Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State

…as Judge, clergy task him on second tenure opportunity

From PETER OKORE, Umuahia

Majority of Abians and residents  who  reacted or spoke  under the caption:”20 years of Democratic Experiment; the Gains and Areas of Improvements”, a audience participation Radio phone-in  programmes to mark the 2nd Inauguration  ceremony of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and were unanimous that he should improve on his performance to justify the second mandate given to him.

He can do this by looking in-wards and doing something differently in this his second tenure. They advised the governor to go-all-out across board (including the opposition parties) for men and women of substance, competence and people who have something to offer, to work with him so that his real impact will be felt in Abia this time around.

The participants implored the governor to pay particular attention to the welfare of people of the state, by ensuring that salaries, gratuities and pensions are paid regularly to those who deserve them. This, they believe, will introduce enough cash to circulate freely in the market as well as enhance longevity of citizens and security in the state. Non-payments of salaries, pensions and gratuities are serious threats to security.

Abians at the  programme  were all of the opinion that the four (4) years of late Chief Sam Mbakwe as governor of former Imo state (from where Abia and Ebonyi states  were carved out) were more eventful  and more development-oriented than the 20 years of the administration of Three respective governors in Abia state;  spanning the 8 (eight) years of  Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu; 8 (eight) years of  Sen. Theodore Orji and the first  four years of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu.

“Mbakwe, who was fondly called “the weeping Governor”,  left  empirical  landmarks in the industrialization of the state, road construction , streetlights, peaceful co-existence, healthy economy , proper welfare package for the citizenry and sustenance of  the agricultural revolution of late Dr. Michael Okpara, former Premier of Eastern Nigeria. The many Plantations were still in existence, etc. Today, all these efforts are no-more, under the democratic dispensation in Abia state”.

In his contribution, a University Don, Dr. Emmanuel Ikoro pleaded with the governor to do away with sycophants and praise-singers in his cabinet if he means to achieve in his second tenure. He must also avoid the perennial practice of recycling appointees from particular families, as if there are no better hands out there. He advised the governor  to do something different from the other three past governors,  by going into the opponents’ camps to pick best brains, since all the political parties aim at bettering the status of Abia state.

“When you win, look in-words, pull-in the opposition, who can perform to come and serve their fatherland, Abia. Do not concentrate on certain persons or families, as if there are no better persons in Abia”, he stressed.

Ikoro urged Government to make public schools  look better than  private schools, in terms of  content, infrastructure, quality staff and aesthetics, as was the  situation  before the take-over of schools by government in 1970. The governor should also consider the cleanliness and beautification of the state metropolitan cities of Umuahia and Aba.

The don identified sycophants/ praise-singers and those hanging around the governor (as aids) as his greatest problems, just as those elected, who indulge in such mal-practices as flamboyant living, self-centred service or involving in embezzlements of public funds,  are  disappointments  to those who waited patiently under the  scorching  sunshine  to vote for them.

In his brief remarks after the swearing-in of  Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and his deputy, Ude Oko Chukwu, the state chief Judge,  Justice Ogwe urged Ikpeazu to make  a good name for himself this second tenure so that history would be kind to him when he leaves office. He suggested to him to pick credible and committed persons to work with him this time, rather than picking, those he described as “the Boys/ sycophants and praise-singers” who have nothing to offer.  They only concentrate on stomach infrastructure, rather than working for the overall interest of Abia and Abians.

“Remember, you will one day leave this office as governor. You will be remembered by what you did while in office. To achieve, you must go for committed appointees who have the wherewithal and the    interest of Abians at heart to work with you. History will only be kind to you, when you leave office, if you perform better (than you did in your first tenure).

“You gave it to the ‘boys’ in the first tenure. This final tenure should no longer be for the play- boys. Go for quality and focused persons to serve Abia better”.

Similarly, in the interdenominational Thanksgiving service organised to mark the occasion, the President, Eastern Nigeria Union Conference of Seven Day Adventist, Rev. Dr. Bassey  Udoh  appealed to  Abians to join hands to lift the state to a better  level . He urged Governor Ikpeazu to perform optimally so that  Abia will be liberated  and the people will , as  he put it,”shout Hosanna at the end of this regime”.

Meanwhile, in his acceptance speech after the swearing-in ceremony, by the state Chief Judge, Justice     Ogwe at the Umuahia Township Stadium, Ikpeazu promised quality service delivery to the entire people of Abia state and residents.

“I have discovered the areas we went wrong in our first tenure and I am prepared to make amends. I have re-dedicated myself anew for quality service to Abia. I am going to be critical in approaching dividends of democracy in Abia this time around, bearing in mind the 5 Pillars of support my administration has engaged in to drive developments in the state.

” I am ready to do more in this our last tenure.  The onus is now on me to do better. I will not let you down.

“One should not make electioneering matters personal. I still call on all those who contested the last elections with me to come and join hands with me so that we will work together to build Abia. We have resolved to lay a solid foundation for tomorrow in the interest of posterity. These will begin to yield fruits before the end of 2019”, Ikpeazu declared.

The governor used the forum to pay special commendations to  President Mohammed Buhari and  the former  Federal Minister for Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enenamah for, in his words;” Looking beyond political boundaries  to extend  amenities, infrastructures and facilities  to Abia state since the inception of this administration.

This interface with the Federal Government has been demonstrated in the promotion of Made-In-Aba (nee Nigeria) products; making Aba the production hub for Micro, Small and Medium-scale enterprises, MSME’s in Nigeria as well as ensuring the realization of the proposed multi-million dollar Enyimba Economic City project. Also through that interface, the National Integrated Power Project at Alaoji, NIPP, and the Rural Urban Electrification project in Ariaria International market, all in Aba, are now functioning” .

Ikpeazu was not done yet. He further disclosed that the Federal Government has 20 percent Equity share in the Enyimba City Project, while the rest 80 percent Equity is shared between Abia state Government and the core Investors. The Enyimba Economic project is expected to create 20,000  jobs, with  about  1.5million people working within the project- site.

He called on Investors of Abia state origin,  carrying –out their legitimate businesses  in other parts of Nigeria and in diaspora to  come home  and establish  branches of their establishments in Abia, to stem-down the increasing rate of un-employment, restiveness and insecurity  in the state.

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