By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu
Franklin D. Roosevelt aptly captures the collective responsibility of citizens in governance thus: “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country”. After the May 29, the euphoria that greeted Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s second term victory will subside as the drummers will withdraw their drums, and the dancers will recede for work, which is the major essence of governance to assume the centre stage.
The expectations in the second term will be high, even higher than that of the first term. If not for any other thing, the next four years will mark the last lap of Gov. Ikpeazu’s reign of two tenures. But Gov Ikpeazu’s has demonstrated early signs that he is prepared to confront headlong any challenges the second term will pose. He has highlighted areas in which his administration would pay attention in the second term. These include the completion of all ongoing road projects; construction of new roads.
Attention will equally be accorded to systematic clearance of all salary and pension outstanding in the state including that of parastatals, while some parastatals would be rejigged to make them self-sustaining and able to pay their workers as and when due. Other things being equal, outstanding pensions would be defrayed, and the free home care service programme would be strengthened to take better care of the aged.
Also, Abians are looking forward to the rejigging of the Hospital Management Board for greater efficiency. The same gesture will also be extended to Abia State Teaching Hospital, Aba where total reconstruction of the road leading to the institution along with introduction of a new facility management system that will end the era of revenue leakages and promote technology driven health management will be undertaken. Other expectations that would characterise Gov Ikpeazu’s second term are the realisation of the which will provide thousands of jobs for Abia youths, realisation of Nibra Leather City at Obuaku, and the take-off of an automated shoemaking factory.
In Gov Ikpeazu’s second term a new sanitation regime will be launched to ensure that, outside keeping our homes and cities clean, we will also make money from the waste generated in the state. A paradigm shift is also expected where young and vibrant Abians will drive the leadership agenda in the state while the more experienced leaders continue to support with guidance. If you are a young person of Abia origin your time to shine has come. The era of leakage of state revenue will come to a halt as there will be full deployment of technology and innovation that will drive the internally- generated revenue of the state.
After the inauguration of the governor’s second term on May 29, the first acid test would be the constitution of his government .Like the third character in Leo Calvin Rosten’s work “Captain Newman M.D”, who opined that he would quickly round up all the wise men on the Island and start learning how to breathe under water when Destiny comes to an Island and asks three of its inhabitants what they would do if he told them that tomorrow the Island would be engulfed by a tidal wave, the governor, whose pragmatism is highly acknowledged, would not hesitate in gathering those who will demonstrate high intellectual capabilities by thinking through difficult situations .Like Gov. Ikpeazu’s has always posit “We are thinking outside the box. We want to make sure that Abia survives the post-oil era,” those who will form the new government will pit themselves in the shoes of executive coaches and management consultants in the 1970s and1980s who challenged their clients to solve the “nine dots” puzzle, whose solution requires some lateral thinking .These men will possess the ability to think differently, unconventionally, or from a new perspective.
The era of what the state will do for you has gone. It is now the era of what will we do Abia. All hands are expected to be on deck by bringing to the table ideas that will help Abia move forward.
As we reflect on this, let us be guided by Theodore Roosevelt’s quote: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Abia is our common heritage and pride. Let us guide it jealously.
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