By Onyebuchi Ememanka
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has urged communities across the state to regularly engage the people that represent them in the various legislative houses with a view to finding out from them how they handle issues affecting them during debates on the floor of the legislature.
The Governor made this call yesterday at the Executive Council Chambers, Government House Umuahia when he received in audience the leaders of the Agbama Estate/ Olokoro Community in Umuahia South LGA.
The delegation led by a former PDP National Chairman, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor had come to complain to the Governor about the alleged take over of the Agbama Estate by Ibeku people in Umuahia North LGA stating that Agbama has from time immemorial been a part and parcel of Olokoro Community and that they were disturbed by the announcement from the State House of Assembly that the estate no longer belongs to them.
Prince Ogbulafor told the Governor that Agbama remains the ancestral land of the people of Olokoro Community and asked the Governor to intervene in the matter.
They also asked the Governor to look into the bad state of roads in the estate and also address the issue of inadequacy of electric transformers in the area.
Responding, The Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu noted that he is not in the habit of interfering with the internal workings of the State Assembly because he respects their independence as a separate arm of government but asked the people of Olokoro Community to engage more with their representative at the House. He also urged legislators to regularly consult with their people especially when issues affecting them are raised in the Assembly. He told the delegation that relevant agencies of the government will liaise with the Assembly to find out what the real issues are, assuring them that the people of Ibeku are peace loving people who would not engage in any untoward action. He appealed to communities across the state to live peacefully.
On the issue of the roads in Agbama Estate, the Governor told the delegation that he is very interested in that project. He said that work had commenced on the roads but that the contractor deviated from certain agreements which led to the slow pace of work. He assured them that work will resume there shortly and directed the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works to take immediate steps to restart the project. He further instructed that work should at least get to asphalt stage on the road by December this year.
On the issue of transformers for the Community, the Governor expressed surprise that they don’t have a transformer since the sharing of the last batch of transformers procured by the State Government was supervised by one of their sons. He promised to look at the hand over notes submitted by the former Commissioner for Public Utilities and know the current state of affairs there.
The Governor pointed out that government specifically instructed the Ministry to distribute the transformers through Town Unions Heads to avoid a situation where politicians will hijack the transformers and mount them in their compounds.
Usually, the Governor said, when you go the houses of these big shots, you will see big transformers installed inside their compounds…near their gates. It has become some sort of status symbol.
When the Governor said this, everyone broke into laughter and Prince Ogbulafor jocularly said..I HOPE HIS EXCELLENCY IS NOT REFERRING TO ME.
The Executive Chairman of Umuahia South, Obioma Bibi Ogbulafor, traditional rulers, leaders of thought, women leaders from Agbama Estate and Olokoro Community were part of the delegation while the State Head of Service, Dr. Vivian Uma and some Permanent Secretaries were also there.
The meeting later went into an executive session.