Ihejirika: Sleepless Nights Await Next Abia Gov

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Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo

With the enormity of problems facing Abia State, the next governor after Dr Okezie Ikpeazu must be ready to have sleepless nights in search of solutions, the former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Gen Azubuike Ihejirika(rtd) has said.

He expressed this view yesterday at a media chat he hosted at his country home in Ovim, Isuikwuato Local Government of Abia State, noting that fixing Abia to regain its past glory is not going to be a tea party.

Speaking passionately on the need to reposition Abia to meet the expectations of citizens, Ihejirika noted that Abia which used to be the hub of industrial activities after Lagos has degenerated hence the need to find somebody to steer it back to the path of growth.

“He must be somebody who is ready to have sleepless nights to tackle the enormous problems in the state,” he said, adding that Abia is still groaning under the pangs of huge infrastructure deficit.

The former Army Chief, who is being speculated as a possible governorship aspirant, listed the qualities that should be possessed by those aspiring to occupy Abia government house when Ikpeazu completes his tenure in 2023.

“Abia will require highly qualified candidates with proven character and integrity, who would provide visionary leadership (and) is broadminded such that they would treat every Abian and all Abia issues without fear or favour,” he
said.

‘We are looking forward to the emergence of leaders that will run inclusive government, highly patriotic individuals that the problems of Abia will give sleepless nights, day to day,” he emphasised.

The retired army general therefore, charged political parties operating in Abia to seek out people with the capacity to reposition the state when selecting their governorship candidates for 2023 poll.

“Repositioning Abia requires personal sacrifices on the part of leaders,” Ihejirika stated.

However, the former army boss, who is now a farmer, pointed out that the people of Abia must get fully involved in the quest to get the right leaders that would pilot the affairs of the state to attain its full potentials.

He regretted the prevalent voter apathy in Abia, saying that a situation where only about 300,000 persons would vote during election out of over two million registered voters was very worrisome.

To reverse the ugly trend, Ihejirika called on all Abians, including youths, women, businessmen, clergy and every stakeholder to get involved to save Abia from backwardness and bad governance.

“Everyone that loves Abia should, please, register and vote so that we can enthrone somebody who will lead Abia to regain its lost glory,” he pleaded.

The former COAS noted that the task of good governance does not stop at provision of infrastructure as several sectors of Abia economy such as education and agriculture are all crying for attention.

According to him, “Abia is like a land flowing with milk and honey” given the available land in the state which needed to be fully utilized for the growth of the economy and benefit of Ndi Abia.