By Kennedy Onyenma
To sleep is not a sin but to sleep when you are expected to work is, to say the least, most repugnant. That was why I felt embarrassed when Jeph confronted me with the uncomplimentary assertion that “my Governor is sleeping.”
“My Governor isn’t Sleeping.” I quickly retorted. And he whipped back at me, peremptorily. “But he hasn’t done anything in Abia Stateâ€¦!The flyover he started since five years agoâ€¦how far? The Ekeakpara/Depot road nko? See how Aba dey? No road in my village, Ohafiaâ€¦” students in the higher institutions in Abia State are being levied indiscriminately. The other day I tried to access Aba through the Umuikaa-Umuene road, I noticed that the route leading to Obikabia is so deplorable. The Absuth Road is so bad and the health workers are ownedâ€¦” He went on and on.
Here is my reply to Jeph:
Dear Jeph, my Governor is NOT sleeping! My reasons are concise and straight to the point.
Ikpeazu is the ONLY Governor in Nigeria with far-reaching programs on Human Capital Development and MSME. During his first term he identified the huge potentials that abound in the leather and garment Industry, hence he sponsored 30 Abians to China to understudy the technology and the business of leather and it’s value chain. Today there is an Automated Shoe Factory in Aba, a direct fallout of the China expedition. The factory is already clearing commercial orders even from some Federal Government Agencies. He was later to create a Ministry to fully take charge of the MSME in Abia State.The governor equally understood, as well, the complimentary importance of the garment Industry to the Aba business environment. As a result, he concieved and activated a first hand fact-finding trip to Bangladesh and Turkey to actuate what will become, in the nearest future, another turn- key revolution in garment production. Already, enviable successes are recorded daily in the garment Industry as Aba has now become the hub of indigenous fashion statement. An Aba fashion designer is now more confident and richer. He is equally more ingenious and sauve.
On road infrastructure, we can barely count the number of roads that were motorable prior to 2015 but now we have so many of them that are wearing a good look. Deliberately, the governor ensures that most of the economically viable routes are given priority at least within the lean finances at his disposal. But for the treachery of the Federal Government, that has left all the entry points unkept and dilapidated, Aba would have easily passed for a city that have seen quality attention.By the way, Jeph, you are not aware that the reconstruction of the Ekeakpara/ NNPC Depot road had successfully commenced until it was stalled by the Federal Government fiat. How come you talked about the yet to be completed Umuene-Eketa-Obikabia road but disregarded the Umuene-Omoba road? Didn’t you see how smooth that road is? There is even another one crisscrossing Osokwa-Aro-Umuejea, a 9.2km road . For your information, the contract for the Umuene-Eketa-Obikabia road has been awarded and work has also commenced in earnest. I trust the contractors to deliver in record time given their pedigree. The Abiriba-Nkporo (8km) road which you complained of has just been commissioned . I wish you were there at Nkporo to listen to emotion laden address by the deputy Governor. He testified how Governor Ikpeazu has wiped away his tears and salvaged him from lingered reproach. According to him, since 2003 he has been lobbying for the construction of that road to no avail until Governor Ikpeazu changed the story. I also noticed that the Golden Guinea axis of Aba road, Umuahia, is being asphalted. Let me quickly inform you, on a cheering note, that the EEDC/Geometric Power feud has been resolved by the BPE. The meaning is that the dream of an uninterrupted power supply,in Aba is nearly actualised – thanks to Governor Ikpeazu’s spirited efforts. I don’t need to tell you the attendant economic benefits of regular power supply in Aba and it’s environs, especially, Aba South and North, Ukwa East and West, Ugwunagbo , Osisioma and Isiala Ngwa South and North Local Government Areas respectively. As I write this, the Umuagbai/ Uratta Aba flood mitigation project is ongoing and so is the Osisioma Interchange, aka Osisioma flyover, receiving an expedited attention. In the long run it will not be about how fast but how well. You get my point?
You talked about levying of students in higher institutions in abia state. Let me assume that you were referring to the recent post-COVID-19 fees on ABSU students. Weep no more my friend because the governor did not only cancel the fees but he pronounced a compulsory cash succour to the students .Infact 100million naira was released to ABSU, while five months subvention was released to the health workers, to enable them settle salary arrears. The road to ABSUTH, which you complained about, is being given accelerated attention at the moment.
I agree there is an undisputed nexus between infrastructural provision, human capital development and the overall development of a state, hence I will make haste to say that Abia is on the move and things will always get better. Believe me.
Kennedy Onyenma writes from Umuahia.