Why Must the Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu go?

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu

By Emeh Chinecherem

Some things that happen in life happen when they are list expected, while some things that happen are expected before they happen.  Such was the emergence of the current governor of Abia State Dr Okezie Ikpeazu.

During the events that happened before the 2015 gubernatorial election, it was rumoured that the former governor of Abia State, now Senator, T. A. Orji was supporting Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, many residents of Abia State were not happy at that. In fact, some of them openly said that if Dr Okezie Ikpeazu was being supported by Senator T. A. Orji, that, he was surely going to fail at the election. Dr Ikpeazu was not giving any benefit of doubt even though he had held sway at ASEPA in the State where he performed well. He was concluded at arrival. Some, including this writer argued that, if the immediate past governor whom some held in their opinion didn’t perform well could succeed in installing his successor, the state was surely going to retrogress in the area of infrastructure.

Dr Ikpeazu succeeded in emerging as the gubernatorial standard bearer of the PDP in the 2015 governorship election beating off competitions from the likes of Uchechukwu Ogah of the Masters Energy, Emeka Wogu former minister of Labour and Productivity, others that contested the primaries and those that left before the primaries, even though there were allegations of manipulation of the process of the primaries which are now in the past. Against all odds, Dr Ikpeazu was presented by PDP to the electorates in Abia State during the 2015 gubernatorial election.

The 2015 gubernatorial election in Abia State turned out to be a two-horse race between Dr Okezie Ikpeazu of the PDP and Alex Otti of the APGA. There was overt support especially in Aba for the APGA candidate. Many bookmakers tipped him to come out victorious. In fact, some people were expecting him to be sworn in even before the swearing-in ceremony because of how dilapidated the State was, and the hope and his promise that he was going to fix Abia State, Aba in particular.

When the result and winner of the gubernatorial election was declared in Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu was declared the winner of the election. His victory was greeted with mixed reactions. The people from Ngwa extraction of the State were happy that their own person is now the governor of the State, the first in the history of Ngwa people for an Ngwa man to be a governor of Abia State is not a small feat to be accomplished by Dr Okezie Ipkeazu. But non-indigenes of Aba felt otherwise. For them, they had been shortchanged. They reasoned ‘how could Dr Okezie Ikpeazu win in the election? How could one supported by Chief T. A. Orji ever win a gubernatorial election?’ But despite all the mixed reactions that greeted the emergence of Dr Ikpeazu as the governor, it was actually real and not a dream that he is the governor.

Since Dr Ikpeazu became the governor of the State, majority of the people in Aba are wishing that the governor would go. They felt that Alex Otti should be the one saddled with the responsibility of rebuilding Abia State and not Dr Ikpeazu. A sample of opinion in the State shows that, seven in every ten people approached wish that the governor should go. But to the surprise of everyone, the governor proved those who didn’t give him chance wrong.

As some people were busy worrying on why and how the governor should go, the governor was busy thinking of a way to honestly fix Aba. I still remember an article I wrote during last quarter of last year wishing that every year would be an election year because of the interventions we got in our roads from the 2015 gubernatorial aspirants and contestants but, we never knew that a greater intervention was on the way to be rendered by no other person but Dr Okezie Ikpeazu whom was never giving chance to redeem himself. 

It didn’t take long after the election was contested and won, the APGA gubernatorial standard bearer Alex Otti, and that of APC Anyim Nyerere went to the election petition tribunal. The tribunal in their personal wisdom after striking out the petition of the APC candidate at the preliminary stage averred that, Alex Otti of the APGA did not prove his case beyond every reasonable doubt that he should be made the governor instead of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu. They felt that the claim of Alex Otti that the election was marred with widespread irregularities especially in Obingwa, Osisioma, Isialangwa and Ugwunagbor LGAs does not hold water. For them, Alex Otti could not prove his case beyond every reasonable doubt as such; they could not pronounce him the winner of the election. So, they upheld the decision of INEC to declare Dr Ikpeazu the winner of the election.

People felt that the judgement of the tribunal was not well-given. In the first place, how well could a petitioner prove his case and it will be beyond every reasonable doubt? Since the petitioner does not to what extent to prove his case beyond every reasonable doubt, some felt that it is the duty of the judiciary to deliver judgement based on the merit and demerit of a case. In fact, some people felt that the judgement as was delivered by the tribunal was not really clear on the issues raised by Alex Otti.

Not satisfied with the judgement of the governorship election petition tribunal, Alex Otti went to the Appeal Court to seek redress against the judgement of the tribunal. As this scenario was going on, the governor, Dr Ikpeazu was busy turning Abia State, Aba in particular around for good. Those who were saying that the governor should go are now having a rethink. For them, with the pace at which road construction is going on in the State, soonest, it could well be the turn of their road to be (re)constructed so, if the governor leaves now, there may not be any hope of (re)constructing their road. They are now saying that Alex Otti should allow Dr Ikpeazu to continue his good works. Therefore, the governor should still remain. But others believe that the governor should go because of their distaste for the person that brought him in, in the person of Senator T. A.

As Abians, it is not in our power to decide who remains or not at this stage. Though Dr Ikpeazu now have a long rope to climb as the Appeal Court states that Alex Otti should be sworn in as the governor in place of Dr Ikpeazu. The judgement indicates that, the figure at which the governor won election from Obingwa and two other LGAs from Abia South is greater than the figure in INEC’s side of the line. So, the matter now lies in the hand of the Supreme Court to decide if Dr Ikpeazu should go or not.

The supporters of both men should now pray that the judgement of the Supreme Court will be in their favour as the Supreme Court will be sitting on Wednesday 03 February, 2016. Who should carry the day, Dr Ikpeazu or Dr Otti? God knows as we await the verdict of the Supreme Court. GOD IS GREAT.