FEATURE ARTICLE

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
keshiafrica@gmail.com

A NEW ABIA MINDSET IS POSSIBLE

erception is a key factor to conflicts. Unlike its sister factors such as interest, ego, among others, perception commands a central role in the conflict circle. Perception on an issue is informed by several factors. It could be prejudice, or, people's poor understanding of issues. So, to adjust people's negative perception on issues, programmes, and policies, they should be properly oriented.

It is a strong belief that this is what Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu sets out to achieve by establishing an orientation arm christened "Abia State Orientation Agency". The agency is headed by the governor's first chief press secretary,Godwin Adindu.It has the core mandate of "changing the negative perception of the public on government activities and to influence the favourable attitude and behaviour from the citizenry".

The agency has recently set the ball rolling in this onerous task by engaging in some community relations strategy with the theme" disruptions ".

In the disruptions processes, a lot of strategic activities have been undertaking. Thinkers have been drawn from diverse fields, especially from the media, to chart a course of action for the new agency.

The brainstorming sessions were successful in all ramifications as critical activities that will in the days ahead ensure the success of the agency were undertaken; such as production of a sound bite or catchphrase for the agency "Let's Get Involved". In the sessions, the colour and logo of the agency were born.

Some of the vices identified by participants as factors militating against government's efforts to better the lots of the people are drug abuse, the public negative attitude towards the infrastructure of government, cultism, deliberate efforts by disgruntled elements to sabotage the efforts of the government.

Others are extortion of the citizens by some elements who fake to be acting on the directives of the government, indiscriminate dumping of refuse, chieftaincy tussles in rural communities.

Other things being equal, the agency will surmount some of these challenges in the months ahead by intensifying relations with traditional institutions, policy moulders and influencers.

It is pertinent to note here that the agency, in one of its community relations efforts visited a prominent monarch in the state,His Eminence Eze Dr Bernard Enweremadu,Ezeukwu,Ngwaukwu.This visit was in line with agency's commitment to narrow the communication gap between the grassroot and the state government.

The agency has also taken its "safety and security" campaign, which encapsulated in its accident-free programme to Aba main park. The need for safe driving during ember month was adequately harped by the Director-General, Godwin Adindu.

For passengers to arrive at their destinations safely, some rules must be obeyed which include not drinking while; and obeying the relevant traffic laws.

Also, in its efforts to build synergy with the relevant quarters to achieve its mandate, the agency has carried out an enlightenment campaign in collaboration with Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) round the streets of Aba where the need to protect the environment by keeping it need was strongly highlighted.

The campaign witnessed an open demonstration of proper waste disposal by the director-general and staff of ASEPA. The campaign is going as the enlightenment campaign train is expected to hit the state capital, Umuahia few days from now.

The agency's sound bite"Let's Get Involved, " calls for deeper reflections. Such as the scriptures raises the poser"If two can walk without agreement". It is a near fundamental law that"It takes two to tango". Abians have a deep stake in this new movement to achieve a new mindset in Abia. While government does its own bit by providing infrastructures and enabling environment, the citizens owe the sacred duty of complementing such efforts.

It will be recalled that recently as part of the governor's efforts that refuse situation in the state assumes a new narrative, he declared a state of emergency in a bid to respond to the increasing challenges of waste management in some parts of the state.

In addition to this is the proposed creation of distinct Waste Management Authorities for some local government areas which Aba North, Aba South, Osisioma Ngwa, Obingwa, Ugwunagbo, Umuahia South and Umuahia North. These actions were backed up by the appointment of local government waste managers to supervise the waste management efforts of the affected local government areas.

The new order ensures street by street collection of waste in Aba and environs which will commence by 5pm on daily basis; ensuring that only approved point for waste is the buckets placed by the state environmental agency(ASEPA).On this note, those who are hell bent in flouting directives should have a rethink as indiscriminate disposal of waste shall be punished by arrest and prosecution.

As the governor has usually demonstrated that he is a leader that walks his talk, compactors and buckets have been handed over to waste managers in the state.One directive Abia residents should not take for granted is the call to embrace this new waste disposal order by ensuring that they bag their refuse properly and dispose accordingly. Equally, Gov. Ikpeazu's warning that those in the habit of littering their frontage with refuse will face the wrath should also not be wished away.

The news from the governor that his administration is working towards phasing out the use of secondary dump stands to enable big trucks collect refuse directly from households straight to the tertiary dumps as the roads are repaired should equally elicit strong hopes that the refuse management situation in the state is remarkably improving.

Abia residents have critical contributions to offer here to complement the laudable efforts of the governor in ensuring that the waste management narrative of the state is changed.

This can manifest through the adjustment of refuse disposal mindset of the residents. It is unworthy to note here that some residents are in the habit of disposing refuse into drainage thereby blocking the free flow of water in the drainage.

This unbecoming attitude has cost the state a lot because hence the drainage are blocked, the storm water will return to the constructed or reconstructed roads and shorten their life spans. This mounts pressure on the lean resources of the state as it returns to these roads earlier than the time expected.

Also, some artisans undergoing automobile repairs in the state have cultivated the habit of fixing broken down vehicles on the newly- constructed roads. This attitude is highly negative because some materials used in these repairs are corrosive and compromise the integrity of the roads.

The state environmental protection agency and other relevant authorities should up their ante by making sure that these negative practices are checked. Relevant laws should be promulgated and religiously implemented. Indeed, a new mindset is possible in Abia but it requires the involvement of all!

NEWS SECTIONS