Abia 32nd Anniversary; another opportunity to rebuild the state

“There is no better way to rebuild the state than for all hands to be on deck to support the Alex Otti led government policies and programmes for the overall development of our dear state”

By Ogbonnaya Ikokwu

I remember with nostalgia that there was a wide celebration in my home town on August 27, 1991 when news trickled in that the then Nigerian leader Gen.Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) had announced the creation of Abia.

After the creation came the real essence of the state, which primarily resolves around good governance and development, The development of course, covers good road network, quality health care delivery, sound education, pipe borne water, timely justice delivery among other indices of good governance.

An objective assessment of the political enclave called Abia State between August 27, 1991 and August 27 2023, will prove that her indigenes and residents did not fare better than they were under the old Imo State which comprised of Abia, Imo and parts of the present day Ebonyi State in terms of the delivery of quality development to the people.

Abia State has 17 Local Government Areas, 24 state Constituencies, eight Federal Constituency and three Senatorial Districts. The above being units of government with the intent to take the dividends of democracy to the doorstep of the common man since the return of civilian rule in Nigeria has been in a sorry condition

One would expect that given the enormous natural resources, the state is blessed with including Limestone, Phosphate, Lignite, Kaolin and huge crude oil and gas deposits an amogst others, the state would have been a paradise for its residents in terms of human and material development but the reverse is the case.

A critical review of different sectors of the state will quickly show that her development has been in the reverse gear. One can rightly say that Abia has produced powerful individuals, billionaires and millionaires who have in one way or the other found themselves in the corridors of power than a strong state with all the indices of a modern society.

Starting from education which is the bedrock of all development, all the state owned public primary and secondary Schools are barely struggling to survive. The reason is not farfetched. It’s a common knowledge that teachers in the state employment were not paid as at when due, leading to incessant industrial actions in the past.

Given the above scenario, private individuals, mostly politicians and their cronies have taken advantage of the decay in the school system to build low and high brow private schools that are daily promoted in the media to attract students, with promise of a conducive learning environment and assurances to graduate on time.

Rather than address the rot in the system, previous governments in the state started a shadow race of returning public schools to their original owners (mostly churches) to manage, which is another method of acquiring public properties by powerful members of such organizations in government.

It is gradually becoming obvious that basic education is now in the hands of businessmen in the state making it very expensive for the children of the poor if nothing is not done and quickly too.

The health sector is not left out in the backwards development bedeviling the state. Health they say is wealth; therefore a state with poor health institution is a poor state. To prove this, it is worthy to point out that all the primary and secondary healthcare facilities in the state have been in a sorry state. 

Away from poor infrastructures, the civil service was also run like a private business by successive administration in the state. The ongoing verification of workers has revealed that the state loses millions of naira on a monthly basis paying ghost workers.

Punitive transfer of civil servants, unmerited promotion, favoritism and nepotism had been the other of the day. 

The lack of political will to run the civil service transparently for probity and accountability led to owing of salaries and pensions in many government agencies and parastatals to the tune of N50 billion by the immediate past administration.

Given the above picture of improper management of human and material resources accruing to the state, it becomes obvious that Abia @32 can be likened to a critically ill person at the intensive care unit”, in modern day hospital, hence the state is in dire need of money to come alive again.

A former chairman of the Abia advisory council Late Ezeogo Anagha Ezeike, had once lamented before journalists that the Abia the founding fathers fought for was not what he was seeing shortly before his death.

Abia electorates were also aware that the state our founding fathers fought for was not what we now have. That simple fact was the deciding factor for the March 18, 2023 governorship voting pattern that ushered in governor Alex otti.

The Governor had already declared a state of emergency on critical sectors of the state including waste management, security, education, infrastructure, investment, climate change and prompt payment salaries and pensions.

Being a man that matches his word with action, the results of emergency is becoming clear with the heaps of refuse on the street of Aba and Umuahia cleared and daily evacuation of waste by the Abia State Environmental and Protection Agency our cities are now cleaner than ever before.

The construction and reconstruction of many failed roads in Aba, the commercial hub of the state even in the rainy season is sure sign that “a Daniel has come to Judgment”.

Again with the verification of workers which will be concluded soon, the state will know the actual strength of her workforce, which among other things will eliminate ghost workers from the system and make room for proper and timely retirement of workers as well as create the opportunity for future employment.

Ndi Abia there is no better way to rebuild the state than for all hands to be on deck to support the Alex Otti led government policies and programmes for the overall development of our dear state for the present and future generations.

 Ogbonnaya Ikokwu writes From Umuahia 

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