By Ubani Newman Ubani
Recently, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, as he has done regularly since 2015, granted another live radio interview to brief Abians on the plans of his administration to further improve the infrastructure in the state and deliver better life to the people. The new year interview with Magic FM Aba was probably the best Governor Ikpeazu has done as he clearly outlined the plans, successes and challenges of his administration without being defensive.
And then he committed a “sacrilege”, at least in the eyes of desperate serial election losers who saw this season as another opportunity to overload the State with malicious propaganda driven by desperate and inordinate political motives.
And what is this
” Sacrilege”? The Governor who has an undisputable reputation for a calm carriage and peaceful mien even in the face of extreme provocations of being maligned with half-truths and outright falsehoods by the usual political suspects especially in the eve of general elections, decided to, in his usual convivial self, publicly exchange light hearted banters with Popular radio anchors, Dee Mike and Anastasia.
The issue for which mischief makers have made mountains out of a mole hill was the first ever flyover constructed in the state and which has attracted all forms of derisive names. From calling it “Ikpeazu’s borehole” they graduated to calling it “Ikpeazu’s center table in Osisioma”.
Dee Mike put the question to Governor Ikpeazu in Igbo Language (specifically in Ngwa dialect) about the completion date for the flyover given the delays occasioned by several factors including the deadly attack on the contractor, the impact of natural elements as well as the need to align with an ongoing federal road project along the road where the flyover is located. What many who were listening on radio did not know was that during the preceding commercial break of that part of the interview, Dee Mike had started the hilarious banter on the flyover behind the scenes inside the studio and on return from the break he latched on the banter to ask the question when the programme returned after the commercial break.
Governor Ikpeazu started his response to Dee Mike on the same lighter note before delving into formally explaining to the people of the state the progress of the project.
Even an elementary Igbo speaker will note the Governor’s transition from the lighter note to the more serious business of responding to his beloved Abians on the flyover.
Indeed, only a mischief maker will decide to cut off the actual answer to the question and share only the open banter between the Governor and the OAP.
Honestly, if not for the debilitating effects of political desperation those sore losers who have written press releases and granted interviews on the basis of the mischief orchestrated by their social media hirelings would have noticed that the Governor addressed the OAPs personally before addressing his beloved Abians.
Any Igbo speaker will know that “o gbasara gi” is clearly different from “o gbasara Ndi Abia”. If the Governor had intended to speak to Ndi Abia as against his anchor as an individual, he would obviously have said “o gbasara Ndi Abia” which loosely translates to “does it concern Abians” as against “o gbasara gi” which points to one person or group of persons only.
But for the advent of the season of political desperation, the same folks who issued puerile statements would have simply laughed off the exchange . They even failed to note that the Governor, in his light hearted response to the OAPs mimicked some Abia opposition members in referring to the interchange as “center table”.
After all, it was Hugh Sidey who wrote long ago that “A sense of humor…is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.”
Obviously, if the Governor had answered the question in English language to the understanding of our seasonal politicians who have long been stranded in Lagos and Abuja it would have been clear to those they tried to hoodwink to join their sinking political ships that he was actually engaged in light hearted exchange of banters with the radio anchor.
For the sake of those who might have been misled by the noise from these political exiles who will never have anything good to say about Governor Ikpeazu even if he brings Paradise to their doorsteps, Let us reproduce verbatim the transcription of the Governor’s actual response to the question on Osisioma Flyover and leave you to judge why his traducers chose to edit his comments out of context to divert attention.
“We would have finished it before the raining season; I have even paid the complete money for this project. There is even a state that built same thing but brought it down because they decided that it wasn’t beautiful anymore. One of the Chinese contractors confided in me that flyover cannot be amended and that I should be patient because at the heighh of this flyover; laterite was used to build it to this height because laterite is flexible. The rigid table on top of the flyover is made of cement and is not flexible like laterite; even the laterite is not strong enough because if a trailer goes on the flyover, it will fall. So they asked me to be patient enough for the rainy season to end so I had to stop.
“I want to complete it and leave so that people can now applaud me for a job well done but there are still people who won’t applaud me on a job well done, instead they will go ahead to fish out faults where there is none and cook up stories to badmouth my work. But by then I must have completed my tenure as Governor and left the office.”
Regarding the ongoing reconstruction of Faulks Road in Aba, the truth remains that at no time did the administration of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu announce that the work had been completed.
Even in official project reports periodically published in official news outlets of the government, they listed Faulks Road as an ongoing project. Being an ongoing project, the Government never announced that they have finished paying the contractors unlike the emphatic statement of the Governor that his government has finished paying the Chinese contractors handling the Osisioma flyover.
When the Governor announced that N2.5b has been paid to the contractor to complete the Faulks Road project there shouldn’t have been any question as to the ongoing status of the project or even a suggestion of cost variation except in the dark hearts of seasonal politicians seeking political talking points.
Indeed, those seeking to know whether the amount paid is in addition to the original project cost could easily have called opposition members of the state house of assembly to verify if there is any variation in cost and why.
Those who do not know better should read Victoria Moran’s ‘Younger by the Day: 365 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body and Revitalize Your Spirit’ where they will find this quote:
“It stands to reason that anyone who learns to live well will die well. The skills are the same: being present in the moment, and humble, and brave, and keeping a sense of humor.”