By Godwin Adindu
ON Wednesday, February 17, 2016, Abia State stood still in a great celebration. From the rolling hills of Arochukwu, the cashew farmlands of Umunneochi, the rocky grounds of Lokpanta, the table lands of Ngwaland to the thick rainforest of Ukwa, it was celebration galore.
Men rolled out drums and beat to the rhythmic tunes of valour and victory. Women sang the old lullaby about the warrior who has come home from battle. The waters of Abia will tremble underneath their yoke to hear the replication of the sounds.
The state government declared the day a holiday. And, in droves, men, women and children matched to the Central stadium in Umuahia, the state capital and waved flowers to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, the man who represents the new hope, the new dawn and the new destiny of the people.
The spiritual bearer of the people’s lamp-stool. For a quite significant reason, the events stood as an epic, capturing a dispensation in the people’s long anthropological movement, lamenting their struggles and lauding their victories.
But, beyond ceremony and celebration was a new rite of covenant. Abia re-united in a new covenant with God. Governor Ikpeazu set out the day to re-dedicate the land and the people of Abia to God – to seek God’s face in his leadership and in the affairs of Abians. By this act, the Governor recognized the supremacy of God and His leadership in the affairs of men. He recognized God as the one who was and is and will be, the omnipresent and the omnipotent, the infinite and the transcendental, the one who exists from eternity to eternity.
The Governor had recognized God as the one who raises kings and kingdoms. The one who holds the heart of the kings in His hands. The one who heals the land and proper nations. On that historic day, Abia was led into a new communion with God for the victory is not of man but of God. The Governor took his first steps with God as the guardian because his is a divine mandate. And because ‘in God we trust.’
By re-dedicating Abia to God, Governor Ikpeazu was breaking off any fettering chain and manacles of the dark powers that may have held the state backwards. He was setting the state free from the bondage of ghost worker syndrome, over-invoicing, padding of bills, contract inflation, misappropriation and all other cankerworms that constitute a clog in the wheel of progress of the state.
He was loosing the noose of acrimony and political bickering tightly tied on the neck of the state. He was breaking loose from all other forces that destabilize and distract the focus of the leader. He was surrendering the state to be led, not by him, but by God through him as an instrument.
Indeed, the celebration was both a thanksgiving and a demonstration of the people’s happiness over the triumph of the human will. The will was the people’s sincere choice and aspiration translated in their votes and the legal struggle for the affirmation of their mandate.
The will was the wisdom of the founding fathers of the state translated in their proclamation of the Abia charter of equity, which is a template for peaceful co-existence of all groups in the state. It was a celebration of the victory of the people’s dream and choice of a leader.
On the historic Wednesday, Abia celebrated their Governor, son of a teacher and a woman who was a nurse; a new entrant into the world of the orphans, a humourist and a teacher himself. The street sweeper of Aba who rose from the waste land of a city dunghill to the pinnacle of power. On that day Abians celebrated a man who found himself a street sweeper and yet swept so well that the host of many people stood and said: “Here was a street sweeper!”. They celebrated a man who acted well his part – “And there the honour lies!”.
Governor Ikpeazu also celebrated himself – his humble parentage and the journey, his trials and triumph. In a way, he did celebrate a milestone that has seen him through the vagaries of life, through the lowly trough to the corridors of fame. He celebrated the burden of leadership that has been made light by the personally-acknowledged grace of the Almighty.
Abians also celebrated another man of equity and justice, a man who, against all odds, stood his ground on his bond for political equity in the state. A man who insisted, and remained constant and firm in that belief, that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.
The people beat drums and danced in different styles and movements, all signaling their innermost heart and their appreciation of the new dawn of change. They welcomed the new season with jubilation.
A season that has manifested in 55 active road constructions spread across the three geo-political zones of the state, and a season that has given the city of Aba a facelift. A season that holds great promise. It was indeed a remarkable welcome party to the governor and his team and the people sang in unison: Oh hail our Governor!
.Adindu is the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor