Abia At 28: Why We Must Arrest This Monster Of Misgovernance
By Dr. Alex Otti
Fellow Abians, I bring you special August greetings.
A few days ago, specifically, on the 27th day of August, our dear state of Abia marked it’s 28th anniversary, having been created on the 27th day of August,1991.
Ordinarily, that day should have been a very special day in the life of every Abian, and should have been celebrated amidst pomp and pageantry, inspired by the great progress and phenomenal achievements recorded as God’s Own State. Sadly, as I took record of events in different parts of the state, listened to the agonizing reactions of our people, and read posts and comments of frustration and disappointments on social media, I was undoubtedly convinced, that once again, our people marked the day with sadness and sobriety.
Ironically, the man presiding over the affairs of Abia state as governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and his allies, rolled out the drums in celebration.
The governor was in different fora, and paid visits to different institutions as part of the anniversary celebration, sadly, none of these functions was aimed at unfolding worthy and realistic developmental masterplan aimed at driving the state out of her present economic miasma, neither was any of the visits for the commissioning of landmark projects. We heard same big unfulfilled promises, and same little achievements.
I do not intend to bore you with rhetoric of the sad leadership mess ravaging Abia state, neither do I intend to be the judge, because, in a democracy, the people are literally the judge, and the fact that you the masses are the victims, and are complaining very loudly about the failure of the present government to even understand the basic needs of the people, let alone show serious and sincere desire to tackle them, makes my position undisputedly factual.
I’m pained just like you, that workers in many state government owned institutions are being owed up to 15 months salary arrears while pensioners are being owed 32 months pension arrears. This leadership atrocity defeats every pretence of sincerity and seriousness on the side of the Okezie Ikpeazu led government. No unmotivated workforce can give a healthy output.
To add insult to injury, the government, in an unpatriotic bid to abandon it’s responsibility, has brought a destructive dichotomy that is alien to our civil service by introducing what it calls “Core and Non Core Civil Servants”
That after receiving over 30 Billion naira in Bailout fund and Paris Club refunds, not to mention the hundreds of billions that have accrued to the state as federal allocations and internally generated revenues, and yet the governor just set up a committee to look into these unpaid arrears, shows that the Ikpeazu led government does not care about the welfare of our suffering people, let alone the general development of the state.
Isn’t it shameful that at this point, we are still talking about the most elementary demand in governance which is salary, when states that were far behind us in the past are making giant strides in infrastructure and human capital development through people-oriented leadership?
Just yesterday, I was present at the governorship tribunal to witness the adoption of final written addresses in the suit my party and I filed against the declaration of Ikpeazu as governor by INEC, unfortunately, it turned out to be a ground for display of primitive hooliganism by women and youths hired by the government to come and constitute nuisance in court.
At the premises of the court, the hoodlums who were dressed in Ikpeazu’s campaign attires were seen and loudly heard insulting me with their derogatory songs, but they were overwhelmed by progressive Abians who freely trooped out to the court to support our sincere search for leadership direction through civilized means.
Ironically, while the hired sychophants were doing the demeaning hatchet job at the court premises, hundreds of pensioners had barricaded the gate of Government House Umuahia protesting against the non-payment of their 32 months pension arrears. So who is deceiving who?
However, we do not begrudge those few misguided Abians, because in a state where hunger has been weaponized, and many lacking three square meals a day, it takes rare courage, discipline and grace of God to refuse to prostrate under the slave master’s table, therefore let’s support, encourage, inspire and educate such brethren to realise that with the present scenario, their future and those of their children are doomed.
The essence of this anniversary message is not to highlight the already known challenges threatening the progress of Abia, neither to incite you against the government, nor to pander to emotions, but to remind all of us, that we’ve got a serious leadership problem in Abia which requires bravery, sincerity of purpose, and togetherness to overcome, and also appeal to all well meaning Abians to come out of their shell and put heads together to salvage our dear state.
My resolve is to more than ever before, dedicate my time, energy and whatever material things God has blessed me with to fight for the restoration of an Abia that would meet the expectations of our founding fathers.
To our vibrant, visionary and resilient youths, I urge you to remain firm and unshaken.
To the few who have become willing agents of destabilization and destruction, may I remind you that, you were not created to be thugs for those who accidentally found themselves in power. Your energy should be put to good use, even as we strive to reclaim our state and engage you meaningfully.
To our starving Civil Servants and dying Pensioners, your labour shall not be in vain.
To some of our elders and senior citizens who have through their silence, or support of connivance encouraged the leadership mess and financial malfeasance that have plunged Abia into economic haemorrhage, and enslaved ordinary men and women of Abia, I humbly plead with you in the name of God to pause, ponder and reflect about the state you would be leaving behind for your children and grandchildren.
You and I may have acquired the material wealth that would last us a life time, but keeping silent and standing idly by in the face of the atrocities ravaging Abia, is one sin everyone of us must avoid to die with.
We must prove to our people that some of us are worthy of being called elders or statesmen.
We should not think or pretend to be too safe in our comfort zones, because the sweeping security challenges confronting the country have proven that everyone, no matter how highly placed, is vulnerable, directly or indirectly, thus we must strive to prevent our state from sliding into anarchy which bad leadership brews at the long run.
The just celebrated 28th anniversary should awaken the consciousness of responsibility and pro-people responsiveness of every son and daughter of Abia, and inspire a new progressive lifestyle required to reposition our dear state of Abia for the good of all.
Thanks and God bless you all.
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