Ikpeazu and the April 11 governorship election

Electioneering campaigns for the April 11 governorship elections is winding up. For this purpose, the different candidates from different states in the country have taken campaigns to their different local government councils, asking for vote.

In Abia State, one man that has been enjoying the support of the people is the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu (PhD). People are supporting his aspiration both in kind and cash.

The latest was that of a youth who walked up to him during one of his campaigns in Aba and gave him N500 to support his campaign. To Ikpeazu, 85 per cent of the locations he had visited, he enjoyed encouraging support of the people.

There is no candidate who is prepared for the governorship election than Ikpeazu; a man who has put 12 years doing all kinds of positive job for Abia people: Ranging from managing the transport sector, interfacing with motor park workers, turning a School of Hygiene to College of Heath Technology, domestic waste management in Aba....

Within this period he has navigated, he received 84 awards and several commendations. Ikpeazu who was speculated by the opposition that he was handpicked in the December 8, 2014 PDP primaries was not handpicked. Rather, he passed through all those processes and procedures and came out tops.

In Ikpeazu's words: “During the process of the PDP primaries, maybe this is the right time to disclose the strategy I deployed, which none of them did. You see, some of them in their arrogance, pretended that they did not need the endorsement of Abians. But, I went around all the major stakeholders in Abia State, using it to market my pedigree, to market my vision for Abia State.”

He has said that there is no stakeholder from elder statesman Ezeogo Anagha Ezeikpe, to Professor Joshua Ogbonnaya, to Ambassador Ojo Maduekwe, back to Gershom Amuta, to Elder Adaelu to Chief Onyema Ugochukwu to Prince Vincent Ogbulafor and so many others; he did not go to for consultation. Even when he was asked to return for a second visit, including Dee Bob Ogbuagu, he did.

That was how Ikpeazu said that he got the endorsement of the stakeholders. He had to take to appeal to those that have Abia, the critical stakeholders in Abia, to market his pedigree and his vision and that were what gave him victory at the primary.

Ikpeazu in his foresight has said that his vision is that Abia people should count themselves outside the list of oil producing states, because, there are areas of comparative advantages which God has endowed the state with, which incidentally some oil producing states don't have as much as Abia people do.

The highlight of that was that his people are the best in terms of trade as was recognised by Frederick Forsyth and others all over the world. So, why are we allowing trade and commerce to take the back bench? he had asked. According to him, besides that, Abians are the best in terms of what they can produce with their hands.

So, why don't we have industrial clusters for Small and Medium Scale Enterprise? he had also asked. The leather works from Aba, our shoes, our bags are among the best in the world. Our garments, the clothes we make are among the best in the world. So, Ikpeazu thinks the emphasis for the socio-economic development of Abia tomorrow should rely and hinge on these activities and not on oil.

Okezie has great goodwill and carries himself as a gentleman. His respect for humanity is second to none. Ndi-Abia are of the view that he will make a good governor and will put his destructive critics to shame with his roadmap to bringing exceptional development in the state.

Abia people have decided to move on with Ikpeazu and are not listening to the deafening clatters of the ruinous opposition politicians in the state whose stuck-in-trade is to malign the personality of Dr. Ikpeazu through campaigns of defamation.

Being strongly supported by the PDP in the state, one stimulating thing about Ikpeazu is that he has vowed that while his government would listen to public opinion, he would not be a stooge to any person no matter how highly or lowly placed in the society. He was of the philosophy that the government will bear his signature and not anybody's.

Ikpeazu has said that no matter the mammoth support of the present administration in the state, his government will not be dictated by anybody. While the opposition is fighting a lost battle to take over power from the ruling PDP in the state, Ikpeazu has “wondered why the opposition found it difficult to give credit to Governor Orji where he had done very well.”

In support of Ikpeazu, one observer had said, “The idea that people will believe that a governor with Ikpeazu's level of education and intelligence would be a stooge in 2015 is mind boggling, but considering the level of intelligence of those making the accusations it is understandable. Most of the illiterates making these assertions came to Abia State especially Aba soon after birth to trade without the advantage of any formal education.

“They have no civic responsibilities or interests in the state or the city of Aba except to amass wealth. They pay no taxes and don't vote in the state or help in any way to improve the state/city. They rush home every holiday when they are alive and get buried outside the state when they die. They contribute nothing but insults to the state/city that has nurtured them and even their fathers before them. Ikpeazu will be the governor of this state comes the 11th of April and that is none negotiable. I hope these natural born users will decide to stay home in protest and give the state/city a chance to breathe.”

A lover of youths, Ikpeazu has warned them not to be allowed to be used by opposition politicians in the state to cause mayhem, as such would irk security operatives who might crush them. He has advised Ndi-Abia that patience is required in every good work. Rome, they say, was not built in a day.

When candidates of different political parties were signing agreement not to engage in violence in other states, the peaceful Ikpeazu said that he does not think that Abia State needed that because the rhythm of belligerence and disagreement in Abia is probably not as high as what it is in other states of the federation.

According to him in an interview: “I think every candidate running for election in Abia is patriotic enough to know that the first consideration should be Abia. The second consideration should be Abia and the third consideration should be Abia. For me, I am not desperate for such agreement and I have not showed or betrayed any iota of aggression in the course of my campaign. If there are those who are desperate, those are the ones we should find a way to help them turn down their desperation and I believe that Abia is safe. So, I don't think there is any need for such agreement.”

.Hart writes from Lagos

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Articles by Madubuko Hart