It is a mistake to think that just any criticism of those in authority is intended to spur action in the positive direction. Many do not fully understand the unique and complex background from which Abia state recently emerged. it was a failed state in every sense of it . For 8 solid years Abia state remained under the struggle hold of despotism and demagoguery. It was a regime that smacked of inconsistencies in word and action. People like ‘yours faithfully’ were hunted down for daring to speak out against official malfeasance and unbridled profligate life style at the expense of the public till. There was deliberate policy of state terrorism endorsed with the executive red pen.thuggery was legitimized and it formed an inseparable arm of government .’Yours faithfully’ and few others who braved the situation to speak out had all the paraphernalia of executive incumbency unleashed against us. Communities like Idima Abam were almost destroyed on false information to the police in an attempt to arraign ‘disloyal’ on trumped up charges. These and a myriad of other vices were the woes that Abians daily struggled to live with during the eight years of Orji Uzor kalu ‘s rule in Abia state.
I am not just a living witness but a victim of the misrule and highhandedness that befell Abiastate for eight years. The story of what happened in Abia between’ 1999 to 2007 is one that would require a fulltime narrative and it should be left for another day. My concern today is to draw a contrast between the erstwhile regime and the present one, for purposes of utter clarity.
What would be the yard stick to measure performance in Abia state in terms of good governance to the people .certainly not one offered by the likes of Orji Uzor .
I am, to say the least, very stunned to note that Orji Uzor has the effrontery to accuse the present Governor Non performance in the administration and management of the state resources. In one of his diatribes he accused the Governor and his children of amassing so much wealth and even dared to query his source of wealth’.
The question is what does Governor T.A Orji and his children have that a governor can’t legitimately afford. The former governor , within his 8 years of governorship floated an airline , a bank in Gambia , acquired hotels and two oceans liners , a larger than life property in Potomac, Maryland, united state , etcetera.
It should be recalled that in Orji Uzor kalu overmastering desires to subjugate the Abia political elite , he cultivated a horrendous intolerance of any form of dissent between 1999 t0 2007 . This was a period that no well informed Abia is in a hurry to forget.
It was a period when governance equated to prodigality and ostentation, while vagueness and ambiguity was the norm in virtually every official transaction. Memories of history do not fade away quickly. It is strange as it is amusing t read the former governor of Abia state in his ‘good governance ‘in Abia during his 8 years rule. I can only grief for the reading public who might not have the facts to effectively situate the two regimes and personalities. For the avoidance of doubt these are two extremes with a marked difference in perception, emphasis, objectives, values and priority.
During the period of that regime , when inclination to malfeasance gained ascendancy over reason , and many politicians were cowed made to cultivate a slave mentality that consistently crawled for parental adoption , there were few of us who had the steely determination to call the bluffs.
A person‘s true greatness does not fully surface until he vacates the scene, otherwise the private and public life of the present governor of Abia state would bear true of an ancient injunction that ‘honour be given to whom it is due; understandably, this injunction has evolved to a nascent political axiom which canvasses ‘honour’ as the function and product of the performance ethics that bother on selfless sacrifice for collective good.
In the thinking of the ancient, honour’ becomes the group recognition of the relevance of character and action to the development of human collective.
It insults the sensibilities of Abians to read Orji Uzor trying unsuccessfully to inflict dent on the character and integrity of Governor T.A Orji, perhaps in vexed protest to the expose of his moral ills as then governor, by the sterling qualities of his successor.
It is not the fault of Governor T.A Orji that Orji Uzor chose to fritter away 8 solid years on thealtar of prodigality and ostentation an embraced actions that were visibly inimical to the objectives and logic of collective development . The spoilsport propensities in which the Abiaexecutive arm thrived under his regime left much to be desired and riled many of us whom he hunted down with all the war chest available to him as governor. The bestial reign of Orji Uzor’sregime was anchored on vile propaganda and cruelty that surpassed those of the roman emperors.
