When I got the information that a defeated 2015 opposition candidate in Abia State was set to run again in 2019, my initial thought was to dismiss the story as the joke of the decade. Facts on the ground confirm that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has performed well and the overwhelming majority of Abians are happy with him.
Why will anybody want to waste his time, money and personal reputation on a mission that will surely end in defeat and electoral disgrace? Yes, dreams are allowed in politics, but such must be situated within the realm of potential reality.
In 33 months of his administration, Governor Ikpeazu has done virtually everything he promised Abians on the campaign trail and added even more. For instance, he never promised Tele medicine or mushroom farms but have delivered. Every development oriented mind will acknowledge the impact of the two non-campaign promises the Governor added and delivered conclusively.
A perusal of his 2015 election manifesto, inaugural address, online and hard copy campaign materials will showcase total convergence with his achievements. I was in the team that verified his achievements during a recent media tour packaged by his office as a “come and see” what we have done in less than 3 years tour. The Governor gave his words and kept to his words.
With more than 60 completed road projects, 78 on-going road projects at various stages of completion, 259 new classroom blocks, 4 new model schools, 4m high yielding tenera palm seedlings planted across the state, ultramodern poultry clusters, mushroom farms, increased yield of Abia rice, New hospitals and reactivation of old ones, innovative health initiatives such as “dial a doc” and free home care for senior citizens, re-launching of Abia MSMEs through well-executed make in Abia campaign, Abia Investment House and many more achievements, Governor Ikpeazu has shown enormous faith with the voters in Abia State.
Compared to an opposition candidate with zero public sector management experience, a less than lofty private sector service record that was tarnished by the sacking of more than 2500 workers (mainly Abians) when he was hushed out to save an apparently mismanaged but hitherto high performing banking institution, the record and works of Governor Ikpeazu should be enough to speak for him before voters who are obviously hungry for more dividends of democracy from the man they fondly call “OkezuoAbia”.
What then could be the game plan of a rag tag opposition that is obviously more interested in internal throwing of fisticuffs than in putting forward alternative ideas? When it is not engaged in negative opposition against the performing governor of the state, it immerses itself in acts of sabotage against the government and people of Abia State, as it did through desperate and frivolous litigations and open sabotage of the AfDB facility meant for economic development projects in the state.
It took the award of “Governor of the year 2017” to Governor Ikpeazu by Vanguard newspapers for me to fully realize the 4 pillars of the campaign plan of the opposition for 2019.
Just this weekend, one opposition politician called into a radio program in Abia State and claimed that Faulks Road, Aba was being reconstructed by the federal government as against Abia State Government led by Governor Ikpeazu. The caller spoke impeccable English and was obviously not one you can describe as ignorant. You can only call him a liar on a mission to mislead.
It should be noted that same opposition and their leaders started their DOA 2019 campaign by telling folks that “Okezie has done nothing”, contrary to verifiable facts on the ground.
A state executive committee member of the opposition APC falsely claimed on live radio program in Umuahia that Aba road Umuahia project was being executed by APC-led federal government. Yet, just this weekend the alter ego of APC in Abia State and a failed former Governor of the state told members of APC caucus that the same Aba road Umuahia project was “the worst project done since Abia was created by a state government”. Ndi mmadu ha nwekwara ihere?
Confused ‘confusionists’ of Abia State.
That brazen lie by the APC executive forced the publicity secretary of PDP in Abia State, Sir Don Ubani, to call out the fellow and shortly afterwards the government graciously invited the man to join a tour of all Ikpeazu projects in Abia State so he can clearly identify and confirm all the more than 60 completed projects of the administration along with 78 ongoing ones.
As expected, the APC man declined the offer to come and see. Not surprisingly, he has continued in his campaign of lies and calumny. He and his fellow ‘confunionist’ will definitely lie themselves into political oblivion.
Liars simply fly away from the truth because the father of all liars, Lucifer, was disgraced long ago by the father of Truth-Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Recently, the opposition in Abia continued to churn out propaganda and lies from their operational headquarters, Facebook, where their own Governor lives and source information from. With regards to the same Faulks Road project, they are in same breathe claiming is a federal government project, they tried to compare the cost of a complete and the most ambitious erosion control project ever undertaken since the creation of Abia State to a straight 4km road project executed in another state.
Do you ever stop to reason at all? Were they conceived and delivered in lies?
If not for the deliberate policy of lying for vote by the opposition, the author of that hack job would have noted that the Faulks Road project included the dualization of a 4.6km length of road from Brass to PH-Enugu expressway, a massive new 6.8km drainage pipe that carries storm water from the perennially flooded Ukwu Mango and Ama Ikonne area of the road to waterside Aba, fitted with at least 3 high tech intermittent water pumps that sucks flood water from the Ifeobara pond, which also experienced excavation and remediation work to waterside.
