By Jude Ndukwe
Let me state it from the outset that this piece is a direct response to the one written by one Chinedu O. Nwosu which he mischievously titled “Leadership Failure in Abia State”. Ordinarily, seeing that the piece was full of falsehood and deliberate manipulation of facts, it was easy to see that it was a hatchet job done primarily to revive the drowning political career of a former governor of Abia state and mislead the good people of the state in the process, one would not have responded to it but for the sake of putting the records straight with fact and figures.
While the writer labored so hard but in vain to denigrate the current governor of the state, Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu and his immediate predecessor, Senator T.A. Orji, he attempted to pull the wool over the face of Abians by his beatification of Orji Uzor Kalu.
It would seem that when God said in the Book of Prophet Joel 2:25 that “I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm…” he was referring to Abia and her days the ex governor held sway. God being a faithful God whose “word will never return to him void without it performing that which he has sent it” started the restoration process the moment he gave Senator T.A. Orji the uncommon courage to cut himself free from Kalu who was bent on continuing his days of locust, cankerworm, caterpillar and palmerworm invasion of the state by proxy through the amiable senator and immediate past governor.
That freedom for himself and for Abians from the stranglehold of a brutish godfather was the first phase of Abia State’s freedom and restoration.
One wonders why anyone who claims to love the people would embark on a task to canonize a man, a former governor, who is currently facing corruption charges in the court as slapped on him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for allegedly embezzling the humongous sum of the state resources, an amount that was even higher than the entire federal allocation of the state for the entire year 2000 during which he was governor. In other places, he would have been treated with the utmost disdain he deserves for throwing the state into the wreck which she is only managing to smart out from following such an alleged audacious stealing.
That Chinedu said that Abia State “is very backward” in terms of infrastructural development is not only false but also sinister, it is, yet, understandable because he was obviously writing from what he was used to in the hey days of his hero when the few wishy-washy road projects he constructed always got washed away by the very first rains. Is it not an indictment, if anyone says that Abia State is backward in terms of infrastructural development? If that is the case, where then are the infrastructure and projects which Chinedu glowingly credited to Kalu, a disaster in governance.
Like God promised his people in the Book of Prophet Joel, the reign of the locust has since gone and today, Abians have been restored. With 67 solid verifiable road projects completed in the state and 82 others at their different stages of completion, the education sector receiving an unprecedented turn around that has seen Abia students come 1st in WASC for three consecutive years since Ikpeazu came to office despite the stiff competition among states, aggressive diversification of the state economy through agriculture that has also seen to the successful distribution of a whopping 2 million high yielding tenera palm species among other impactful agricultural operations, the revolution in the health sector where the Dial-a-Doc Telehealth initiative, which is the first in Nigeria, allows Abians to have access to highly professional medical attention from the comfort of their homes just by dialing some dedicated numbers etc, all within just 36 months of Ikpeazu being in office, Abia State is surely on the rise again and on the path of irreversible progress.
One would not have known the global shame brought to Abia State then through sports as the Enyimba International stadium despite having hosted high profile competitive international matches involving our darling Enyimba of Aba, had been without even a single toilet. The stench that oozed from the stadium as a result of the indiscriminate disposal of human waste during matches was enough to cause an own goal for a team. The dressing rooms were in shambles and masqueraded with rickety furniture while the pitch was not only patchy but also muddy and easily turned to an Olympic-sized swimming pool on rainy days.
But today, the story is different as Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu has provided world class toilet facilities, renewed the dressing rooms, and laid the latest pitch technology of hybrid grass on the stadium. While work is still going on in other areas of the now-world class facility, ex-international players, sports analysts including those of the highly reputable DSTV, journalists, fans, supporters and those who have seen the stadium attest to the fact that it is now one of the best in the country while the pitch is unequivocally adjudged the very best one can find anywhere in Nigeria, all thanks to the governor Ikpeazu.
On security, it is both sad and unfortunate that some people find it so easy to manipulate facts for their own selfish ends. When the federal government sends “Operation Python Dance” to Abia State, you see the Chinedus of this world crying their voices hoarse and shouting, blaming the federal government for sending the python dance to the southeast when the region which includes Abia is at peace and has no security challenges. But when they want to justify their pay from political opponents desperate for power, they immediately change their tune and claim that the state is insecure. Too much double-speak from a set of people.
In a release by the National Bureau of statistics last year for 2016, it was recorded that Katsina, Abia and Zamfara recorded the lowest crime rate in the country with 0.10 per cent, 0.29 per cent and 0.38 per cent respectively for 2016, and that is because Dr Ikpeazu quickly settled down and tackled headlong the wave of crime that bedeviled the state. For a state that used to be tagged as a den of robbers and kidnappers to be rated as one of the three states in the entire federation with the lowest crime rate just only a year after Ikpeazu took power shows the kind of work he did in ensuring that Abia is safe not only for her citizens but also for residents and investors.
Little wonder his “Proudly Made in Aba” campaign has attracted accolades from all corners of the world to the extent that foreign investors are now rushing to Abia to take advantage of the conducive business environment being created by the governor. Recently, the Ruyi Group of China signed a multimillion-dollar investment agreement with the state for the new Enyimba Economic City and the whopping sum of $1.3m dollars has already been committed to the projects by one of the partners for the design and other preliminary works of the emerging humongous city that is modeled after the tourist and business city of Dubai and spans a land mass of 9,800ha across three local governments of Ukwa East, Ukwa West and Ugwunagbo, with the federal government carried along.
It is therefore not a surprise that reputable institutions with unblemished records of credibility have singled out the governor and given him awards thus: Vanguard Newspaper Governor of the Year 2017; Authority Daily Newspaper Governor of the Year 2017; Verbatim Magazine Governor of the Year 2017; even the presidency which is controlled by the APC which Orji Uzor Kalu belongs to could not resist the temptation and also most recently gave Dr Ikpeazu an award for being the Most friendly MSME Governor.
The above are all verifiable facts and figures. Those who attempt to tarnish the image of the governor and his good works will always run away with their tails between their legs because Dr Okezie Ikpeazu towers far and above all of them put together when it comes to concrete evidence of performance enumerated in facts and figures. And this is just the beginning for NdiAbia!
That, is leadership success!
By Jude Ndukwe