What’s the fuss about Okezie Ikpeazu?
|Gov Okezie Ikpeazu|
Performance in government by public officeholders means different things to different persons, it is often a judgment from the prism of one’s standpoint. The throbbing questions that often beg for answers among public officeholders are what constitutes performance in governance?
What are the needed metrics to measure performance? Who is a performing Governor? Has Abia State witnessed any transformational impact in the last seven and half years? If there are any, will such developmental strides be laudable enough to positively impact the livelihood of Ndi Abians?
The valid responses to these interrogations are there for every sane mind to arrive at a reasonable conclusion. Again, these questions are not likely to receive uniform responses as development represents a different thing to different people.
While those who have felt the pangs and misfortunes of violent crimes and criminality carried out by dare-devil criminals with a near-total collapse of infrastructure and deteriorating economic activities, payroll, wage bill, pensions, and other emoluments challenges that the governor has since taken head-on will have a different narrative from those who are on the other side of the political divide who fervently pray and wishes that adversities befall the state and no development is realized to help lubricate their false narratives and push to the people that they bear the magic wand to liberate Abia, they are less likely to agree that Abia has seen a staggering level of transformation with the present administration.
The need to interrogate the activities and impacts of a government is as germane as the evaluation process. The parameters used in adjudging performance to determine the outcome of the impact of a government administration must be rational, balanced, and impartial.
The pessimists, the cudgel-wielding opponents, the unrelenting, self-appointed activists who at different times repeat thoughtless axioms and lend credence to selfish conclusions may halt their inanity for once and assume an intelligent perspective in interrogating the performance of Dr. Okezie ikpeazu by first outlining the achievements of his administration across the length and breadth of Abia State vis-a-vis the prevailing economic realities both globally and nationally; the dwindling nation’s revenue allocation, and the unprecedented disruption of the global economy occasioned by the outbreak of Covid-19, and more recently the Russia Ukraine war effect.
Nigeria has been in and out of three consecutive recessions in the life of this government and also the haemorrhaging effect on the economy arising from oil theft and vandalism of crude oil infrastructures.
Okezie ikpeazu is a man of many fronts and parts. The ebullient workaholic Governor of God’s own state will not only be remembered for his doggedness in the pursuit of his mandate but also for his relentless efforts in the realization of his vision and vigorous pursuit of his campaign promises to his people in spite of the shortfall in revenue allocations. Through his shrewd and prudent management of lean resources. The government has recorded many successes in the development of Abia State.
From the inception of his administration, the governor has been very clear on his projection for Abians and he has since not shied away from this onerous task of improving the socio-economic well-being of Ndi Abians.
The governor has made significant milestones in the area of Education, Economy, Environment, Health, Agriculture, Trade & Commerce, SME development, infrastructural renewal, and Security of lives and property. Though, pessimists will always choose to believe what they want to accept as true.
Under the administration of Okezie Ikpeazu, there has been a massive improvement in students’ performance in the WASCE SSCE, from 58.52% in 2015 to 91% in 2021. This is a verifiable record from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Public school enrolment has since improved from about 142,000 in 2015 to over 650,000 in 2022. The ranking of the state-owned University, Uturu, improved to 2nd position among state-owned tertiary institutions in the country, while it also moved from 97th to 26th position among all universities in Nigeria. He remained the first Governor of Abia State to sponsor students on foreign scholarships with 30 of them currently studying in Australia and India.
His commitment to education led him to construct more than 600 new classroom blocks and 4 new model schools in the state. Through his initiatives, the state launched the Education for Employment (E4E) program to deepen the availability of mid-level skilled manpower to drive the industrial growth of the state and strengthened the three technical schools, with one in each of the three senatorial districts of the state.
He is the first to launch the school feeding program in this dispensation by initially providing free school meal to pupils in primary 1-3 and when the federal government later intervened to take up the task he extended free school meals to pupils of primary 4-6 thereby making Abia the first State where primary 1-6 pupils are fed in school.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu recognizes the invaluable implication of infrastructural development and has since completed over 156 road projects across the state. There is no good road in Aba today that does not bear the mark of Governor OKEZIE IKPEAZU’S.
He has delivered 4 new bridges including the famous Okezuo Abia Interchange in Osisioma LGA, executed 6 major gully erosion mediation projects across the state including Umuagu Isingwu in Umuahia Notth LGA, Umuezeukwu Nsulu and Umuogele Umuakwu in Isiala Ngwa LGA, established the Abia State Children’s Specialist Hospital, Umuahia, the first of its kind in the state, revitalized 5 general hospitals in Ukwa West, Obingwa, Ikwuano, Ohafia and Arochukwu LGAs in addition to the rehabilitated Aba General Hospital and constructed new general hospitals in Okikpe, Obingwa, Ikwuano and Ohafia communities. He established the first of-its-kind Abia Telehealth facility which connects the over 292 primary healthcare centres in the state with secondary medicare resources among other infrastructural interventions too numerous to mention.
One of his most audacious efforts is the Enyimba Economic City project which is an attempt at to set the pace in industrial development in the south east region since the civil war. Under the leadership of IKPEAZU’S, Abia State invested in a steady power supply through Geometric Company Aba which is historically positioned to make Abia State one of the first states that will enjoy uninterrupted electricity. For the first time in the history of Abia State, the streets of Aba, Unuahia and other semi urban areas are lit with light that help to improve night economy of the state.
To continue to itemize the lofty achievement of the governor, one will go on and on. And it is therefore baffling what the fuss is about the governor. Not everyone enjoys the fanfare of playing at the gallery and it’s no fault of Governor Ikpeazu that he chooses humility over self-adoration. Even though the Nigeria political climate believes that it is only those who blow their trumpet that are performing it is however pertinent for discerning minds to be thorough in their scrutiny to avoid baseless conclusions as his Excellency, Okezie Ikpeazu deserves the commendations of well-meaning Ndi Abians and Nigerians at large for his forthright disposition to altering the declining trajectory and the faulty narrative of Abia State.
Adeyemo, a social commentator, writes from Lagos