By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu
Abia State chapter of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA is a classical study of an opposition that lacks unity and coordination. The party added another feather to its cap of infamy recently when a faction led by one Rev. Augustine Ehiemere, in one of their futile attempts to attract the sympathy of Abians, leveled all manner of allegations against Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu. The release shows how haphazard a “cut and join” carpenter can be.
Hardly had the release hit the air, when a chieftain and chairman of the mainstream APGA in the state, Prince Nnanna Ukaegbu,took a swipe on the faction.
Quoting Ukaegbu, the allegations were “childish and uncoordinated”. He was further amazed how an opposition, he said was still operating in a campaign mood, could churn out such spurious and laughable allegations.
Indeed the APGA concoction is a full representation of childishness and and lack of coordination. It is a hatchet job by an unskilled craftsman. This was profoundly exposed in its opening paragraph:” After keen observation and through(sic) analysis of all that has transpired since the inauguration of the PDP led government in Abia State, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has found grounds to doubt the vision, seriousness, and sincerity of the Okezie Ikpeazu led government in most of the actions, policies, and programs it has embarked upon(sic) so far”.
The party continued in its journey of ignominy thus:”Although APGA has never really expected the PDP led government to offer purposeful leadership to Abians considering it’s(sic) questionable pattern and route of emergence, yet APGA did not expect to witness this volume of administrative summersault (archaic spelling of somersault)and well packaged anti-people deceit within the short time of existence of this government, we therefore express our dislike, displeasure, and disapproval to some of these undemocratic and inglorious actions”.
Gov. Ikpeazu has emphasised on several occasions that his government will run on a 100- day circle arrangement, so it would be very appropriate for these APGA hireling to wait until the expiration of Gov. Ikpeazu’s first 100 days in office to see if he was able to deliver on the promises he made.
The governor assured Abians recently that at least 80 percent of the ongoing projects would be completed within his first 100 days in office. Like E.B White aptly captures”Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts”.These hireling have not bothered to visit the sites and get first hand assessment of the works going on there. You can only inform when you are informed.
The group’s question on the salary arrears of workers demonstrates how myopic, mischievous and hollow rented critics can be. It is a common knowledge that the salary arrears issue is not peculiar to Abia State and is not the making of Ikpeazu.
The asininity of this APGA faction came to a disturbing height in the following lines:”That considering the level of decay in infrastructure in the state, especially Aba, we had expected the Governor to carry out a comprehensive tour, inspection, and evaluation of roads in Aba and carry out palliative measures on majority of the roads through AROMA and Abia Ministry of Works for immediate relief of our people pending the end of the rainy season, unfortunately, for reasons best known to Dr. Ikpeazu he has chosen to hastily scratch on many projects that cannot make immediate impact on the lives of the people, like the so called dredging of water side, while abandoning those projects of urgent public importance, this is indeed a misplacement of priority of the people”.
The above advise could have been more useful if the group had suggested the projects that are more important and beneficial than the reconstruction of roads, desilting of drainages and dredging of the Aba River.
To show how unserious and mischievous they are, the group in one instance acknowledged that there is infrastrucural decay in Aba; and in another reverses itself by saying that Gov. Ikpeazu’s Aba Urban Renewal drive would not have positive impact on the people. That is the climax of standing logic on the head.
It will be recalled that Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, is noted for perennial flooding, which renders the streets of the city impassable after heavy rains. The situation has contributed substantially to the collapse of the roads shortly after construction.
Abia State government began the dredging of Aba River, popularly known as “Waterside” recently. The dredging was informed by the government’s commitment to give a facelift to Aba through its” Aba Urban Renewal Policy”.
The dredging ensured the excavation of debris and the expansion of the banks of the river to accommodate more flood water from the drainage crisscrossing the city. The exercise is the fulcrum of all exercises trailing the Aba Urban Renewal drive such as massive road constructions; desilting of drainage, among others.
The exercises enjoy spiral relationship and are bound to run in chain. For roads constructed to be durable, solid drainage systems must accompany them. And for the drainage not to be blocked, they must be desilted. Also, for the channels not to overflow and flood the roads, they must be emptied somewhere.
So, the tripartite actions of road constructions; desilting of the drainage; dredging of Aba river, emphasize strong commitment of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to deliver durable roads to Aba residents- as he has continuously stressed that he was committed to deliver to Aba residents solidly constructed roads accompanied by drainage and street lighting.
Also ,during the colonial era, the river was one of the routes through which the colonial masters traveled to Azumiri and Opopo in the present day Rivers State. Abia State government wants to reintroduce such transport system. This will reduce the transport cost and also ameliorate the harsh traffic situation within the Ogbor- Hill axis.
On the other hand, the river has potentials, if properly harnessed, that could turn it to a“tourist haven”. This will attract tourists from across the globe and rake in huge revenue for the state.
For a state striving to raise its internally-generated revenue from between N300 to N500million, it was initially hovering, to N1.5billion, i think that Gov. Ikpeazu is on the right track by fixing infrastructure, especially roads in Aba.
APGA in Abia State is indeed a study of an opposition in irredeemable disarray. It situation deserves pity. It is also the apt description of the proverbial man that chases rat while his house was on fire.
One would have expected the party to conduct an appraisal of its disastrous outing in the last governorship election in Abia State.Since the party shot itself on the leg by smuggling through the back door Dr. Alex Otti to fly its flag in the governorship election, sleep has eluded it.
The party since that inglorious action, allegedly perpetrated by the then national leadership of the party, has been enmeshed in one crisis or the other which culminated in litigations.
No army, no matter how sophisticated it is, wins a battle without unity and coordination.It is pertinent for the faction to heed to the advice of Prince Nnanna Ukaegbu by supporting “the perfoming governor who has done extremely well with the meagre resources available to him”.
According to Ukaegbu,”The people are in panic mood , they spread propaganda that Ikpeazu can’t deliver , now their propaganda is being torn down- Dr. Ikpeazu is taking governance to where it has never been before;and they are resorting to name calling and pull him syndrome strategy-thinking that that will strengthen the case of their candidate (Otti) before the court of public opinion”.
While Otti’s APGA strive fruitlessly to strengthen his case in the court of public opinion, they should heed to Christ’s admonition to the religious leaders in Matthew 12:25“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand”.
-Ukegbu is a journalist and public affairs analyst. He wrote this piece from Umuahia.