Poor quality opposition is hurting Abia State

By Factnews on 20/03/2017

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I am a fan of strong and well organized political opposition as a check on government and its agents. I believe that without checks from a strong opposition even the best intentioned government will lose its way within the bubble created by political power.

There has always been a tendency for those in government to view life as "we against them" while forgetting that actually they are part of "them" and will one day return to "them". When they enjoy government provided security they dismiss those calling for improvement in security. That they move in armed convoys along protocol designated routes make them to poo poo genuine calls for fixing our key roads so that all citizens and residents can enjoy.

Every good government must do those things the leader would have loved to do if he or she was not in government. Rather than provide comfort for those in government, it is better to provide for the general populace so that when you are out of power you can enjoy same facilities.

Only a good political opposition can save the people and those in power from the Bubble of government. Before you disagree with me, ask yourself why it is that when people leave power they start remembering all the good things that are not done but while they had power couldn't remember or do them.

It is the power bubble.

In states with strong on-the-ground opposition it is difficult to live in a bubble and forget the people. But where the opposition exists only at newspapers and social media platforms, as paid agents, there will be limited reward for the people.

You also cannot check the activities of a government with lies and propaganda. It normally does not yield good results and mostly backfire against you. All the government needs to do in response to you is to decisively prove that you lied and the people will stop taking you serious.

That brings me to the recent publication by the Chairman of the supposed opposition party in Abia State, APGA, criticizing the state government on the made in Aba campaigns of the government. The media release was signed by a Reverend gentleman who doubles as chairman of the party in the state (though I read last year that a faction of the party sacked him) but does not live in the state and apparently does not have first hand information on the activities of the government or the real needs of the people.

My first turn off with the statement from the party chairman was his false claims on the recent Abuja made in Aba trade fair. Even without being a party anything I was aware that Senator Enyi Abaribe has been organizing made in Aba trade fairs at Abuja since 2013, long before Governor Ikpeazu emerged as Governor of Abia state.

If a party chairman, purportedly from same senatorial zone with Abaribe, does not know that what exactly does he know and how does he get his information? Even my friend who supported APGA during the last polls and one of the exhibitors at the Abuja fair knew that and actually got his stand directly from Senator Abaribe.

If the APGA chairman had been on the ground in Abia or even followed political events in his own state closely he would have known that Abia State Governor and Government have no hand in organizing that trade fair with tax payers money. With proper information, may be he would have devoted his paid media space to applaud Senator Abaribe for his visionary campaigns that has now been further blessed and reinforced with the emergence of a true believer in made in Aba as Governor of the state.

The planned made in Aba promotion campaigns at neighboring West Africa countries is aimed at reinforcing the made in Aba brand that people abuse by labeling them as made in Senegal, Italy or France. Governor Ikpeazu wants Aba brands to be globally identifiable as Aba brands and his plans include establishing display shops at key locations (Abuja, Lagos, PH, Cameron, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire etc) that stock only made in Aba brands as well as serve as contact points for those wishing to buy Aba made goods. He has already compiled the data base of key Aba products makers and is in the process of designating specialized manufacturing corridors for them around Aba, to support them.

It is this absence of strong opposition that is on the ground that made the APGA chairman populate his media release with falsehood and half truths. The trumpeted caterpillar revolution at Aba, led by Governor Ikpeazu, actually aims at supporting made in Aba producers and traders through better access to markets, residence and production sites.

The reconstruction of Brass/Faulks (Ariaria) road is aimed at enhancing access to Bakassi shoe market and Ariaria market itself. Similarly, the decision to take over reconstruction of federal government owned PH road was simply influenced by the need to create good access to Aba markets like Shopping centre, Cemetry market, Ahia Ohuru etc. Reconstructed Ehere market road, Emelogu, Ukaegbu, Umuola, Umule etc all lead to markets and traders residential areas at Aba.

I suppose the APGA Chairman has never heard of planned integrated development or even read the published blueprint of the Ikpeazu administration. Someone should share this link with him: http://okezievictorikpeazu.com/images/news/documents/Abia%20Economic%20Blueprint%20V8%20(1).pdf

It is also possible that the APGA chairman does not know key markets and entry points to Aba and hence could not make the connection between the governor's Caterpillar Revolution and the elevated made in Aba campaign spearheaded by the Governor.

Similarly, a weak opposition party with "foreign" leadership will most likely not understand security in a confluence town like Aba or even appreciate the necessary measures put in place to improve security and control or prevent crimes. Engaging Mr APGA chairman openly in detail will possibly make same information available to miscreants.

