By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah, Abuja and Obinna Ogbonaya, Abakaliki
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday assured Igbo people that his administration will ensure the timely execution of roads, power and other projects in the South East.
Addressing leaders of thought and traditional rulers at a meeting in Government House, Abakiliki when he visited Ebonyi State, the president commended Ebonyi people for the warm reception accorded him during the state visit.
He said, ‘’My presence here today is a demonstration of our strong belief in the unity of Nigeria. As the most populous country in Africa, with over 300 ethnic groups, our diversity is unique among nations.
‘’When I met with leaders from the South East last month in Abuja, they raised several issues of concern, including the state of the roads and infrastructure in the region. I want to assure you that we will deliver on our promises.
‘’Our 2018 Budget includes many strategic projects for the region in the roads, power, agriculture and other sectors’’.
The president had earlier inaugurated the 14.5km Abakiliki-Afikpo federal road constructed by the Ebonyi State government.
He also commissioned the 700-metre length of the dual flyover on the Trans-Sahara route, running from Enugu to Cameroon and the Senator Offia Nwali flyover, all in the state capital.
In addition, Buhari performed the foundation stone laying ceremonies of Ebonyi City Mall, another flyover and road tunnel named after him.
The president also unveiled the statue of Sir Akanu Ibiam, a former governor of the old Eastern region, whom he described “as a great Nigerian, whose notable records of humanitarianism, advocacy of free primary education and rural development, will continue to be an inspiration to all’.
President Buhari, who commended Governor David Umahi for his vision and commitment to the development of the state, also thanked the traditional rulers of the state led by Eze Charles Mkpuna for conferring on him the chieftaincy title of Enyioma 1 of Ebonyi (Trustworthy friend of Ebonyi).
At another event with South East traditional rulers led by Eze Eberechi Dick, the president was conferred with the chieftaincy title of Ochioha Ndigbo (Leader of Igbo people).
Earlier a former governor of the state, Chief Sam Egwu, appealed for more federal presence in the state, particularly the conversion of College of Education Ikwo to a Federal College of Education.
In an address presented on behalf of Ebonyi Elders, Egwu also called for urgent intervention by the federal government to curb intra-communal clashes as well as cross-border disputes in the region.