Written by Odimegwu Onwumere
It was a fixation to read in some of the newspapers of 6th April 2012 that Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State had directed the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NEPAD) coordinators in the 17 Local Government Areas of the state to get on a project/programme that would be of profit to the bucolic natives. What made it grubby was that the programme was tagged, “Social Subsidy Scheme”. And that no fewer than 1,200 poor residents of the state had been shortlisted for empowerment.
Orji, speaking through his Special Adviser on NEPAD, Prince Emeka Nwachukwu, said that the aim was to ensure that the rural people felt contact of governance. Ekputu! Imagine where a government is opening two sites in Aba and Umuahia for an unbolt market where commodities, especially food stuffs, fruits and crops, would be sold. Is this not laughable when the people are not supposed to be pityingly treated as if they are beggars? They said that they were opening the market to avoid the involvement of market unions whom they believed influence the hike in prices of goods. Humbug!
This project makes the allegation of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) untouchable that Orji was commissioning non-existent projects. Please see newspapers of Friday, 30 March 2012. The party described the government of Orji as media government, where commissioning of projects was not on ground and that one of such projects was to be commissioned in Aba on Friday of that time. Was this the market?
Even though that the party made its claims on the ground of allegation, some of us investigative journalists who have taken independent tours of such projects, as the party called on us to do, have found out that the party was not just making defamation of Orji-led government but rather, the government is paper tiger indeed.
According to the Chairman of the party in the state, Onapuruagu Prince Ukaegbu: “APGA, Abia State chapter, decry Governor Orji’s obsession with the incident of February 28, at the Aba sports stadium and the attendant mania to reverse the humiliation which he claimed he suffered as a result. This has clearly led to governance coming to a halt in the state, as all efforts of government have been concentrated at soothing the governor’s bruised ego. It is this same obsession that led to the attack on our liaison office in Aba and money meant for developmental projects has been wholly consigned to one form of propaganda or the other with officers of state struggling to outperform each other in this gory drama at ingratiating self to the governor. APGA Abia State chapter calls on the political editors, journalists and media practitioners who have been contracted by the state government for the great makeover, to, while on the assignment, veer off from the well choreographed route and go on their own tour of vital roads like: Ngwa, Obohia,Eziukwu, Omuma, Uratta, Osusu, Ukaegbu and Emelogu, just to mention a few. It is then that the true picture can be ascertained.”
These areas and beyond are pits of hell! True. But it is only a buffoon that chases the rat while his or her house is on fire. There is no sensible person that would like to be identified with any case of shame be it robbery, scandal, rape, etc., but Orji did. Please, see newspapers of Sunday, 18 March 2012. Orji intervened in the shamefaced Oteh-Reps face-off, whereas his state was crying of abysmal representation and governance.
No one could tell what Orji wanted to gain in such intervention. Does he want to choreograph it as well? Is this not the case of a man who has lost focus to good governance? Whereas his people of Abia State wanted him to wade into construction and reconstruction of the many decayed infrastructures in the state, but cockily he was here engaging in the rotten smelling face-off between the Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Aruma Oteh, and the House Committee on Capital Market.
Either that Orji’s aides were not professionals or they wanted to be in the news at every given bad or good opportunity, if not, how could in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ugochukwu Emezue, Orji was calling on both Oteh and the Reps to embrace peace, whereas Abia State had people representing them in the House, and was not at peace at home, either. This is a case of overzealousness of a governor. In the Nigerian parlance, it is called, Busy Body. Ho! Ha!!
Orji even insisted that Oteh-Reps face-off was the differences that could be reconciled, whereas the act involving the Oteh was condemned by even a neophyte in the discourse of Nigeria when properly explained to understand what the problem was. A snake must beget snake!
It was only a governor like Orji that could have intervened in such apologetic case of Oteh because she’s from Abia. Hear him: “Having watched with studied silence the development, which seems to have created some verbal exchange between the committee and the DG who is an Abian, it is time to intervene”. You may call him a lawyer, when he added that if the Oteh had made any distasteful proclamation during the scenario, “it was as a result of the way the committee’s chairman handled the issues at stake”. Bad mouthon a bad case!
He even argued the idea of passing a vote of no confidence on the Oteh, saying that she had a proven integrity. Hmmmmm! If Orji maintained that Arumah Otteh was not the Director-General when the market crashed, then, who can he say is the governor of Abia State that has crashed under his stewardship. Kettle calling pot black? Bunkum!
We suggest Orji should learn from Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, ex-Governor of the state and his political mentor, whom many ndi-Abia have seen as their choice. In an unconfirmed rating during Kalu’s presidential ambition in 2007, one observer said that we are hungry of Kalu ‘because of some positive changes he had created in his rule in Abia State”, which the observer said include: 1. Proven unity by demonstrating that Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters. In one of his posters, I saw him wearing Muslim robe. 2. Proven he is coming to bring development in Nigeria by the impact he has been able to create in his rule. 3. Proven he has the knowledge to rule even the world by his involvements in making peace among tribes, villages, countries and lots more. 4. He has proven that he is kind-hearted by so many helps he has rendered to the needy in Nigeria (of which Governor Orji was among the beneficiaries). 5. We know that “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh”, variably, he has made so many promises which he will accomplish if voted for presidency. 6. He has proven that he is a dynamic leader. He has touched many areas for instance, in the development of infrastructure like free medical care, free education in Abia State, even in football excerpt; leading Enyimba Football Association to her great height.
Just imagine! This is to mention only but a few things that Dr. Kalu has been doing for Nigerians. Kalu has been doing this for a better Nigeria, which has given him a reputable image. Measuring his image with that of Orji anywhere in the world is like measuring Imo Hill with Mount Everest. Kalu represents the latter. What we have got under Orji is such statement as “The state planned to set up three functional Skill Acquisition Academy in each of the senatorial districts for training of unemployed in various trades”. He wants people to go and trade (which is not bad), but only his wards should go to school for hiking school fees in Abia State?
In earnest, Orji should stop making noise, upon noise and noise and maybe corruption, without good governance. He was supposed to be a blessing in that state, but badly timed, he preferred the opposite, expertising in erecting bullet proof residences, which is not joyous in the real sense of governance and democracy. His, is a bad image.
Odimegwu Onwumere, writes from Rivers State. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org