Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, at the weekend field questions from a selected group of Editors in his office in Umuahia,Abia State over various issues as he marks two years in office..Chris Kehinde Nwandu (CKN), Editor In Chief Of CKN News was among the Editors.
These are excerpts from the interview.This is the first part of the interview
The speed at which Aba is going and the level of development is unprecedented. Since Sam Mbakwe left, no other person have done that. Why are you so passionate about Aba?
For us here in Abia, Aba brings memories that touch very soft nerves. From post war, there were issues that immediately after the war; it was difficult to rebuild all kinds of infrastructure and Aba incidentally was one of the few cities that accommodated everybody. Many of us have fond memories of Aba and that includes folks from outside Igbo land. Recently I listened to a radio program where a Yoruba man was making very strong case for Aba. He lived and grew up here just like my childhood friend Musa who was born and raised at Hospital road Aba. Musa does not know any other town than Aba and same applies to his children who are also here with us as Bona Fide Aba people.
|Governor Ikpeazu with CKN News Publisher /Editor In Chief Chris Kehinde Nwandu during the interview|
Aba is everybody’s city because everything that happens in Aba affects people, not just from the South-east, but across Nigeria. My electioneering campaign focused on what can be done to rebuild Aba as an enabler for rebuilding Abia and even Igbo land. Aba, in terms of Geography, is strategically located at the confluence of South-east and South-south Nigeria, as it shares borders with Imo, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, and others. Therefore, whatever affects them, also affects Aba.
The flux between the cities and the commercial activity, the energy and power that Aba exudes has become a strong anchor or nectar for all kinds of development including with commerce and industry. Aba has at least 15 markets, which are sectionalized according to the needed items. If you want to drive development quickly, you can’t take away Aba, especially in Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.
Aba captured 3 of the 5 pillars of development of this administration, hence, the impossibility to ignore Aba.
The popular saying that if you get Aba right, you get Abia right is apt. More so, and actually the least important, is that I come from that environment, and I know the huge and enormous potentials it brings to bear on the development of not just Abia but of Nigeria. If we are thinking of getting out of recession, Aba must be the focus of Nigeria.
What has been your major challenge as the Governor of Abia state in the last two years?
Lack of belief. Paucity of what I call a prepared human capacity, brought up and fully enabled for development. By that I mean those ready to catch the vision and run with it. It was a problem getting people to understand that the only way to get a solution to our problems and challenges is to do things differently.
Distractions from those who don’t understand or have proper diagnosis of the people and their real challenges were also challenging. Those folks misinform our people, manipulate and make our people gullible and they sometimes fall easy prey to their antics. Even without evidence of previous capacity to properly diagnose our challenges and proffer right solutions. I look forward to a day when everyone in our state is motivated towards a common agenda, a common good, and a common enterprise because I see government as an enterprise.
My government is not tailored to a particular agenda but holds a global vision and appeal for the survival and prosperity of our people.
To what extent are you relating with Southeast governors to deal with marginalization of the Southeast?
For me as a person, the leadership of the Ebonyi State Governor, Engr Dave Umahi, as chairman of Southeast Governors Forum is a focused leadership. He is handling genuine issues around the marginalization of our people very well but quietly.
I personally have a strategy to battle the issues of marginalization by making myself indispensable. It is this attitude that we are trying to also transfer to our people. Work very hard, acquire as much good education as possible and innovate extensively to stay on top and make yourself indispensable wherever you find yourself.
|Governor Okezie Ikpeazu PhD|
Given the state that the PDP is in now, what is the way forward for you and others in PDP?
The way forward is to try as much as possible to make your house good. If you have a dirty head, you don’t cut it off, you wash it.
Is Sheriff your leader?
The court’s pronouncement is what matters as regards Sheriff but I am waiting for the Supreme Court to speak.