Recently in a purported interview that can be best described as a press statement considering the fact that there were no follow up questions by the interviewer, the Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu was reported to have said among other things that Dr. Alex Otti will not be a formidable opponent against him in the forthcoming 2019 gubernatorial elections. To which I may ask the question, what planetary orbit is he residing in?

For Dr. Ikpeazu to premise this assertion in the belief that his track record and achievement will be an important factor in his perceived electoral success over Dr. Otti in next year’s election is as delusional as it is ludicrous. It is also laughable that this Governor will associate himself with the words “track record” and “work done” when his track record as a local Government Council Chairman, his disastrous stint as Deputy Environmental department director and now as Governor are all as undistinguished and unremarkable as they are not worthy of mention.

The fact that he brought up Alex Otti’s name in the said interview says a lot about his state of mind after watching the monstrous crowd that attended Dr. Otti’s recent declaration rally in Aba. It will appear that after that rally which unconfirmed reports indicate he unsuccessfully tried to stop by soliciting the help and connivance of the state police commissioner, the Governor it would appear is being pervaded by a drizzle of unrelenting fear and dread of losing the 2019 gubernatorial election to Dr.Otti, hence he needs a confidence booster to buoy his hopes. It is pertinent to point out that when asked by the interviewer what he would consider his greatest achievement, the Governor shamelessly said it was his vision and his ability to mobilize people socially. He went further to say as a leader, “your vision must be clear and you must be able to keep your words”.

Now that was quite an answer by Dr.Ikpeazu Ph.D. considering the fact that if there is one thing this Governor obviously lacks among many others, it is vision. With regards to his ability to mobilize people, I guess I will give him that. The only problem with the claim is that after more than three years in office he has done a good job of mobilizing thugs, crooks in political garbs and an army of paid sycophants. Now, for this Governor to claim he is a man of his words is akin to President Buhari promising on his inauguration day that he was a new Democrat and will be president for all Nigerians. The reality is that Dr. Ikpeazu has been far from being a man of his words as Governor. Given that for the sake of brevity one cannot cite examples of his many failed promises, it will, however, be pertinent to mention one such promise he never kept. Remember his promise to pay all state civil servants at a certain date of every month. Well as events have shown that is a promise or “words” he could not and has not kept.

Going through some of his comments during that interview such as, “you must be able to speak to infrastructure you are delivering so that people will say, if this man is willing to eat from the same pot with us, then he is not likely to poison us” or another comment when he said, “throwing out mango, pawpaw and orange seeds from your window and see them growing in the most fertile soil in the world” makes you wonder what informs his thought process and his elocution. By the way, if in Abia state we have the most fertile soil in the world as the Governor claims why are people in the state queuing to buy Ebonyi rice? What has he done to improve the agricultural development in Abia state? What investments has his administration made towards the rehabilitation of our Palm Oil industry? I’ve always been of the opinion that this Governor has no shame considering some of his assertions. So when I read his comment claiming Education as one of the five pillars of his administration, I began to wonder how he could in good conscience and with a straight face make that claim when there have been many school closings resulting from the non-payment of teachers who are still owed 7-12 months salaries. It is also ironic that a Governor who claimed during the interview to have constructed the road leading to Arochukwu recently traveled through Akwa- Ibom State in a visit to the town. Judging from the many outlandish claims made by the Governor during this interview, it is becoming more obvious that with Dr. Ikpeazu there is always a flashing yellow light of lies, misinformation and outright fabrications whenever he speaks. He continues to make a myriad of demonstrably inaccurate claims using carefully rehearsed falsehoods to lull his supporters and a section of the Abia citizenry into a state of obedience and political servitude and despite repeated corrections and exposures of his falsehoods, has not been discouraged from doing so.
The late Patrice Lumumba of blessed memory was once quoted as saying the following, “The tragedy with Africa is that those with ideas are not in power, while those in power have no ideas”. Considering the quality of governance we’ve had in Abia state over the years, there is no doubt the Lumumba was a man of great perspective. The only problem with his assertion is that he should have substituted the word “Africa” with “Nigeria” and Abis state by extension. For me personally, there is something wrong with our politics in Abia state when unapologetic underachievers are both electable and commoditized. You can see it with the PDP poodles in the state Assembly. Lap dogs who have obviously become toothless canines now accustomed to the canned dog food the Governor dishes out to them occasionally to keep them from barking. A cursory look at the quality of people who constitute the Governor’s staff and assistants reveals staffers who serve no moral purpose or social value to the art of governance.

