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Ikpeazu's "Thank You" Tour,Its Significance and Implications By Kingsley Maduforo


The expression of gratitude has a great impact on people everywhere. A sincere show of gratitude from any leader boosts team morale and increases productivity within an organization. Therefore, saying 'thank you' for a specific act or contribution helps in various ways.
It serves as an avenue for the led to know their leaders and also for the leaders to listen and hear comments from the people being led, comments that are likely to bring progress in their administration.
For the past two weeks, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has been on a 'thank you tour' designed to thank Abians for their steadfastness and prayers. The tour ended on Wednesday 7th June, 2017 with the Governor's Local Government Area (Obingwa) as the last destination.

The idea behind the Governor's 'thank you tour' is: to show gratitude to his people for standing with him all through his protracted legal tussle, for he is the only governor in Nigeria who went to the Supreme Court twice and came out victorious within two years in office. It was therefore appropriate for him to go back to his people and thank them for their support, belief in him and their prayers during the litigations. With this, and despite the distractions, Gov. Ikpeazu has written his name on the springboard, what with his numerous recorded achievements within two years in office.

The 'thank you tour' train of Gov. Ikpeazu took off at Umuahia North LGA, stopped over at Ikwuano and ended at Umuahia South LGA on day one. On day two, while the train moved to Isiala Ngwa North/South LGAs and ended at Osisioma LGA, it started off at Isuikwuato, moved to Ohafia and stopped at Umunneochi LGA on day three. The train headed to Arochukwu and Bende LGAs on day four while on day five, Ukwa West/East and Ugwunagbo LGAs made welcome to the Governor. Finally on day six, the Aba Boy and his train made a glorious stop-over at Aba North/South before finally stopping at Obingwa LGA, the Governor's home.
The tour witnessed the turn out of a mammoth crowd of Abians - young and old, statesmen, party faithfuls, traditional rulers and the clergy - who made welcome to the Governor and lauded his dexterity in handling the affairs of the State since his assumption of office, more especially the caterpillar revolution he brought to handle the construction of new and dilapidated roads across the State especially in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State. They thanked Gov. Ikpeazu for creating avenues for Abia youths to be employed and for diversifying the State economy from a mono-economy to a macro-economy. They also thanked him for his giant strides in the agricultural sector, for promoting Made-in-Aba products to a global brand within just two years in office, and for the Education for Employment (E4E) programme which has turned some Abia youths to employers and employees.
In his speech, the Governor appreciated Abians for their steadfastness and prayers through out the period of litigations and emphasized that his victory is a catalyst for more work. He restated his resolve to empower ten youths from each of the 17 Local Government Areas in the State with the sum of One Hundred Thousand Naira (#100,000.00) each, to enable them start up any small scale business of their choice and another two persons from each LGA to complete the 100 youths that will be sent to China for a one-year training on the new mechanism of shoe making. The Governor also promised to help in tackling the issue of electricity which is now a major perennial problem in some parts of the State. He reiterated that the caterpillars will soon visit those places they have not reached before the end of his tenure.

In response, the traditional rulers in some of the LGAs gave Gov. Ikpeazu a chieftaincy title. For instance, in Ukwa East, they gave him 'Ugwu Nyiri Onye Oso'; in Aba North, 'Agu Mbu 1 of Ngwaland' (Agu Aba), and in Aba South, 'Omeziri Uzo 1 of Ngwaland'. This was to appreciate the Governor for his laudable achievements while in office and within a short period of two years.

It is worthy to note that the Governor during his 'thank you tour' flagged off a One Hundred Million Naira (100,000,000.00) take-off grant for the Revolving Loan Scheme for Graduate Students of the South-East Entrepreneurial Development Centre (SEEDC) in Umuahia. This novel idea of the Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) is to help solve the problem of graduate unemployment, reduce poverty and help develop the youths of Abia State. The programme which is aimed at empowering the youths who have been trained in one skill or the other under the programme, to enable them set up their own business is in consonant with Gov. Ikpeazu's vision of empowering the youths.

The implication of this show of gratitude by the Governor is that come 2019 Governorship election in the State, Abians have collectively endorsed Gov. Ikpeazu so as to enable him complete the good works which he has already started in the State. There is now a new atmosphere in Abia State and its inhabitants now have a breath of fresh air. Gov. Ikpeazu is poised to deliver the dividends of good governance to Abians.

Kingsley Maduforo, a Media Analyst, writes from Umuahia.