By Onyebuchi Ememanka
Our attention has been drawn to comments made yesterday by former Governor of Abia State and Senate Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu wherein he alluded that the ongoing massive infrastructural projects in Aba are funded by the Federal Government.
The Senator made these statements while campaigning for his youngest brother, Mascot Uzor Kalu, in the impending Aba Federal Constituency elections.
I had to endure the extremely harrowing experience of watching the video of his outing yesterday just to enable me confirm if indeed, the Senator made such statements. The experience was harrowing because the Senator has an unusually huge propensity for making incoherent statements and I am naturally impatient with such grand follies.
Let me say very quickly that Senator Orji Uzor Kalu or indeed anyone at all is at liberty to pursue his political aspirations. He is also free to engage in campaigns. But what he is not free to do is to tell shameless lies and distort information about the state of affairs in Abia State, and Aba in particular, simply because he wants his younger brother to join him at the National Assembly.
To suggest, like the Senator did yesterday, that the road projects in Aba are funded by the Federal Government through his intervention is a clear pointer that something is wrong with the former Governor.
It is either that he is yet to fully recover from the effects of his several months of incarceration at the Kuje Prisons or he is just plainly ignorant. Either way, the conclusion that all is not well with him is irresistible.
The Senator’s unholy desire to convert Aba and her very enterprising people into a fiefdom of the Uzor Kalu family is driving him to absurd limits.
For the avoidance of doubt, let it be known that every single road project undertaken within Aba metropolis is an initiative of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and such projects are 100% funded by the Abia State Government.
We challenge Senator Kalu to present details of the roads done by the Federal Government in Aba. As at today, the only active project being done by the Federal Government around Aba is the Enugu PH Expressway.
The current rehabilitation of the Aba Ikot Ekpene Federal road, especially around Opobo Road and heading towards Ikot Ekpene road is being undertaken by the Ikpeazu administration.
Is it possible by any means for a State Governor to commission roads done by the Federal Government, without any representation from the Federal Government present at the event?
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu brought the Catholic Archbishop and Papal Ambassador to the Caribbeans, Most Rev Dr Fortunatus Nwachukwu, an Abia son, to commission Osusu, Ebenma and Egege Roads. He brought the Prelate of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, His Eminence, Nzie Nsi Eke, another Abia son to commission the Eziukwu, Milverton, Ojike and Chisco Link Roads. He brought the Governor of Akwa Ibom State to commission the Aro Umuejie – Osokwa – Omoba Road.
Yet someone will shamelessly come to the public to say that roads in Aba are done by the Federal Government.
As at today, there is no road done by the former Governor in Aba that is still standing. Indeed, none of the roads he built outlived his administration. They all broke down within the first two years. Plantains and other kinds of vegetation grew on them before Ikpeazu’s intervention.
Was it not during the tenure of OUK as Governor that the words DUBAI ROADS became part of our political lexicon in Abia State?
Roads done and commissioned by Ikpeazu, even within the first six months of his administration are still standing strong till today.
Go to Ukaegbu, Ehere, Umuola, Kamalu roads, etc. These are roads Ikpeazu did in 2015. They remain as strong as ever and yes, they were commissioned then by former President Obasanjo.
As a matter of fact, there is no single motorable road in Aba today that doesn’t bear the imprimatur of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu. Not one!
Unlike Kalu, Ikpeazu will hand over a strong and sustainable infrastructural stock to his successor.
Senator Kalu also spoke about the ongoing works at Ngwa Road and its environs. According to him, it is the Federal Government through the World Bank that is undertaking the projects with no input from the Abia State Government.
Quite frankly, the ignorance of Kalu on this matter is pitifully understandable. The intricacies and complexities involved in high octane multi lateral collaborations such as the one between the Abia State Government and the World Bank are clearly beyond the comprehension of an okirika trader who was thrown into leadership by unfortunate circumstances.
Suffice it to say that the World Bank is a very serious organization and they deal with only serious people. They only deal with states whose Governors have the requisite intellectual gravitas to appreciate complex issues of development. Have you wondered why during the 8 years of OUK as Governor, international development partners avoided Abia State like a plague.
If the World Bank could wake up in the morning and stroll into any state, how come they never came when OUK was Governor?
How come that a project funded by the Federal Government is being supervised by the Abia State Ministry of Environment?
Anyone who is still in doubt of who is behind the project should simply visit the project site and look at the Project Sign Post. That visit will clear any doubts.
Senator Kalu should campaign for his brother but he should not tell lies. He should allow the people of Aba to decide if they want to move forward or return to the dark days where oath taking and allegiance to shrines and fetishism reigned supreme in Abia State.
The Senator should tell the people of Aba why his youngest brother should represent Aba at the Green Chambers after his other younger brother had previously wasted eight precious years at the same Green Chambers.
Unknown to the Senator, his comments yesterday about roads in Aba are good for us. At least, he acknowledged that serious work is ongoing in Aba, but that the works are paid for by someone else, and not Ikpeazu.
Finally, Senator Kalu should face his front and leave Governor Okezie Ikpeazu out of his hallucinations.
Governor Ikpeazu has shown that he has no interest whatsoever in engaging him in any way. Few months ago, Kalu said publicly Ikpeazu had told him in a meeting that he was on his way to the APC. Meanwhile, at no time did any such meeting take place. The man’s ability to lie with a straight face is amazing.
The public looked forward to a response from Governor Okezie Ikpeazu but he ignored him.
As Spokesman to Governor Ikpeazu, I asked him one day during that period why he chose not to respond to the lies told by Senator Kalu against him. His response to me was simple and epic…
“I don’t operate on the same wavelength with him. I won’t honor him with any response, lest I allow him to drag me to his level and the public won’t know the difference”.
OUK should grow up. Enough of his grandeur infantilism.
Sir Onyebuchi Ememanka
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor.
20th March 2021.