an Absalom rebellion in Abia

Chido Nwakanma looks at and beyond Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s self-assault and gives a backhanded salute to a Southeast governor ruling his people from Texas, USA.

Persons who defend Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu have come out with many angles and perspectives since his recent disrobing.

Ikechi Enwereji urges critics to criticise Ikpeazu with wisdom. What is the insight he proffers? He says that the poor state of things dates to 16 years before Ikpeazu. He then submits that Ikpeazu has done more of the Aba Roads than anyone before him.

“All the major failed roads that every Tom, Dick, and Harry is now pointing at, in Aba and other Abia roads, did not get worse during Ikpeazu’s time. They existed before he assumed office. The roads leading to my village, Umuola Okpulor (i.e. Ehere Road, Umuola Road, and other surrounding roads), got so bad that even plantain trees began to grow in the middle of the road.

Today, the story has changed courtesy of Ikpeazu’s administration. I can drive through to my town unhindered because the roads have been reconstructed and so many others he has done.”

Enwereji submits that Ikpeazu’s opponents paid critics to raise the issues trending.

A key question to ask Enwereji is: Who paid you to defend a governor who has failed expectations? Who is sponsoring you?

I am not too fond of the lazy imputation of motives to everyone with a contrary word. We can be more charitable.

The defence of blaming those before Ikpeazu is hogwash, does not hold. He is the man in office and has had six years to effect changes. You cannot praise him for the good he has done in those six years and then walk back sixteen years before him for his failings.

More significantly, our Governor should stand or fall on his record. How do you owe teachers, healthcare workers and more for more than two years? What is the excuse for such crass ineptitude in public administration? Would you please mount a robust defence for the Governor rather than this jejune stuff?

Appointees are to blame?

Ikpeazu’s self-assault

O C Charles shifted the blame to political appointees of the Governor. He said they should go to the media, buy space if necessary and defend the government. Nice as it sounds, Mr Charles falls into a familiar fallacy. It is not the number and frequency of media appearances by aides that would change perceptions of the administration. Citizens are neither blind nor deaf. They can see, and they can hear what fellow citizens are experiencing. If a road is terrible, no number of media claims will change that fact.

What counts is action.

It counted for the Governor and the PDP during the Aba Federal Constituency by-election earlier this 2021. ABSG had newly fixed most of the roads, and they held the promise of a new vista. Citizens could see. They reasoned it and did the needful.

Self-inflicted assault

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu brought current criticisms on himself. Ihu la ihe imere onwe gi public assault la ime onyonyo Channels TV?

First, the much-acclaimed Faulks Road reconstruction failed spectacularly less than six months after the opening. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall! This fall was the result of poor decision making in the choice of a contractor. I remember watching the governor heap accolades on the contractor. Official publicists rhapsodised about “rigid pavement technology” and how it would deliver roads of a minimum twenty years span. Note that this was not the contractor earlier advertised to do the job.

A similar failing is responsible for the embarrassment of the Ikpeazu Centre Table on Port Harcourt Road. The bridge is too low such that it cannot take vehicles such as trailers and trucks. It is on a federal road, so the relevant authorities declined approval. Who chose the contractor? Who has failed to eat humble pie all these years to knock down the gada and rebuild it?

Ikpeazu went on air and made a mess of articulating his policy. Rather than speak to the strengths and high points of the state’s maternal care provisions, he spoke as one without a social filter. He boasted about giving N500 to newly delivered mothers. The incredulous interviewer asked, and the Governor boldly confirmed the figure. It is a shame that Abia State disdains the rural poor so much and puts salt on their wound with such miserly stipend supposedly as support.

That statement triggered attention to the many other sins of owing critical segments of the state’s workforce for two years. He is getting deserved public censure. Even the Buhari Media Group rose to six feet in tackling Ikpeazu!

Great expectations attended Okezie Victor Ikpeazu. He represented a geopolitical leaning. I was one of those who rejoiced and voiced these expectations.

One of the expectations was that he would change the narrative of Aba. Citizens are still waiting even as the ABSG tries to claim kudos for the Afrexim Bank approval of $50m loans to the power project in the city. They should know that the project Prof Barth Nnaji spearheads predates their office. Even so, Governor Ikpeazu deserves plaudits for helping to push that cause.

He did well, but…

Ikpeazu’s self-assault

There are many causes and projects to push in Aba and Abia State. The Enyimba City project awaits delivery, as does the inland container terminal. Then ABSG made considerable noise about getting the oil firms to play fair with our folks at Owaza and the larger oil-producing Ukwa communities. Then silence.

Citizens did not expect Ikpeazu’s failure to build the new Abia State Government House, preferring to reprise a Camp Neya Igbere of a former governor with Camp Okezie in Umuobiakwa. Would you please achieve for the state before self?

Okezie Victor Ikpeazu has done well in many areas, including being Chief Brand Ambassador for ABA small-scale enterprise and fashion. Kudos. Unfortunately, he has scored Does Not Meet in critical metrics.

Ikpeazu and his team should change the narrative. He should increase the amount they give to mothers who deliver. Abia should pay teachers, healthcare workers, and all the other workers that Abia State owes. Ikpeazu should replace the Centre Table, fix the fault on Faulks Road, tackle Port Harcort Road, and regain his pips and a good public standing.

Ikpeazu’s self-assault

Texas man, Willie Obiano

Did you hear the defence for Willie Obiano by the Anambra State Government? In defending the Governor against the media trial by EFCC, Anambra State Government worsened the matter.

The statement said Governor Obiano is away; he has four months to govern the state, after which he will return to his country, Texas, in the United States.

The statement boasted that the Governor had already told the elders and leaders of Anambra State about his plans to abandon them.

Please understand the statement.

  1. It confirms that Governor Willie Obiano is regularly absent from running the government of Anambra State. He does so without formally handing it over to his deputy, as the constitution stipulates.
  2. Willie Obiano confirms that though he ruled over Anambra State for eight years, he does not consider it his home and will leave for his home state of Texas in March 2022.
  3. Obiano disdains Anambra and its people.
  4. Many traducers consider Obiano a failure, with statements and actions such as this as the trigger.
  5. It is about perception: people’s behaviour draws on their perception of reality, not reality itself.
  6. Sadly, the Anambra State Government has made this perception real.

Ikpeazu’s self-assault