It is either the Facebook inhabiting Abia opposition do not know the difference between a straight road project and a combined flood control and road project in one contract or they were merely deploying their strategic lies and propaganda tool to attempt to mislead the gullible.
We must never forget that their lies did not start today. In 2015, their supposed first class banker appeared at Aba Chamber of Commerce office along Umuimo road Aba and told our development hungry people that he has “obtained a loan of $100b to develop Aba infrastructure” without blinking an eye in shame.
Politics exposes everyone for who they really are; $100b loan from IFC obtained by a private citizen for a state? May God forgive and show mercy to political desperadoes who are prepared to say and do anything for power.
If not for the ignominy of desperation what other reason will lead the younger brother of Abia’s 1999 Electoral mistake to appear on a live radio program and claim that his brother fixed all Aba roads? Can he mention a single “action” road constructed by his brother that survived more than one rainy season in Aba?
May be, members of that infamous family that introduced mamacracy into Nigeria’s political lexicon have been assured by one of the numerous deities they worship that all Abians are fools born with short memories.
Anyway, the same man gave Governor Ikpeazu 50% mark for performance but insisted that 50% is F, apparently in the University of Okija where he graduated from. He is obviously the grand patron of the confused club.
One weakness of adopting lies and propaganda as campaign strategy is the assumption that the target voters are illiterates, blind and gullible.Thankfully, Abians whose children came first in WASCE, back to back, for 3 years are not illiterates, blind or gullible.
Those living in Abia see and use all the projects executed by Ikpeazu and that explains why common folks living in Abia hail their beloved Governor wherever he goes and are rushing to endorse him for a second term in office.
“No vacancy in 2019.”
“Okezie ijekwa ozo”
“E go go again”
Only a satisfied people will bother to gather anywhere and everywhere to endorse their governor for a second term and display their PVCs as their weapon of affirmation.
I challenge the opposition in Abia State to campaign on what they have done for Ndi Abia in their public and private lives. Show Abians the classrooms, roads, hospitals etc you built while in government or as a leader in the private sector. After all Elumelu, Jimmy Ovia, etc were also bankers but executed CSR and other projects in their home states.
Abia opposition leaders should start their 2019 campaign by employing all the young people they are engaging online to dish out lies and propaganda in their private companies located in Abia State, if any, instead of ranting about IGR in Abia State.
Ndi Abia should also demand that Abia opposition leaders publish how much they paid as Tax revenue to Abia State in the past 3 years.
Ama ala hi politicians.
How do we really expect a Facebook resident opposition to understand fluctuations in IGR, especially when not a single of their leaders live and contribute to the IGR of Abia State?
The fact that one month IGR moved above N1b does not mean that it remained there every month. Just like Abia’s wage bill is not static at a particular figure but can change positively or negatively from month to month.
The reality is that at between N2.1 and N2.4b, Abia State is carrying the highest wage bill in the south east. Even the current Pension load of more than N450m monthly is also the highest in the south east. While opposition supporters can rhetorically ask why the government has not slashed salary, like other south east states, it is important to note that the Ikpeazu administration has never failed to pay workers in any particular month even while reducing the outstanding passed on from the 1999-2007 administration in the state.
If the opposition has abandoned their negative campaign on infrastructure development and now wish to make payment of salary their campaign issue in 2019, let them bring it on. After all, one of their own managed Abia’s FAAC Account between 2002-2015 by proxy and must know if money was diverted to his pocket or other pockets.
Of course Governor Ikpeazu will solve the salary challenge in a sustainable manner very soon, because he genuinely cares and want to fix those things that went wrong from the “mistake of 1999”. While his solution evolves, he will not lie to the affected workers who constitute about 30% of the state’s workforce.
He will also not sack anyone in the guise of restructuring the civil service, as openly recommended by the opposition.
May be those who cobbled out the strategy of lies and propaganda to win election do not know Abia people well enough to advise the opposition against running against the incumbent whose work manifests all over the state. No amount of deceit will convince a resident of Faulks Road, Ehere, Umuola etc not to vote for the man whose work they are enjoying.
Frankly speaking, only a fool will donate money to a candidate that grabbed defeat from possible victory in 2015, lost 8 legislators and all his campaign directors and yet want to win in 2019. Even when the same man is not even sure of getting his adopted party’s ticket and still trying to clear up his self-imposed “usu” origin status.
Onye Obula kota sign…Ikpeazu till 2023.
-Ogbuka Nmah Kalu, a former SA-Media to the Governor of Abia State Writes from Aba.