education advocacy and rural development – have been inspirational to all.
Gov. David Umahi, thanked the president for the visit, noting that it confounded those who doubted the possibility of his visiting the state.
“We want to thank you for your assistance in the areas of agriculture, harnessing of mineral resources and other areas of the state’s development plan.
“You have assisted us in becoming a force to be reckoned with in agriculture especially in rice production.
“We assure you we will redouble our efforts to meet the rice needs of the country,” he said.
Sen. Sam Egwu (PDP-Ebonyi North) and a former Governor of the state, on behalf of the stakeholders, thanked God for restoring the president’s health and granting him the strength to work.
Egwu urge the president to ensure that state College of Education, Ikwo, was converted to a federal institution.
He also appealed to the federal government to solve the lingering boundary disputes between Ebonyi and its neighbouring states such as Cross River and Benue.
On arrival, the president inaugurated two multi billion naira flyovers on the African trans-Saharan highway which passes through Abakaliki to Cross River and Cameroon.
He also laid the foundation of the ultramodern shopping mall to be constructed by the state government.
The president was conferred with the traditional title of Enyioma 1 (Good friend) of Ebonyi by the state Traditional Rulers Council.
The state government also offered the president 2,000 bags of rice, 2,000 tubers of yam and white horse in appreciation of his visit.