Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The rift ragging between the governor of Abia state, Okezie Ikpeazu and former All Progressives Congress (APC) Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Timi Frank worsened on Wednesday, degenerating to a battle between a group, South-south Emerging Leaders Forum (SELF) and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council (ONYC).
The South-South group in a statement issued in Abuja described as shameful for a group like Ohanaeze youths to be defending a governor under whom development in Abia State had engaged the reverse gear.
While urging the Ohanaeze youths to eschew doing the bidding of politicians to be taken seriously, the group challenged the Igbo youth group to name the laudable achievement of the Abia State governor in the last four years.
Apparently responding to media report credited to ONYC attacking Timi Frank, SELF asked the Ohanaeze group to compare the performances of the current Abia state governor to his South-East counterparts in Enugu and Ebonyi states in the last four years.
In a statement signed by its national coordinator, Barrister Preye Wilson, SELF claimed that Abia State had remained a glorified village under the current administration when compared to other southeastern states.
“One wonders if Timi Frank has suddenly created jobs for the Ohanaeze youth group over his recent comments on the Abia state governor. One expects the ONYC to be interested in the development of the region more than doing a hatchet job of defending a non-performing chief executive for a pot of soup.
“Timi Frank did not say anything derogatory against the real Igbo leaders. He only pointed out what was wrong in Ikpeazu’s trip with the president at a time his (Ikpeazu) party was going through a serious challenge because of the perceived injustice in Imo State, where a democratically-elected governor was removed. Where was ONYC when this was going on?,” the South-South group asked in the statement.
The group further continued: “With first tenure gone and some months into the second tenure, the issue of underperformance has been on the lips of Abians who daily lament the lack of progress in the development of the state.
“No matter how hard Ikpeazu thinks he is trying, something appears to be missing: the rapid transformational touch that makes a city to shine for all to see.”
Making reference to some of the failures in Abia government, the group said: “The new Government House which former governor Orji started at Ogurube layout has remained at the stage he left it. Today, Abia Government House is still domiciled in rented premises.
“With no functioning street light, Umuahia becomes a cocoon of darkness at sundown thus economic activities grind to a halt much earlier than in the capital city of other states. Public water supply is still a mirage under the Ikpeaza-led administration and the only thing ONYC could do was to allow itself to be sponsored to defend a non-performing governor. It is a shame,” the group said in the statement.