It is no gainsaying to opine that the Ikpeazu administration is full of all the attributes of a kakistocracy, a term derived from two Greek words, Kakisto (worst) and Kratos (rule) which essentially means “Government by the worst people”. This is an administration of the most stupid, ignorant, least qualified and unprincipled citizens in power. They are People who offer simplistic solutions to complicated problems. This Governor makes blunders, not mistakes, hence while the later is inevitable if something is to be done, the former is much harder to justify. Take the setting up of a committee to examine the problem of teachers payment for instance, it shows a Governor who seems unable to get a clear grip on what he needs to do about any serious issue which in itself is a manifestation of the belief in the power of the effortless amateur rather than the serious technocrat. To hear this Governor says, Alex Otti will not be a formidable opponent in the 2019 election runs in the face of the disaster his administration has been and the failed realization that times have changed and that the Abia people have not only changed with the times but are very much aware of the lies inherent and made manifest in his flag offs, billboards and jingles.

I cannot stress this issue of lies enough hence it is the one thing that sustains the Ikpeazu administration. Even the assertion that Dr. Alex Otti will not be a formidable opponent against him in the coming elections is a bold face lie, which on second thought may be a good lie if it makes him and his supporters feel overconfident and relaxed. This is an administration that has constantly exhibited a sense of dishonesty in addition to lacking any discernible conscience in the lies and misinformation it disseminates through its billboards and jingles. The truth is that by employing Nazi propaganda techniques, this administration does not care whether what it says is true or false as long as it works politically. This is an administration filled with people suffering from obtuse hallucinations with an urgent need for a complete neurological examination. When they lie as they most often do, they are guided more by desperation than the recognition of an innate pathological process devoid of any revelatory flourish of what is camouflaged as truth.

Watching the Ikpeazu administration in all its rottenness reveals this simple fact, its lack of competence, integrity, morality, and capability has resulted in its obsessive and compulsive desire to lie, falsify facts and so doing project an alternative reality that is at variance with objective truth and empirical evidence. When you have a Governor who governs by flag offs, billboards and jingles, you begin to understand how difficult it is for those who work for him to stay on the straight and narrow path of truth. When as a staffer, you watch your boss lie about Education being one of the 5 pillars of his administration when he has not paid teachers for months, what other incentive do you need to lie? When you listen to your boss lie about the number of roads he has constructed not excluding the lie about the Ossissioma flyover bridge or agriculture being one of the pillars of his administration when the much-publicized poultry processing plant exists only in the form of empty buildings habited by lizards and rats, what divine motivation would you need to lie, giving credence to the popular saying, “the fish rots from the head”.

George Soros, a prominent American billionaire of Hungarian ancestry is quoted as saying, “In a democratic society, politics isn’t ultimately a quest to arrive at the truth, but rather it is about gaining, holding power and manipulating public sentiment”. He went further to say that, “in politics you are spinning the truth, not discovering it”. As much as I agree with Mr. Soros sentiment to some extent, my problem with his assertion to the extent that it applies to the Abia state government is that the Ikpeazu administration does not spin the truth, instead they spin lies after making them up. I don’t know what Dr. Ikpeazu’s legacy will be after he leaves office next year, but one thing is for sure, future administrations will not be hasty to name streets, schools and public buildings after him, for legacies make great leaders and families.

I convulse when I hear Dr. Ikpeazu say Alex Otti will not be a formidable opponent. The truth is that it does not matter whether he considers Dr. Otti a work over in the coming elections or not. His real opponents will be the Abia electorate who have become tired of his lies and bad governance and have finally come to see his administration as a giant digestive tract, stealing money at one end and socking it away through the other end for personal and political campaign purposes. The reality however is that when the digestive tract gets clogged as it sometimes does, indigestion is inevitable. The indigestion is what we are witnessing today with the non-payment of pensioners and teachers, the streets of Aba and Umuahia littered with refuse fearing an epidemic, the government House still being a rental facility etc. Do I say more? There is no doubt that the massive crowd that attended Dr. Otti’s recent declaration rally in Aba will go down in history as the most audacious show of a people’s desire for change. It is an obvious fact that “a foolish man lives for himself. A wise man lives for a purpose”. Dr. Otti’s decision to contest again for the governorship is proof that this is a man who lives and fights for a purpose and that purpose is to change the trajectory of bad governance and suffering the Abia people have endured in the past two decades by saving them from this band of unscrupulous profiteers who have profiteered from the peoples miseries. I will conclude this essay with this truism, “A Captain leads, a sailor sails. This Governor has done a poor job being the Captain of the ship called Abia state. He has proven over the last 3 plus years to be a common sailor on the ship of state, hence the ship needs a new and real Captain, and who is more qualified to steer this ship to the dock of prosperity, clean environment, quality education, efficient healthcare, economic revitalization, and prompt payment of worker’s salaries and pensions than Dr Alex Otti.

Nnanna Ijomah, a New York City-based Political Science lecturer is a former Special Assistant to the late Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Emeka Ojukwu.

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