Abia: The journey of the Magi


By Mark Mbam Jnr

THE  story of the current  leadership of Abia State is not  far from the one  presented by a renowned English  poet, Thomas Sterne Eliot, in his poem:


 The Journey of the Magi.

The poem is based on the theme  in  the Bible; it is full of religious feeling. The visit of the three wise men from the East to Palestine at the time of Christ’s birth has been described in a very realistic way. The wise men started their journey in the extreme cold of the winter to reach the place of Christ’s birth to  give  presents  to him. In the course of their journey, they forced  hardship. But in spite of the hardship, they continued their journey throughout the night.  On the way, they did not get shelter and food, the snowy way made their camel tired.  The  hostility of the people  they met on their way was also very heart-touching.

This shows that those  hostile people lacked far-sightedness about the importance of Christ’s birth. In the course of the wise men’s  journey, they saw a temperate valley with natural vegetation and beauty which  ameliorated their plight. This  means that in spite of the hardship which they had  passed on their way, there were hopes that their journey would after all be fruitful.

Eliot, in his poem, noted that the sounds of the stream and water-mill and smell of vegetation were very pleasant to the Magi.  The concluding part of the poem reveal that the Magi finally reached their destination and offered their presents to Christ.

Eliot was only emphasizing that the birth and death of Christ were different  from those of  the common people. According to him, His birth was hard and bitter  for  the human race. He was crucified for the redemption of humanity from sin  and bondage.

The gain of the journey is the affirmation of the belief that for a spiritual rejuvenation, the overcoming on the sensual aspect of life is essential.

Like  Elliot’s story in that poem, the journey of  Abia State governor, Dr. Victor Okezie Ikpeazu, since May 29, 2015, “started in the extreme cold of the winter” to reach the present destination. Shortly after he was declared winner of the 2015 governorship election in the state, he  faced  hardship  occasioned by  a  litany of  legal  bottles. But in spite of the battles, Ikpeazu and his lieutenants, like the Magi, continued their journey throughout the night. On their way to salvage the people of Abia from the chequered history of underdevelopment, again, like the Magi ,”they did not get shelter and food”.

At a point in the  long period of political deprivation, “the snowy way made their camels tired”. But, this time, unlike the experiences of the Magi, the people of Abia rallied round their governor and stood by him in all intents and purpose. This strengthened the Ikpeazu’s “camel” and the journey continued.

What then should be the “temperate valley, the sounds of the streams and watermills and smell of vegetation which were very pleasant to the Magi” in Abia? Of course the answer is not far – fetched. To Ikpeazu, the economic growth and stability of  the state  is, no doubt, the “temperate valley” and the green vegetation which gave hope to the Magi in the course of their journey. “I have no doubt that our aggressive drive towards revitalising the economy of Abia through the promotion of made in Aba Goods will put food on the table of many Abians”, he said.

 Diagnosis of the Abia problem

Two years after Ikpezua assumed office as governor, the  story of Abia  has  changed positively given the unprecedented infrastructural development in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of the state.

The  achievements take our memory back  to what  a  former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, said about the governor  when he played host to Ikpeazu shortly after he was elected  governor in his Enugu residence.

“I have seen the potentials and I would do anything you want me to do to help you succeed in Abia. Aba is a very important town to every Ndi Igbo because there is no Igbo family that does not have link to Aba. You have the clarity of vision and you have also done a thorough diagnosis of the Abia problem that alone tells me that you have the capacity to reposition Abia and make Igbo land great  again”, Soludo had said at that time.

The  sole  objective of the Magi in their journey was to reach Christ’s birth place to offer him their present and this was why in spite of the hardship they faced  as described by T. S. Elliot, they were focused, determined and resilient. And if you ask Ikpeazu on why he has been able to remain focused, notwithstanding the  political distraction, he has  faced  over the past two years, he would  tell you: “I have a dream to make Abia a better place for  Abians”. One would wonder  then where he drew his inspiration  from.  A  search into Ikpeazu’s mind  makes it clear  that the governor is  conversant with the words of Frank A. Clark who once said,  “If you found path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere”.

One thing very significant in the lives of mortals is the dissertation of   one in time of challenges. This lends  credence  to the facr that failure is an orphan but success has so many relatives. But to Ikpeazu, the way the people of Abia, both big and small, male and female, rallied round him in the time of his  legal travails leaves no one in  doubt that he was indeed elected by the people.

In recounting Ikpeazu’s tremendous achievements in Abia, there is nothing  wrong in saying that the co-operation he has been getting from  his lieutenants and other arms of government is the secret behind  the Ikpeazu success story.

The legislature has  not be found wanting in the Abia  project. Since its inception in June 2015, the state House of Assembly has passed over eleven bills into law aimed at promoting the well-being of the citizenry. The bills include  Abia State Public/Private Partnership and Investment Promotion Law  to create the enabling environment for private sector participation in driving the economic growth in the State.

The law is in some with  Ikpeazu’s vision  to revitalise  commercial activities in Aba.  The House also passed into law, the Abia State Marketing Agency law, Abia State Abattoir Establishment and Regulation law among others.

Because no commercial activities can thrive in an unsecured and hostile environment,  Abia State House of Assembly also amended the Abia Security Fund  Law targeted at purchase more crime-fighting equipment  especially he ones  for tracking down suspected criminals.


The Majority Leader of the state House of Assembly, Chief Chinedum Orji, is one man history cannot forget in a hurry for his impactful contributions on the floor of the parliament.

Apart from the humour created by his artistic choice of words, his charisma, and intelligence portrays him as truly the Majority Leader of the House. In deed a close look at the importance of the bills so far passed by the legislature will leave one with a clear picture of  the cordial relationship between the executive and the legislature in their common struggle for the development of Abia.

One thing that is prevalent in African politics  is the destructive syndrome which has blindfolded  many politicians thus making it impossible  to distinguish between constructive and destructive opposition.

Unfortunately, Nigerian politicians  in opposition have vehemently refused to come to terms with the fact  that the opposition must be magnanimous enough to agree with the governing party on  issues or areas where the governing party has excelled.

Today, it is the use of the “dog” to catch the cat or chase the cat away and the use of the cat to catch the rat or chase the rat away or else either the dog or the cat becomes the meat. A situation where institutions such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) are portrayed  as “dogs” to chase the “cat” or ‘cat’ to chase the ‘rat’ or else become meat  themselves is both thought  and tear provoking.

Although this is not to say the anti-graft agencies should not perform their statutory functions, they should not  throw away the  objective of  establishing them on the altar of personal or pay master service.

A case in point is the second to second, minute to minute, hour to hour and day to day harassments of some    of the officials of the Abia  government by the anti-graft agencies. This  may be targeted also  of  distracting and running down the  state  administration.

There  is nothing  wrong  with the agencies employing the made of operation as  stipulated by the laws establishing them  in the discharge of their  duties instead of resorting to  commando style that is not in the best interest of the  tenets  of democracy.

Now that the Abia legal battles are over, it is expected that the  Ikpeazu  administration  is  given a breathing space to  deliver its campaign promises to the people  ahead of its third year in office. It is also expected that the governor’s ‘no victor no vanquished’, position is  embraced by all stakeholders in the  interest and well being of Abia.


Culled from here


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