Ikpeazu’s value and achievements in Abia
TO most citizens of Abia State, one of the remarkable achievements Governor Okezie Ikpeazu recorded in the first 100 days in office is that governance has now worn a new but simple look, which to them, “signifies a better and hopeful days ahead.”
The governor has indeed succeeded in demystifying the office of the governor and cut down on unnecessary expenses including his entourage and personal salary “all in an effort to boost the revenue base of the state and to also add value to the life of the masses and develop infrastructure.”
Speaking on the achievements of Dr. Ikpeazu in the first 100 days, the Chief Press Secretary, Godwin Adindu said the government has succeeded in introducing within the short time of assuming office on May 29, a new initiative called Integrated Payroll Verification System (IPVS), which has successfully captured the biometric data of staff and all civil servants in the state.
According to him, “Ikpeazu has taken governance away from the old fashion where there is bloated number of workforce and unprecedented numbers of ghost workers.
This has saved a lot of cost and wastages in governance. We call it War against Ghost Workers Syndrome, which the people appreciated.”
On the governor’s efforts to raise the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of Abia, Adindu said reputable consultancy firms have been engaged within the last 100 days to harness the IGR of the state. Said he, “Unlike in the past where everybody collects tax and levies, there is now an harmonization banking system to handle the issues of levies and taxes and since we introduced the system the state’s IGR has increased from N500 to N1.5 billion in the last three months.”
To produce a new economic blue print for the state, Ikpeazu in the last 100 days has also established what is known as Abia State Economic Advancement Team (ASEAT), which has a primary responsibility to drive new economic initiatives by setting agenda, drawing roadmap, drive the new IGR methodologies for the new administration.
Adindu also commended the administration for having established the Office of Aba Urban Renewal, which is headed by a Special Adviser.
According to him, “The agency is aimed at driving a new effort towards the infrastructural renewal of Aba City to ensure that it is transformed to a city of basic modern amenities and restore order and sanity in building of shops, kiosk, offices and residential buildings.”
He noted that the agency is already at work and it is driving the new programmes towards the park reform and general rehabilitation work “the goal is to make Aba the Small Medium Entrepreneur (SME) capital of Nigeria.”
In a replica of what immediate past governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola did within his first 100 days in office in 2007, Ikpeazu has succeeded in restructuring government finances and waged successful war against touts and hoodlums and also stopped the activities of illegal agents and their cronies in Abia.”
Other achievements include the launching of E for E, Education for Employment scheme to train youth in vocational training, the dredging of the Aba River, which is aimed at attracting tourists to the state, environmental protection purposes and enhancement of drainage flow.
The Ikpeazu administration has also successfully completed 27 roads construction projects in the last 100 days. These cut across Aba, Umuahia and Aba North.
From day one, Ikpeazu took the issue of security with utmost interest by bringing the soldiers back and re-engineering the police to enable them combat kidnapping and other crimes in the state.
Ikpeazu has also resolved the issue of pension payments through the Pension Reform that was introduced no sooner than he took over on May 29.
According to Adindu, “Pensioners have been verified and their pension are being paid straight into their accounts. The governor has also reinstated over 201 sacked non-indigenes staff in the Secondary Education management Board and paid their June salary and out of the 295 non-indigenes in ASUPEB, 63 have been cleared and slated for July salary while the rest are awaiting their clearance by the office of the Auditor-General of the Local Government.
One significant thing that is striking about Ikpeazu’s administration is the fact that the governor himself is driving the Made in Aba Campaign by ensuring that everything he wears, shoes and cloths are Aba-made.
According to Adindu, “The governor is the chief brand ambassador of made in Aba goods and he has embarked on an aggressive promotion of Aba products by setting up Marketing Standard Regulatory Board to ensure that the Aba entrepreneur is encouraged.
In the health sector, Adindu said the new administration has identified two tertiary health centres in each of the three senatorial districts and has brokered a public private partnership arrangement where a private hospital management firm will take over these hospitals and run them “the state is also reviewing its health insurance policy with a view to reactivating and strengthening it,” he said.