Posted by News Express | 25 September 2015 | 4,290 times
Dateline Tuesday, September 22, 2015, Ibeme, Obingwa LGA of Abia State.
“Ibeme enwela oku o! Ibeme enwela oku o!!” (meaning Ibeme now has electricity) a woman kept repeating over and over in a monotonous soliloquy as she gazed into the skies obviously in gratitude to God that she was alive to see this day. As we drove along, we saw another woman dancing alone despite the absence of any music being played. Obvious joy all over her expression and demeanor. Still down the road, a group of four to five year olds ran after the motorcade of the Governor shouting Oke Ezuola Abia! Oke Ezuola Abia!!
Beholding these sights, I said to myself, this is what governance is all about. This should be the entire essence of seeking political power – to be able to impact the lives of people in a transgenerational manner such that long after you are no more in office and indeed, no more on this terrestrial plane, your legacy will still speak volumes.
Ibeme and Oberette are two adjoining communities in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State on the boundary between Akwa Ibom State and Abia State. The people of these communities often interact with their neighbours in Akwa Ibom State who have electricity, water, roads and other basic amenities but when they come home to Abia State, they are in darkness.
The community since creation had never experienced electric power. Electricity by whatever name be it National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), DISCO, GENCO, TRANSCO, etc had never gotten to these communities. All that is now in the past. As the woman above was saying, Ibeme enwela oku – Ibeme now has electric power.
During the campaigns for the Governorship of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu toured virtually every political ward in Abia State several times over before the elections. As he was interacting with the people, he was taking note of their needs.
At Ibeme, they told him of their plight and how they were always wishing their neighbours in Akwa Ibom State would come and adopt them since Abia State seems to have forgotten about them. The Governor took notes and promised to change their fortunes once he gets to office. I have no doubt that they thought it was another political promise. They could not have been more wrong.
Upon assumption of office, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu directed that electricity be extended to Ibeme and Oberete Communities to link them with the rest of the world. The Abia State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ASOPADEC) took up the project and within three months, they were able to install a 33KV/300KVA Electricity Extension to the Communities with three dedicated transformers to step down the high tension power drawn to the community.
Today, a new lease of life has come into the community. Several electricians were seen on poles drawing electric power into houses. Bulbs were glowing proudly even in the daytime with electric power. A sight never before seen in the communities until Okezie Ikpeazu became Governor.
As those kids were singing Oke Ezuola Abia and running after the governor’s motorcade, the import of what they were saying downed on me. Okezuo Abia was the campaign slogan of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu when he was running for Governor. It meant literally, let every part of Abia get what is due to them. For the people of Ibeme and Oberette in Obingwa Local Government Area, they are a part of Abia State and they have gotten their rightful dues. For them, Ibeme enwela oku, Oke indeed Ezuola Abia.
As it is in Ibeme and Oberette, so it shall be in every community in Abia State for the duration of the tenure of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu as Governor of Abia State. Whatever their desire is, according to the availability of resources, they shall receive same.
This is a new dawn in Abia State and to God alone be all the Glory.
•Sam Hart is the Senior Special Adviser to the Abia State Governor on Public Communication.
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