“Permit me to say that I don’t drink at all and I don’t begrudge those who drink,” Mr Ikpeazu said on Monday in Abuja during the launch of the autobiography of Eyinnaya Abaribe, a PDP senator representing Abia State.
The governor was apparently responding to a controversial remark by a Kogi senator, Smart Adeyemi, who said on the floor of the Senate that Abia State was being governed by drunkards.
“In other places or countries that have lesser problems, their leaders discuss issues of security, big issues of economic development, infrastructure development, they don’t talk about what people do and what they did not do,” the governor said at the book launch where he was a special guest.
Mr Ikpeazu urged political leaders to serve as mentors to the younger generation.
“For us leaders, it is a calling. If you are called to lead, you are also called to be a mentor to the young ones and what you say, how you carry yourself and the things you say and the times you say them, speak a lot about how serious you are as a person.
“I share in the joy of this event because I understand the importance of history of a people and a nation.
“I am happy that we are trying in Nigeria now to return history into the curriculum of our secondary school system.”
The title of Mr Abaribe’s autobiography is “Made in Aba.”
Governor Ikpeazu said, “If Abaribe fails to tell his story, by the time others tell the story, he will not be able to recognise himself anymore.
“The caption points to something and that is the tenacity and never dying spirit that Aba exhumes, represents and reflects and that encapsulates the personality of distinguished Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe.”
A former president of the Nigerian Senate, Anyim Anyim, described Senator Abaribe as “a colossus.”
“The controversy in the life of Abaribe started as deputy governor of Abia.
“I think I have to say that a public figure without controversy is not complete. There must be a time you will challenge the status quo.
“There must be time you must take a stand that everybody will not be comfortable with.
“There must be a time you will stand out, whether people like it or not and I think that would have dotted the history of Abaribe.
“It is a history that is dotted with firm convictions or issues, whether the crowd goes the same way with him or against him, he will stand his ground, he will make his point, he will push his point and he will defend his point,” Mr Anyim said.
Mr Abaribe, in his remark, said he desired a country where everyone would be committed to the “Nigerian Project.”
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