Contrariwise, the conscientious, considerate spirit with which Governor T.A Orji has marked his dealing with people has earned him the respect and admiration of people like me and we are in the greater majority of the Abia populace. He has, by consistent moral uprightness, struck a note on the imperatives of selfless service of Abians , considering public good greater than his personal convenience –a clear departure from what it was under Orji Uzor Kalu .
According to melford okilo,’Honour is the practice of right actions’. This statement bears true of the character and persons of chief T.A Orji, who merely endured Orji Uzor for 8 years , being a career civil servant at the time.
The former Governor has no moral standing to utter a word against Governor Orji, or any member of his family because what stands sure behind Governor T.A Orji is priceless andtimeless. It is beyond the mundane, and radiates transcendent values. It is the beauty of his humble but firm spirit which daily seeks to practice prestige conferred by wealth and the material privileges bestowed by class that engulfed the former governor while in office.
Governor T.A Orji cannot condescend so low to join issues with him. Those who quite understand Orji Uzor’s antics and unbridled cruelty will defeat him in his own game on his own turf when the time comes.
If it takes a pause to inform us of the liberation of Abia state from the grips of sinister demonism in oath-taking of all practical office holders as stand practice of that regime while it lasted ; the tacit deployment of silent elimination by hook or of all those who failed to succumb to the evil order. Or those who were found to have breached the oath ; the sudden decimation of personalities through hire and fire , using the air waves as the preferred medium of communication to inflict maximum injury on the targeted personalities ; the trumped-up charges usually ever available to hound opponents of the regime, notwithstanding their membership of the same political party ; the solicited hero worship of sorts savored by both mother and son; the celebration of mediocrity in governance ; the near total disrespect to elders and hunting of thosewho would not mortgage their conscience ; corruption in the highest order with direct debit on public treasury into private companies ; the hide and seek strategy as state craft; intimidation and extra judicial killings , etcetera, etcetera .
The victims and near victims of these social ills and criminalities, some of who are still around,can testify. I am one of such people. In the period, prominent sons of Abia in the capacities of ministers of the Federal Republic, National secretary and Republic, legal luminaries of note –some of who wear the silk today, were causalities’ of the despotism and cruelty that held court in that regime and would easily attest to the veracity of these piece . The investigative machinery ofthe EFFC equally testifies to that.
Abians have been librated and we have no apologies to anybody. we rather have vowed to remain grateful to God for his infinite wisdom and mercy that saw to the emergence to Governor T.A Orji , who came in the caste of Moses-serving in the court of pharaohs’ to receive the requisite training for the arduous task of liberation . it is history replayed in Abia . Just as Mosesendured the stench of injustice against all odds, to fit the man God required for the job. He hasnever failed to inform all who cares to hear, that he did not perform this feat by sheer strength or sophistication of his own, but by the Devine mandate entrusted on him by God.
For me, it is the freedom of speech and after the speech, the restoration of the dignity of all Abiapoliticians to operate without fear that makes all the difference. The provision of infrastructure by T.A Orji’s administration, which is verifiably littered all over the state, becomes secondary.The Arab spring is a testimony that freedom is a basic need of all humans, Irrespective of creed or race. If all these are acknowledged, I would need to know what else makes Orji Kalu’sdefinition of good governance – and let all who love justice and freedom say Amen.
Sampson Orji was a member of Abia state House of Assembly during the 1st tenure of Orji Kalu’s regime and a member of the state executive council of Abia state in the present administration.
I can say for the umpteenth time and without fear of contradiction that T.A Orji inherited a rather hollow state lacking in identity. The reliable measures instituted by government are rapidly correcting the sorry past of the state, and Abia has T.A Orji to appreciate for this paradigm shift.
