In today’s contemporary world there are numerous things that facilitates the mind and lifts the soul, for those who live close to this axis, getting to hear Governor Okezie Ikpeazu speak is one of such rare moment of nostalgic reflection and excitement. That a politician must have deep oratory prowess is epitomised in the Abia state governor.
Dr. Ikpeazu doesn’t just manipulate words, he passes the right message with them, in bliss and blitz and it sweeps the ears in euphoria and catches the mind in enthusiasm. That is why, as we then anticipated the funeral service of late Chief Ukpai Agwu Ukpai (Ph.D.), a man adjudged by both onlookers and the actual game players as a close friend of Dr. Ikpeazu and among those instrumental to his emergence as governor, I was in high spirits ahead of the “state burial” in Asaga, Ohafia. It was my sincere hope that the governor will seize the occasion of his speech to share his trajectory with the deceased political colossus. Thankfully, “Damirida” didn’t disappoint.
For some of us who appreciate the affluence and influence of power from Ohafia LGA, it is easy to study the person of “Ototo”. He has in his long walk to political relevance established several allies and even foes. But on which every divide you find yourself, the fact remains that he was an astute and formidable politician, whose sagacity cannot be overlooked in any political equation. As Governor Ikpeazu mounted the podium, to pay his last respect, my then crumbling stomach stayed calm, as I waved my camera aside in rapt attention to His Excellency.
“Late Chief Ukpai Agwu was indeed a brother and friend, who showed deep selflessness to me that cannot be repaid, in him, I have lost my Ceaser. Where cometh another?”. The governor mourned. Magnanimous and politically astute as Chief was, it is a humongous honour even in death, for a sitting governor to attribute so much of his life’s success to an individual in a public setting. It is a no small feat, and it is a eulogy well earned. From the past event and the programme, in particular, it was evident for whoever cares to know that Chief. Ukpai Agwu was not just a gigantic political figure from Ohafia LGA alone, but across the state. To the delight of some of us.
Another event where we got to enjoy the veracious oratory prowess of Dr. Ikpeazu was during the electioneering process leading to the Aba North/South federal constituency rerun, just like a lion who was tipped by the tail, Gov. Ikpeazu rose to the occasion of the rerun amidst brags from opposition quarters. Each time he handles the microphone comes with electrifying vibes and a disastrous blow to the opposition, just like Merlin to Morgana, Ikpeazu was APC’s nemesis.
Having secured victory in an overwhelming manner, thanks to the giant strides of Dr. Ikpeazu in Aba and its environs, it was time for celebration for the PDP Candidate; Chimaobi Ebisike, the governor and his lieutenants, – The Abia PDP stalwart having converged in the governor’s lodge, Aba. Some of us who were on hand to cover events had expected, as usual, a cracking victory speech and words of encouragement from the governor to victorious Ebisike, but this time he was more “placid”, he took a deep breath and pointed to the path of the Arochukwu/Ohafia federal lawmaker who was dressed in his casual shorts and T-Shirt having been physically active in the Frontline of political scheming and electioneering in the past couple of days and said; “Emulate Rt. Hon. Uko Nkole”.
For Gov. Ikpeazu, It was needless for anyone to enumerate in detail what a lawmaker must be when Rt. Hon. Uko Nkole is present, as he is the epitome of a performing representative. And indeed, Gov. Ikpeazu shares the same views with the majority of us from the Arochukwu/Ohafia federal constituency and Abia at large. It was under the lawmaker’s quality representation that some teeming populace got to know that a member of the green chambers can attract roads, bridges, schools while empowering hundreds of youths with jobs. It was his seamless effort to rebuild anything senile and turn the Ohafia/Arochukwu federal constituency into a reconstruction site and project hub that earned him the nickname; “Mr. Project”.
To analyze, you must first of all, compare. Hon. Uko Nkole’s astute leadership style and detribalized nature have seen him become the first person from his clan to return to the green chambers twice in Arochukwu/Ohafia federal constituency, (2015 & 2019). In a diverse constituency like ours, made up of different communities, those who measure development on clannish sentiments are either deliberately mischievous or politically shortsighted. As politics is a sensitive venture where all interest is to be put into lucid consideration.
Arochukwu/Ohafia federal constituency remains very strategic in the Abia political calculation, and with the performance of the PDP through their herdsman in the zone; Rt. Hon. Uko Nkole, the odds are once again in favour of the umbrella party.
In an era where Fake News has continued to reoccur, the fact is and remains; Arochukwu/Ohafia is among the most effective and efficiently represented constituencies in southeast Nigeria, and the facts do not lie. The gigantic Mr. Project is repositioning our federal constituency for good having within a short period, rewritten our narratives.
When I grow up, I would like to draw public commendation and appraisal from not just across the nooks and crannies of the 17 LGA’s in the state, but from the State Chief Executive Officer himself. Just like “Ototo” did, and Rt. Hon. Uko Nkole is doing….
Prince_Udensi is a University of Calabar trained Political Scientist, writes from Aba, Abia State.