By Uche Nwosu
Amidst the increasingly discordant voices in Abia State on where the seat of the governorship of the state should swing to after the Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s tenure in 2023, it is pertinent to appeal to Abians to employ history as guide in the discourse over which Senatorial district will inherit the coveted seat from 2023.
History has taught us that developed/prosperous societies/nations derived their prosperity and stupendous wealth from openness, inclusiveness and huge search for quality leadership. For example, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson in their highly celebrated book “Why Nations Fall” conclusively posited that the reason why some nations are rich while others are poor is because while the prosperous nations elect quality men to govern them, poor nations choose the opposite.
This is why in prosperous societies there is the abundance of fortunes such as: wealth, health, food, light etc, while the undeveloped nations swirl in sickness, famine, poverty, darkness etc. A remarkable example is the United States that doesn’t give a hoot about mediocrity but merit.
In Abia State, there is the clamour to shift the seat to a particular Senatorial district. In as much as the clamour sounds reasonable, but does it present the summum bonum of equity? If Abia North squeals for power shift to its zone in 2023, it should understand that the Abia number position has gone round and that alone makes it intrinsic for all the districts, excluding the present occupant, Abia South, to vie for it.
On May 29, 1999, the Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, from Igbere, Bende LGA of Abia North was sworn as second executive governor of the state. Kalu was reelected in 2003 and indeed held sway until 2007 when he handed over to Chief Theodore Ahamefule Orji in 2007 as the third executive governor of this God’s Own State. Orji, from Amokwe Ugba, Ibeku, Umuahia North LGA of Abia Central was reelected in 2011 and completed his second tenure in May 2015.
On May 29, 2015, Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu from Umuobiakwa in Obingwa LGA of Abia South took over the helms of leadership of Abia State as the fourth executive governor in what many applauded as Okezuo Abia (the completion of the rulership circle) in the state. And by every means of imaginable, the circle of leadership in Abia State as it concerns its top management and political spectrum, by Ikpeazu’s emergence has gone round.
What stands out now will be the beginning of a new circle/era from May 2023 which the two districts of Abia State, Abia Central and Abia North Senatorial districts are qualified and therefore free to throw their hats on. Abians are aware that the world is on a fast lane and no state will wait for another in a race only the best is good enough. Abia needs accelerated development. A developed economy creates jobs and impairs insecurity.
Arguably, Abia may not sustain its population in future if there is no corresponding growth. There should be more sustained investment in infrastructure because it is only avenue that will drive economic growth. According to the World Economic Forum, “For every US dollar spent on capital projects (utilities, energy, transport, wastes management, flood etc) generates an economic return of 5% to 25%.
Interesting, Governor Ikpeazu is laying a strong economic base hinged on infrastructural outlay and restructuring. What is required is consolidation and improvement. Abians should look out and indeed canvass for quality leadership rather than primordial clamour. Regrettably, Abia political kingdom like in the wider society is replete with outrageous promises that oftentimes are unfulfilled. If the man coming has sometime wonderful for Abia’s economic bliss, why should he be made an onlooker?
If you had served in the public service, the military and has done well or had discharged a Spartan political lifestyle that translated opportunities to cost efficient power availability, you are indeed the likely fellow for the job. Abia needs to move forward, after all the Abia Charter of Equity talks of sharing of positions (political, socioeconomic etc) equitably and evenly with none of the components parts being alienated. Abia Charter of Equity certainly does not support domiciling power on any particular zone based on primeval passion.
Which group would now say it is marginalised amongst the political and constitutionally recognised senatorial districts? Which senatorial district amongst the three would say it has been left out of the political chess game as it concerns the highest office of the state? Abia is rich with abundance of human and natural resources that can be deployed for good. It takes a visionary leader to harness and galvanise these potentials for utmost use for the people.
Abians need food on their table; they need shelter, they need security, they need decent environment, quality and affordable education for their children and wards, and equally desire to be given unrestrained access towards the discharge of their business ventures scattered around towns amongst others expectations. These are serious issues any leader has to look into to make himself/herself saleable when the chips are down.
Therefore, let the Chessboard be thrown open.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.