It is a widely held consensus that “private sector orientation and exposure will always, to a great extent, overshadow the behavioural outputs of its beneficiaries, irrespective of the environment where duty calls”. The Abia State Deputy Governor, Ude Oko Chukwu is a towering and fitting symbol of this aphorism.
One is persuaded to reason as such after a careful study of the background of the Abia deputy governor. The result is a stunning and awe-inspiring revelation bordering on a meteoric rise in accountancy, chartering in the line of duty, to bullishly running an accounting firm, and ultimately obtaining a doctorate degree in Finance.
The Abia State public and political enclave is evidently the beneficiary of the deputy governor’s private-sector experience, following from his result-oriented and pragmatic disposition as a loyal and dependable ally of Governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu.
The deputy governor’s charismatic devotion to work and availability for duty – even at the eleventh hour during which he has clinically tidied up unscheduled events which usually erupt like a volcano – have consistently distinguished him while comparatively widening his mileage when juxtaposed with his other less busy colleagues. This high sense of responsibility to duty rationalizes the governor’s confidence in him. This has been demonstrated through the governor’s constant extension of other critical state functions to the deputy governor for execution.
As servant-leaders who were divinely paired, Ikpeazu in league with his deputy, Ude Oko Chukwu, have selflessly become pathfinders. This has, beyond constitutional call of duty, made the Deputy Governor’s Office more eventful.
Amid the precarious and fragile economic outlook in Nigeria, the governor rightly detailed the deputy, an accounting apostle, to financially keep the state wet. Leveraging the instrumentality of a revenue council being supervised by the deputy governor, Abia has not dwelt deeply in financial woods. Practical implementation of the council’s recommendations and ceiling of revenue leakages yielded the upping of the state’s monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from about N400 million to N1 billion and above – a newsworthy development which motivated the governor’s ‘can-do’ new target of N4 billion monthly. As is often said, where there is a will, there will always be a way. The new face of revenue regime in Abia State has significantly reduced the crude and unorthodox approach of hounding taxpayers, touting and brigandage in revenue collection.
Again, take a look at the Abia Dry Port project. The inauguration of what seemed like a jinxed and intractable project, conceived on the template of public private partnership, dates back to 2006. However, the fanfare which followed its proposed establishment has since evaporated into a feeling of despair, especially from our import-oriented businessmen and women who had expected its quick realization.
Hope has, however, been rekindled, arising from the governor’s recent and bold mandate being conscientiously implemented by the deputy governor. All basic and mandatory protocols bordering on compensation to land owners have been complied with, while contractors are being mobilized to site for perimeter fencing and critical site services.
With the completion of geotechnical investigation of the soil content at Ntigha (designated site of the Abia Dry Port), Eastgate, the project driver, is set to secure government nod for erection of site plan, viz: architectural, mechanical, electrical drawings and bill of quantity. Billed to be delivered in record time, the project will strategically launch the state into the league of dry port destinations for the much-expected ease in container clearance.
The destiny-decimating effect of hard and illicit drugs currently ravaging our society has given a frightening rise to multiplicity of tragedies. It has cancerously taken a grip on many vibrant sociological age strata of our society.
To stem the tide arising from the horrific effect of drugs in our once serene society, the Abia Deputy Governor is chairing the State Drug Abuse Control Committee which is collaboratively attaining breakthroughs with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). The committee’s tenacious devotion to duty has seen to the inclusion of drug education in secondary school curriculum and pilot teachers, whose curriculum will centre around that, are being engaged to hit the ground running. Players in the hospitality industry have had quality and result-yielding interface with the workaholic deputy governor’s committee which culminated in the strategically placed signage of “No use of drugs” in hotels and relevant public places.
A landmark achievement in drug control since the creation of the agency is the recent celebrated exhibition and destruction of over 11 tons of drugs carried out by the committee in league with NDLEA.
Drawing from constitutional latitude, the deputy governor who is chairman, Abia State Cocoa Transformation Committee, has been blazing the trail. His ceaseless injection of relevant ideas has significantly contributed to the enviable position Abia currently occupies.
It was at the Deputy Governor’s instance that the state powered the hosting of “Cocoa Round Table Conference” towards the end of 2020. The meeting facilitated the collapse of unhealthy rivalries and provided the much-expected vista for cross-fertilization of ideas among cocoa growers.
Precisely on 17th June 2021, the Deputy Governor flagged off the distribution of a new hybrid of cocoa seedlings to cocoa farmers in the state. At the last count, over 10,000 of the minimal disease and pest-proof seedlings have been distributed.
The Deputy Governor’s celebrated disposition to jaw-jaw and interface with neighbouring states rather than war-war has ideologically stood him out in his adjudication of boundary matters. His diplomatic recipe in approaching inter- and intra-boundary disputes has strategically calmed frayed nerves and engendered conviviality in boundary communities. This recipe was masterfully deployed in managing the unwarranted provocation on Isu community in Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State by the people of Biase in Cross River State. This approach has also significantly helped in managing boundary disputes in areas like Ikwuano and Akirika-Obu which are bounded by communities in Akwa-Ibom State, while delineation has been initiated in areas where mutual understanding on boundary lines has been established.
Ude Oko Chukwu, a well-established office man, is undoubtedly well schooled in the complementary role of a Deputy Governor and has maximally utilized the same in reducing the burden of governance on his boss, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu.
Ogbonnaya, a public affairs analyst, wrote in from Umuahia.