FEATURE ARTICLE

Friday, June 8, 2018
[email protected]
New York, New York, USA
THE FALLACY OF GOV IKPEAZU'S TOWN HALL MEETINGS

ust watched one of Governor Ikpeazu's many town hall meetings, this time in Abuja after one held not long ago in the United States and probably another held in Kigali, if we assume their is a sizeable Abia community resident there. Lest we forget, the Governor went to Rwanda to give a speech on E-Governance which to me is a joke considering the fact that most Abia ministries and state government operations are still operating on the analog and not digital age. In a state where there is hardly anycomputer in our classrooms other than the principal's office, it is laughable to imagine Dr Ikpeazu lecturing Rwandans on the finer points of computer technology, let alone how to apply it to governance. Well for a Governor who has been nicknamed "the Globetrotting Governor" or adjudged the most foreign travelled Governor , there is little doubt he will jump on any invitation and opportunity to spend Abia state's meager resources for his personal pleasure. Lets, not forget his many trips abroad to attract foreign investments with zero results.

Now back to his recent town hall meeting. Make no mistake about this. When A Governor or public Government official goes on a jamboree or orgy of town hall meetings to tout his achievements , it is a subtle acknowledgement of his realization that the public has not only lost confidence in him but are aware of his failure in governance or the poor performance in his duties, hence he has to try to change that perception before it becomes reality and affect his chances for re-election. The Igbo's have a proverb, "a good food sells itself". Anyone in the restaurant business or service industry will tell you that the product you sell or the quality of the service you render is all the publicity you need for people to acknowledge you, hence you do not have to go around mounting Billboards or holding meetings to seek public acknowledgment. Patronage, maybe in some cases but not public acknowledgement. In my opinion one is a loser when he/she has to toot his own horn, albeit with false facts and embellishments.

From what I've surmised from the Governor's many town hall meetings, it is safe to say, the claim of road construction in Aba has become the one shiny object he does not hesitate to flash around. Unfortunately the glare from this shiny object seems to blind his audience to his many failures of governance. Like a gifted magician, the Governor flashes an object with his right hand for public view but hides his left hand from his audience. Yes, road constructions are good but so also are payment of worker's salaries, improvement of our health facilities, upgrading, reconstructing and equipping our failing schools, investing in new technologies and infrastructures, providing employment for our teeming jobless youths, providing the enabling environment for enterpreneuralship etc. There are some who would argue that the Government cannot provide all these services at the same time. My answer is yes, it can. That's exactly what transformative governments all over the world do. True, a government can identify one area of utmost priority to invest more resources on, but that should not result in the neglect and abandonment of other services and projects relevant to the well- being of the governed.

What good for instance is a road construction project to a man who cannot fix his car, pay his rent, feed his family, or send his children to school because he has not received his salary in 10 months? What is there to rejoice or celebrate about a reconstructed road to a dead pensioner who had died due to hardship and ill-health resulting from the non- payment of his pensions after decades of public service?. What use is a road construction project to a man who cannot pay the hospital bill for his wife who just delivered a baby because he does not have a job or a young University graduate who roams the streets aimlessly and hopelessly with no prospects of gainful employment other than being a motor park tout, a kidnapper or political thug for hire? My point is that the Governor can walk and chew gum at the same time like the Americans will say. He can build roads and still provide all these other essential services at the same time. All that is needed is vision, imagination and a prudent management and allocation of the state's financial resources rather than the kleptocracy, the corruption and the wastages taking place in the form of staged and Government financed town hall meetings, paid newspaper awards and foreign junkets. I keep hearing the Governor and his team of apologists blaming their poor performance in office on the shortfall of funds from the state's share from the Federal Allocation Fund, without actually revealing the totality of the amount of money the state has received, generated internally or borrowed in the last three years. If we may take their word for what it is worth, the question remains , revenue shortfall relative to what and comparable to which other Southern State when we consider the fact that states like Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi have achieved so much with much less.

As I've said many times before, "truth" to this administration is a relative term. They have not only mainstreamed lying and continue to misrepresent facts, but they have also mainlined it. Everyday the Governor and his minions of sycophants as we've seen in these town hall meetings continue to produce geysers of fantancy, so much so that his embellishments and false claims of achievement, one of which include the Aba-Portharcourt road construction project being financed by the Federal Government, have subsumed effective governance. To those who attend these town hall propaganda forums camouflaged as town hall informative sessions or meetings and the many yet to come before the 2019 elections my advice is this, don't listen to the many claims of accomplishments, rather pay attention to the failures the Governor does not talk about like the unpaid civil servants, he pretends do not exist except in our imagination, the inflated road construction costs he hides from public knowledge, the insecurity and spates of kidnappings in the state even after collecting millions of Naira every month as security vote etc etc. You were fooled once in 2015. Don't let yourselves be fooled a second time come 2019 because if you do, you will be worse than a proper fool. You will be a perpetual fool or what as kids we used to call, "a fool forever'. Bear in mind that these town hall meetings are mere propaganda sessions aimed at soliciting your support for his re-election. They are not sincere or genuine. Remember if God forbid he gets re-elected he will never conduct any more town hall meetings for your entertainment because he will not need your support anymore nor will he care for one. To be forewarned is to forearmed.


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