It was Tuesday, August 27, 1991 when the whole nation glued to their television and radio sets with apt attentiveness to the national broadcast of the then leader of the military junta and Head of States, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, as he announced the creation of more states in Nigeria, to all Abians it was a historic moment marking the birth of Abia State as sounds of joy rented the air, following the announcement, with its capital named as Umuahia. The announcement was followed with appointment of Abia’s military administrator and subsequently election of its first civilian governor during the truncated 1993 general elections that saw the country back to another military era that lasted till May 29, 1999.
The year 1999 saw a new dispensation of democracy in Nigeria lasting till date and have seen the state producing three democratically elected executive governors successively with Dr Orji Uzor Kalu emerging from Abia North senatorial district followed by his the chief of staff Mr. Theodore Amaefule Orji of Abia Central and the incumbent Governor Okezie Ikpeazu representing the good people of Abia South; yet the state has maintained its status quo in terms of infrastructure and development, hence the agitation from various quarters insisting on the continuation of rotational or zoning pattern in election of a governor have been equitably distributed among its three senatorial districts is no longer fashionable rather it will continue adding a clog in the wheel of development of Abia by shutting out the best hands from clinching to its first office.
Having had the governorship position rotated among its three senatorial districts with minimum achievements recorded thus far, it is obvious that the zoning or rotation is not what the state requires for a robust leadership towards positioning of a 29 years old state to a pivotal height, rather with its abundance in human capital resources, it is time for Abians to relegate the political structures designed to favour its supposed King Makers aka godfathers of each of these districts as against its entire citizenry.
As 2023 draws nearer, with the quest or battle by all the political parties to succeeding Ikpeazu, in the government house gradually kicking off, it is time for Abians at home and in diaspora to begin the search for their leader irrespective of his/her district but for whom they will collectively love to producing a Moses to lead Abia not just out of this bondage of bad leadership, but to also deliver it from the shackles of its godfathers as it matches on to its Cannan.
One who will be able to change the narratives on the emergence of political officers through the desires of the people devoid of an iota of imposition by the very few who have had their interests protected from 1999 to date.
Abia deserves a leader who would have the capacity to design its sustainable developmental goals, a blue print that will out live the leader and chart the course for its development in all spheres towards sustaining it with a lesser or no dependent on its federal allocations.
A leader with the needed clout to expanding the horizons of Abia by providing leadership based on reconciliation, peace, security and infrastructure across the length and breadth of the state. A leader with little or no sentiments for a particular ethnic or quarter of the state but one with a vision and understanding that Abia ‘bu nke anyi’, irrespective of ones origin. A bridge builder who will creat enabling environment for both its indigents and non-indigents aimed at developing the state.
From all the indications from 1999, Abia still remains one of the poorest states despite its membership of Oil producing states and its accruing allocations hence the state needs an astute leader as the cloud for 2023 thickens. A man who will like General Mohammad Buhari stated in his inaugural speech of May 29, 2015 “I belong to everybody and to nobody”, one who will have the courage in solidarity with the state Assembly in understanding the need to take governance closer to the people through further breaking the seventeen local government areas into smaller units such as Local Council Development Authorities ( LCDAs) despite the challenges of the federal constitution.
One that will creat and recognise what may be called the fourth tier of government in the place of Community Development Committees and its Community DevelopmentAssociation (CDCs/CDAs with the sole objective of equitable distribution of its eluding dividends of democracy and a reliable feedback mechanism hitherto propelling developments to all its nooks and crannies.
Economically , it is shocking and highly worrisome that after 29 years of the creation of Abia its very few industries inherited from the then old Imo state are still still moribund. Its twenty years of uninterrupted democracy there is no visible guidelines to its developmental plans. Aba, its supposed commercial capital has continuously suffered reckless abandonment with regards to lack of infrastructures and industrialisation towards harnessing its embedded potentials in positioning it for a favourable competitions with the rest of commercial capitals with the propensity of creating employments and adding a thrust to the internally generated revenues (IGR) of Abia.
God’s Own State as its known it’s obviously not of a mistake that Abiamuwa Chukwu Okike deposited Aba in Abia but the lack of right leadership has failed to realise this gift (Aba) as a catalyst for development rather it has been left for political agradismegt.
The leader Abia needs come 2023 must be one with genuine and demonstrated passions and abilities to recognise that the development of any constituency depends largely on the effectiveness of empowering and promoting its small medium enterprises ( SMEs) which Aba represents through its SMEs loan scheme fundings which will in return mean an increase on its income per capita and its GDP.
From the far East Asia, Europe, America, Australia, Africa and at home the lists of Abians are endless with men and women who have demonstrated such abilities and capacities to changing the narratives; hence as the cotton towards the 2023 general elections draws closer by the thinking of seconds its an opportunity for Abians to look far beyond the shores and within for that Abian with such passion and enthusiasm to rescue Abia from the Hawks already plotting to use the scheme of zoning in sustaining their selfish derivatives by instituting their proxy that will be answerable to them and not to the course of Abia. this must be resisted by all!
In concluding this piece it’s imperative to mention the looted billions of Naira and Dollars in the last twenty years of the current democratic dispensation which connotes nothing but the representation of rotation or zoning, there is perhaps no more time to sustain the gambling on the premix of zoning rather its time to trash the institutionalised political ideology of godfathers promoting their culture of imposition of political officers,nits time for Abians to practice the true principles of democracy; a government by the people and for the people.
Freedom is not given rather its fought for!