In a related development, it was reported in the newspapers that ravaging floods have killed 242 people, displaced 327,052 persons and destroyed 9,276 houses as at Monday, September 24, 2018. While one commiserates with the victims of this disaster, it is gratuitous to note that Abia State is one of the only two states throughout the federation not affected by the rampaging flood. 34 out of the 36 states of the federation are yet to finish counting their losses while Abians have gone about their normal businesses with the rare opportunity of being in a position to sympathise with fellow citizens from other parts of the country because the State is flood-free thanks to the proactive measures put in place by the governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, through his quality projects and flood-proof mechanisms in place in the state that have insulated Abia and Abians from the destructive activities of flooding despite Aba in particular and Abia in general being on a low land and in the belt of heavy rainfall.
But for his vision, probably tens would have been washed away, hundreds displaced and even hundreds more properties destroyed with people’s sources of livelihood perpetually affected.
On the education front, other states have since been wondering how it is that Abia State has continued to maintain first position in WASCE for three years back to back viz: 2015, 2016 and 2017, while the ranking of that of 2018 is still being awaited. For those who are wondering how Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has been able to achieve this great feat, they should not wonder too far.
Because of his well thought out policies in the State’s education sector which take their root in the fact that the governor himself is an acclaimed scholar, a PhD holder in Biological Pharmacology since the age of 30, Abia State school enrolment rate has moved very astronomically high from a paltry 150,000 when he resumed office to a historical 600,000 per annum today. Part of the reason for this is because Abia remains the only State in the entire federation that feeds all its primary school pupils from primary 1 – 6 without any exception.
While the federal government took over feeding of pupils from primary 1 – 3 which Abia state had already started earlier, Dr Ikpeazu for very sound reasons continued with the feeding of pupils from primary 4 – 6. The results of this are self-evident.
The regular training and retraining programme for Abia teachers handled by a renowned Australian consultancy firm to always bring the teachers up to speed with the latest developments in their profession and equip them adequately for the challenges of satisfactorily handling their students is another policy whose results reflect brightly in WASCE for the State.
As at today, 304 new classroom blocks have been built across the state while 112 of them have been provided with the needed furniture. The others are on course to receive theirs.
The infrastructural development in the state is unprecedented. Currently, the governor has completed and delivered 70 verifiable roads of strategic importance to the people and the state while 80 others have reached different stages of completion. The roads are fitted with wide and durable drainage systems such that have helped to avert flooding disasters currently ravaging the country.
The quality of the governor’s mindset is reflected in the revamped Enyimba International Stadium where the new playing turf provided by Okezie Ikpeazu has been adjudged the best in the country with another set of floodlights and toilets that were never there constructed. With the now world class stadium, Enyimba International FC is back on track to reclaiming its place of pride in African football and restore the sporting joy of the good people of the state.
On healthcare, the Dial-a-Doc Telehealth Initiative of the Okezie administration is both novel and effective in catering for the health needs of indigenes and residents of the state who can have access to world class medical attention in the comfort of their homes just by dialing some dedicated numbers. Apart from this, General Hospitals that had hitherto gone moribund like the one in Aba have been revived and made functional while new ones are being built to further bring healthcare nearer the people for those who might have a need for medical attention physically.
In no distant time, Abia shall soon become a State looked up to by the country to feed her. This is because Abia State government agricultural policies are already yielding results with over 2.5 million high yielding palm tenera species have already been distributed to famers in the state with a target of distributing 7.5 million of the species to Abians by the end of 2018. This is in addition to result-oriented innovations in other areas of agriculture.
Today, investors are trooping to Abia rushing to have a bite on the cherry of the new frontier for business in Africa in particular and the world in general which Abia State under Ikpeazu has become. Even President Muhammadu Buhari testified to this fact when he acknowledged that the world’s largest textile manufacturers, the Ruyi Group, confirmed to him that they are already investing in Aba, Abia State commercial nerve centre, courtesy of the governor.
In Igbo language, it is often said that when a road is good, it would be used twice and even more by the people.
Let me conclude this piece with the instructive words of Michael Porter: “Finally, strategy must have continuity. It can’t be constantly reinvented”. From the foregoing, it is obvious to all and sundry that Ikpeazu’s strategies are working, Abians do not need it to be reinvented, hence, they clamour loudly for their darling governor to continue beyond 2019!