ABA REQUIRES MASSIVE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION
Hon. Sir Abraham Oba is the member representing Aba Central in the Abia State House of Assemble. He was re-elected in the recently concluded election for a second term in office. He granted an explosive interview to our regional editor Mr. John Orji. Excerpts:
QUESTION: you just won election to represent Aba Central again in the Abia State House of Assemble in a fiercely contested elections, what was the e x p e r i e n c e like.
ANS: well for e v e r y b o d y c o n t e s t i n g elections in present day Nigeria, the experience is more or less the same, I will use one word to describe it “challenging”. It is challenging in the sense that you are not only dealing with the electorate whom ordinarily should have been the primary consideration but you are dealing with INEC, Police, Army, Thugs. You have to work round a whole lots of variables both seen and unforeseen to ensure that you are not rigged out .if you are contesting in a cosmopolitan and populous city like Aba central, the challenge is usually double. But in all, I give thanks to God. We will also have to thank the people of Aba central for standing firmly behind me and our platform APGA which they regard as their own.
QUESTION: Talking about platform, your party APGA seems not to have done well in the state as it did in 2015. What can you adduce as the reason for the regress?
ANS: The reasons are too many but fundamentally, it has to do with the crises that engulfed the state chapter of our party and organizational lapses. The party still remains quite popular with our people. I believe our experience this time will enable us to do well so as to improve on our performance in future elections.
QUESTIONS: Now that you have been elected for a second term what do you think the electorates should expect from you?
ANS: they should expect a doubling of the dividends of democracy. In my last outing I attracted a lot of meaningful projects to several wards in my constituency. I intend improving on that record. Also my foundation “The Ndi Uwaoma Movement” was quite active in a lot of charity works. We intend also to double efforts in that direction.
QUESTION: you represent the city of Aba. What do you think the government should do to help the city grow?
ANS: A whole lots. Firstly you have to understand that the British colonial government selected and designed Aba as a strategic center of commerce and industry for the whole of the old east, that’s why you have layouts like the industrial layout and factory road. They designed the GRA section with a sport recreation club as a residential district for the business owners. Most of them lived in that Old GRA. They choose Aba because it is at the center of the old east. The NCNC government that took over from the British colonialist improved on what the white people built. However, most of the infrastructure in the city was destroyed during the war as it was a theater of battle for a very long time. The Nigeria Air Raids concentrated so much effort in destroying the city. Now after the war unlike what happened during the Second World War when Europe Was rebuilt through the instrumentality of the Marshall plan funded by USA, the destroyed infrastructure of Enyimba city was never rebuilt by the succeeding military administrations. It was only when Chief Sam Mbakwe came into power in 1979, nine good years after the war that efforts were made to rebuild the city. However the Mbakwe administration stayed only four years (1979-1983). He did a lot in transforming Aba. However the inner city center could not benefit from his efficient government due to the shortness of his tenure. The Mbakwe regime succeeded in rebuilding the city center with the major connecting roads. Since then the city has been expanding at a geometric proportion because of the hardwork and enterprise of the residents but the infrastructure lacks seriously behind this expansion. It is all this that calls for the attention of the federal government. The state government is trying but it’s resources seem too lean to be able to cope with the level of infrastructural improvement required to leap frog the city into a modern one.
QUESTION: it is now 20 years of democratic governance in Nigeria. What is your assessment of Nigeria’s democratic journey so far?
ANS: well it is still a journey. At least we are moving in the right direction. We have had some setbacks but the fact of our having a civilian to civilian take over and more importantly an opposition party winning a presidential election as happened in 2015 means that the journey is progressing well. There a lot of areas that require improvements for instance the state house of assemble need to be straightened in order to perform their constitutional roles more effectively as an effective check on the excesses of the Executive arm there a lot of other areas that require a lot of other areas that require improvement like the structure of the federation. We also need to improve the governance structure so that we can have good governance at all levels and in every part of the country.