ABIA YOUTHS’ ROAD MAINTENANCE CORPS: IKPEAZU’S YOUTHS’ EMPOWERMENT SPREE AND HOME GROWN SOLUTION
One of the cardinal objectives of Governor Okezie lkpeazu’s administration in Abia State has been to find alternatives in tackling challenges utilizing home grown solutions. He has continued to do same since he took the reins of governance six years ago.
Among his numerous initiatives, this writer, Ubani Newman Ubani is focusing on the most recent, the Abia Youths’ Road Maintenance Corps which was establishment on the bedrock of finding a lasting solution to road maintenance in the State. As we all know, one of the banes bedeviling our country Nigeria is poor maintenance culture. This poor attitude of ours has been the reason why many of our infrastructure especially roads fail to sustain their durability. This lack of maintenance culture has become so knotty a problem that billions of Naira spent on infrastructure on annual basis are often wasted due to neglect of such infrastructure soon after construction.
To ensure that that would not be the case of his numerous completed road projects in Abia State, Dr. Ikpeazu thought it wise to institute a sustainable maintenance culture – Abia Youths Road Maintenance Corps. The idea is to leverage the energy of our youths to rid the roads in urban areas of potholes in line with his zero pothole policy.
To actualize the initiative, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu launched the Abia Youths Road Maintenance Corps. Members of the Corps are made up of young Abia engineers drawn from the 17 Local Government Areas of the State, who were equally given adequate and certified training both theoretical and practical while the State Government provided them with light road maintenance equipment for their work.
This great initiative and brainchild of Governor Okezie lkpeazu has been adjudged to bring some hydra-headed problems of society including youth empowerment and home breed solutions.
By engaging the youths, the Governor has contributed to reducing youth unemployment thereby empowering them for the foreseeable future. He is bringing youths who will come face to face with current challenges and providing a platform to contribute to building a better Abia as well as preparing them to take up future leadership positions.
Also, the Governor is using the avenue to not only provide solution to the unending issue of potholes on our roads, but also saving money for the State as huge sums that would have been used to pay contractors for such road maintenance works could now be channelled into meeting another State pressing needs.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, as a visionary, pragmatic and proactive leader, sees the future and plans ahead of time. That way the Governor can be ranked among leaders who are both agile and consistent and according to an article in the Harvard Business Review, “have high quality standards, achieve goals, and expect consistency, but are also open to change, keep an eye on the external environment, and understand when old ways of working no longer pass the test of the market in which they compete.”
Ubani Newman Ubani, an Abia advocate writes from Obingwa.