A responsible opposition party chairman with security concerns should be bold enough to walk into the office of the Governor and ask him questions. He can go with his party exco and state legislators to avoid allegations of compromising made popular by same APGA.

No responsible government litigates security issues in public and an opposition party chairman should know that or resign his position.

Without access to security information, when the police announced the killing of escapee Imo born murderer/kidnapper called Vampire alongside members of another gang that killed a visiting US Marine, I personally celebrated with the police because as a keen observer I knew the connection between crimes in neighboring states and Aba.

Governor Ikpeazu also understood that nexus and early in his tenure held joint security council meetings at Umuahia with his Imo counterpart with the central objective of combatting cross border kidnap and armed robbery. Apparently that meeting didn't make sense to the opposition chairman and hence he couldn't connect the dots.

For clarity, Aba and Abia enjoyed the most peaceful Yuletide celebration in 2016 because of the measures put in place by the combined team of security agencies under the guidance and funding support of Governor Ikpeazu. The operations were so successful that for the first time in many years even "big men" from my hometown moved around day and night without sirens and truckloads of paid for security agents. Folks partied at Aba and Umuahia till very late in the night during that previously usually high crime rate period without fear of armed attacks.

The relative spike in crime in the new year coincided with the escape of Vampire from custody and the enhanced Imo police command haunt for him and the gang that killed the American marine. When 3 Bakassi men were murdered in cold blood at Aba, I knew it was a cross border attack and later events and media reports proved me right, as it was highlighted that Vampire visited Aba regularly while on the run and also one of the killers of the marine was traced to his relative's home at Aba from where he and others were tracked after an operation and captured and/or killed.

Since the killing of Vampire and members of the other gang relative peace has returned to Aba. The Government of Ikpeazu has further moved, based on advice from security forces, to curtail homegrown crimes by banning operation of keke beyond 7pm while increasing the number of security surveillance points across the city.

Governor Ikpeazu has so far donated 25 communication equipped vehicles to the police in Abia and 80% of the vehicles are stationed in and around Aba. He has commenced processes involved in deployment of surveillance cameras and drones equipped with night vision capabilities at key flash points at Aba and Umuahia with a view to taking out criminals.

It is said to admit that the current structure of the leading opposition party in Abia State is obtuse and anti-Abia. Almost all the party leaders, including their 2015 governorship candidate, live outside Abia and hence lack first hand information on goings on in the state. Even the social media hirelings of the party currently in the pay roll of their 2015 candidate mostly live outside the state.

Just last weekend, I published pictures of ongoing work at Faulks road with pictures and videos of completed roads at Aba and one of the APGA social media hirelings based in Lagos asked me to "show empirical proof that those roads are in Aba". That on its own confirmed the deep disconnect within the opposition's social media focused politics. You won't blame him because he is doing what he was told to do; attack the government so that if we manipulate the judiciary to remove the Governor people won't protest.

Unfortunately for the opposition, nobody will remove Governor Ikpeazu apart from the people of Abia that elected him and the only window available for that will open during 2019 polls. Stop wasting valuable funds on hiring sundry characters at social and mainstream media to spread lies and false propaganda.

Sincerely, I want to see a bludgeoning opposition party in Abia to keep the government on its toes. That is why I don't support bringing opposition activists into the government to pacify them. Let them oppose with facts and alternative programs while the government responds with improved services to our people.

A key tragedy of Abia political opposition is that the same disconnected social media hirelings write press releases for their foreign based leaders who have perfected the art of selling party tickets to the highest bidder. That explains why those who procure APGA tickets come to Abia with a coterie of "foreign" election consultants who do not understand the ABC of winning elections in Abia.

The cause of Abia will be better served when APGA and other opposition parties are properly organized wth alternative programs and structures that engages with the Abia public regularly. Since the 2015 election ended I have not read about town hall meetings organized by any of the opposition parties to mobilize their members. Instead they have used paid-for media to deceive the members, every step of the way, into believing that they have a path to gain access to Abia government house before 2019 polls.

Meanwhile many genuine members of the opposition party are using the roads reconstructed by Governor Ikpeazu and enjoying the improved demand for made in Aba products he is helping to create. No amount of falsehood will stop them from voting for him again in 2019 because what they are told is factually different from what they are feeling in their bank accounts and along the streets of Aba/Abia.

JOK

 

Posted on March, 20 2017

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