POLEMICS: OKEZIE IKPEAZU SECOND TERM CONUNDRUM: PROSPECTS AND PROBLEMS FOR GREATER ABIA STATE

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By Shaft

Another significant political milestone was laid recently for the Abia State polity. Wednesday, May 29th 2019 marked the historic inauguration of the Second Term in office of Dr. Victor Okezie Ikpeazu as the Governor of Abia State. The first term in office stretched from Friday, May 29, 2015 and ended technically on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, and accordingly closely followed by the formal commencement and transition from the first to the Second Term.

At the end of hotly contested Governorship elections for the exalted office of Governor by prominent Abians to unseat the incumbent, Ikpeazu was declared winner by the electoral umpire INEC. Though the final outcome of the 2019 Governorship elections is pending at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and/or subsequently at higher levels of the Judicial arm as anticipated in the event of the plethora of legal appeals likely to follow the suits based on experience, hindsight, and precedence. Ikpeazu, at the moment remains the Governor and occupies the office accordingly unless determined otherwise by the judiciary in the course of resolving the electoral disputes laid before the hallowed chambers by aggrieved candidates.

Ikpeazu shortly after emerging as the winner of the elections by virtue of INEC pronouncements and declarations and obviously satisfied and delighted with the outcome embarked on another round of strategic campaigns though not targeted at canvassing for votes. But nonetheless significant by reassuring Abia Electorate and populace of a much better and greater performance in the round two of his leadership as the State Governor. These robust strategic campaigns are clearly evident in the arrays of billboards mounted in different parts and locations in Umuahia the State Capital and Aba with promises to do more boldly and audaciously advertised and complimented by profound expressions of thank you messages equally adorning the billboards.

Accordingly, Abians are filled with high spirits of anticipations, full of expectations, gripped by the contagious zeal to witness significant turnarounds/turning points and meaningful departure from the erstwhile institutionalized serial chronic culture of underperformance in the critical arena of political governance and leadership relative to the good fortunes of neighboring states in the South East and South South geopolities.  In this respect without prejudice or sentiments the high spirits of anticipations and expectations among Abians cannot be faulted or dismissed given the baleful negative measurements indicators/indices Abia State’s socioeconomic statistical data reflects in comparison with the fore stated or fore mentioned neighbouring political entities

These anomalies and socio-economic lackluster developmental anomie which persistently and woefully calibrated and characterized Abia politics and governance are gleefully anticipated and expected to be reengineered and reversed in this new dispensation and by no other personal but Ikpeazu as the Governor and in alignment with his anticipatory irrevocable promissory note to do better and serve Abia electorate/citizenry better reciprocally for endorsing and supporting his second bid in office which materialized as  reality.

The critical and fundamental issue or question to pose here remains what is the likelihood that Abians are on the verge of experiencing or about to witness a turning-point and a new lease of socio-economic primed momentum in the state’s orbit and trajectory of developmental agenda and initiatives?

These propositions sound like empirical scientific hypotheses and postulations.

The answers are not readily available or discernable at the moment. The answers which could be a spectral of positives or negatives are yet to be determined. Notwithstanding depend largely on the stock of anticipatory responses and feedbacks from Ikpeazu second term leadership in the days ahead.

The gaps between these elated sense of gleeful anticipations/expectations on the part of Abians on one hand and on the other hand the cache of avalanche of high spirited and gladsome reassurances and promises of better-next-level quality leadership and performance by the Governor accordingly define and constitute the unpredictability of the second term political conundrum in the contexts of auditing the performance index of Ikpeazu legacies in the post-Ikpeazu years by posterity at the end of sojourning in Government House for eight (8) years (except the unexpected happens). The last tenure of the second term in office logically terminates by 2023 in line with INEC electoral guidelines and political timetable.

