Justice For Abians: Let Our Votes Count For Once!
The Independent National Electoral Commission's decision to declare the Abia State Gubernatorial elections as inconclusive comes as temporary respite to many aggrieved Abians. These are people who are well aware that their choice was being taken away from them, and thus were amazed at the report that the PDP's Okezie Ikpeazu was leading APGA's Alex Otti in the elections. Abians, as is evident from the comments made, and actions being taken by them are tired of the ignominious hegemony Governor Theodore Orji and his family were inflicting on Abians. Here is a family, whose son prances around the state as the Executive Governor, intimidating people. This was a man whom Abians elected believing that as one of their own(he was actually projected as almost as indigent as the people),he would bring them a breath of fresh air. But contrary to all the high hopes he gave Abians, T.A Orji saw the state as a personal investment and went ahead to shamelessly and openly enrich himself to the detriment of the state. How else would one explain the idea of a sitting governor building an estate for himself along Azikiwe Road, in Umuahia? His lowly beginning ironically became a spur for him to drive for personal aggrandizement like a deranged man with Abians helplessly watching as the state deteriorated instead of moving forward. It has been so bad that even external observers call him the 'Billboard Governor' in reference to his penchant for mounting billboards celebrating himself at places where he did nothing.
Actually, apart from his brief cameo as an intellectual during the launch of the Dokpesi biography in 2007,my only memory of the man, was of him travelling out of the country in support of wrestling matches and ecstatically shouting when his preferred contestant won, while Abia was abandoned. As an Abian,I have been forced several times to feel like changing my state of origin because of the
decay in the state. It is so bad that even visitors to the state pitifully tell Abians; 'You guys need a saviour!'.
The decay in Umuahia and Aba, the two most important cities in the state speak volumes of a failed governor who has no reason whatsoever to contest for any other post, or anoint a successor. Yet, he is fighting with all he has to ensure that both his son and his puppet Okezie Ikpeazu are rigged into office.
Perhaps, Abians have no real problem with Okezie Ikpeazu. However, the fact that he has a similar background with his principal, and Abians' belief that the same government of impunity will continue are some of the reasons why the people agitate for a change. They have been deprived of any sense of genuine governance for eight years, while the man they elected and his cronies enjoy new and unlimited wealth. Naturally, Abians would lay still and face their personal businesses, with the belief that whatever the government is doing is the 'government's business'.
But that is no longer the case. Abians have woken up! Jolted by the fact that the media can help salvage them, they are beginning to cry out and demand to be saved. No longer is it business as usual. And this is why we all have to come together to impress upon the international community, independent observers, the federal government, and most especially INEC to allow the people of Abia choose who will lead them. Abia deserves to be among the states in Nigeria who are witnessing an improvement in the lives of its citizens. Abians are not asking that Alex Otti be automatically installed as the governor of the state. They are only asking that INEC and all others involved allow the votes of ordinary Abians count. Until they allow the votes of Abians count, this call for justice will continue until the voices of Abians are heard.