By Sleek Ogbonnaya Ogwo
Very deep and perceptive pundits in the Nigerian political space irrespective of party leanings are unanimous in their view that Professor Gregory Ikechukwu Ibe, the APGA governorship flag in Abia State is the candidate to beat in the 2023 governorship election in God’s own State because the well rounded intellectual, educationist, development icon and gentleman, who reeks with humility is an epitome of for the classical Athenian democracy.
Long before electoral primaries came into the public domain, Greg Ibe, embarked on a wide ranging, all- inclusive consultations, with movers and shakers, technocrats, youths, market and trade groups whom he engaged on democratic strategies that will help build the environment for government which delivers services to its citizens effectively. He also rubbed minds with them on how to kick start a reform agenda based on citizens own assessment of democracy.
The net result is an effective seepage and networking into the grid of grassroots of party organs and the civil society. As an intellectual, philosopher and statesman whose footprints, deportment, comportment has gradually been etched into the heroic book of Abia political space. Without any fear of contradictions he will emerge as the next Abia state governor, by the will of God.
Professor Greg Ibe has always, distinguished himself with a high octane of public service, and moral character in more ways than one. As the Founder and Chancellor of Gregory University Uturu that has been pivotal in elevating the socio-economic well being of Ndi Abia, He is endowed with all the attributes of a personae that will move Abia State to a level excellence far beyond the locust years. This is anchored on his vision to develop Abia into a dynamic state, and prime investment destination in Nigeria, on a trajectory of vastly improved centre of commerce/trade, agriculture, industry, science and technology, and a leader in innovation and entrepreneurship .This will be brought about by instituting a system where the government creates the operating environment for our people to flourish.
Fundamental to our human capital development and its retention is to reverse the migration of our youths in droves to other climes seeking for opportunities which ordinarily should have been domiciled here for our benefits if we had leveraged on their skills, education and resources.
Recall that Aba for decades was the centerpiece of commerce, trade and industry robustly patronized by merchants and traders from the ECOWAS and far flung cross border markets. Unfortunately we lost this preeminent position to other states, owing to security challenges and infrastructural deficits. This has led to the fleeing of many respected businessmen and industrialists to elsewhere. One can hardly blame them. The fault lies with present and previous administrations that abdicated their mandates. Greg Ibe intends to reverse the declivity.To make Abia the leading centre for innovation and entrepreneurship development. Abians are the leaders in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Engineering, Science and Technology. At present, however, our environment is not enabling. We lack basic tools that will propel growth in ICT, science and engineering research and development. Our best people therefore migrate to other places where infrastructure and network readiness are easily available. Low business innovations and technology penetrations, low capital inflow and absence of institutions are increasingly contributing to driving businesses, investments and wealth out of our State. We shall work hard to develop our infrastructural backbone, propel innovation and advance research.
For Prof. Greg Ibe, “We must redefine and own our narratives, develop the Abia Brand and make our people invest in it. The perception of an Abian by others is far worse than the reality. Other Nigerians have developed a negative stereotype of us. This is due to lack of information and absence of deliberate effort by us to tell others who we actually are. Few bad elements have given us bad names, making others see all of us from the same prism. We cannot keep quiet about this unfortunate negative development. We need to henceforth do things right, tell our stories, develop a new narrative for ourselves, create the Abia brand, market it and ensure we all invest in it. It shall be a legacy for ourselves and our children.
My dear Abians, if it pleases God to make me your governor, all my programmes and projects during my sojourn in Government House Umuahia, shall be woven on these four core objectives.
These core objectives shall give us a new state, enthrone competence, excellence in service, due process, transparency and accountability, purposeful leadership, as well as develop a sense of ownership and patriotism in Abians, and especially bring them home to contribute to the development and advancement of our state.”
As Governor, I shall abide by the basic principles that can help us progress; work for social cohesion through sharing the benefits of progress, creating equal opportunities for all and giving meritocracy the chance, it deserves, with the best man or woman for the job, especially as leaders in government.
There is need to instigate a proactive psychological disposition of NdiAbia to engender a transformation of our land. We need our people to have their thoughts directed towards our land thus contributing to its utter development and upliftment.
The readily observable attitude of being arm chair critics, being on the sidelines as critics or passive observers should cease rather active participation in designing, developing and delivering the Abia State of our dreams which is an economically vibrant,politically stable, environmentally friendly and enabling environment should be ramped up, accentuated and promoted.
Therefore, our vision is to comprehensively and effectively address and change this phenomenon as a foundation for building forward. All Abians and select groups are considered partners in this aim of revamping our mindsets as primary participants in governance of our state. This approach shall restore confidence, hope and faith in ourselves thus encouraging inclusive, practical and holistic leadership within our state.
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.