Taking these analyses further require invariably that some critical considerations and attention are focused on certain salient critical factors and determinants that can resolve effectively any doubts surrounding the capabilities and capacities of the newly inaugurated second term in office administration to perform much better or even otherwise. These important political variables include preeminently political will and great sense of determination and commitment especially on the part of the Governor to make remarkable difference in the current dispensation and prove doubting Thomases wrong in accord with the Governor’s association, identity and image as a trans-formational and a trans-generational leader as portrayed in some sections of the media.

Another important factor is underscored by the caliber or profiles of the mental and intellectual makeups of prospective political office holders the Governor would select in his cabinet and in other strategic organs of the Executive Branch. If the templates and composition are in favour of mediocrity and political jobbers obviously the outcome is clear and predictable. Likewise if knowledgeable persons in the molds of experienced technocrats and professionals are preferred and given the nod it could mean there is a flicker of hope if strategies and synergies are perfectly blended in the cabinet with focus on concrete and tangible result oriented policies/programmes frameworks.

Thirdly, the configurations of the symmetry or asymmetry in terms of the friendly or unfriendly relationships between the Executive Branch and particularly the leadership of the Legislature are critical and fundamental. Any forms of suspicions and power tussles within these critical axes of power centers spell adverse and ominous implications for the gladiators in question and the entire Abia State unfortunately. It is expected that the already Anointed candidate to clinch and mount the saddle of leadership as the Speaker in the Legislative chamber would hopefully compliment instead of compete with the Governor politically on the contentious questions of politically motivated supremacy turfs as it could probably turn out in the name of politics.

What of the other strategic components of critical stakeholders?

The judiciary in terms of acting as the stabilizer in the defense of democratic principles and as the last hope of the common man if not subjected under relentless assaults holds the ace for the survival of the democratic principles and institutions by virtue of dispensing justice in tandem with the proviso of judicial administration and jurisprudence.

The Civil Service remains the conduit for transforming policies and programmes into concrete, quantifiable, measurable and verifiable achievements or results across the three vital organs of the Executives, Legislature and Judiciary. These three organs respectively rely on the Civil Service to function effectively and efficiently. Perhaps the Civil service can become an asset or the Achilles heels and the weakest link in terms of effective transformations of policies formulations to efficient implementations depending on the Civil Service delivery capabilities and capacities given the quality of the personnel and other important considerations which include timely provisions of necessary logistics support and boosting accordingly the morale of the workforce of the Civil Service.

On the aggregate the fore highlighted issues and how these issues would be effectively managed or mismanaged to a large extent would determine inevitably the fate that awaits Abia State under the current political dispensation of the second term in office of Ikpeazu as the countdown of days, weeks, months and ultimately years that make up the second term administration of Ikpeazu kicked off effectively on Wednesday, May 29, 2019.

The dice is cast. Abians anxiously are awaiting the deliverables and dividends from Okwo Ugbo Abia State as Ikpeazu steers, controls, directs and maneuvers the ship of Abia State along the political  landscape laden with promises of better outing and performance in his second coming and political missionary journey as the Governor of Abia State. May be Abians under Ikpeazu leadership in this dispensation likely would arrive the promised-land. Or perhaps drift further ashore from the Promised Land.  The journey is typical of steering and guiding a vessel along stormy, tumultuous ocean fraught with many barriers, challenges and obstacles both visible and invisible dotting the routes.

The journey definitely is not expected to be easy and requires combinations of success-oriented leadership formulas and abilities. High levels of experience and skills, administrative and adroit managerial expertise are no doubt required for the much anticipated successful outcomes in the current leadership dispensation in Abia State. Not forgetting of course display of political savvy and political will to do what is acutely necessary to move Abia State forward on all fronts and in like manner resist the temptations and shun accordingly any forms of pressures from whatever quarters to do what is considered politically correct and expedient at the expense and detriment of our dear Abia State.

Lastly, I wish to rest my pen thus far by reminding Abians either residing in the state or in Diaspora herein that we have no other State EXCEPT Abia as our own bonafide  state. We either sink collectively. Or swim and remain afloat collectively politically or otherwise.    

  

Editor’s Note

Polemics is a regular  Column created and managed by ShafT.

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