You cannot take it away from him: Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is a born humourist, a witty country boy that is groomed in the best of agrarian and cosmopolitan values. During the campaigns in 2015, he left his followers with a message: Unu ja akota sign. This message has since become a popular cliché in Abia State, transforming into a socio-political construct that re-occurs in every political discussion in the state.
For many, that message is an entry point into an understanding of the man and his politics. For others, it is the essential compass to discerning his moves, his hidden intentions, the intrigues, his priorities and his maneuvering patterns.
But, essentially, that message has been transmuted into the cardinal projects that have formed the signature of the man in his three-year strides in Abia. For the projects communicate signs and messages that are both connotative and literal.
In an attempt to interrogate the message, one begins to see a body of symbols, ideas and meanings in the footprints that have changed the narrative of Abia in a short time. Take the case of the Osisioma Overhead Bridge.
It is no more news that Governor Ikpeazu is building the first ever over-head bridge in Aba at Osisioma Junction. If you understand the science of semiotics, the Osisioma flyover in Aba must come to you with far deeper meanings that transcend value and convenience. To me, it communicates meanings that are somewhat esoteric. The first interpretation is that it is a project that will add value to the city of Aba and create convenience in transportation for motorists and other road users. Osisioma Junction is a hotspot for traffic jam, a place where madness is taken as part of the daily chore, a place where man and mermaids compete for space within a small radius. The overhead bridge will end this bad narrative.
It will add beauty and change the landscape of the entry point into the old city. The bridge will provide a warm atmosphere of reception to visitors driving into the city and for those driving across to Port Harcourt.
The bridge will improve the quality of our lives, create a whole new convenience and lift Abia to a new status. Call it dividend of democracy. It is one great thing, among others, for which Ikpeazu will be remembered.
But, beyond the aesthetics value and the structural importance, I see a message of transition from one milieu to another. I see a revolution but not of victory of arms but of victory of change. Revolution is not just about taking up arms and overthrowing an existing political regime, it is also about taking drastic steps and actions that progressively expand the frontiers of our human existence. In discerning the signs embedded in the Osisioma Overhead Bridge, I see a meditated intention at social transformation. Ikpeazu is looking beyond transportation values to creating a new world order for Aba and Abia State. He is creating a new life, a new man and a new season. Indeed, it was part of his campaign promise.
To be cont’d