by Offor Honest
Congratulations would be the most appropriate way to begin this patriotic intervention. Your historic victory at the polls was a triumph of the principles of fairness, equity and justice over money politics. However, I do not envy you. This is because of the gargantuan challenges facing the God’s own state which you will inherit from May 29th.
Truth be told, were the election to have been a referendum on the performance of the PDP in the State or the stewardship of the incumbent Governor, you would’ve lost woefully. Abia is perhaps the worst governed State in the federation. Governance has since taken flight in our State and in its place, a culture of mediocrity and sycophancy has been deeply entrenched. It is no surprise that residents of Aba overwhelmingly voted against PDP and expressed their anger over the abandonment of the commercial centerpiece of Eastern Nigeria.
Your victory at the polls was largely due to the clamor for power shift and the desire to ensure social justice for a region that has been marginalized in the past. Those that voted against you did not do so out of personal hatred, they merely demonstrated their frustration with a government that spearheaded the collapse of physical and social infrastructure in the State.
You will be stepping into the shoes of a government that merely existed in Umuahia without giving a damn about how other parts of the State fared. You’ll be inheriting a State that is plagued by a plethora of problems; unpaid salaries, infrastructural decay, dirty environment and a mass of angry citizens. The needs of the State requires urgent and serious attention, therefore you’ll not be afforded the luxury of a honeymoon.
Many people see you as a stooge of a terribly incompetent incumbent. Many more are scared that you might be held captive by your godfather, the Governor and his son whom you’ll have to contend with in the House of Assembly. I want to believe that an intelligent intellectual like you will not accept to play stooge to anyone. How you’re able to service the interest of your benefactors without compromising the needs of the populace will go a long way in defining your administration.
To succeed in the herculean task of clearing the mess of your predecessors, you’ll need young, vibrant and competent Abians that are passionate and selfless. If you assemble a bunch of incompetent sycophants like the ones currently parading themselves as commissioners, you will only succeed in being another local champion like Ochendo.
The precarious state of our economy has placed serious constraints on States and only a team of innovative thinkers can fashion out means to survive in these times. It is therefore imperative that career politicians looking for a way to recoup their investment do not find their way into key positions. Commissioners should be made to sign a performance pact which should be periodically reviewed and those whose performances falls below set targets, should be made to resign.
A development strategy that outlines a long term policy direction similar to Anambra’s ANIDS should be developed. The revenue collection model of Lagos State should be studied and adopted to maximize the economic potentials of Aba, which will help in raising the much needed capital for bridging the infrastructure deficit in the State. Multinational development and donor agencies should be partnered to provide strategic interventions in areas such as health, education and water provision.
Your Excellency, you are the same man you were before you won the election. Do not forget your humble beginning and do not become a captive of power. Those that will praise you to high heavens without calling your attention when you stray are your enemies; stay away from them. You can either become a hero or a villain, the choice is yours. I wish you a challenging four years filled with many success stories.
God bless you and may God bless his State, Abia!
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