Electioneering periods are rife with political promises; promises which may be kept of discarded. In this piece, OKECHUKWU KESHI UKEGBU writes that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has started demonstrating the high premium he places on rebuilding the ancient city of Aba by flagging-off the construction of roads in the city
Politicians fail in their promises, basically for lack of will and courage to fulfill them. Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has demonstrated that “his words would be his bonds”. He is a perfect definition of Francois De La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) quote that: “True courage is to do, without witnesses, everything that one is capable of doing all the world”.
Few days before his inauguration, Governor Ikpeazu during an interactive session with Aba residents, which was organized by the Kezie Abia Group, promised to flag off the construction of roads in Aba on June 1.
He called on the residents of the state to be ready to make sacrifices to support his administration to change the face of the state, adding that he has mapped out plans to better the lots of the state within six months of his inauguration.
According to him “I have seen the enormity of the challenges confronting the state, but we must ask ourselves if the omelet we are about to make, are we ready to break eggs? Some people want change but their stores are on the drainages. To them, they want to make omelet, but don’t want to break the eggs. How can we witness the change we want with this attitude?”
For him, quality is the ‘watch word’ of his administration as he assures Abians that “I won’t construct ‘Dubai’ or ‘China’ roads which will be water-logged by September. No road will be constructed without street lights”.
He vowed to evolve an enduring waste management system in the state whereby refuse would be collected from the households which he said, will ensure a cleaner environment.
“If we can go to the households with a compactor to collect refuse, it means that there would be no more refuse on the roads. The location of refuse would be fenced away from the people. By August 2015, there would be domestic waste management in a sustainable way where all buckets located along the road would have disappeared. We are going to declare a state of emergency on waste management in Aba.”
Last week, Gov. Ikpeazu kept faith with his promise by flagging-off the rehabilitation of 18.9km roads in Aba. The roads include Umuocham, Umuola and Ehere roads. Others are Ukaegbu, Kamalu, Umule and Ukwu mango in Faulks Road.
He reiterated his stance not to compromise quality by charging the contractors handling the projects to do quality jobs and deliver on schedule or be blacklisted by the state government. He said that the roads are strategic and important to the people of Aba and that is why his administration is giving the priority attention.
“These roads are important to enable vehicular movement within the commercial nerve centre of Abia. The complete renovation of these seven roads would be achieved within my first 100 days in office with street lights,” he said.
He urged those who built stores on the water ways to remove them.
The governor in his efforts to accord Aba its deserved status has established Aba Urban Renewal Office. The reason behind the establishment of the office, according to the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Godwin Adindu, is to demonstrate the high premium the governor placed on rebuilding the ancient city.
“The rebuilding of roads and the general infrastructural renewal of Aba top the priority for Governor Ikpeazu’s administration. The vision of the governor is to bring back Aba to its old place of pride,” Adindu said.
The governor has explained on several occasions his reason to operate from Aba for the time being. The reason is to be close to the people and personally monitor the ongoing projects there.
The governor’s spokesperson further disclosed that the Renewal Office will be a key driving force of the administration and that the governor will show personal interest and commitment to the activities of the office in order to ensure it performs to the utmost expectation.
He appealed to the residents of the city to cooperate with the administration as many drastic measures will be taken for the good of the people and state, noting that while some of the measures may seem harshly initially, the people will be happy at the end.
It is a truism that enormous task require high degree of concentration and focus; and this is what Governor Ikpeazu requires to accomplish the enormous task of Aba urban renewal.
To avoid distractions to enable him concentrate on the huge task ahead, the governor has directed that the appellations: “His Excellency” and “Executive”, be dropped in all official and informal communications with him. The governor said he would rather prefer to be addressed simply as “Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, Governor of Abia State”.
The governor wants all public communications to be concentrated on the work and policies of the state and not on the person of the governor. He therefore directed all contractors, political groups, individuals and party loyalists not to put his portrait on billboards, posters and signage but to only use the pictures of ongoing projects in their billboards and posters.
Commending the governor’s decision, a commentator on social issues, Dr. Charles Chinekezi urged Abians to accord the governor whatever demands he requests from them because “he has a special vision for the people.
“The job is enormous and the governor is avoiding distractions that come from excessive flattering. That is what he wants to avoid”.
Like a cleric, Dr. Bassey Udoh, President of Eastern Nigerian Union Conference, ENUC of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, said in his sermon during a thanksgiving service in honour of Ikpeazu that God has chosen Dr Ikpeazu and his government to change the lives of Abia people and to make the people smile again, it may already be playing out and Abians may be in for a pleasant.