I can’t compromise party internal democracy, says Ikpeazu

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Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State says he is a promoter of internal democracy in political parties’ activities and will not compromise on it.
Ikpeazu said at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja, that internal democracy in political parties was the hallmark of political development in a country.
He, therefore, said that it was important for every member of a political party to insist on internal democracy mechanism in the conduct of party elections.
However, the governor said that it was also the right and choice of any politician to support any individual he or she so desires in party elections.
He was reacting to what is happening in Ekiti where Gov. Ayo Fayose, has declared that his deputy is Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the July governorship in the state.
Fayose had foreclosed the party’s primary election for the candidate, claiming that God had directed that the deputy governor would succeed him.
“Even when politicians say we want internal democracy, they are coming with their own agenda.
“The internal democracy is to the extent that you allow them to impose their own choice; so, they say it is not internal democracy because what they plan did not work.
“So, what I want to say is that I support internal democracy and I think Ekiti will insist on internal democracy. I think every party, not even PDP alone, should insist on internal democracy.
“But, in seeking internal democracy, let us also know that people are entitled to their opinion; they can scheme, they can plan, they can arrange, they can even say something.
“I liken politics to a game of soccer, a contact game. You cannot stop people from pushing you, but you have a choice on where you want to fall and how you want to fall.
On some PDP elders, who left the party, Ikpezu said it was their choice to make decisions for themselves.
“Life is about choices; if they are still looking for greener pastures as people will say, so be it. If they are looking for grey pastures, so be it.
’’Political party is an organisation that is in a state of rapid floss. It is a dynamic organisation, and indeed, it can be liken to an organism, it responds to stimulus and it grows and it can die.
“So, if some people, especially those elders, have moved on, I wish we can have 10 youths to replace them so that we can add image to the party.
”But, whether it will affect the fortune of the party going forward, that will  be determined by Nigerians, but whatever will be the case, time will tell,” he said.
Ikpeazu also said his administration had constructed 60 roads across the state since inauguration in 2015.
The governor said that the roads comprised rural, intra-state and inter-state routes.
He said the roads, especially those in the rural areas, were constructed to make life better for the people and accelerate economic activities across the state.
According to him, 33 out of the 60 roads constructed are located in Aba, while about 105 construction sites are currently active in the state.
“Clearly, Aba has about 33 roads out a total stock of 60 completed roads.
‘’We have a catchment of 25 million people coming into Abia everyday to do business; this is true because of the confluence nature of our cities.
“No other state in Nigeria has more neighbours than Abia apart from Kaduna. We have seven neighbours.
“So, we decided to first build roads that will give access from each neighbouring state into Abia; they are the roads we regard as inter-state roads.’’
Ikpeazu said that the government also considered the roads based on the socio-economic value of the routes.
“We are doing roads that link people into Ariaria Market; for the first time in 20 years, we have been able to open the access to Ariaria from Brass to the expressway which never happened.
“We are doing Eziukwu road because it leads to Eziukwu Market; we are doing Port-Harcourt road because there is a hub for metal fabrication around Port Harcourt road in spite of the fact that it is a federal road.
“We are doing Aba-Owerri road because it leads into the city. The three roads I mentioned earlier, Ehere, Ukegbu and Umuola can give you access to Akwa-Ibom and in order to make sure that people from other states come,’’ he said.
The governor added that “under rural roads, we have embarked on 10 kilometres per local government and we have done 70 per cent of this.
“Indeed, the rural roads that we are doing also serve some socio-economic importance.’’
He added that the rural roads would facilitate transfer of agricultural produce from the farms to processing centres and ultimately, to the markets.
He said the state government had maintained the services of reputable road construction companies to ensure quality and high standard of the roads.
“There is no other state within our economic bracket that is keeping four grade “A’’ contractors working in the state.
“I have employed SETRACO. I am proud to say that I have employed Arab Contactors; I am proud to say that I employed Chinese and Gold that is doing the first flyover in our state.
‘’I am also proud to say that Bulletin is doing some of our rural roads.’’
Ikpeazu said the quality of infrastructure, like roads, would motivate an investor to come to the state.
“We are speaking to quality, because we want to create an environment that will make Abia an investment destination.
“If an investor is coming to built a factory and he wants to spend N1 billion or N2 billion, his consideration would be, what is the quality of the infrastructure that I am going to meet,’’ he stated.
The governor said that the roads constructed by his administration had at least, 30 years span.
“We are doing roads that will last 30 years, and that is why in the South-East, we pioneered cement  pavement technology  where  we do “nine-inch concrete bricks (BRC) and also finish it with Asphalt.’’

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