Posted by News Express | 14 May 2018 | 1,215 times
Of recent, there has been a harvest of endorsements for the second term bid of Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu. What would be considered as the height is the endorsement by the people of Abia South Senatorial District. This reverses the frequently quoted Scripture: “A prophet is without honour except in his home town.”
It will be recalled that stakeholders, chieftains and the local government leaderships of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the six local government areas of Abia South, recently in a town hall meeting with the governor at Umuobiakwa, endorsed his bid to continue in office beyond 2019.
The endorsement was remarkable for some reasons. One, it is an obvious indication that Ikpeazu is at home with his people. Two, there is also a strong resolution that no Ukwa-Ngwa son or daughter would accept any offer of a running mate from any of the governorship aspirants. Three, it is a clear testimony of the outstanding performance of the governor. Four, it is the re-affirmation of the call for justice and equity, which stipulates that the Abia South people must do two terms as done by their counterparts from Abia North, and Central.
Above all, it poses a strong signal to one of the opposition parties in the state, which grandstanding and posturing of reclaiming the state from PDP in 2019 have reached a crescendo. Unfortunately, the attendance of the much publicised “Mega rally” of the party held recently in the state did not match the attendance of the Abia South PDP Stakeholders parley with the governor; which did not even capture 25 per cent membership strength of PDP in the zone. It is also a strong indicator that elections are not won by mere media propaganda but by performance, party structure and following, and a good strategy.
Besides, it is an elementary government that the sole aim of every political party is to control the government whether at the centre, state or the local level. But the party in question has numerous questions to resolve before they can woo the votes of Abia people in particular, and South-east in general. Thank God they may not have the opportunity to do that because 2019 is a shouting time from now.
One of the questions will strongly bother on the menace of Fulani herdsmen, who have over-ran some communities in the South-east, including some from Enugu state. The party would have a hectic time explaining to the people of Anaku community in Ayamelum local government area of Anambra State, why they should give the party their vote after losing one of their farmer-kinsmen to the Fulani herdsmen, and after a lengthy time now no justice has been done. Rather, the Federal Government led by the All Progressives Congress (APC) has always remained inactive in the face of the multiple, unwarranted and unprovoked killings by Fulani herdsmen.
The exercise would be more hectic in Ukpabi Nimbo and other Enugu communities, where the likes of 26-year-old seminarian, Lazarus Nwafor, among other victims, were murdered by the herdsmen in a very gruesome manner.
Thank God, Abia people are now wiser! And the political climate in the state is changing for good, where performance and critical issues will form the plank of campaigns, and not mere grandstanding. Abia people are now wiser and cannot entrust their future on a party that epitomises double-speak. A party which the administration it produces at the centre promised to “initiate action to amend the Nigerian Constitution, with a view to devolving power, duties and responsibilities to states in order to entrench true federalism and the federal spirit.” The same APC administration also promised to consult and amend the Constitution to enable states and local governments to create city, local government and state policing systems based on the resources available at each level, to address the peculiar needs of each community. But when the debate for restructuring heated up, unfortunately, the ruling APC administration at the centre engaged itself in reverse gear, by setting up a committee to define restructuring.
Indeed, Abians are waiting for the appropriate time when the works of those jostling for the governorship position in the state would speak. At that time, the scorecard of Governor Ikpeazu, which basically provoke the harvest of endorsements by Abia people, will be unveiled.
Such achievements cut across the five pillars and the enablers driving his administration. The feats include the areas of health, where some novel health initiatives will capture the aged and vulnerable. It will include the proposed specialist hospital for child and maternal care. The upgrading of the School of Midwifery at Abiriba, School of Nursing at Aba, Umuahia and Amachara which prompted their re-accreditation by the Midwifery and Nursing Council of Nigeria; approval of funds for the construction of four 100-bed General Hospitals at Okeipke, Arochukwu and Obingwa; upgrading of Paediatrics, Radiology, Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Cardiotomography, Ophthalmology, Anesthesia departments of Abia State University; the proposed Super Tertiary Medical Facility at Obuaku, which is going to change the narrative in medical tourism. Procurement of drugs to the rural communities will not be spared in the list.
It is then that the opposition party in the state would realise that building party membership with journey men and spent political horses is counter-productive. Then, the party would also realise that a party that builds its membership on over-ambitious people who nearly plunged the state into anarchy is standing on a quicksand. It is then that Abia would remember that once upon a time, some people deployed every effort at their disposal to truncate their mandate, including obtaining a certificate of return through the back door.
•Okechukwu Ukegbu Keshi writes from Aba and can be reached via email@example.com
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