The people of Arochukwu, Abam, Ihechiowa, Isu and Ututu, the five clans that make up Arochukwu LGA of Abia state, rose to the occasion recently as they had held a grand-declaration/reception tagged Honour Beyond Words for the governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu. The date was Saturday, 21 July, 2018 and the venue was the Aggrey Memorial Primary School field, Ibom, Arochukwu.
On that day, people of the communities afore-mentioned turned out in good numbers, especially the PDP members, to welcome their governor to Arochukwu. Dressed in the traditional attire the people of the area have been known for ages, the people thronged the field of AMPS, Ibom, for the sake of declaring that the gov should count on them for his re-election bid in 2019, hence the people had invited him for that declaration of assuring him of their unalloyed support and their votes during the 2019 general election, and during which time the governor will be expected to run for the gubernatorial seat of the state ‘in order to complete his two terms in office as the other two governors had done before him,’ as one person had uttered during the event.
Before the event proper, the governor had been taken to some parts of the town of Arochukwu where he had commissioned two roads in particular – at the Isimkpu-Atani junction where he had commissioned the road that leads to Atani, the home-village of the senator representing Abia North zone, Chief MAO Ohuabunwa, and which the senator had asphalted in addition to commissioning the Isimkpu-Ugwuavor-Anglican Church road, Arochukwu, the repair of which was also undertaken by the senator, according to sources.
During the commissioning and ceremonial tour of Arochukwu, the governor visited some other places where, one source further hinted, the governor was initiated into the (ceremonial) Ekpe society, i kpa nzu, at one point. Then, after the commissioning ceremony, the governor’s entourage stormed the field of Aggrey Memorial Primary School, Ibom, at about 04:20 pm, where many people had waited all along. On arrival, the assembled crowd and the organisers welcomed the governor with warm éclat, with the chairman of the Central Planning Committee, Donatus Okorie, declaring the event open through the address of welcome he had read out.
After his address, the chairman of the occasion, Dr Sampson Orji, then mounted the podium and delivered his address on behalf of the people of Arochukwu LGA, and during which time he had thanked the governor for what and all he had done for the people of the LGA in appointments and infrastructural developments, and also highlighted to the governor, some of the problems of the LGA, brothering mainly on roads and bad roads network in the entire LGA; and going ahead to request for solutions.
The two National Assembly members from the LGA (Sen MAO and Hon Uko Nkole), the state PDP chairman, Sir Johnson Onuigbo, Arochukwu LGA PDP chairman, Arochukwu LGA council chairman and a few others spoke during the occasion, too.
After the address of Dr Orji, the event proper took place. The highlight was that a motion was moved for the adoption of the governor in the next year’s general election. The motion was seconded by Mazi Gab Igboko, honourable commissioner in the government of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu. After the motion was seconded, the question was then put to the people to affirm or otherwise of the motion and, in a thunderous ovation, the crowd bellowed it. Following that development, the deputy governor, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, then invited the governor to respond to the motion of the people of Arochukwu.
The governor, who was dressed in Omu Aro insignia, the attire with which the Aros are known to appear in on every Aro occasion, was then ushered into the podium, and he went ahead to address the people of the LGA.
In his address, the governor, as expected, thanked the people of Arochukwu LGA for their declarative support for his re-election bid in 2019. He went ahead to promise to complete the Ozu Abam-Ndiokereke-Okobo-Amuvi (Arochukwu) road he had started before leaving office, among other promises. Yes; he had affirmed he would complete that road he had started re-constructing after he had completed the bridge at Ndiokereke, Abam.
However, during the event, some obvious ugly incidents took place. First, the seat the governor had to seat on for the event had to be changed and replaced after some one had pointed out how ugly, charred and old the chair looked, as the settee was not only charred generally but had faded, as the ugliness was apparent on all eyes. As one councillor had quipped therein ‘this is how we do things in Arochukwu as a result of disunity, failure to plan, internal wrangling among us and jealousy. Why should the organisers bring this type old and ugly-looking seat for the governor to sit on?’ He queried. The seat was later changed, as the settee of one Isimkpu-born, Ugwuavor-married journalist, former Miss Nnennaya Baningo Kanno, was brought in to save the situation, as she confirmed to the correspondent. It was really embarrassing.
Second, throughout the entire ceremony at Ibom field, there were apparent and perceived personality clashes among the organisers and protocol personnel/announcers, most of who wanted to be noticed above others; as one organiser/announcer would like to displace and dominate the other, and in the process, creating one scenario or the other. For example, since the event was nearly hidden to many of those who should have known earlier, recognitions were haphazardly done with members of the committees ‘fighting’ with each other and other in-fighting within themselves during the announcements. Many people had actually noted the ugly development. It was because of those personality clashes and other in-fighting stands that many of those who should have been recognised earlier were not mentioned while those who should not have been recognised were given the honour, leaving many others.
For example, without the personal intervention of the reporter, an SSA to the governor and the Abia state publicity secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, he would not have been recognised at all apart from the fact that he had only heard the announcements of the reception on BCA radio just three days to the ceremony, when his position demanded that he must know and participate in the planning of the event and participate in it fully! The same thing happened to another SA to the governor from Arochukwu. He had complained and lamented that he only heard of a reception his LGA was organising for his governor on radio a few days to the ceremony! He, therefore, bashed and lambasted the so-called organisers and remarked that they must have had something to hide that made them not to call a meeting of the governors’ appointees/aides from Arochuku LGA to intimate them of the event early enough the way it was done in the state when the people of Old Bende organised similar reception for the governor on 01 June, 2018 at Government Event Centre, Isi Gate, Umuahia.
The special assistant had recalled that during that event, the deputy governor had called together all government appointees from the whole of Old Bende to a meeting at the Michael Okpara Auditorium in Umuahia to intimate them of the event and to solicit their support and co-operation, and which yielded good results and made the reception a success, as the people were given a sense of belonging.
According to another councillor ‘this is how we always show our emptiness and folly, display our discordant tunes and disunity in Arochukwu LGA. Even the brochure was not given to many of those who should have it, including some aides of the governor.’ This is true, as the special assistant mentioned earlier and the reporter, an SSA to the governor too, was not given!
On the other hand, the prayer offered by a village head in Arochukwu during the occasion raised some dusts and did not go down well among some of those present; as such people did not hide their resentment and dissociation from the prayer. In that prayer, the village head had said that any person who would challenge the governor in the governorship race in 2019 would see evil; and would even die! At that, many of those who attended the event resented and restrained themselves from chorusing and saying the usual ‘Amen’ at the end of his prayer.
But in all, the ceremony was a huge success, with the weather being so clement. There was sunlight throughout and no rain; it was only in the night of that day that it rained cats and dogs to the delight of the people. The senator representing Abia North, Chief MAO Ohuabunwa, added colour to the whole event as he had used the occasion to highlight some of his achievements in office and which many upheld, shouting ‘the people’s senator, the people’s senator; follow better, follow better, better go follow you ….’
At the end, snacks and water were given to few people.