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STRATEGIC REALIGNMENT, A DESIDERATUM FOR SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN ABIA

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The April 11th, 2015 gubernatorial election in Abia was incontrovertibly the most keenly contested in Abia’s democratic experience. Different political parties under various nomenclatures exhausted all the arsenals at their disposal to outwit one another. The processes were so exhilaratingly challenging that the results were declared inconclusive. Tensions were still high, until the declaration of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu as the winner of the election after the concluding part of the election on the 25th of April, 2015.
Meanwhile, penultimate the 2015 general election, media hype in Abia was second to none, placing the state on the front burner of media and social discourse with an almost equal doses of positive and negative infiltrative standpoints. The season also had a boost on communication gadget patronage in the State, as most Abians headed for the purchase of, at least, the cheapest smart phones to surf the internet. There was absolutely innumerable percentage of Abians concentrated in the media and the internet activities, alike. 

The post election matters threw Abia State into political imbroglios with regards to the seeming never-ending litigations. Each of the contenders were either logging horns with their internal party structures as in the case of Reagan Ufomba vs Alex Otti (APGA) Uche Ogah and F.N. Nwosu vs Okezie Ikpeazu (PDP) and others or on face-off with opposing political parties as in the case of Alex Otti vs Okezie Ikpeazu (APGA & PDP) and others. While these tempest were raging, it kept murdering sleep especially when the contractual agreements signed that would have placed Abia on a faster lane of development were dropped out of the fear of the unknown. 

Stakes were so high that the state almost slipped into a dangerous political precipice although the governor made the best of the bad job in the circumstance. These situations, indeed remained a time bomb ready for explosion in Abia political landscape. Such unabated litigations, which, perhaps, dovetailed as an academic exercise that fueled anxiety over the time on our psyche, equally rose the expectations of the people as many political spectators and commentators who used their keypads to advance their positions and stance on where the pendulum of the supreme arbiter (the law) would swing, such that every street and market place had at least, a self-made jurist who interpreted the laws.

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Unfortunately, as an act of treachery veneered with greed, some of our leaders keyed into this (default) and went as far as employing foreign media (channels), who barely understood Abia traditional political inclinations, as such, remained malignant to us as a people. Like Abraham Lincoln rightly posited; it is important that those that have the right to criticize, should also have a heart to help. But these neanderthal media men alongside their paymasters employed all forms of vituperation to perfect their mission of mud slinging on Abians and the government. 

These type of calumnious and chauvinistic reportage have not only tried to tear us into shred, but culminated in the psychological disorientation of some of us, who joined the bandwagon without sheaving the corns from the chaff, leaving us with protracted resentment, animosity and much ground to cover today.

Every form of despicable act of chicanery deployed, ended up creating multiplier effects in the form of incautious battle line between and among us, thus, engendering one part of the state to perceive the other(s) as opposition, much the same way a brother could now merrily bash his brother. What a political insult! By this act, we have not only washed our dirty linings in the public, but have decidedly hung them out for so long for all to see. 

But should this animosity which is nascent in our own milieu be allowed to burgeon?

On the 20th of January 2017, world histories were made. Primo was the inauguration of the most controversial 45th American president, Donald Trump. One of the most significant memorial on that day was the appearance of his closest rival in that contest, Hilary Clinton who took to her twitter handle as soon as she arrived the venue of the inauguration and tweeted; “I’m here today to honor our democracy & its ensuring values. I will never stop believing in our country & its values”. 

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Surprised? Nah, even the Nigerian politicians settle their quarrels on round tables with glasses of wine or coffee, hugs and handshakes etc, while we permanently remain on a vendetta mission against one another in Abia. 

Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, our amiable Governor who now holds the candle, justified the trust reposed on him by majority of Abians by allowing popular will, due process and justice to take its cause, at all flanks and levels of the political fray, much to the synchronization of what the law beholds. Indeed, he remains a gentleman to the bone. 

On its part, the law, as usual, allowed victory to be declared to the party where the balance of evidence weighed heavier on the scale of justice. This undoubtedly amounted to incontrovertible reaffirmation of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu’s victory at all times irrespective of what was afoot or even the tactics, acrobatics and contrivance employed by the opposition.

It is now time for us to seek those things that binds us together than those that tends to tear us apart.  Yes, for sure, there is more strength and progress in unity than in disunity. Yet, the apposite statement of the forty-fourth American President, remains penetratingly illustrative. Now hear him; “….Americans sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of individuals or a collection of red States and blue States. We are and will always be the United States of America….” By this statement, Obama called for and/or publicly declared perpetual unity of God’s Own Country, the United States of America (Hod’s Own Country) which should similarly reflect on the one and only God’s own State. 

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Therefore, let us stop dancing the dance of macabre by drinking from the pulsating blood-filled pots of hell, which ultimately breeds discontent, rancour, strife, bitterness and hatred. We should cuddle ourselves as a people. The leaders should call off the dog. There should be utter condemnation of the foreign media tradition capitalizing on negative aspects of our Socio-political and economic endeavors to rubbish our collective efforts and a state bequeathed to us by the founding fathers, whose inspiration for both state’s name coinage ‘ABIA’ and state’s slogan “God’s own state”, remain heavenly.

We should rather have a combat ready, virile, down-to-earth and meticulous media whose primary business would be the protection of Abia State against foreign ideological aggression and the people from excessive indoctrination and dogmatization. It is a laughable paradox that we invite foreign media to bash us and simultaneously seek their patronage on issues that can potentially subject our image to ridicule, and we wait on the government to miraculously move the mountains without any form of patriotism. It is therefore time to showcase to the world the stuff and quality we are molded with, because weight and forces which cannot hold together will never constitute make-weight in the affairs of men. 

Abia is a monolingual State with just ignorable dialectical variances and should not be split on the alter of political differences. We are one people and should do away with politics of hatred, acrimony, mistrust and distrust.

By Adimchinobi Onyenso, a Socio-Political Analyst.

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