By Chika Nwabueze
Former special assistant to governor Okezie Ikpeazu on Public Affairs, Comrade Ambrose Nwachukwu, has described governor Ikpeazu as the future of Abia state, adding that Ikpeazu is on the right path of development and history.
Speaking in an interview with News Critic in Umuahia, Comrade Nwachukwu said that the governor despite the obvious challenges has initiated practical steps towards ensuring good governance and grassroots development.
According to the former National Vice Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, South East zone, the Enyimba Economic City, which Governor Ikpeazu is implementing will put Abia on the economic super highway, and to a large extent the eastern region economy.
To him those criticizing the governor are only political opponents, who see everything from the lens of partisan politics instead on the basis of merit and objectivity, while pointing out that Ikpeazu is noted for his civilized form of politics which has distinguished his administration from others.
He stressed that it takes a civilized mind like Ikpeazu to call on his opponents to bury their political differences and join hands with him to move the state forward.
Nwachukwu maintained that Ikpeazu has laid a good foundation for Abia State which will be continuously improved upon, while assuring that greater dividends of democracy will be delivered to the people this time as the governor has promised.
Read Full interview:
Q. let’s talk about the book you wrote on Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, the People-Centric governor…?
A. Let me correct an impression, It’s not a book on the governor, it’s a book on governance. Again, it’s not people-centric governor: it’s People-Centric Governance: Ikpeazu’s Strategic Approach. The book highlights Ikpeazu’s policy initiatives and ingenious strategies for good governance and civilized politics.
The emphasis here is on governance not governor. In as much as the governor is the one that initiates governance, the emphasis of the book is on the governance architecture of the state under the dynamic leadership of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, who has the privilege of superintending over the affairs of the people of Abia state.
Q. What motivated the writing of the book?
The idea of the book came in 2014, when I was part of the campaign team that worked for the emergence of the governor in 2015. As we moved around the state I listened to some of his speeches and discovered that he is a man who is vast, who displays great intellectual ability. So I was so enthralled by the way he speaks and releases his great ideas and thoughts without any evidence that he was reading from a prepared speech.
In other words, he spoke extempore throughout the period of the campaigns. So I felt most of the thoughts which he had expressed were very instructive and should be documented for posterity. As a journalist that I am who understands the importance of documentation, I decided that the speeches would be recorded and produced in a book form. That was how the idea was nurtured, so I went about the work with zeal and with the help and assistance of my wife and others I got the recordings transcribed which formed the two volumes one and two.
The volume 1 was his Town Hall meetings which he held after his emergence in 2015 when he undertook a tour of the local government areas in June 2016. So, his comments, policy statements constituted volume one. The reactions of the people to his comments during the town hall meetings, were all captured in the book because the governor was open. In his responses to the questions posed to him.
It was a fascinating moment, the promise that he will conduct local government election was not only a campaign issue but it was done by Ikpeazu. That over 8 years of running the councils with TC chairmen, Ikpeazu returned democracy to the grassroots. It was also reflected in the volume 1.
Again when the Supreme Court affirmed his election twice, he also embarked on thank you tour of the 17 LGAs, to thank the people for remaining steadfast. So that particular book was like the policy formulation that gave birth to volume 11.
Q. In terms of governance how do you see it now in Abia State?
A. I will say that it has been quite challenging and that is how it is everywhere. It depends on your focus and commitment, so given the background of the challenges on ground the governor has remained focused in initiating steps towards good governance. He is not saying that he has done everything, but I want to assure us that with due respect that practical steps have been put in place, strategies, initiatives have been put in place to ensure good governance. And one of the initiatives I’m talking about is the Enyimba Economic City project.
Q. What about the project?
The project is a laudable and enduring initiative in the sense that it has the capacity to contain unemployment, improve Abia economy and make it more vibrant. The benefits may not be immediate, but it is interesting that the foundation has been laid towards a better tomorrow. The only thing required from us is a little patience. The city is sitting on a large expanse of 9, 803 hectares of land crossing three LGAs, and the approach to its development is from the bottom, the artisans.
As a matter of fact, what the governor is doing with the Enyimba Economic City project is something that will put Abia on the economic super highway. He has done it for the future not for himself or his family but for Abia and Nigeria. That is why I advised a little patience to allow things to materialize, so that Abia will enjoy the benefits. If the project is not worthwhile the federal government would not have entered into partnership with Abia state government with N20 billion investment. That is to tell you the level of confidence they have in that project. It’s is a multi-billion Naira project that will announce the Eastern region.
Now when you talk about the shoe manufacturing industries, today people proudly wear made in Aba products. The shoes, belts, cloths are now of better quality. The governor has through his policies and strategies repositioned made in Aba products to competitiveness. In the military and para-military it is now a matter of national policy that they purchase their military boots and uniforms from Aba, courtesy of Ikpeazu’s efforts. The governor is indeed thinking for the future of Abia.
Q. How do you react to the perceived poor performing of Ikpeazu’s administration?
Nobody is perfect, and of course in democracy perception varies depending on your political interests. In politics and given the type of politics we play here your political enemies will never see anything good in your administration. This is where Ikpeazu has stood differently and distinctively, he practises what I refer in that my book as civilized kind of politics, by extending genuine hands of fellowship to the opposition, to those who participated in the electoral process. He is the leader but that does not mean that he is the only person who will do the entire job. So, we should ask ourselves what is our contribution to the development of Abia state, let’s work together as a team for the development of Abia state. Let us support Ikpeazu in his efforts to make Abia great. I’m happy that Ikpeazu is on the right path.
Q. What do you think Abians should expect in his second term?
They should expect good governance, the foundation has been laid and he will continue to improve on the existing ones. I appreciate the fact that good governance is a challenge, a lot of things are involved to deliver on good governance. It requires sacrifice and a lot of commitment. He has assured Abians that this time around greater dividends of democracy will be delivered to the people.