How To Develop Abia State

by Odimegwu Onwumere

Recently, Governor Theodore Ahamefule Orji of Abia State, while inducting 18 commissioners that will help him man the affairs of the state, charged them to submit their blueprint within 14 days. Orji, throwing caution to the wind and came out with this request without exhibition of ego, shows that no matter how old a father is, he still needs some advise, if he is wise.

He said that he needs the blueprint from the commissioners so that he will know how equipped they are in generating ideas and resources that will help the state burgeon through the ministries in the state. He cried that the commissioners need to help him, because he cannot do the work alone. As a concerned Igbo son, and Abia State being one of the states in ala-Igbo, I feel obliged to add voice to the clarion call, because before a governor as Orji came out plain to demand for blueprint, perhaps showed that he is exhausted with ideas and needs help.

It is our duty to help him move Abia State forward through ideas, while he uses them for developmental paces. The state had been a state where politics were used to tackle the plight of the people while they cremated. Now, Abia State under Orji should put-up its brains together to manage the government for the essentiality of mankind through accountability, transparency, responsiveness, and send corruption on exile.

I am happy that some of the traditional rulers or all, who were alleged to be involved in the kidnappings that rampantly took place in the state during the tragic period of the late Osisikankwu, have been re-installed to assume their respective offices. Their re-installment will help the consecrated traditional way of things in the state not be too political than being traditional as the name implies. Their re-installment will further harness a mindset in Abia State that the wound of the incessant kidnappings in the past is gradually healing. Their re-installment will help tell people to always uphold the traditional values and responsibilities handed them by their ancestors instead of chasing frivolities in their respective occupations and offices.

Governor Orji must take whatever woes that happen in the state that concern governance as his own, because a leader is accentuated by the love of his people and not by the love of office, power, religion, ethnicity or any bias. He should take charge in seeing that Abia State develops even when the Federal Government is recalcitrant to do its own part of the work in the state, as they relate to road constructions or re-contractions and all sundry, and not sit down to blame anybody. He should make sure that peace is restored in the state, not fragilely. The people can only concentrate, especially in a place like Aba to work and develop it, only when they have peace and are free from kidnapping and unwanted killings by hoodlums and their likes. Governor Orji has no excuse not to prove his stewardship in this second dispensation, no matter who had offended him in the past.

Since the existence of Abia State, excuses given by past administrations are more than tangible projects that met the eyes that were carried out and executed in the state. Treading of blames by the governor must stop. Therefore, it is imperative that his administration work for the improvement of the people than the individual bank accounts. It is important that the governor goes on courses regularly to broaden his administrative horizon. This implies that adding new method or style to old ways always yield a positive result. He should step up and take into reality the responsibilities of governing and convert them into development, instead of taking responsibilities in sharing blames.

Without tabulating my vision and mission expected to take root in the Governor Orji-led administration of Abia State, I will state that the underdevelopment of any state or country begins when lightfingering of the economy becomes the order of the day. The economic policies of the state must, with a strict measure, be handled and managed by the different ministries or organizations they were allocated to, properly. There should be more of economic discipline as there are economic policies. The Internal Revenue must be increased through generation and the state, engages in seminars to generate money for efficiency and economic growth. Approach for wealth creation is so important for furtherance in investment by the government and the entrepreneurs. This will consolidate the economy and the Public Private Partnership (PPP). The legislative arm of the government must always think fast for suggestions that will help shape the state and move policies already at hand forward without much hesitation. When the economy of the state is managed well, then every other sector can be stable.

But education is most needed in order to manage the economy of a given organization as big as Abia State very well. The people, especially those in the government, must put to work their areas of specialization for the sustenance of the system and the general overview of the educational system. The affordability of education in the state will be most welcomed. The teachers should always go for refreshing courses to enhance quality of teachers and students relationship to enable them follow the trend in the education system and eschew any form of parochial exhibitions.

The above can be achieved when the people are healthy and enjoy a healthy environment. It is my wish that Governor Orji must be healthy in all ramifications. Being healthy should not be on the body alone, but in the way he talks, behave, govern, relate with people etc etc. He should know that happiness is not bought with money, so also, is development not achieved by the volume of blueprints on the desk, but by the volume of our healthiness in implementing them. He can only improve the health of the people by being healthy himself, following my aforesaid assertions. When Governor Orji is HEALTHY, both Primary/Secondary healthcares and the medical personnel will be achieved.

The people need healthy foods to be alive and farm to make profit. Therefore, Governor Orji should empower rural farmers with finance and equipments to strengthen agriculture in Abia State. The enhancement of this sector in the state will make agriculture attractive for more people to be involved in farming, thereby create job opportunities for themselves and the general public of Abia State.

When people are gainfully employed and they feed well, then they can be talking about housing. However, the pressing housing needs in Abia State is alarming. People are human beings, and not animals expected in the African parlance to reside in squalors. The rural to urban migration should be looked into. If companies and factories are built in the rural areas, there would be fewer exoduses of people migrating to the urban cities from the rural areas in search of greener pastures thereby congesting the city.

The Government of Abia State should as a matter of speedy need cut cost of building materials and make landlords charge house rent per month instead of a straight payment of two to three years landlords charge tenants. This landlords method helps in driving investors away, especially the private sector, when the capital at hand is gulped by only house or office rents. The government should make housing affordable and fund its scheme for sustenance.

While the people need the best from the government, the best might not come if there is poor transportation system in Abia State. A well managed intercity transportation system will add appeal and importance to the existing ones. With this, people can move from place to place for whatever business they are engaged in or are doing. The government should encourage interim transporters in the state instead of hound them away with taxes and levies. People and institutions should be encouraged to partner with the government to provide the state-of-the-art vehicles for transportation.

The transportation business m

ight not be a success in a poor environment like Abia State, especially, Aba. The poor environment in Aba is threatening to the development of Abia State. With Aba alone put in place, Abia State does not need any external donor to develop. So, the government must make sure that there is a good sanitation system in Aba and its environs. The policy of building houses should be reviewed. The pattern of fence-to-fence building is threatening the environment, as some waterways are blocked by these fences, thereby causing flooding in the different streets and compounds. This effect has made a lot of people relocate to other safer areas and made others not to pack in. This contributes to threatening the economy and development of Abia State, and pollution is not good to the health.

It is the lack and maintenance of infrastructure that have deprived public utilities. There are a lot of decayed state of public utilities and infrastructures in Abia State, from any region you enter the state, infrastructural eyesores are on the high side. The network of roads in Abia State should be increased. Traffic jams in Abia State should be reduced. There should be good water scheme. The villages should be water-full. Electrification of all the nooks and crannies of Abia State will not be a waste, pending when there will be constant electricity supply in Nigeria, for the villagers to use it.

To mention but a few, Governor Orji must take one aspect of the majority of deficiencies in Abia State as his priority. For example, I will suggest that he takes the construction and re-construction of roads and drainages in Abia State as paramount. I am saying this because he can never develop Abia State at a spot. If he can achieve this, I believe that his successors will begin from there. No state develops with a long queue of projects. I pray that Abia State receives the vision it is looking for to better the lives and the environment in it. May Governor Theodore Orji and the Abia

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