By Jude Ndukwe
“You need continuity. You need a commitment and continuity” – Jeff Fisher
As the 2019 general elections approach, Abia State is agog as different groups and communities in the stat jostle among themselves to host and celebrate one of their brightest stars, known to some as the “Scholar in Governance”, to others as the “Silent Achiever” and, yet, to some others, as the “Caterpillar Revolutionist” for his many sides rolled into the singular vision of making Abia great and prosperous.
Following his sterling performance which has elicited joy and restored the hope of Abians in a bright future having left footprints of quality projects and strategic policies in the sand of time, it is only natural, and fitting, for Abians of different affiliations to send out a clarion call to the governor, first in appreciation, and then to remind him that under no circumstance would they allow him to abandon them halfway having brought them thus far in the journey towards growth and evidential development, hence, the dominating calls for him to respect their wish of leading the State till 2023.
Just like the American, Jeff Fisher said, Abians know that the State is in need of an uncommon commitment to their welfare, the type being shown by their governor, and have committed to support him all the way. But then, who wouldn’t?
Right from the day, he assumed office, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu PhD, settled down to work immediately knowing full well that the expectations of the people were high and nothing short of excellent performance would satisfy their sweet souls and fill their gaping hope.
Ikpeazu, therefore, established critical areas of life which Abians needed urgent intervention in and set them as Development Pillars for his administration with the corresponding Enablers to achieve the set objectives.
Since no meaningful progress can be made in an atmosphere of fear and insecurity, the governor embarked on a head-on collision course with criminals in the state with the aim of ridding Abia of all violent crimes that had given the State a bad name. Before now, Abia had been known as a state where armed robbers kidnappers, rapists, cultists, ritualists etc found comfort. Some of these criminals even committed crimes in other states and fled to Abia to escape from the long arms of the law and or to enjoy proceeds of their illicit activities. This did not only make Abians sleep with one eye, it also made them sleep with their hearts in their mouths.
With Okezie Ikpeazu, this is now a thing of the past. With the peace and security enjoyed in Abia today, it is very easy for naysayers to forget where we were before Ikpeazu came on board and where we are today after he successfully tackled those name-spoiling crimes in a novel but aggressive manner within a short time of coming to power.
He invested massively in the security architecture of the State, procuring a massive 35 number operational vehicles fitted with modern communications gadgets to further equip the security agencies in the state. The uncommon adroitness with which he has been able to introduce and sustain synergy among the several security agencies operating in the state is another loud testimony to his human management skills.
In an official release by the National Bureau of Statistics last year for violent crime rates recorded in the country in 2016, Abia State recorded the second least rate only after Katsina. When one considers that this feat was achieved in just one year of his coming to power, one would appreciate the more why Abians are stumbling over themselves to get him to go for a second term. Safety first, safety always!
Similarly, in a widely publicized and comprehensive report by the Vanguard newspapers on March 11, 2018, it was recorded that in the first ten weeks of 2018, 1,351 people were murdered in one violent crime or the other throughout the federation. Of this sad number, Abia was among the few states throughout the federation that recorded one death, while a state like Anambra already had 18 deaths from violent crimes at this short time.
Abia has however since taken firm position as the safest state in the country following recent violent deaths in the states competing with her for this most coveted and enviable status while Ikpeazu has maintained the now impregnable security of the state.
Despite his sterling performance in this sector, Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu was not going to rest on his oars. On his return from Rwanda where he attended the 2018 Transform Africa Summit in May 2018, the governor immediately proceeded to hand over another set of brand new operational vehicles to the police in Umuahia, the state capital. To further boost the morale of the police as he continues to assist them in their duties, the governor promised to help them complete the building of their Zone 9 headquarters in Umuahia.
The safety, peace and security Abia is enjoying today are not accidental. They are the result of the continued commitment of the governor to the welfare of the people. That there are no political tensions in the state today is attributable to Ikpeazu’s very large heart that has tolerated with equanimity the continued bitter provocations of opposition elements. Abians are free and their rights respected to the letter by the governor no matter how belligerent and vitriolic the opposition has become against him in their desperate but futile attempts to distract him.
Abians cannot take for granted the fact that properties including radio stations and houses belonging to people of dissenting voices are being demolished with reckless abandon in other states thereby creating undue political tensions and giving root to crime and criminality, Ikpeazu has never and will never embark on such actions. (To be continued)
—[email protected]; Twitter: @stjudendukwe