On the radio was a sensational headline being read out by the anchor person, notwithstanding, Abians were more interested in the main issue. I dialed the station’s number some couple of times before a voice echoed that I should go ahead and add my voice to the trending issue. At first, I mustered few words despite all my efforts to get hooked to the Newspaper reviewer.
For the limited per minute call, I said that Abia is a PDP state and will continue to be, especially as the State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, is showing class in the discharge of his duties which is very obvious in the area of infrastructural development and prudent management of the state’s resources.
I considered it infantile to think that anyone, no matter how biased, could say that PDP is dead in Abia, but I realized that few rookies in some of the opposition parties see it as lifetime achievements to call into radio programmes in Umuahia and emit some cacophonous inanities. After such funny calls, they would gladly boast that Abians have been informed that PDP is dead and therefore, 2019 election is between the broom carriers and Oke Okpa. I laugh in Swahili.
Prior to the 2015 general elections, people who opposed Dr Okezie Ikpeazu hinged their campaign on the need to build roads in Aba, the state’s commercial capital. A particular candidate told the Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines & Agriculture (ACCIMA) that he had secured a N100 billion loan facility that would be specifically focused on Aba . That was the height of mendacity.
While it was a mere campaign rhetoric, people who understand the dynamics of lending argued that the APGA candidate as a former bank boss was shooting himself to ever believe that Abians could be so easily hoodwinked, knowing that it was impossible to secure a loan of such magnitude as an individual not to mention that such level of debt with repayment plans would take processes that could swallow an entire 4 year tenure.
It was easier for people to believe in Ikpeazu’s governorship as that would guarantee an equal development. Ikpeazu understands the topography and the nature of roads in Aba having championed the important task of waste disposal in the Aba metropolis in the years before..
It wasn’t surprising to many that Dr.Ikpeazu could dislodge the ‘mermaid’ that was reported to be flooding the Ama Ikonne axis along Faulks road and go ahead to tackle Ukwu Mango. It is his nature to match political will with performance garnished with quality.
That was the only magic that dislodged the ‘innocent Mami water’ that was responsible for a former governor, Chief O.U Kalu, to abandon the flooded Faulks road and Ariaria in 2003. To the former Governor, the story of the nonexistent Mermaid was enough to cause him to waggle his way out of the demand of Abians for the full reconstruction of that road.
It will be difficult for the sore losers in the last election to see some of these quality projects in Abia State since roads are not built on Facebook where majority of their supporters are domiciled.
I have seen genuine acceptance from patriotic Abians who still recall how difficult it was to access Omne Road, Kamalu Street, Ukaegbu Road, Umuatako Street, Ovom Street, Chima Nwafor Road, Faulks Road, Owerri Road, Ehere Road, Etche Road, Umuola Road, Umule Road, MCC/Samek Road, Aharandu, Emejiaka, Onyebuchi Streets, Okigwe Road, Ochefu Road, etc.
Abians still recall how extremely difficult it was to make a quick journey from Aba Park through Abayi to Osisioma until Governor Okezie Ikpeazu changed the narratives together with his promotion and support for Made in Aba products. Opposition will continue to claim ignorance of these sterling achievements but the majority of Abians who are direct beneficiaries of these laudable projects have the capacity to show gratitude to the governor.
No Local government has been left out in the governor’s development strides in Abia State, and this is in addition to the renovation of Over 300 schools across the State.
It is convenient to take advantage of radio programmes to dream dreams while the reality on ground is that Ikpeazu is a governor that is welcomed anytime with great ovation.
As it is today, one wonders what opposition parties in the state will use to campaign against Ikpeazu ?
Ikpeazu does not play petty politics. He is only interested in what will benefit Abians. A pointer to this is that despite being a PDP governor, he maintains a good relationship with the government at the center with whom he has collaborated to initiate projects that have benefitted and continued to benefit Abians.
On development of SMEs of which Abia has regained her rightful position as the business and economic hub of the country, the Electrification Project at Ariaria that will provide electricity to the manufacturing cluster of over 30,000 shops, Ikpeazu has continued to show commitment to delivering dividends of good governance.
Abians can easily get instantaneous response on medical emergencies through the Dial-a-Doc tele health initiative. The primary and secondary health care systems are up and working while the aged are enjoying free health care and personal house care delivery services.
Abia farmers have gained access to facilities, fertilizers and special species of crops and seedlings. Abia rice has become a reality with the construction of various Rice Mills in the State even as efforts are ongoing to increase yields.
Abia Poultry farm and Mushroom technology attest to the State’s readiness to growing its economy through Agriculture. The special tenera Palm seedlings is being distributed for planting by individuals to replicate the dreams of Dr. M.I Okpara that will see Abia become a major exporter of palm products in Nigeria. With the over 2 million of such species already planted, it is safe to say that Abia is right on track
It is extremely impossible to think that all these efforts by the PDP governor would be ignored by Abians for other political parties that parade the highest number of leaders with several pending fraud cases and are finding it difficult to organize internal party congresses with parallel leaderships in numerous places.
With what Ikpeazu has put on ground, it is therefore convenient for opposition parties to make puerile claims on radio programmes, than risking themselves on the streets of Abia where the good people of the State are willing to counter them with verifiable facts and figures.
By Ikechukwu Iroha
—Ikechukwu Iroha wrote from Umuahia, Abia State