As the Holy Bible puts it in the Book of Ecclesiastes, ‘to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven’. This implies that, as it is with many other human engagements and enterprises, there is a time for a State Governor to be sworn-in and a time for him to make his or her exit.
At exactly twelve mid-night on 28th May, 2015, the tenure of Governor Theodore Ahamefule Orji as Executive Governor of Abia State would constitutionally have come to an end. Being in a democracy, it is expected that his successor would be sworn-in the following day, being 29th May, 2015. Since government is a continuum, it is hoped that his successor would continue from where Governor T.A. Orji would have stopped. For the governed to wish that a successor continues from where his predecessor stopped means that the latter must have done well in office.
Within the Abia Polity, there is the consensus that Governor T. A. Orji has, despite strangulation of the first three years of his first tenure by forces from a family that never meant well for the state, done very creditably. There are numerous tangible infrastructural achievements his administration has recorded. His favourable disposition to the Abia work-force which translated to automatic promotion of workers to the next salary grade level as soon as he assumed office and the approval of a minimum wage of twenty thousand and one hundred naira as against the national minimum wage of eighteen thousand naira have endeared him to Abia Public Servants.
Since the creation of Abia State, no administration has given up to ten percent of vehicles, on the basis of use and go home with, to both public servants and political appointees as the government headed by Chief T.A. Orji has. The records are verifiable.
Before the emergence of Chief T.A. Orji as governor of the State, only very lucky Abia Youths managed to get wheel-barrows and Tokumbo Motorcycles’ as gifts of Empowerment by the State Government. But today, the Chief T.A. Orji-led administration has doled out well over three thousand vehicles to Abia Youths just to enable them begin a fruitful private life and even develop to being employers of labour.
The health, housing, educational, agricultural and commercial sectors of the State have witnessed achievements that comparatively are more than ten times the totality of achievements recorded by all the previous administrations put together. Any doubting Thomas could, please, come for an open debate on this. Apart from the plurality of quantifiable achievements by the Ochendo administration, there are very many intangible innovations the Governor brought to bear on the governance of the State. Ochendo, as time has proved, believes that human differences, which are simply natural, should at any given time, be reconciled. He, therefore, does not believe in perpetuity of enmity. In this regard, he is not vindictive.
It is an open secret that the administration of Ochendo witnessed a very serious security challenge during his first tenure. There was an avalanche of commercial kidnapping and armed robbery especially in 2009 and 2010. This, principally, was a fall-out of negative dynamics of the human society, resulting mainly from exodus of criminal elements from Abia’s Southern neighboring State that clandestinely relocated to the most Southern Local Government Area of Gods Own State. That episode has become nostalgic history. It is, however, worthy of note that Governor T.A. Orji rose to the challenge posed by that bitter experience and through an unprecedentedly well co-ordinated synergy with President Goodluck Jonathan’s Federal Government, that nasty experience was successfully put behind us. The commitment and dexterity exhibited by Governor T.A. Orji in his fight against insecurity in the State, has, no doubt, made him a guru in counter-insecurity.
The Government of Chief T.A. Orji is hinged on deliberately calculated open administration. The Governor operates a policy of unrestricted communication between the governed and himself. He is an advocate of e-governance. Hence his mobile phone number is accessible to majority of Abians who reach him at any given moment, even when he is out of the shores of Nigeria. There is hardly any text message sent to him that Ochendo does not, at least, acknowledge. He is a very patient listener.
Parochialism is definitely an antonym for a good quality for leadership. A parochial person is basically narrow-minded and would always be guided by premodial sentiments instead of reasonableness of circumstances and realities. So far, Ochendo has acquitted himself as a broad-minded manager of both human and material resources.
It, therefore, follows that an ideal successor for Governor T.A. Orji should be one that is broad-minded and assesses issues from a universal point of view. Anybody that would perceive Abia State from the narrow point of view of sectionalism should not occupy the number one seat of the State.
In Abia politics, time has revealed persons who harbor incurable animosity against their fellow human beings, in most times without any justifiable cause. A person, whose nature is to hate and does not make room for true reconciliation of human differences should not, for goodness sake, go near that seat.
Among Abia politicians, experience has exposed those who would hardly answer telephone calls, return or even acknowledge calls from Abians they consider to be less privileged. An arrogant and selfish person should not have anything to do with governance of Gods Own State.
All in all, the ideal successor of Governor T.A. Orji must be an uncompromising believer in God, whose vision for Abia State would amount to a holistic accomplishment of the tenets of comprehensive governance, with everybody and section of the polity carried along.
Chief (Sir) Don Ubani, ksc, JP
(Okwubunka of Asa) Umuiku-Isi-Asa
Ukwa-West P.M.B. 7048, Aba
August 6, 2014