Ikpeazu; the Story of a Street Sweeper

Source: pointblanknews.com

Godwin Adindu
“He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifted up the beggar from the

dunghill, to set them among princes and to make them inherit the throne of

glory.” Samuel, Chapter 2: 8
The story of the gubernatorial flag-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party

(PDP) in Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, is a very unusual story. Call it

the fulfillment of the holy book. Thousands of years after the bible was

inspired and written, one Ngwa man of humble parentage, is marching from

the dust and dunghill of Aba to a life of chivalry and ceremony, to the

majestic heights of power as the number one citizen of the state. No one

is going to stop him.
Ikpeazu is indeed a classical story of trails and triumph. Still, more

importantly, he is an inspiring exemplar of the certainty of destiny. His

is a story of two extremes and two irreconcilable poles – the story of an

egghead academic romancing with the putrefying dirt and waste of a

congested city. If this story excites a scriptwriter and he goes on to

create a movie out it, he would surely face the mental challenge of

reconciling the personality portrait of the erudite scholar of the

academia who traverses several bureaucratic roles to end as a street

sweeper and waste evacuator and yet acts well his parts perfectly well.

The story of the academic gown and the man of the ivory tower scavenging

in the wasteland of a city dunghill and yet gains a recognition that has

turned him into an iconoclast.
But, again, the real test of the power of creativity of the scriptwriter

would lie not in the unity of the plots and the episodes but in his

ability to capture the man's extraordinary capacity to blend with each of

the roles. For Okezie has been an exceptional performer whether as a

student, university lecturer, Transition Chairman, manager of ASPMISS,

Chairman of Council of School of Health and finally as the street sweeper

of a sprawling city. Can the scriptwriter indeed capture the humility of

the egghead and the erudite scholar who did not only conform to the job

of street sweeping but did it with consummate passion? Will he capture

the consistent nature of dedication to service and sense of purpose as

exemplified by Ikpeazu even in the stinking refuse dumps from where he is

noticed and now being raised to exalted heights?
The story of Okezie Ikpeazu does not only vindicate the holy book. It

truly vindicates another great icon of history, Martin Luther King Jnr,

the black American civil right legend. At the wintry fields of Montgomery,

Lurther spoke to mind and hearts of his fellow oppressed black Americans

and to eternity: “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should

sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music

or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the

hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street

sweeper who did his job well'” Today, it does appear Luther was speaking

to Ikpeazu personally and directly. For he did not only sweep with his

heart and mind, he wrote his name in the heart of the resident of the

ancient city of Aba. He imprinted his name in the sands of time and this

was how the journey began.
The Ikpeazu story of dunghill to power would also vindicate one of my

literary idols, the great English poet of the renaissance, Alexander Pope:

“Honour and Shame from no condition rise/Act well your part/For there the

honour lies”. Honour does not lie in the cosy, air-conditioned office,

neither does it lie in the mountains of refuse dumps of Aba. Honour does

not lie in your top and exalted position, not in the lowly trough of life

either. But, in what you do with yourself, on how well you act your part –

“there the honour lies.” By the way he acted in re-engineering the

environmental management of Aba, Ikpeazu gained the endorsement of the Aba

people and brought honour to himself. Today, he is the spiritual bearer of

the people's lamp-stool. He will forever sit on the exalted platform.

To the University of Maiduguri-trained biochemist, the job of clearing the

dunghill of Aba was like a clarion call to duty. “I saw it as a calling

and as a challenge because the problem of dirt management in Aba seemed to

have defied all solutions and it was a point of criticism against the

government,” he told this writer in 2013. In the same manner, Ikpeazu also

sees his victory at the party primary election as a clarion call. “There

is just one way to describe the overwhelming endorsement and support from

the broad spectrum of Abia State and beyond, it is a divine call by God to

serve my people,” he said, yesterday. For the people, there is no other

way to describe Ikpeazu's emergence as the flag-bearer of the ruling PDP

than as an act of God, for he was not among the frontline aspirants.

In view of the political atmosphere of Abia as a stronghold of PDP, one

can say with every certaintythat Okezie is going to move from the

maintains of refuse heaps of Aba to become the number one citizen of

the State. His vision/mission is to transform Abia State into a

functional private sector-led economy; creating opportunities for her

citizens, improving the quality of their lives and shaping the state into

a regional entrepreneurship hub through good governance, appropriate

developmental and environmental sustainable policies. More importantly,

his commitment is to serve God and humanity.
Born in 1964 to the family of late Pa Ishmael and Deaconess Bessie Ikpeazu

of Umuebere in Umuobiakwa Village in Obingwa Local Council of Abia State,

Ikpeazu obtained a Ph.D in Biochemical Pharmacology from the University of

Calabar. Historyconfirms that since 1925, the people of the old Aba

Province, populated by the Ukwa/Ngwas have always sought for political

power. It has been a protracted struggle that has taken many dimensions

through time, the highpoint being the Otuonu mass movement led by Senator

Abaribe. In God's own time, Ikpeazu is standing tall as a fulfillment of

prophecy and a fulfillment of the holy book.
His story is a thriller; a story of dunghill to power.

Adindu is the President-general of the Abia Renaissance Movement (ARM)

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