By Ben Udechukwu
As a school boy in Aba 1983, I witnessed irate youths who had threatened to boo Dee Sam Mbakwe. Dee Sam was not just a performing Governor, he was believed to have found a permanent place in the heart of people. We are Aba, we have a culture of asking for more no matter how annoying it may be.
This piece has nothing to do with comparing Dee Sam Mbakwe with Okezie Victor Ikpeazu Ph.D or any other. It is for us to understand that Aba trades in handcuffs and handshakes in equal measures. It takes only an articulate mind to understand that deep down in their hearts, they know who is helping their cause. By 1985, they had agreed to rename Faulks Road to Sam Mbakwe Road, the rest is history.
People who live overseas who had not visited Aba since Okezie mounted the saddle may not appreciate what is happening in Aba at this time. People who had written Aba off for coming easily as a city in ruins may fall to the temptation of thinking redemption is impossible. People who left the city in anticipation of progressive dilapidation could fall to the scam of thinking every bad road is found in Aba.
Let me say for free that Okezie does not have the capacity to address all infrastructural challenges in Aba. However, Okezie’s Aba holds promise of a city being recovered in phases. There’s something Okezie had done, is doing and would do in Aba that would definitely change the overall appearance of Aba. While it may not be so obvious now, there are strong indications that the end will surely jusyify the means.