Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has commended the United Towns Agency (UTA), a United Nations affiliated non-governmental organisation, for admitting Nigeria into its fold.
He also hailed the Country President of UTA in Nigeria, Abigail Amalaha, for emerging as pioneer leader of the group in the country.
Speaking in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of Abia State, when a delegation of UTA, Nigerian chapter, made up of the country president and members of Board of Trustees, paid him an advocacy visit, Ikpeazu said the fact that UTA found the Nigeria worthy to have a chapter says a lot about the role the country could play in making the international agency realise its objective.
The governor said there were much to do in the area of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which needs the collaboration of government and agencies like UTA.
He promised to collaborate with UTA to realise its objectives, saying government needs support of everybody in its task of good governance and catering to the need of the people.
The governor commended the country president for her emergence to lead the group, saying she has brought honour not only to Abia State, being an indigene of the state, and Nigeria at large.
He admonished the country president not to lose sight of the enormous task ahead of her which is to touch lives and assist the less privileged through her various humanitarian activities.
“Your driving force should be the smiles on the faces of the vulnerable and indigent Nigerians. As you face the bureaucracy, you will face unwilling people who are not ready for change. The task ahead of you are challenging, but they are surmountable with dedication and resilience,” he said.
While assuring the country president that Abia State government would support her to succeed, Ikpeazu said most of the interventions of UTA were in line with what his administration is doing in the state.
“We’ll support you and your activities in any way we can to ensure you succeed. What UTA does is in tandem with what we’re doing as a government in the areas of healthcare, welfare, poverty alleviation, education and others.”
The governor expressed happiness over his nomination as UTA patron, pledging to work with and support the group to the best of his ability.
In her remarks earlier, Amalaha said the team was in Abia to identify with Governor Ikpeazu and to seek collaboration. An indigene of Abia, the country president said she was starting her advocacy visit in the state “to intimate my governor about the agency, as charity begins at Home. I think it is best to kick off the activities of UTA in Nigeria with support of my governor, who has demonstrated, by his programmes, that our objectives in lifting the lot of the less privileged tally with his.”
Amalaha told the governor that UTA is an international NGO, affiliated to the United Nations with accredited status of United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and with the primary responsibility of enhancing North South cooperation between developed and developing countries.
She said UTA has its presence in more than 110 countries and she is the first country president for Nigeria after a vigorous selection process at UTA headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The country president said the main work of UTA was to collaborate with government, agencies, philanthropic individuals and organisations to engender attainment of UN SDGs.
She extended a hand of fellowship to Governor Ikpeazu, saying: “We will like to work with Abia State in this regards.”
Amalaha informed Governor Ikpeazu that he has been nominated as UTA patron and craved his indulgence to work with the group to make the difference in the task of helping the country and people benefit from the lofty programmes of the global agency.
Other members of UTA in the team were Austin Anene and two Board of Trustees members, including Onuoha Ukeh, managing director/editor-in-chief of The Sun Publishing Limited and Abubakar Jimoh, director of Public Affairs, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).