The mimister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba disclosed on Sunday that the the federal government in its bid to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians in the area of access for development and movement of agricultural products to urban communities, constructed over 500 rural roads in rural areas.
Speaking at the 2021 Au-Ukhua Carnival and Shopping Trade Fair at Ukhua Primary School Field, Iviukhua Community, Agenebode, in Edo State, the minister said the administration of President Muhamnadu Buhari was focussed on taking critical infrastructural development of all rural communities across the country.
Towards this end, Prince Agba said the federal government is tackling the issue of power challenges headlong in 2022 noting that “We are also focussed on improving Power because with avalability of power, their will be improved security, there will be improvement of communication facility capabilities and medium and small scale industries will be attracted for growth and development”.
Prince Agba called on communities who have benefitted from such government intervention projects to place emphasis on maintenance of the infrastructure expressing joy that when he was moving across the Iviukhua community, he observed that citizens were clearing the drainages which will lead to the drains being protected and erosion checkmated.
On the festival itself, the minister said, “As we all know, cultural festivals serve as advocacy tools aimed at raising awareness about our social heritage, which is a mixture of customs, traditions, moral values, attitudes, festivals, folklore, beliefs and ideals which we are obligated to pass on from one generation to another.
“Cultural festivals also provide a platform for showcasing, promoting and preserving our cultural heritage. This also applies to this 2021 edition of Au-Ukhua cultural festival. It is a great opportunity to call to mind and celebrate the rich, diverse and unique cultural heritage of Iviukhua community. It is also an opportunity to engage in dialogue towards preserving, promoting and appreciating the Afemai culture.
Continuing he said, “Cultural festivals such as this has both social and economic angles. In the midst of a chaotic and stressful world, happiness is overshadowed by negativity and insecurity, and so the need for something that can bring positivity has been felt time and again. Thus cultural festivals that give us the opportunity to forget all our worries and celebrate the positive side of life, come into existence.
“It also provides an opportunity to reduce friction and brings estranged friend and relatives together in a bond of love”.
While thanking the President-General of Iviukhua Community Worldwide, Dr. Kennnedy Izuagbe for the honour done him, with the presentation of an award for meritorious service to the community, the minister said, “I want to appreciate Dr. Izuagbe and the Iviukhua people because each time I come here, I am well taken care of and they make me feel at home.
“There is a whole lot more to come in year 2022 and the federal government has made provision in the budget to open up more rural areas and ensure that agricultural products enjoy better transportation and access to distribution to urban areas.
In his welcome address, the President- General, Senior High Chief Izuagbe commended the minister for associating with the people of Iviukhua not only in the area of infrastructural development but in the cultural festival.
He said that the minister has brought infrastructural development not only to Agenebode but also Edo State in general adding that for this, he deserves to be applauded and encouraged to do more.
Izuagbe thanked all sons and daughters of the community for the peace and unity currently pervading Iviukhua which has resulted in development and progress for the people.
Other highlights of the Carnival celebration was the flagging off the maiden Ukhua 7km Road Race by the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Hon. Clem Agba, where Mr. Paul Okosun emerged as the Champion in the time of 25.25 seconds, Mr. Michael Amodu emerged as the first runner-up in the time of 26.25 seconds and Mr. Iyedo Torik emerged as the second runner-up in the time of 26.57 seconds. Other activities included the Carnival procession, Beauty Pageant, led by the Carnival Standing Committee Chairman, Mr. Chris Aigwanyiokha, and Traditional troupes display.
Among hundreds of dignitaries from Edo State, Nigeria and Diaspora who graced that entertaining carnival were the Senator representing Edo North Senatorial District, Senator Francis Alimikhena, Constitutional Lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, former Nigerian Ambassador to Brazil, Ambassador Emozozo, Dr. Enakhe Usman Idodo, Brig Gen Thomas Unokhua (rtd), Hon. Kingsley Ugabi and Chief Sunny Akhamiokor and Mr. Paul Izenua of Central Bank and Comrade Jude Imagwe, President of Abuja Chapter of Weppa Uwanno Pyramid Club of Nigeria among others.