There’ll never come a time when such an audacious and open declaration, “I want to be a governor,” will cease to generate controversial reactions from political aficionados, concerned citizens and social media warriors.
These keyboard combatants — the majority hiding under pseudonyms — usually spend time hauling the individual over the coals, deriding and pre-empting his unhatched idea, more often than not, employing abusive vitriol or histrionic reactions.
The belligerences have engendered evolution and development hindering conventionalities, inertias and a few mediocre phrases, such as, “the devil we know is better than an unknown angel”, “he can never be different from the rest”, and “he wants to deceive us”.
These are the Achilles heels of our desire to enthrone a qualitative leadership in Abia state as our opinion leaders and moulders have failed to add the caveat the Twitterati cannot always serve as a reliable gauge of opinion when assessing a candidate for an elective office.
The benchmark for good governance transcends the threadbare clichés “tested and trusted”, and “show us your projects” that dominate our everyday discourse. Such application denotes poor evaluative judgement of who is trustworthy enough to ascend the throne of leadership.
At least, the grading of roads, painting of a classroom, drilling of boreholes, and the provision of wheelbarrows and frying pans empowerment to our youth by opportunistic political lightweights are evidence of mediocrity our conformism impelled.
It is the reason every conscientious Abian should be excited at the prospect of Professor Greg Ibe (OFR) succeeding Governor Victor Okezie Ikpeazu. His achievements in education, health, tourism/hospitality, architectural/infrastructural development, entrepreneurship and human capital development are proofs of his distinction.
An outlier par excellence, his reasons for seeking the exalted office of the governor in 2023, in line with the Abia zoning arrangement, got the journalists present during an interactive session nodding their heads and elicited resounding applause from the observing crowd.
“My objective is to develop the people and the state simultaneously for optimum productivity, prosperity and novelty,” Prof. Ibe said when prodded on the reason for his desire to become the governor of Abia state.
As a United Nations insider, Prof. Ibe knows what he is talking about because in 1990 the UN commissioned the United Nations Development Programme First Human Development Report published by Dr Haq with some of the best economists in the world.
Human development is the process of enlarging people’s freedoms and opportunities and improving their well-being. It is about the real freedom ordinary people have to decide who to be, what to do, and how to live. Therefore, it was not surprising when the professor of entrepreneurship said thus:
“I will run a system where my skills work for everyone in Abia state irrespective of age. Through several of my international standard skills acquisition programmes, I will mentor and grow Abians to be financially independent and I will take responsibility.
“You can agree with me that capabilities — what the people can do and what they become — are central to human development. The basic capabilities I am talking about here are good health, access to knowledge, and a decent material standard of living.
“We have other capabilities central to a fulfilling life and they include the ability to participate in the decisions that affect one’s life, to have control over one’s living environment, to enjoy freedom from violence, to have societal respect, and to relax and have fun.
“I will position our institutions and conditions of our society in such a way that they will provide Abians with extensive, well-developed capabilities to have the tools they need to make their vision of ‘a good life’ a reality. Without these basic capabilities, the human potential will never be achievable in Abia state.”
This is interesting. What can be sweeter than a society where everyone achieves the basic building blocks of well-being and opportunity — a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent material standard of living?
I can hear some pessimistic voices asking, “Are these possible?”. The answer is in the next edition.
To be continued next week.