MasterwebNews 14/9/15 - We should not be too comfortable of the king court; Ikpeazu tells Ngwa National Association USA

[ Masterweb Reports ] - “We should not be too comfortable of the king's court”, Ikpeazu tells Ngwa National Association (NNAUSA). “For to us a child is born, to us a child is given and the government will be on his shoulders”… For the Ngwa National Association United States of America (NNAUSA) and to all Ngwa nation all over the globe, the emergence of Okezie Ikpeazu as Abia state governor of Ngwa extraction, the first in the history of mankind was to the Ngwa nation a fulfilment of that holy book verse above. The NNAUSA 24th Annual National Convention in Connecticut USA was another day and another event for the Ngwa people all over the world, as the occasion attracted the presence of their own son Ikpeazu, the governor of Abia state. The event which lasted for three days, September 4th -7th was held at the executive Hilton Stamford Hotel. Call him the preaching governor, a man after God’s own heart, or God’s own governor, Okezie Ikpeazu will fit in. Our foreign correspondent that was there to cover the event was opportune to have an interview with the amiable governor endowed with a high level of intellectual capability, mentally alert, and with a sharp grasp of issues. Above all, clothed with humility and fear of God. Below are excerpts from the interview.


How and what has it been like for the past three months you became the governor of Abia state?


It’s been quiet eventful for the past three months. The first issue has been to set up our new vision which is to reactivate and reinvigorate our economy. Also how to bare and sustain our developmental strides without really relying on what comes from the center all the time. And for us to do that, we need a massive social mobilization. And in all these fronts, if I must score ourselves, we have not done badly. In a scale of ten, I can score us seven without being conservative. And then, in our vision, we have tried to look at those things we can do naturally. Those things we have complete advantage over others. Of course, everybody understands our strong trade and commerce, our oil and gas endowment is there, and then agriculture. And so we decided to redefine these factors and elements that will support these areas of growth.


In other to prepare, we needed to do something about our roads, security, and Abia work force. And we have been able to put something in stock on these fronts. We are on 31 roads. We started with 7 on the first day in office. These 31 roads are on-going. It’s not easy to keep 31 contractors simultaneously. We have been able to do that, not because we saw money, but because we have been able to create an image of confidence. Because coming with governance requires you should be able to have a measure of truth, especially if you are sufficiently transparent and if you are a man of your words, and you want people to take your words to the bank.


We have been able to reactivate contracts that were abandoned and redesign roads. In Aba particularly, our emphasis is based on the fact that Aba is the engine room of Abia state. And there is this general belief that if you get Aba right, you have gotten Abia right. That is not to say that we undermine the other parts of Abia state. A good number of our roads are in Aba, while a good number are in other senatorial districts in Abia. The high point here is that, the kinds of roads are quite different from what it used to be before. Today, we are insisting on a minimum standard which must include a drainage plan. And in terms of road construction, there is a departure from what it used to be. You must give us an iron mesh work with concrete, with asphalt, and a drainage plan. That is the minimum standard of road construction we require.


In terms of mobilizing the people, we have paid salary regularly. We are able to return all facets of Abia work force that has been on strike back to work. The health workers have been on strike for seven months and the judiciary on strike for three months. We have returned them back to work. We are happy with them, we salute them, and we see them as partners in this Abia new project. As a matter of fact, it’s our desire that salaries should not be taken for granted. Because every Abia worker should not be thinking about salary alone. We are to come to a point of thinking of incentive to retraining and furthering education of the work force. We are building for the first time our private public partnership. Our work force should be able to outline process of investment in Abia so that business will thrive to enhance economic growth and outline procedures conducive for business men to invest. Also they will look into tax reform to make sure that we harmonize tax paid, how, and to whom. We are battling ghost workers in Abia work force, and to the glory of God we have been able to save one hundred and sixty million naira ( N160.0m). We are happy that today some people are beginning to key in our project.


In terms of education, we have decided to redo our education system. All the government technical colleges will come back to full stream under the program we call, education for employment E4E. We want to produce middle cadre manpower to support our industrial development. Our primary schools will also be technically oriented in their curriculum design. We look at collaboration in our tertiary institutions for partners who will partner with us to have a technology based state.


You were referred as a street sweeper, sweeping the streets of Aba, what will become the status of the refuse in Aba now you are a governor?


Thank you very much. During my assignment as duty general manager in charge of waste management, we were able to set up a domestic waste dump sites. Our challenge is tertiary dump sites. We have fairly good collection system, but it has not been as effective as it is supposed to be, because there is a relationship between garbage collection and good road network. If you must collect garbage mechanically or with vehicles, they must ply on roads. That is why we are embarking on taring the roads, using various segments of Aba city as pilot schemes for driving domestic waste management initiative. Also out of what we expect to take home from this trip, is to see if we can get a good waste technology partners for tertiary dump sites. Because, not until we take into demand for a domestic tertiary site, it will be difficult for us to get rid of the waste in Aba. We have done 60% of what we need to do. Consistently, we have procured 3 garbage trucks every month. We hope that in the next 100 days, we’ll be able to step up to 80 -90% from what we have now, because by that time, 14 out of the 31 roads must have been delivered. And then people will see an entirely new waste management initiative. Also if we are able to attract people with requisite waste management technology, we can be reassured that very soon Aba will become a new city.


Abia state is tagged as God’s own state, and you are the governor of God’s own state, in your outings so far, you have been noticed preaching, would it be right to tag you as God’s own governor?


It would be a privilege, an honor, in fact a virtue, it’s not a title I can own, and it’s a title I will work towards to. I wish I could be God’s own governor. And I pray he will be gracious and merciful to give me the grace to be that one day.


What is your message to the Ngwa National Association USA (NNAUSA) and to all Ngwa and Abians in diaspora?


My message is captioned in Nehemiah 2:17. We have a place; it doesn’t matter where we find ourselves. Like Queen Esther, we should not be too comfortable or confused by the trappings, pleasures and comfort of the king’s court. Despite the fact we are within the king’s court, we are not of the king’s court. The truth is that we have a place back home. I have seen some beautiful things out there, but each time it inspires me to go home and create a Little America somewhere. There is a job to be done. And I want us to go home and do our job. Imagine America of 150 years ago, it could have been like Umuoba. But Americans built America. Therefore I exp

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