Mazi Enyinnaya Apollos is the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State. In this interview, he talks about the achievements of Ikpeazu administration since he assumed office saying that the Governor has turned the fortunes of the state around. Excerpts.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu seems to be enjoying massive endorsements across Abia state, as his Chief Press Secretary, do these endorsements represent the true position of Abians?
The Governor is enjoying massive endorsements across the state not just from our party the PDP alone. The support and endorsements asking the Governor to re-contest in 2019 are from Abians from various political and religious leaning. What Governor Ikpeazu has done so far in Abia is unheard of since the creation of the state and that is why Asians are asking for continuity. Abia for the first time since creation has seen the first flyover that will soon be completed at Osisioma junction at Aba.
Since the creation of Abia, we have seen dualized Faulks Road with the perennial Ifeobara problem permanently solved. Abians are seeing the making of a 6 lane Port Harcourt road that was abandoned for more than 12 years. Why will they not ask for continuity? So the support and endorsements are real and from Abians at home and in the diaspora.
But the opposition is alleging that the endorsements were bought by the governor and as such….
What do you expect from a defeated opposition? What do you want an insignificant and factionalized opposition in the state, especially among some political deadwood to say? When you go round Abia on your own and interact with the people, you will draw your conclusions as to whether the endorsements are bought or not.
Maybe I should agree with them that Governor Ikpeazu bought the endorsements with his hard work, humility, transparency and people-oriented leadership style. Abia today has a Governor that they can call their own. A Governor they can reach when it is necessary. A Governor who lives with them in Aba and Umuahia.
Is the opposition saying that the endorsements from the people of Bende LGA were bought? Or that the endorsements from the people of Umunneochi LGA were bought?
Or will they say that the endorsements by the people of Ukwa-Ngwa which makes up nine out of the 17 LGAs in the state were also bought? The fact is that Governor Ikpeazu’s achievements in Abia have destabilized and disorganized the opposition parties in the state.
They are now so frustrated that the only thing they can think of doing now is to tell lies. Those who had the opportunity to make Abia great when they served as governor and in other very highly political offices but failed to do so, what will they be telling Asians now?
You can understand why Abians have constantly rejected some of them even with the endless effort to be lawmakers. Our advice to our people in the new Abia where Governor Ikpeazu is in charge is not to be like them.
If you want to get the true situation about what is happening in Abia, ask Abians on the street, those in Ariraria market and those at various markets in Aba, whatever they tell you, verify it with what we tell you and what is on the ground, then you can draw your conclusions.
Opposition in the state appears to be shrinking as most key opposition figures have defected to the PDP and have endorsed the governor. What can you say about that development?
The defection of key opposition leaders like Ochiagha Reagan Ufomba, Chief Damian Ozurumba, Chief Tony Onwutoebe, Chief Tony Ukasanya and many others, is an indication that there is something Governor Ikpeazu is doing right. These were people that stood against the election of Ikpeazu in 2015 but since 2017, have been spearheading the call for Ikpeazu to contest again in 2019. When you engage these individuals, they tell you that the only thing that attracts them to PDP is the achievements of Governor Ikpeazu. After the 2015 election, APGA had 11 out of the 24 members in the House of Assembly but today they have only three members left. Seven joined the PDP and one went to APC and PDP lost only the impeached former speaker, Martin Azubuike to APC.
Like I said, the achievements of Ikpeazu is attracting more members to PDP while what is left of the opposition keeps getting frustrated.
There are also claims that the governor is yet to fulfill some campaign promises he made in 2015 and now he has thrown his hat into the ring for 2019. How do you react to that?
The Governor has not told anyone that he will re-contest again. Despite the massive calls for him to seek re-election, he has not heeded that but with time, he will respond to the calls.
If anyone says that the Governor has not fulfilled his 2015 promises to Abians, it is either the person is not in Abia, not in touch with realities in the state or the person is among the frustrated insignificant opposition elements whose stock in trade is to tell lies always. Otherwise, the question should be, what were the 2015 campaign promises of the Governor? And if anyone says he has not fulfilled the promises he made in 2015, the appropriate questions will, therefore, be who took 30 Aba shoemakers to China for training in automated shoemaking? Who built the Abia Investment House in Umuahia? Who built Umuola Road, Ebere Road, Ukaegbu Road, Ovom Street, Ochefu road, Weeks Street, Owerenta street, Owerri road, Kamalu road, Umuatako road, Umule road, Umuehilegbu road, Umuocham road, Dr Chima Nwafo road, Omeni Drive, Adventist close, Ugwunagbo road, Ekwereazu Ngwa-Nto Edino road, Owoahiafo-Onicha Ngwa road, Umunkpeyi-Umuehim road, Umuocheala road, Egbelu Mbutu road, Abiriba Ring road, Nkporo road, Okobo bridge in Arochukwu? If you answer these questions sincerely, then you will know if Ikpeazu has fulfilled the promises of 2015 or not.
He has introduced telehealth Initiative in Abia where you can dial a doctor directly from your home or office when you feel you need a Medicare. Who introduced home-care for the aged? Who introduced emergency medical service in Abia? Go and find out who did all these things I’ve mentioned. If it is Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, then you will answer whoever tells you that he has not fulfilled his 2015 promises to Abians.