My Priority is Establishing Strong Economic Base In Abia – Ikpeazu | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


My Priority is Establishing Strong Economic Base In Abia – Ikpeazu

Posted: May 6, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)
• Ikpeazu

• Ikpeazu

Abia State governor-elect, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, recently held his maiden media conference. During the briefing, he gave insight into his plans for the commercial nerve centre of the state, Aba, and other sectors. BEN DURU and EMEKA OKAFOR were at the briefing.

Having won the Abia governorship poll, you will assume power in the state this month. Tell us what Abians should expect from you in your first one hundred days in office?

I want to say that within the first one hundred days in office, the main frame of our administration will have been defined; like we said, it is not going to be business as usual, but a situation in which everyone that is sincere will come to government to do government business, and it is going to be serious business. There is a lot of work to be done, there will be no time to sleep on the bicycle. So, from day one, we will decide on our agenda. If I had told you that I did not expect it, then I am not a serious minded person. Luckily for me, the litigant went to the Tribunal in my absence, I will be there to defend my mandate. I am the custodian of that mandate, and going with me will be 1.3 million voters of Abia State or if I like I narrow it down to those that voted, until they prove otherwise, but today that is where we are. In some places I am bothered why we still have desperate losers in Nigeria today. I thought some of us would have looked at what President Goodluck Jonathan did, because Jonathan conceded defeat and decided to tow the path of a statesman, but if somebody takes his desperation to the wires, there it goes.

Please, do elaborate more on your plans for Aba, the commercial nerve-centre of the state, when you mount the leadership of the State?

I want to place on record that Aba is not the only city in Abia; the State is not synonymous with Aba, but we think that our greatest challenge in Abia is to have a strong economic base, we should focus on our economy because if we get our economy right, then you can put food on the table of many, generate employment, and if you do that also, you know that the pillar in which trade and commerce strive is good roads. Having said that, to answer your question, more specifically, we expect that generally speaking all those potholes around Aba will be a thing of the past in my time and we expect to do a ring road that will decongest the city centre, that will pass through about seven local governments, starting from Ugwunnagbo where it will interject from the Expressway. We have to do a third bridge from Aba River and it will enter in some parts of Obingwa, then take it round to Ossioma, between Aro-Ngwa junction. The idea is to allow the city to develop horizontally, in a way that the city centre will be decongested. The old fashion of resurfacing the roads should be taken for granted because I do not like to campaign with such things. Even a twelve year old boy will do a resurfacing of roads. The most important thing is that we will build a strong foundation for our Medium and Small Enterprises in Aba that will employ thousands of people in Aba and also, we will think of how bring back to life some moribund companies like the Textile Mill in Aba and those you see around Owerrinta axis of about five, six companies there that are not functioning. We are going to speak with the owners of those companies on how to leverage government access on how to make those companies come back to production. If we can return those companies functioning, it will then mean that we will keep our youths out of the streets as unemployed people. We are going to take stock in all the seventeen local government areas of those that are jobless. We will look at their competence and qualifications, so that we can target our efforts specifically on those that need them, then we can take it up from there.

The success of the incoming administration will depend on the caliber of men and women that will be working with you, there is a choice between technocrats and party loyalists; how will you react to this?

I will start with political loyalists, our political loyalists are Abians, and they will help me take technocrats that will do the job that we need them to do. We are not going to put square pegs in round holes, we are going to make sure that we put round pegs in round holes all the time it is for our benefit and it s very important, I will design that from the first day in office; so, there is no way that I will throw away the political loyalists that will make me choose good technocrats that will do the work.

Sir, you have said what you will do in Aba, what are you going to do with illegal structures that are not approved by government?

I will borrow my answer from your questions; you said illegal structures, not approved in Aba. Any structures that are not approved by government, in the eyes of the law, does not exist.

What is going to be the vision of your administration, beginning from May 29, 2015?

My vision for Abia – in Aba where manufacturing of leather will take the front burner from day one and it must happen in the logical and prepared fashion, not the haphazard way it is being done today, we will think of equipment that will lift the burden and hardship of making of making one thousand shoes, instead of  using two months to make one thousand shoes, we want to make sure we are  going to produce one thousand shoes in an hour and we are going to bring in equipment that produce the products in such a way that be finished and evacuated and marketed in Paris or England, for us to do all that, the roads have to be taken care of; so, our economic base must  come first, then the roads that will push the economy will then come in.

We will like to know if you have received any call from your other opponents that contested with you, some of them congratulating you, or is it going to be a winner-takes-it-all?

It is not going to be a winner-takes-all, my strongest point is that I will provide the platform that will give every Abian, whether those that ran the election with us, those in Diaspora, those that may find themselves here and there, we have progressive ideas and thoughts and we’ll invite them to come forward. I want to put it on record that you cannot cast iron on stone even my own idea, I am a free for logic let us come to the table and talk about it, if you win the argument; then, we run your idea, then, if I win, you should be humble enough to accept a superior argument, I am open to all kinds of contribution that will help us make progress. Then, in terms of calls from those who ran election, before that election, as close to six hours to election about six other governorship candidates had collapsed into our party; so, we are celebrating together, Chukwu Udensi of the PPA is celebrating. I know that APC is not angry with our victory, everybody has a common ground and that is on how to develop Abia State, generally speaking, Aba is going to be our front burner, I do not have any other city than Aba, but as Governor, Abia is my constituency, I own Arochukwu, I own Isiukwuato, I own everywhere, but one thing is that what we will get from Aba will help us develop other areas.