It’s no longer news that INEC declared the incumbent Governor of Abia State, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu Ph.D. the winner and elected governor of the state 2019 -2023, however it beats the imagination of sane minds that some fellows are contesting the results of the elections. As we saw in many states one would have thought that having seen the clear signs and handwriting on the wall, the opponents would immediately congratulate him and let the state move on smoothly on the already laid down trajectory of sustainable development. Some issues needs to be highlighted for the uninformed to come to terms with reality.
Every keen observer of the Abia polity knew long before the election that Ikpeazu was as good as elected for so many reasons.
1. Zoning- this factor played a major role in 2015 and was another deciding factor in 2019. The Governor comes from Ukwa/Ngwa with 9 Local government areas out of the 17 and hugely populated. The people are testing the number one seat for the first time in human history and were not ready to let go. What happened to Otti and Ogah was a typical guyman/mugu arrangement. Some few elements from Ukwa/Ngwa who supposedly felt left out in the activities of the current administration tried to find succour with the opposition, but weeks and days to the election the adage that no place is like home sank deep and many of them did a 360 degrees turnaround to support the Ikpeazu PDP ticket. When Paul Ikonne went on air, some minions around Ogah unfortunately dismissed him as the ranting of an ant, but on 9th all he said came true. The result showed clearly that the Ukwa/Ngwa clan stood strongly behind their son in whim they are well pleased.
The zoning argument was based on the principle of equity which got endorsement from other parts of the state including Umuahia and some parts of Abia North Zone. Those who believed in justice and equity were not confused about their support for the Governor.
2. Performance, naysayers and propagandist may say all they can, but the truth is that no government since the creation of Abia has performed better than the Ikpeazu administration within its first term in office. They Governor understood the Abia environment and developed policies and programmes that responded to the issues of development in the state making him irresistible. Abia saw through his 5 pillars and enablers agenda which revolves around the key developmental issues in the state. The people also saw that within the limits of resources and time he was religious in following through those programmes, hence their decision to stick with him for more years. Abia and the governor attracted several commendations and endorsement from all and sundry. From the Presidency came the MSME Governor of the year award, the media was not left out several media houses dubbed him their man for the year for several reason ranging from road infrastructure, SME, education, health etc.
3. Governance Style, Ikpeazu governance style is very unique, simple, accessible and people oriented. Most of his policies and programmes was structured around the people especially those at the lowest rung of the socio-economic ladder. On mounting the saddle of governance in the state he simplified the office of governor by stripping himself of all those paraphernalia that distanced leaders from their people. He will remain the first govenror to have engaged more with Abiand through several channels. His passion for town hall meetings is legendary. You may say he is a homeboy. Unlike his opponent, every Abian young and old knew what Ikpeazu stood for and they knew his narrative. They understood his language, they understood his signs. They other 2 major opponents were urban gorillas who would fly in from Lagos or PH anytime election is close to begin a campaign of calumny, something Abians were tured of.
4. Abia is a PDP State, from time immemorial Abia has remained a PDP state with solid and strong structures across the nooks and crannies of the State. Theres hardly a village in Abia you would not find a strong politician, businessman, leader or entrepreneur who is a strong bonafide member of PDP. These people command not just fellowership they also command respect and could sway support to any candidate of their choice. Unlike the other parties PDP had such persons in their numbers.
5. Ikpeazu’s Personality, one of the killer punches Ikpeazu throw on his opponents was his very humble, courageous, peaceful, respectful, sacrificial, accommodating, focused personality. This is the first time a deputy governor would run out a term with a governor and pair with him to run a second term. This singular point spoke so much about the person of the Governor. Ikpeazu restored tranquility to Abia politics, for the past 3 years and few months no state has enjoyed the level of political tranquility as enjoyed Abia. All the arms of government worked like kits and kins, the federal legislators and state government worked so well together. Even the only federal minister from the state serving in a different party was in bed with the Governor and supported all the good economic and investment policies of the state Government. Dr Enelamah facilitated several programmes to the advantage of the state. The stage government enjoyed tremendous goodwill from the APC led federal government due to his constructive engagement approach. He was smart about it. Governor Ikpeazu is very respectful, he brought all the leaders and elders of Abia under one umbrella of brotherhood to support the kind of peaceful society he wants to create. He is loved by the old and young in Abia die to his personality, he is very humble, accessible, down to earth. One feature that endeared the Governor to many his respect for people. With all the propaganda against him during the campaign period, there was no single slip from the Governor to insult any member of the opposition. He saw all as brothers and sisters and major stakeholders in the Abia project.
It was therefore very clear that Governor Ikpeazu was going to win the elections in Abia. Conduct it 100 time he will win.
To be continued..