John Daniel Obioma
IF there is anyone Abia desperately needs to heal its oozing wounds, rescue the state from the brink, harness its neglected development opportunities, and give the wearied people some hope after several years of “God’s Own State” being squandered by the ‘locusts,’ it has to be the inimitable technocrat, renowned publisher, and development economist – High Chief Ikechi Emenike.
He is the eminent governorship candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the upcoming March 11, 2023 Governorship Election.
Emenike is not a new face in Abia politics. For the past 24 years, it is sufficient to say that ‘time and chance’ have not favoured him in his quest to become the Servant-in-Chief of Abia. It has always been pre-election manoeuvrings, never-ending lawsuits, and conspiracies that have prevented him from fulfilling his manifest destiny of rescuing the state. But he has remained undaunted, determined to drink from the same cup that Abraham Lincoln of the United States left for true leaders.
Interestingly, the 2023 political season has presented him with a huge opportunity, far beyond the shadows of previous years. So far, the courts have vindicated him, as both the Appeal and Supreme Courts have confirmed his candidacy. Emenike is also backed by his party, the APC, as the party’s flag bearer in Abia State. Furthermore, he has received the support of President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as a large number of state traditional rulers and custodians of the people, as well as several support groups in Nigeria and abroad. At first glance, it appears that God’s unprecedented finger is at work for his impending victory and rescue mission in Abia.
In addition, the newly formed APC Gubernatorial Campaign Council in Abia is the first of its kind. With a strong team of 1,740 carefully selected grassroots workers and mobilizers, including six retired generals, ex-permanent secretaries, community and religious leaders, professionals, Nollywood stars, women and youth leaders, and others – have all been mandated to access the state’s reached and unreached people and places, to drum support for the frontline governorship candidate.
Now that the coast is clear from the APC camp, Emenike’s next hurdle will be against governorship candidates from other parties. Needless to say, Emenike towers over his rivals in terms of integrity, exposure, and a thorough understanding of what governance entails. He understands what development means to impoverished people. He is entering governance as a sanitizer, a man of integrity who strongly believes in the virtues of equity, service, accountability, and transparency with clean hands, having not been involved in the despoliation of Abia.
Emenike has enormous intellectual competence and administrative capacity to deliver good results as a leader of leaders. He is always organized and prepared, and he sets goals and sees that they are met. That is why he has gathered a team of highly efficient and well-meaning individuals to help him complete the Rescue and Develop Abia project. The big question on some people’s minds is: How is Emenike going to save Abia, a state with almost zero development status?
He has seen things for himself after touring the state’s 17 local government areas several times. As a result, he has unveiled a roadmap in the form of a holistic manifesto that succinctly captures the people’s priority needs in a variety of areas. Essentially, he has thrown his hat into the ring to accomplish the following, among other things:
• Block resource leakages that hinder Abia development;
• Revive prompt and institutionalised payment of salaries and pensions.
• Give priority to youth employment, empowerment and skill acquisition.
• Give the squalid Abia environment an accelerated face-lift.
• Recreate Umuahia, Aba and Ohafia as model cities
• Engage in infrastructure development, especially intra/inter-state roads, bridges
• Restore accountability and transparency in governance.
• Develop the hitherto forgotten oil producing areas of the state.
• Re-establish Abia as the industrial and business hub of the Southeast, like Dubai in the United Arab Emirate.
• Promote vocational and technological training, rebranding Abia as a foremost hitech hub in Nigeria.
• Establish inland Dry Port in Abia.
• Give Abia an international airport and restore local government autonomy.
• Restore the dignity of Abia people, among others.
These are commendable plans that would undoubtedly set the state on a revolutionary path. However, it will take the people’s collective determination and support to make the plan a reality, by making the right decision. Decisions are crucial in life because they can make or break a dream. Wrong decisions have consequences not only for current generations, but also for future generations and those yet to be born. Over the last 24 years, poor political decisions have reduced Abia to a backward and failing state.
Abia State can smile again, thanks to the opportunity God has graciously provided through High Chief Ikechi Emenike, as an instrument. “Even the prey of the mighty can be delivered,” says the Bible. Emenike needs PVC support across party lines right now. Voting for him, regardless of party affiliation, is the only way to bring the state back to life. Rival political parties have clearly been infiltrated and polluted by the same plundering cabal that has vowed to keep the state as its cash cow in perpetuity.
For the sake of Abia, all hands must be on deck to give Emenike a collective mandate on March 11, 2023. The die is cast. The decisive moment has arrived, and Abians must rise to the occasion by making the correct choice and voting massively for Emenike, in order to achieve the collective victory that will usher in a new era in “God’s Own State.”
John Daniel Obioma Editor, Compendia Media LTD. Lagos.