Ikpeazu is nobody’s stooge
In spite of the huffing and puffing of certain cash and carry analysts, who view the Abia State political scenario from a blinkered perception, pundits are unanimous in their view that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu is the candidate to beat in the 2015, governorship election in God’s own state because the well rounded intellectual and gentleman, who reeks with humility, is an epitome for the classical Athenian democracy.
Long before the PDP party primaries, was mooted, Okezie Ikpeazu embarked on a wide ranging all-inclusive consultation with stakeholders, movers and shakers, technocrats, youths, market and trade groups whom he engaged on democratic strategies that will help build the environment for government, which delivers services to its citizens effectively.
He also rubbed minds with them on how to kick-start a reform agenda, based on citizens’ own assessment of democracy.
The net result was an effective seepage and networking into the grid of grassroots of party organs and the civil society. Unlike some aspirants and Abuja political big wigs who threw their hats into the ring with the misconception that money and influence peddling would swing the magic, Ikpeazu took his time in marketing his mandate, agenda until he won the critical mass, hearts and minds of Ndi Abia.
It was a fait accompli that at the PDP primaries, Okezie Ikpeazu was the candidate to beat. It was not a surprise; he trounced all the contestants who were thoroughly miffed at the wide margin of defeat.
The point is that in every contest, there must emerge, winners and losers, and it behooves on losers to gentlemanly accept the outcomes and not to whimper about some imaginary externalities or obstacles erected to wrong foot them.
Ever since he emerged as the PDP gubernatorial candidate, there has been this beer parlour swan song, making the rounds of Ikpeazu, being the blue eyed, rookie and anointed boy of the incumbent Governor Theodore Orji. Unfortunately some sections of the mainstream and social media have trumpeted this hocus-pocus.
No matter what divide of the political spectrum, it is viewed from, the mantle of leadership has fallen on an urbane biochemist, toxicologist and pharmacologist, who bagged a doctorate degree before his 30th birthday, and in spite of that he naturally symbolizes discipline, humility, erudition, human understanding and accommodation.
It behooves on all Abians to give him all support because for a lecturer who has done four duty tours in Nigerian Ivy league Universities, it is not in his character, to horse around a godfather, real or imagined.
In the words of Ikpeazu, there is no governor in Nigeria that is anybody’s stooge. Even if you played a role in canvassing for votes or helped an aspirant to mount the saddle, you do not expect him to be your puppet. Yes you can articulate ideas that are brilliant on the drawing board and if it dovetails into the main frame of a focused administration. The critical mass of Abia people are perceptive, that Dr. Ikpeazu, is the only person that is self effacing, to entertain all shades of opinion, gumption and suggestions.
He espouses the view that if your reasoning is superior we will go and test it but if the reverse is the case, you go with me. To be sure, Ikpeazu is not embarking on a voyage laden with excess baggage of arrogance but is humble enough to realize that the support of the citizenry is a sine qua non.
Ikpeazu admits, without any fear of contradiction that Governor Orji has earned enormous goodwill and he has carried himself as a gentleman, is not in doubt. He commands a lot of respect among the elders, and the common people of Abia. He is a huge challenge. But Okezie’s development template, will emerge with a meticulousness akin to Orji but shall be powered with a faster tempo, on account of his younger age. He will hit the ground running with a people centred plan.
Abia in the main is concentrated by nationals with capacity in various areas whose dexterity is second to none in commerce, engineering, intermediate technology.
So in the years ahead, an Ikpeazu’s administration will leverage on these advantages that God endowed the state, to make sure that the economy of Abia rests on strong pillars of trade and commerce, small and medium scale enterprises.
As a minor oil and gas producer, he would not allow the consciousness of petroleum revenues to be on the front burner of economic planning.
The geographical coordinates of Aba also constitute the fulcrum of IKPEAZUNOMICS – a paradigm that derives its essence from the centrality of ENYIMBA City. If you look at Aba for example, it is at the confluence of about seven other cities in the South-East and South-South.
The city is about 30 minutes drive to Ikot Ekpene, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Umuahia among others. The strategic location of this city makes it what honey is to ants and it attracts people. So he would, leverage this strategic geographical location of Aba to place world-class infrastructures the city so that we can reinvigorate trade and commerce and build industrial clusters using the German model that revolves on the apprenticeship system where we have family line businesses. But government must intervene in terms of giving access to world class finishing and equipment so that there can be mass production, finished products that can compete for space in shops in top shops in European markets.
THE governor-in-waiting, Dr. Ikpeazu intends to engender a mass reorientation of our people’s thought process. The time has gone when bigots sneer condescendingly on the people of Abia. We want to say that we are the best in the world and that we will attract the attention of not only the best in Nigeria but also in Africa to Abia in the days ahead. This is our focus.
Okezie’s passion for Aba is palpable and contagious. He affirms that is where his roots are domiciled. Hear him, “I don’t have a house in any other part of the world than in Aba. Nobody is more interested in the Aba problem as myself, because you can’t be more Catholic than the Pope. And nobody has a better plan for Aba. First, I have a proper diagnostics of the Aba problem. Aba’s problem is rooted in the fact that infrastructural stock, in terms of drainage, houses, roads, have been static for awhile and the population has grown geometrically. And when that happens, it means that there will be more pressure on the roads and the drainages and they will start collapsing.”
Ikpeazu’s diagnosis of the state of infrastructure is delivered with a clinical precision. He magisterially declares the truth, about a comatose drainage system that has remained unmanned and not serviced because it is located sub-soil.
Once you have a subterranean underground drainage system, it must be maintained. You must go through it every year. And it has been left for almost 50 years and some people have also constructed buildings across the drainage system. We have three storey buildings and churches across the drainage systems.
Ikpeazu’s recipe is first of all to do a ring road around Aba and put in place industrial clusters that are going to take off from Aba. What you can get in Aba in terms of Internally Generated Revenue can help you develop other parts of Abia.
Ikpeazu’s two pronged options are predicated on draining and de-flooding. One, there is an underground drainage system, which has been silted to the brim and that is why each time it rains there will be flooding. The strategy is to use open drainage channels. Should we continue with the underground system then, we have to get experts to open the underground drainage for it to enter into the Aba River.
Chinyemike Torti,is a public policy analyst and management consultant.