• Thursday, July 25, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

The Okezie Ikpeazu I featured with

businessday-icon

When on July 12, 2013, Godson Ahuama, anchor of the celebrated programme ‘Moving Train’ on Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State (BCA), called to inform me that he wanted me to feature on that day’s edition of the programme, he gave no hint of the pleasant surprise that he had in store for me. So, I quickly ran through my schedule for the day and, in the absence of any other overlapping engagement, conveyed my acceptance.

Getting to the station was not a big deal. The big deal, however, was that on getting there, I discovered, to my utmost consternation, that I was going to be featured with another guest whose pedigree and personality towered like the Iroko and whose oratorical prowess dwarfed whatever I was coming to the programme with. Regardless that the programme was not a platform for competition and assessment of credentials, I confessed to listeners that I never knew Ahuama was going to make the seat hotter for me by pairing me with an intellectual powerhouse like Okezie Ikpeazu. Little did I know I was locked in an interesting intellectual exercise with the man who would eventually be the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) flag bearer in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Abia State.

We exchanged pleasantries and, quite expectedly, Ikpeazu addressed his questions with admirable ease and proffered practicable answers to issues of environmental importance. In all of that, I saw a man with an irrepressible knack and glittering vision to make a huge difference in the little corner he was detailed to oversee.

Prior to his appointment as deputy general manager, Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) for Aba and its environs, mountainous heaps of health-threatening refuse constituted an intractable nightmare to the government of Theodore Ahamefula Orji. Scarcely had Ikpeazu assumed duty at the Aba office of ASEPA than he quickly deployed his wealth of experience in tackling headlong the filth which had almost defaced Aba.

Governor Orji’s preference for Ikpeazu may have been inspired by the truth that the challenge of continuing with the era of legacies he instituted in the state is better left in the hands of a man who has been around, who has been part of the building process, and who understands the people and vice versa, to avoid taking Abia back to the tunnel of retrogression. This much Ikpeazu wisely acknowledged during the PDP campaign rally for Bende Local Government Area, where he reminded Abians that he was chosen from among them because he would be better positioned to feel their pains and heartbeat. As he said, “Only those who are close to each other perceive each other’s mouth odour.”

Ruminating over Ikpeazu’s position above, I came to the conclusion that, indisputably, Governor Orji and indeed the PDP have made the right choice. The rank and file of Governor Orji’s chronic critics have variously owned up to the truth that Ikpeazu is a good choice and that if not encumbered, will leave milestones that will stand the test of time.

My reaction has always been that those who delight in street lies are perpetually doomed to talk from the sinking sand of ignorance. If Governor T. A. Orji had accepted to be encumbered, he would not have succeeded in assuming his rightful place as pathfinder of Modern Abia.

The certainty, therefore, is that Okezie Ikpeazu will continue to shepherd Abia to greater heights from the liberated platform bequeathed by Ochendo, whose wealth of experience, by the way, is set to be deployed at the Senate Chambers for attraction of the much-needed federal presence in Abia State.

In retrospect, I recall Ikpeazu’s outstanding template during our discussion on BCA on how he was going to intervene at the waterside end of Ogbor Hill, Aba during his eventful days at ASEPA. He had it well figured out: relocation of the slaughterhouse, cleaning and beautification of the waterside river banks up to the abandoned Enyimba Hotel and its environs, with lush green trees and grass for the people of Aba to sit out and consummate the gift of nature. In my mind’s eye, I see all that and more coming to fruition if he becomes the governor of the state.

Again, I recall that during one of the strategic meetings at Abia State Board of Internal Revenue, which I attended, it was Okezie Ikpeazu’s recipe that was unanimously adopted as a guideline for checking the operations of revenue agents in the state.

Ikpeazu is a strategic thinker who boasts of a towering expertise in Biochemical Pharmacology, which he studied up to doctorate degree level. His effervescent thirst to expand the frontiers of knowledge saw him feature as a scholar in many citadels of learning. I have no doubt in my mind that his all-embracing and team-play model of development will be roundly endorsed by all strata of development partners in the state.

As I conclude this piece, I believe the Ikepeazu I featured with during a BCA discussion programme will feature me in several other programmes in his incoming divine mandate.

Iyke Ogbonnaya