An Open Letter To Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State Governor By Gbolahan Yusuf
I will not bother to congratulate you, we are way past that period now and impressively anyway, even the vibes being given off by your administration suggest such praises don’t matter to you. Of course they shouldn’t, it’s a 4-year tenure and it’s already counting. I will however, extend words of encouragement now that I see it may be worth the while, I had opposed your candidature simply because I bought into the change mantra that was being championed nationwide and also because I was disappointed, as many were, in how Abia State had been governed in 16 years of PDP rule, so if Nigeria needed change I thought, what of Abia State?
The fight by many Abians in some parts of the state to eject the PDP from power was not difficult to understand, even though not giving the candidate a look, was akin to throwing away the baby with the bathwater. The lack of belief in your stewardship that hovers around the minds of many, however seems to evaporate with an appraisal of your first days in office. Seeing as we all know that first impressions last the most, whether the body language of your administration in its first days is genuine or a PR gimmick will be hard to tell, but in any case, it all looks like better days (at least) are here for Nd’Abia.
In the days preceding your inauguration as governor, there was first the story of your banning groups from coming to congratulate you as time was needed for planning, rather than pleasantries. It was like a Mayweather-jab, short, direct and powerful. Immediately after your inauguration as governor, you proceeded to announce that you will be operating mostly from Aba, and not the Government House in Umuahia. That sent waves to many ignorant people who had opined that yours will be an administration still dictated to by your Umuahia-born predecessor, Senator T.A. Orji. To add to that, you set up an Office of Aba Urban Renewal, which I must say, ranks among the most decisive actions taken by incoming governments around the country. It showed clearly the direction your administration will be taken and inspired the belief that you were maximally prepared for this afterall. Renew Aba, Save Abia.
It is a brilliant idea your administration has employed because in truth, Aba is too much of a resource to be so desecrated, so much so, some refer to it as a giant refuse heap. Adequate exploitation of this commercial hub is the quickest way to putting Abia State among the top states nationwide, which is why I was also encouraged to see that road being plied by your administration in your first days, after the previous administration paid lip service to it. It is important that you find the right balance though, as outside Aba, and Ngwa in particular, lie the majority of those who did not want you as governor, your political career will receive a big boost if you prove them wrong. On that note I was also encouraged to hear of the flagging off of several road constructions in Umuahia after similar had been reported earlier, in Aba. Balance is key.
It will suffice to say therefore that, even though I did not believe in you, or more correctly, in your party, I have seen reasons to hope for a better Abia. I hope that you will stay true to your beliefs and leave a legacy that will be cherished by Abians and Nigerians, at large. Even as a loyal party man, you should know by now that the only reasonable way for the PDP to fight back after its national setback is by delivering good governance which, in my honest assessment, the party had abandoned. You are therefore, one of the major torchbearers in reviving, for the good of our democracy, a new and progressive PDP. This depends on the legacy you leave behind, it is the most important attribute of any man. The legacy left behind in Lagos State is what has laid the foundation for the making of a fantastic statesman, in Babatunde Raji Fashola. If you leave a strong legacy, it augurs well for all parties involved, the people of Abia, your political party (which is an endangered species), and your excellency. My apologies for referring to you as your excellency. But I insist.
It is a relatively small state, but you have as gigantic an assignment as any governor. I can only wish you the best as you go. May you make your people proud.
Gbolahan Yusuf is a youth corps member serving in Abia State.
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