Sunday, 28 August 2016

Abia At 25 : Why Ikpeazu Decided On Low Key Celebration "- JOK




This state called Abia has turned another corner in it's journey to
excellence. God's hand is in it.

No doubt there is a confluence of opposition against the
incumbent governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, that may have slowed
things up. I will give you a clue as to why I am confident that
things are getting better and God is indeed helping us.

Ordinarily you will expect the state to roll out the drums, write
cheques and buy hours of live TV airtime to celebrate yesterday
and even weeks to yesterday, August 27th. Media house owners
must have been disappointed that adverts didn't pour in from all
over the world in celebration of Abia @ 25.

Indeed there were convincing proposals to the Governor to
execute an elaborate lavish celebration. Even some private sector
leaders in telecommunications were ready to host one aspect or
the other.

But Governor Ikpeazu opted to listen to himself and a few others
who made contrary presentations favoring low key marking of the
anniversary.

The Governor simply looked at the bill presented to him for the
expected lavish event and decided that he can use that money
and pay some of the outstanding salaries or pay for additional
kilometers of roads. Instead of a week long celebration with high
profile parties and engagements he decided on making a
broadcast and going for a thanksgiving service.

If the current Governor had decided to write cheques for the
anniversary you won't still fault him too much because 25 is a
milestone number in anniversaries. The next equally significant
one will be 50.

Having gone through with the low key celebration that cost less
than a typical wedding expenses at Aba, I think we also need to
explain to workers of Abia State that their welfare was front and
center in the decision of the Governor. In another post I will
discuss the workforce and snippets of what is in store for them
before the end of the year. Soon, genuine Abia workers will be
the envy of their colleagues.
I guess most of you are happy that the governor made the right
choice with regards to the low key anniversary. Ordinary we
should clap for him and move on, but I can assure you that he
will suffer backlash as a result. There are people who have been
making money from Abia anniversaries since 1992 and the
Governor has just denied them food.

Those dudes will likely pay bloggers and media people to help
execute a fight back. It is something I have seen so many times
that it no longer worries me as a person. Some folks are against
the Governor because he did not give them political appointment
even when he has not made up to 20% of the appointments he
will make in 8 years. When I read such people ranting against the
governor I simply refuse to engage them and ultimately delete
them as social media friends. I hate impatient fair whether folks
and avoid them as plagues. A betrayer/traitor is a betrayer/traitor,
regardless of immediate stimulus.

A traditional prime minister told a media man that he joined the
opposition against the Governor because he stopped giving them
monthly allowance of millions as elders. You can bet that
bloggers won't take the man to task because he is now with
"them". Even when previously some of those bloggers made
unverified claims that the Governor was paying elders allowances.

I remember that one hireling even created a post to abuse me
when I demanded that his master, a governorship loser, publish
details of the alleged payment so I can lead Abia youths on Aluta
to collect the money back.

As God will have it, their new friend, the prime minister has
unintentionally confirmed that Governor Ikpeazu is not paying any
elder any nonsense money. In the same way, certain bloggers,
who hitherto supported the Governor, but attacking him now
should tell you that indeed Governor Ikpeazu has closed the
sycophancy industry in Abia. Those who feel they are no longer
getting whatever they were getting before are free to turn against
the Governor so that people can identify them for who they are
and what they are worth. I won't say anything to them or their
pals.

Until citizens learn to stand by leaders when they do the right
thing, it will remain political incorrectness to do the right thing in
Nigeria. Only very few Nigerian leaders are ready to risk doing the
right thing because they know that even the people they want to
help will ultimately be manipulated against them.

Thankfully, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu understands, and is focused
on only one politics: long and short term welfare of common
folks. He still sees himself as one of the common folks of Abia
while the rest of you are "government people". That's why he
voluntarily chose "Common Governor" as his own "chieftaincy"
title.

That is also why his happiest moments are those spent in the
midst of common folks commissioning roads and other projects.


JOHN OKIYI KALU ,a popular public affairs analyst, strategist and technology consultant writes from Umuahia

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