Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State

 

By Uche Nwosu

For citizens of Abia State, the emergence of Dr. Okezie  Ikpeazu as Abia’s fourth executive governor of this God’s Own State should signal a new beginning and departure from the past. For themIkpeazu should rise to the vicious challenge that is confronting his nascent administration and tap from his prodigious academic and public service antecedents to steer the state into a glorious track.

Indeed, the major challenge staring Ikpeazu’s administration on the face is the backlog of salaries, allowances and pensions, completion of uncompleted projects, payment of contractors among other teething problems.

At the beginning of any administration, the challenge to meet up with the basic expectations of the people, the fulfillment of the elected politician’s campaign promises and the need to execute successfully his manifesto vis-à-vis his party’s are always the first predicament an elected politician faces.

Ikpeazu’s challenge is compounded by the dwindling financial receipt from the federation account which has somehow delayed the immediate overcoming of these challenges. Nigeria as a mono economy nation has suffered from the crash that saw the crude oil sales nosedived from 170 US Dollars per barrel to almost 40 US Dollars per barrel. From 2007 to 2014 the nation had a major glut in oil supply and indeed reaped abundantly from the corresponding revenues.

Nigeria, during this period, had enough and actually saved enough, but our insatiable past governors would not allow the excess reserve of the funds saved to serve as bumper for the rainy day to be. It was shared by the federal, states and local governments and were subsequently misappropriated or out rightly embezzled. Therefore, in 2014, when the music changed for the worse, it became difficult for some of the states which could not manage their excess reserve well to meet up with their fiscal responsibilities; thus leading to the nonpayment of salaries, allowances, pensions, gratuities etc However, Gov Ikpeazu has started well by embarking on the reconstruction of some road sconsidered as a life wire in Umuahia and Aba, the two cities of Abia state.

Certainly, this period requires austere governance that should be anchored on service and performance and not on unnecessary propaganda and hero-worshipping. Abia is in dire need of an economic blueprint that would bring back Aba, the cash cow of the state to its status of being the economic life wire of the state. This is why the seven roads which his administration started to rebuild in the commercial city shortly after his swearing in on May 29 is laudable.

More infrastructures should be established in the town. Infrastructures like roads, water and electricity etc are sine qua non to meaningful development and evolution of any town from obscurity to a modern city. Aba and Umuahia, the state capital, should be recovered  before 2019.

Equally interesting is his decision to drop the appellation “His Excellency” and the reduction of his convoy. Lately there had been calls for the reduction of the way and manner public office holders carry out their functions.

In the United States of America where Nigeria borrowed its presidential system of government, governors hardly use that appellation in both their official and private functions. Even the President of the United States is referred as Mr President. The US governors are simply addressed as Mr Governor

However, this standpoint is not being posited to demean or denigrate the office of the chief executive of the state in Nigeria or deviate from the established constitutional standard, but to play out and emphasize the seriousness and the humility in the character of the man in the highest echelon of government in Abia state. What the people require right now is the payment by the government of their salaries and allowances, pensions and gratuities as well as the building and rebuilding of infrastructures that will have meaningful impact on their daily living.

 

More infrastructures should be established in the town. Infrastructures like roads, water and electricity etc are sine qua non to meaningful development and evolution of any town from obscurity to a modern city. Aba and Umuahia, the state capital, should be recovered  before 2019.

Equally interesting is his decision to drop the appellation “His Excellency” and the reduction of his convoy. Lately there had been calls for the reduction of the way and manner public office holders carry out their functions.In the United States of America where Nigeria borrowed its presidential system of government, governors hardly use that appellation in both their official and private functions. Even the President of the United States is referred as Mr President. The US governors are simply addressed as Mr Governor

However, this standpoint is not being posited to demean or denigrate the office of the chief executive of the state in Nigeria or deviate from the established constitutional standard, but to play out and emphasize the seriousness and the humility in the character of the man in the highest echelon of government in Abia state. What the people require right now is the payment by the government of their salaries and allowances, pensions and gratuities as well as the building and rebuilding of infrastructures that will have meaningful impact on their daily living. It does also not mean that Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, by demanding “please don’t call me ‘His Excellency’ but Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu tends to disparage it, but just to act the way he feels; which is: rescue Abia from unnecessary superfluity and give God the glory when necessary.

He is “His Excellency” by character. He refuses to be “His Excellency” by merely flaunting it. Anything other than this becomes an unnecessary distraction.

It assaults the people’s sensibility to behold their leader blaring siren around in a convoy of long and posh vehicles when the basics of living have not been met. Fortunately, the governor is moving in consonance and concordance with the people. This is a mark of a new beginning; a beginning which is anchored on identifying the people’s needs and fulfilling them. Interestingly, Ikpeazu has a rich and robust intellectual and native endowment.

He is likely to draw from that fountain of this knowledge to give Abia the best that is required to make this God’s Own State number one in deed and in ranking. It will then engender real and genuine dividends of democracy. Consequently, the people, having seen that they are carried along in the scheme of things would cooperate with the government in power in the payment of their taxes and rates. Also, the governor started well by seeing off sycophants and hero worshippers out of the way. Reason why most leaders fail is because they are carried away by the drumming, beatings, idolizing and requiems of hero worshippers. Naïve leaders go to bed with the assumption that the man singing his praises to high heavens is truly a confident and a supporter not knowing that the man is trying to earn a living through the praise. At times it is done to mock or jeer the individual concerned. And some are even put out to cynically or sarcastically denigrate the so called hero. The governor’s decision to drop the absurdity out of Abia political horizon is indeed worth commending. People should allow Dr Okezie Ikpeazu to be focused and do the work for which he was called to serve. It is only when uncommon record is achieved that people should feel free to express their feelings. For now Okezie needs a cooperation and support of all to do the work of a chief executive of a state which requires full concentration and less distraction.

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