The sun has risen in Umuahia, By Godwin Adindu

Posted by News Express | 7 October 2015 | 3,308 times

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Issues of Aba Demolition Exercise: APGA has accused us of selective destruction of illegal structures in Aba, saying it was vindictive and targeted at members. APGA said it is the way the Govt was paying back Aba people and APGA people who did not vote for the PDP.

But, I am here to tell you that this allegation by APGA is a misguided and ill-conceived aggression against a government that is genuinely seeking to ameliorate the bad situation of infrastructural decay of Aba which has been a major sentiment for a long time now. There is no selective pattern in the demolition exercise. There is no target. What is being destroyed is any illegal structure that contravenes town planning regulations.

If the government should think or behave in relation to who voted or did not vote for PDP, it will not start its developmental work in Aba at all in view of the voting pattern in the elections. The two local councils in Aba metropolis gave us 12,450 votes or 5.01 percent of our 248,459 votes.  They gave APGA 56,216 votes or 33.99 percent of its 165,406 votes. Thus, if Governor Ikpeazu is driving his developmental agenda as a reward for electoral victory, he would not have started in Aba. But, to us, Aba is beyond the voting trend of one election. Aba is beyond the election.

Aba belongs to everybody; it belongs to all Igbos and all Nigerians. By developing Aba, the Governor is developing a place that is home to all Nigerians and not a place that is home only to APGA people.

The spirit of the Aba Urban Renewal Drive is to change the narrative of Aba from a city of a lamentable meltdown to a modern city of order and decency. The Governor is driving the agenda to reclaim the reputation of the city as the commercial hub of Nigeria, an epicentre of commerce and industry.

And, he made it clear that in the process of the rebuilding effort, he will certainly step on toes. Nobody is being spared and nobody is being victimised but the contractors on site might exercise their discretion to delay demolition for technical purposes or to allow time for people to evacuate their properties. But, at the end, the structures will still be demolished. What the government is seeking is the greatest good for the greatest number.

As far back as the time of Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, consultants engaged to understudy the problem of Aba recommended that not less than 2500 illegal houses built against flood flow must be pulled down to sanitise the city so that there will be free flow of flood and storm water. But, this was not implemented. You will recall that during the old Imo State when the then  Col. Abdulkarim Adisa was the Military administrator, he pulled down a multi-storey building  located off Faulks Road, Aba and forced the owner to pay cost of clearing the debris. So this is not the first time somebody has taught of sanitising Aba. The only difference now is that somebody has the will based on the imperative need to do the right thing and administer an existing town and country act as regards town planning.

The demolition of illegal shops, kiosk, fences and buildings that encroach into the service lane and on the roads is being carried out only on the roads where the construction work is going on. The notice to this effect was dully served to the public. As far as the government of Abia State is concerned, any structure that contravenes the town planning regulation as regards the appropriate location of buildings and structures is an illegal structure and such buildings must be pulled down by the time the caterpillar gets to the point. It does not matter who owns the structures, whether they are 100 APGA members or 200 PDP loyalists.

The Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, does not see any illegal structure built on top of a drainage line or on the service lane as a property. He sees it, and treats it, in the same manner that a farmer sees and treats weeds that grow in the garden. So far, the effort of the Governor in rebuilding Aba has received widespread endorsement and commendation from residents and visitors alike. People come out to cheer and rejoice as the illegal structures fall to the caterpillars.

There is a parallel to this. You remember that when El-Rufai was demolishing illegal structures in Abuja, the Igbos in Abuja happened to be more affected and they cried out that they were being victimised. El-Rufai came out and gave details of the exercise. He accepted that, yes, Igbos were mostly affected but also convinced the world that they were the greatest offenders; they were the greatest law breakers. He showed their buildings and the map and everybody kept quiet. It is the same thing in Aba today. If the illegal shops and structures belong mostly to APGA members (which, of course, is not true), it means that they are the greatest offenders.

During the election, most of the residents in Aba were card carrying members of APGA but this has changed now. If you conduct a census now in Aba, you will discover that the people have realised they were being deceived. They have seen the moral light and they have made the necessary realignment. On his part, Governor Ikpeazu has long moved away from politics to governance.

His intentions for the masses of Abia are very clear and these have been very well discerned and appreciated by the public. This is evident in the sacrifice being made by the Governor to embark on the massive construction work on 31 roads. His scorecard of achievements in his 100 days is a clear testimony of where he is headed. I think somebody somewhere is intimidated. But, you cannot rewind the hand of the clock. The sun has risen in Umuahia and we can almost say how the day will be. His sincerity of purpose is being applauded by all and sundry except the few infinitesimal group that call themselves APGA.

Appeal to Aba Residents: We could only appeal to the Aba residents to continue to show understanding and cooperation with government by putting up with the temporary inconveniences of traffic arising from the roads under construction. The magic that we all need now is patient. The Governor is working round the clock to ensure that he fulfils his promise of delivery quality roads to Aba people. He is walking a tight rope with our lean finances to achieve his giant dream.

Rural Urban Renewal Policy: Rural/Urban Renewal is one of the five cardinal policy thrust of the Abia State Government under the watch of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu. The Governor’s vision in propagating this policy is to revive the mini cities like Omoba, Mbawsi, Ovim, Ohafia, Obehie, Akwete and Azumini that were beehive of commercial activities during the colonial and post colonial era.

The Governor has set up a committee to direct this developmental effort.

By this thinking, Rural/Urban migration especially among the youths will be reduced and the state government intends to achieve this through public private partnership. The basic social amenities such as good roads, electricity, pipe borne water, Health facilities, etc.

Restoring Security: The first mandate and obligation of government is the maintenance of law and order and protection of lives and property of the citizenry:

How has Governor Okezie Ikpeazu fared in achieving these goals?

Excellently well.

•Bringing the soldiers back and re-engineering the police

•Establishment of the office of Homeland Security with a Special Adviser

•Establishment of a community watch organisations involving traditional rulers, youths and political influencers in the community.

A DANIEL has come to Judgement!

Being an extract of the speech by the Chief Press Secretary to the Abia Governor, Mr. Godwin Adindu, to a cross section of the press yesterday in his office in Government House, Umuahia.

Source: News Express

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