Abia State is one of the five Igbo states in the Southeast region. It was carved out of the former Imo State in 1991 and its name ‘Abia’ is an abbreviation of four of Abia state’s densely populated regions Aba, Bende, Isuikwuato, and Afikpo. Since its creation, it has played host to nine Governors and Military Administrators with the current Governor being Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is a very notorious leader who trends mostly trending always for the wrong reasons in his state. His style of leadership and governance are completely nothing to write home about. A leadership style that has brought nothing but pain and misery to many indigenes of his state. He lacks experience, tact, prudence, morality, and creativity expected of a 21st-century leader. Right from his election, his maladministration has been riddled with total fraud which he carries out with the help of his cronies and stooges parading as Government Aides, he also possesses fraudulent tax records which he uses to deceive Abia indigenes. Ikpeazu is as backward as his thoughts and one often times can’t help but wonder, how he passed through school successful and even acquired a doctorate degree. These assertions are reaffirmed in his naive policies and lack-luster style of leadership, where more monies are spent advertising non-existent projects than actually carrying them out. The only visible and tangible projects in Abia State are the Federal Government projects. Life is fast dying in the ancient commercial city. The popular Factory Road that hosted multinationals and other indigenous companies are currently in a shadow of itself. No infrastructures, no amenities that can attract investors into Abia State, despite the huge potentials (human and natural resources) that the state is blessed with.
The formerly referred Abia transport Company that changed the face of the Nationwide and Trans-African transport system has lost all its functional vehicles. Most of the road-worthy vehicles in the fleet of the state own Transport Company are owned by individuals who registered with Abia State Transport Company, popularly called Abia Links. This is because Chinedu Orji, aka Ikuku, the son of Ikpeazu’s godfather (Senator T.A. Orji) pockets more than ₦20m monthly from the dwindling government transport company. This goes for virtually all the state’s investments, where over 60% of the accruing revenue are fleeced into personal pockets of Ikpeazu’s godfathers and praise-singers.
Over time, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has also built up a terrible reputation for owing salaries and arrears. Different unions and organisations under the Abia State Government have come out to lament the ill-treatment being meted out to them by the Governor Okezie Ikpeazu led Government. The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) recently sent a petition to the National Human Rights Commission for over 20 months of unpaid salaries by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia. The Medical staff and health workers in Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH) have also continued to lament the non-payment of salaries by the Okezie Ikpeazu-led government. The health workers, who had last received salary in May 2018, bemoaned the lack of willingness on the part of Ikpeazu to pay outstanding salaries. Workers of a transport company, Abia Line Network Company, have hosted protest over protest against non-payment of their 25 months salary arrears and Doctors under the Abia State Hospital Management Board (HMB) in conjunction with their parent body, the National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioner (NAGGMDP), Abia State Chapter recently took to the media to cry out on their 15 months salary arrears being owed by the Abia State Government.
Also, Ikpeazu’s Government has been ridiculed with contracts inflation and money laundering from all sectors of the Government. Despite the fact that he owes many months salary arrears to Abia state civil service workers. And to worsen matters, the leader of one of the apex secessionist groups in Nigeria, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who is an indigene of Abia State has failed to use his organisation and his position to call out the Governor on the wrongdoings he is meting out on Abia state indigenes. Nnamdi Kanu has remained mute even as Governor Okezie Ikpeazu squarely blamed him and his organisation for the terrible state of infrastructure in Abia state. He lamented that the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari has abandoned Abia state because of the IPOB leader.
‘I have decided to take the final decision as the executive Governor of Abia state.’
‘Nnamdi Kanu has done harms to Abia State! He is the reason I didn’t develop Abia and complete some of the projects I promised to do because each time I go to the FG to demand money, they always tell me that my state is harboring Terrorists.’
‘Nnamdi committed an offense and ran away before the unfortunate death of his father. Now it’s time to make a decision.’
It is absolutely preposterous that all Mazi Nnamdi Kanu cares about is the monetary gratification accruing to him from the pipedream Biafran agitation, and nothing more. A leader who really wants the best for his kinsmen and wards would strike to make sure his followers are being treated right by the authorities. Nnamdi Kanu being aware of these atrocities by the Abia state Governor and still keeping mute about it, only shows the level of callousness he harbors within him. He and his team of zombie-like sycophants are always quick to lambast the Nigerian Government on atrocities but looks the other way while Abia State indigenes groan under the pressure of terrible governance.
Abia State indigenes and Igbos at large need to rise up and call out their leaders for questionable leadership and Governance. The corruption and greed that has blinded Igbo leaders should be exposed and put in check and this power lies in the hands of the masses. If Igbos really want to bring about meaningful change and secure their future, they have to stop ‘suffering and smiling’ and take a stand against corruption. It is utterly wrong that leaders who they ought to be protecting their interests would turn against them by looting the public treasury, getting involved in all forms of corruptions thus depriving Ndi Igbo of their necessary benefits and allocations in the most heinous way.
Ndi igbo need to hold their leaders responsible and accountable for most of the woes that have befallen them because these leaders are the genesis of the problems in Igbo land and holding them accountable is a right step in curbing the misfortunes that have befallen the Igbos.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK