On August 27, 1991, a creation was called into being in a geographical location by
men and women of goodwill. Abia, God’s own state and ours, was formed to set a
progressive platform for brothers and sisters from Aba, Bende, Isuikwuato, and
Afikpo divisions of the old Imo State to pursue a noble goal of prosperity through
enterprise. In that historic exercise, Eze Ogo, Dr. Anagha Ezikpe, Dr. Onyike James
Onyike, and other reputable leaders who came together to pioneer the Abia project
had a vivid vision fueled by excellent plans and developmental initiatives, hence the
adoption of Abia as “God’s Own State”.
32 years later, the story of Abia State has remained a story of hope, hope, and hope
upon hope, or should I say, “God when?”, “God when?’ and “God when now?
A lot has been said about Abia, much of it depicting negativity and political
redundancy, but little has been said of the ingenuity, doggedness, perseverance,
tenacity, strength in debt, and resourceful spirit of the Abians. In fact, little has been
said of the exceptional young men and women gathered under this roof to
acknowledge a new direction, a renewed hope, and a defined aspiration for a
progressive Abia with progressive Abia youths.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends, brothers, and partners in progress, there is a breath
of fresh air in Abia, and we can all feel it! The optimism is contagious; we can all
see it. Like the biblical “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin”, it is boldly written on the
faces of Abians, young and old, male and female. It is not a warning for impending
doom but a yearning for something new.
Citing this reality, dear leaders, I must commend us for the role we played in ensuring
that true democracy returns to Abia State. Like our founding fathers, we had faith,
we prayed, and we worked for the Abia that is unfolding before us. Have you
forgotten? We brought true leadership to Abia youths. We provided more than five
Abia youths with microcredit support. We provided scholarship opportunities for
more than 30 students. We partnered with reputable organizations
(INEC,APHF,NPAG,OFIAR, RTLA, 100 Igbo Inc., PRAWA, LBD, and NYSC) to
drive democratic intervention programs, registering more than 70,000 voters,
distributing more than 180,000 PVCs, mobilizing more than 300,000 voters with
over 200 young ambassadors, and ensuring that for the first time since Abia was
created, Abians voted and their votes counted.
Progressives, while we celebrate and give God glory for the great things he has done
through us, we must remember that the battle is far from over. The victory may be
in sight, but not in hand. We still have a long way to go in this battle to ensure that
our society remains progressive.
In the next year, we will be actively involved in holding government accountable
through our Walk to Good Governance initiative. We shall continue to facilitate
sustainable youth empowerment initiatives to create an empowered youth
community and speak up for ourselves to ensure youth inclusion and equitable
distribution of the dividends of democracy. As a way of initiating our accountability
metric, we will be launching a “Get-to-Work” document, which is the first youth-led
policy development concept to be presented to a democratic state government since
the advent of democracy in Nigeria in 1999. In addition, we will present this
document to the executive governor of Abia State as a summary of Abia youths’
expectations and an evidence-based recommendation for his administration. The
“Get-to-Work” document is one that will be continually updated to fit the needs of
Abia youth across generations. I am glad to announce that plans are underway for
the construction of ABIA Youth House, a remarkable physical structure that will
serve as an intellectual and administrative haven for Abia youths. In due time, an
adequate presentation will be made to demystify this vision.
Dear Leaders, our achievements in the last two years are testament to the veracity of
Nelson Mandela’s quote “It always seems impossible until it’s done”.
So, I ‘ll say, let us do more and more until our society is transformed for good.
While we bask in the euphoria of Abia’s 32nd anniversary, let us be reminded that a
progressive society with a functional democracy championed by progressive youths
remains our ultimate goal.
God bless PAY
God bless Abia State
God bless the federal republic of Nigeria.