As activities for next year’s general elections begin to take centre stage in the nation, the Executive Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, has continued to receive massive support from Abians, the latest coming from the women.
On Thursday, August 31, 2018, Abia women in their thousands under the auspices of Abia Primary School Cooks Association, APSCA, stormed the popular Michael Okpara auditorium, Umuahia, to thank the governor and his wife, Deaconess Nkechi Ikpeazu, for empowering them by engaging them to cook for primary 4 – 6 pupils in Abia schools, and pledged their support to the governor assuring him that they would also mobilize their spouses and children of voting age for him come 2019.
“Dr Okezie Ikpeazu’s policy to feed Abia pupils of primary 4 – 6 has really empowered a lot of women in the state profitably engaged in the State’s school feeding programme. One can only imagine what our fate would have been if the governor had decided not to feed pupils in this category since the federal government feeds pupils from primary 1 – 3”, one of the women said.
It would be recalled that Abia State had earlier started the school feeding programme for all primary school pupils before the federal government took over that of pupils from primary 1 – 3. However, Dr Ikpeazu told the women in his response that the reason he decided to continue with feeding of pupils from primary 4 – 6 was because it would be de-motivating and demoralizing for the senior pupils to see their junior ones fed while they looked on in hunger. “I cannot as a first son or elder brother/sister take my younger one to school daily and you feed only him/her but expect me to remain calm, happy and keep coming to school enthusiastically. It will therefore be de-motivating, and the humane response from us was to take up the funding of the feeding of primary 4 – 6 pupils to ensure family peace, equity and fairness”, he said.
Today, Abia State boasts as the only state in Nigeria where primary 1 – 6 pupils are fed in school daily resulting in the astronomical rise of school enrolment in the state from about 150,000 before Dr Okezie Ikpeazu assumed office to a whopping 600,000 today.
Reacting to the development, the State’s Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, said “Abia children are healthier and more excited about going to school today than ever before thanks to the governor, Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu; and their parents are also relieved of some burden. Even teachers in Abia primary schools are fed, in addition to their retraining programme anchored by Australian education service providers launched by the governor to ensure improvements in quality of teaching in Abia schools”.
Addressin the women, the Abia State governor’s wife, Deaconess Nkechi Ikpeazu, advised the women to keep up their hard work of ensuring that they constantly meet up with the challenges of growing number of pupils they have to feed everyday throughout every session assuring them of her continued support in helping them to deliver Dr Okezie Ikpeazu’s vision of roundly developing the Abia child in every area of life.