By Bisi Ezekiel
Since the inception of Abia State on August 27, 1991, the state had been governed by eight different persons until May 29,2015 when Dr. Victor Okezie Ikpeaxu was elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the ninth governor.
Professional biochemist by training, he took no short at public office prior to the 2015 general election in he won the governorship seat of Abia State.
He, however, suffered a few political travails. On December 31, 2015, a Court of Appeal stting in Owerri sacked Ikpeazu as Governor and declared Alex Otti as the winner of the 2015 gubernatorial election.
Also on 27 June 2016, Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja ordered Ikpeazu to vacate his office as governor upon allegations of false information and forgery of documents prior to the 2015 gubernatorial election. The suit was however dismissed by a Federal High Court in Owerri.
He was able to complete his first tenure in office.
The many challenges he went through, no doubt, spurred him into performing well in office and this eventually earned him a second term ticket of the PDP to recontest in the March 2019 governorship election in which he won a landslide victory.
Ikpeazu has turned around not only the physical landscape of the state but every other sphere of public life like education, health, economy, infrastructure and sports.
He turned the erosion ravaged areas in the capital city into passable roads are especially the Umuagu – Umuda erosion control work where a lot of work was done to control massive flood erosion that had threatened hman within the area.
The state governor was worried about the rate of doing business with ease. The government expended huge sum on the construction of Abia investment House to attract investors to do business in the state with minimum fuss.
One of the areas where Gov. Ikpeazu – led government has made major in road is in the area of road construction. More than 80 road projects have been was awarded in different parts of the three senatorial districts of the state to ensure equitable development. Many of the roads have been commissioned while steady progress us being made to complete the rest in appointed time.
Aba , the commercial need centre of the state is certainly better than it was when Ikpeazu’s government came to power. Roads hitherto abandoned have received attention and succour came for road users especially owners of medium and small businesses with Aba.
Worthy of mentioning in this regard is the Faulks Road and the strategic Port – Harcourt road. Others include the Ukaegbu, Where, Umuoha roads.
The government has done extensively well in the development of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in Aba, the industrial hub of the state.
Over. two million pairs of shoes were being exported to other parts of Africa weekly from Aba and no fewer than 250,000 people were directly engaged in SMEs in Aba, thereby creating millions of jobs for the people.
The governor’s expectation was that his administration will raise the state internally generated revenue (IGR) from about N500 million to at least N1.8 billion monthly from Aba.
“If we get Aba right, we can generate enough IGR to develop the state, without depending on the monthly Federal Allocation to the state.”
On education, the government emphasised the re-training of primary school teachers, in collaboration with an Australian-based non-governmental organisation.
Accordingly 1,700 teachers have benefitted from the programme since its inception about two years ago while 34 schools were currently undergoing renovation, and government was also buillding model schools that would be second to none.
Before joining politics, Okezie Ikpeazu had been a lecturer in several Nigerian educational institutions.
From August 1984 to August 1985, he served as a Clinical Biochemist in the Medical Laboratory of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt for his National Youth Service .
Okezie Ikpeazu returned to the University of Maiduguri for an M.Sc Degree in Biochemical Toxicology and graduated in 1990. In 1994, at the age of 30, he obtained a Doctorate Degree, Ph.D in Biochemical Pharmacology from the University of Calabar.
He was born on October 18, 1964, to the family of late Pa Ishmael and Deaconess Bessie Ikpeazu of Umuebere in Umuobiakwa village, Isialaukwu, Mbato Autonomous Community in Obioma Ngwa Local Government of Abia State.
He attended Amaise Central Primary School, Umuobiakwa. In 1973, while in primary five, he gained admission into Eziama High School, Aba and later moved to Ihie High School, Isiala Ngwa where he took his School certificate examination in 1979.
In 1980, at the age of 16, he gained admission into the University of Maiduguri to study Clinical Biochemistry and graduated with a B.Sc. (Hons.) Second Class Upper Division in August, 1984.