As the general elections draw near, the Abia State governor, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu PhD, is certainly one of the governors that would be returned to power by their people based on certain quintessential factors, especially those of EQUITY and PERFORMANCE.
On equity, Abia has a rotational arrangement of the governorship position among Abia North, Abia Central and Abia South, as bequeathed to us by our founding fathers and implemented religiously by the current crop of leaders seeing that there is no other greater panacea for peace and progress other than to respect the rotational arrangement for fairness and a sense of belonging to all Abians irrespective of the zone they come from.
While Abia North has taken its own turn for eight years between 1999 – 2007 through Orji Uzor Kalu who is now as good as a fugitive in Germany having fled from the long arms of the law in the N7.6bn Abia money he allegedly stole and for which the EFCC is prosecuting him, Abia Central also completed its own two tenures of eight years through Senator T. A. Orji: 2007 – 2015; it is therefore only fair to the people of Abia South that they be allowed to also complete their own tenure of eight years through the incumbent Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu especially considering that he has performed exceptionally well.
In addition to this, Okezie Ikpeazu won his 2015 gubernatorial election with 264,713 votes when he was even little known. Today, that figure has risen astronomically as “The Ikpeazu Legacy Projects” have added enormous number to his voters/supporters.
For example, when Governor Ikpeazu assumed office in May 2015, school enrolment rate stood at 141,000, but today, just a little over three years after taking over power, Abia State school enrolment rate has risen to a whopping over 600,000 as pupils who were hitherto out of school were registered by their parents and many of those in private schools were returned by their parents to public schools because of the many lofty policies of the governor which have so much improved education in the state to the extent that Abia has come and remained first in WASC throughout the federation in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
From the many good policies and infrastructure provided in the education sector, let me emphasise on the State School Feeding Programme which has seen Abia remain the only State throughout the federation where our pupils from primary 1 – 6 are fed.
While the federal government feeds pupils from primary 1 – 3 throughout the federation, the Abia state government under Ikpeazu feeds pupils from primary 4 – 6, the only state to do so in the entire country.
The electoral implication of this is that the parents of these over 600,000 pupils attracted to public schools because of Ikpeazu’s policies will certainly vote for Ikpeazu because they would not want to vote in someone else or another party that would come in and truncate the programme that has so much attracted this historic number of school enrolment especially when Mr Alex Otti, the factional gubernatorial candidate of APGA, has through one of his aides on radio promised to retrench a sizeable number of Abia civil servants as a way of saving money for whatever purpose.
Let us assume and reasonably concede that two of these 600,000 pupils might come from a family of a father and mother who are eligible to vote, all other things being equal, it means that Ikpeazu already has a possible premium 600,000 votes, or, at least, an overwhelming majority of those votes, from that constituency without adding the brothers, sisters, uncles, aunties of these beautiful children to the number.
There is also another constituency similar to the one above whose votes have been irrevocably pledged to Ikpeazu, and that constituency is that of the Abia State Primary School Cooks Association (APSCA), the body engaged by the state government to cook for our darling pupils throughout the state.
As at the last count, these cooks number over 3,500. They have very big doubts if any other person/party would have the kind of heart of Governor Ikpeazu to continue the school feeding programme, and since it is also a tool of empowering them in addition to feeding our children, they have vowed to ensure that not only they but also their spouses and children of voting age are mobilized to vote for the incumbent governor so as to ensure that his laudable projects and programmes for the state are not truncated by someone else.
From this constituency alone, I expect nothing less than an additional 10,000 votes.
It is certainly going to be the same pattern with thousands of young and old Abia entrepreneurs who have been greatly empowered by Governor Ikpeazu through his aggressive marketing and branding of the “Made in Aba” products that have seen the whole world now reckoning with products made in Abia State as a result of the efforts of the governor. These Abia entrepreneurs know that no other person or party other than Dr Okezie Ikpeazu and the PDP can show uncommon commitment to their cause, hence, they are committed to voting for him and returning him to office in 2019.
When one adds thousands of other Abia citizens and residents who are enjoying 67 new and reconstructed roads, some of them having their roads tarred for the first time in their existence, and 94 others to be delivered soon, the effect of this is very obvious.
While Ikpeazu’s works speak for him, other contestants are relying on mere promises. The difference is certainly clear.
With the number of voters at the 2015 governorship election standing at about 400,000, it is expected that the number this time would increase to about 600,000 and the overwhelming majority of this number, in the region of 85%, would certainly vote for Ikpeazu while the other remaining 90 political parties share the remaining 15% votes among themselves.
Could all the above factors be the reason why Ikpeazu’s opponents at the forthcoming elections are now confused and resorted to the use of banal, vile and vain language in their political utterances and activities, threatening to unleash violence on the good people of the state if they don’t win?
Well, with the above analysis, there is nothing anyone can do about the sure return of Ikpeazu to Abia Government House come 2019. “Ikpeazu go go again!”