In 2015 the Abia gubernatorial election was one of the keenly contested elections in Nigeria, the reasons were obvious, the issues to canvass were too many any candidate could swing emotion from any angle and still make a point. However Gov Ikpeazu presented what appeared the most solid and realizable arguments and his campaign hinged on a solid principle of equity, hands on experience and a pedigree of what I termed innocence.
Being that the NGWA stock were bent on the governorship and with the tacit support of Ochendo, it was almost a walk over. In fact the opposition against Ikpeazu caught fire when the others lost the endorsement of Ochendo, hence it was difficulty for them to garner the needed grassroots support to rout a more formidable PDP with other advantages on their side.
The option open to the opposition then was that Ikpeazu with all the obvious challenges confronting him, the legal tussles and economic quagmire will not perform. Alas, the determined and committed Ikpeazu has after 3 years on the saddle proved naysayers very wrong. One of the major campaign cliche in 2015 was the state of Aba, on his first day as Governor, he resumed on the streets of Aba to Flagg off construction of 7 roads that were critical to the economic life and survival of the city.
Today, over 60 roads have been completed many of them in Aba. The perennial flooding challenge that made Ukwu Mango impassable has been systematically addressed with the Classic engineering work done at the Ifeobara pond.
The courageous tackling of PH road again humbled his critics and many more efforts to deal with the infrastructural imbroglio. As a typical Aba boy prepared by his last outing as DGM ASEPA a job he took very seriously which helped to shape his understanding of the intricate nature of the Aba infrastructural challenge, Governor Ikpeazu stood out as the best man for the job at the time and he has proven it within this short space of time.
As he was dealing with the infrastructure, including the disilting of blocked drainages, Governor Ikpeazu took yet another programme from obscurity to international attention- the Made in Aba campaign. He explained how painful it was for him that his younger brothers and sister will toil day and night under excruciating conditions to make beautiful hand made shoes and other lather products only to brand them made in China, US, France etc giving credit to someone relaxing in their Cousy palaces all because nobody would patronize them or at least no celebrity or prominent person had endorsed their trade.
As Governor he decided to take personal interest and lead the campaign to promote made in Aba products and artisans and today, beyond the international exposure given to artisans the Made in Aba brand has gained national and international prominence courtesy of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu. The typical tailor and shoemaker in Aba today is very proud to stamp his/her label with proudly made in Aba boldly inscribed on those products. The morale of the typical tailor and shoe maker including their kits and kins has blossomed. Leadership is about vision and capacity to drive through unclear paths.
The Aba population that in 2015, were vehemently opposed to his candidacy have become the highest beneficiary of his tenure a clear manifestation of his magnanimity and visionary leadership. He was very convinced that irrespective of political underpinnings development must be the overall objective of aspiring to leadership. In many other sectors, the Governor has demonstrated his capacity to take Aba to the next levels. His very deep and strategic relationship with the Federal government hinged on mutual respect and promoting the Abia interest has brought numerous advantages to our people.
Governor Ikpeazu has carefully maintained peace and tranquillity in the state ensuring that all shades of opinion and segment of the Abia society feels the impact of his administration within the limit of resources available to him and his team. It is therefore not surprising the level of endorsements he has been receiving from all the nooks and crannies of Abia state and beyond.
The opposition in Aba today stands in disarray because they hinged their 2019 campaign on the nonperformance of the Governor without articulating a proper alternative to policies and programmes of the government of the day.
The opposition beyond the social media campaigns of calumny, has failed woefully to present better programmes and options to the giant strides of Governor Ikpeazu. In 2019, it has become very obvious that Abians would have no difficulty in re-electing him Governor in the absence of no formidable and articulate alternative.