Abia State Governor, Alex Otti has inaugurated the 9th Abia Traditional Rulers Council, with a charge to participate in the implementation of government’s agenda to boost rural development.
Speaking during the event in Umuahia on Tuesday, Otti said that the government was determined to work with people that shared in its vision to rebuild the state.
The governor expressed optimism that the new leadership of the council would live up to expectation and prayed that their tenure would be devoid of rancour.
He said the government was determined to facilitate even spread of development across the state and urged traditional rulers to work in partnership with the state to achieve its rebuilding agenda.
“We can no longer afford to have traditional rulers that are ignorant of happenings in their communities.
“The state government has commenced a security initiative called ‘Operation Crush’ and has spent huge resources to ensure that the initiative is a success.
“All our commitment to security will come to naught if the traditional rulers do not join forces with government to fight violent crimes.
“Government will unleash the full weight of the law against any traditional ruler found aiding and abetting any criminal,” he said.
Otti added that the government was desirous to build a society, where improved access to basic amenities would not be the exclusive preserve of people living in urban areas.
According to him, plans are underway to ensure that people living in the rural areas will not have to travel outside their locality to access quality education, healthcare, steady power supply, potable water and other social amenities.
Otti called for the support of traditional rulers, which he described as very critical to enhancing rural development in the state and urged them to “brace up for the task ahead”.
In an address, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Uzor Nwachukwu, described the inauguration as a landmark event, as it had formed part of the foundation for building the new Abia.
Nwachukwu said the new leadership of the council would be carried along in the scheme of things as active participants in implementation of the government’s rebuilding agenda.
In his remarks, Eze Joseph Nwabeke, the immediate past Chairman, said he was confident that the newly inaugurated council would perform creditably and prayed God to grant them a successful tenure.
Nwabeke, represented by Eze Harry Ugwuala, thanked the state government for approving the payment of five per cent of the local government allocation to traditional rulers as stated in the constitution.
He added that this was a first of its kind in the history of the state.
Responding, the Chairman of the council, Eze Linus Mba, thanked the governor for giving them the opportunity to serve the people of Abia.
Mba gave the assurance that they would do their best to pilot the affairs of the council and remain committed to supporting the present administration in its bid to transform the state.
Other members of the council include; Eze Nelson Nmerengwa, First Deputy Chairman; Eze Franklin Nwosu, Second Deputy Chairman and Eze Uwakwe Ukaegbu, Third Deputy Chairman.(NAN)