The attendant success story of Abia State Specialist Hospital Aba & Umuahia provided the magnetic referral, which the state is flaunting to accommodate others. The Specialist Hospital and Diagnostic Centre is about to surpass its current and essential capacity to diagnose and treat delicate health situations to the treatment of eye related ailments and administration of kidney dialysis. The Amachara annex is playing host to new and modernized buildings preparatory to the commencement of Child Care Center. Me-Cure Health Services of India, partnered in the success story of the Specialist Hospital through the provision of facilities for a Comprehensive Diagnosis, obtainable any where in the world. The State of Abia, had earlier partnered with Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for the construction and dedication of Health Centres exceeding 210 located in all the nooks and crannies of the three geo-political zones of the state.
With the recent desire of Americare U.S.A to build an International Hospital at Obuaku in Ukwa west local Government Area in Liaison with Abians in diaspora, Abia will soon become an International destination in the treatment of varied health situations. Beyond the health care sector, the receptive and convivial environment prevalent in Abia state is attracting other blue-chip investors’ majority of who have signed a memorandum of understanding with the state government. Strategic sectors necessary for stimulating the economy will essentially benefit in this regard.
In the petroleum sector, Alkamali Petroleum of Dubai triumphed over fellow competitors to secure government’s nod in the signing of Memorandum Of Understanding (M.O.U) to facilitate their genuine desire to build a Petroleum Refinery at Owaza the oil enclave of Abia State located in Ukwa-west local Government area.
The mass employing capacity of this sector will essentially depopulate the labour market in Abia State when Alkamali comes on stream.
In something similar to that, the return of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (N.N.P.C) Osisioma depot is praise worthy development. Activities have since picked up and comatose allied businesses are springing back to life. These healthy developments will positively rub-off on the concerted war against crime and social vices. Banks are streaming back to the depot, the consequent of which is that more hands will be conscripted to manage money and facilities.
Beyond the petroleum sector, the government of Abia state is encouraging investment in the huge and mass-employing cement sector. Juno-hermes is pioneering that initiative and is poised to tap from the abundant presence of lime stone at Arochukwu in actualizing that dream.
I am particularly glad to reveal that the deceptive and lackluster approach of elf riel in the quest to re-build Abia palm at Ohambele in Ukwa-east Local government Area has been halted. Government is aware of the inherent potentials prevalent in the Palm Oil Business. To that effect, the new services of a Malaysian firm will hopefully restore the palm oil bliss of the State instituted decades ago by the legendry Michael Okpara of blessed memory. Government is racing to reverse the largely un-tapped quarry deposit at Lokpa in Umunneochi Local Government Area. Consequently an Irish firm is leading the pact to stimulate the extraction of chippings for several construction initiatives.
The housing sector is evidently not left alone, given that several mortgage firms are already pitching their tents in the State. Aso Savings and Loans are powering the on-going Ochendo Housing Estate, located at Ohiya neighbourhood in Umuahia South Local Government Area. Slogani properties had earlier kick started the construction of Diamond Estate at Umuobia in association with Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.
The Management of Daar Communications Plc, Operators of Ray Power F.M and African Independent Television were on hand to Parley with the government of Abia state. The result of that overtures, is that Ray Power F.M is already on the airwaves of Abia State testing their transmission stations.
Pall Mall is driving Shop Rite to Abia State. To that effect, the South-African giant in chain stores has consented to the strategic suitability of Old Garki which government provided for a first class shopping mall.
This investment traffic will positively rub off on the political and socio-economic indices of the state in the long run. Abia under T.A Orji is beginning to feel the real taste of focused leadership.
Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State has a dream. He has a dream that one day Aba, the great Enyimba City, the Japan of Africa, would take its pride of place among the great industrialised cities of the world. Like Joseph of old, I can interpret the dream of the king. And today, Orji has stepped into Aba in a grand style, to stamp his feet and to leave his footprint in the sands of time.
A fortnight ago, he flagged off the construction of 16 new roads in the city. This is a fulfilment of his promise to launch a massive infrastructural renewal of the city immediately after the rain. The governor recognises the crucial place of Aba in the economy of the state. He recognises the rare creative talent which germinates in Aba. He recognises that no exploration on the history of the great entrepreneurs of the world can be complete without the mention of the giant minds of Aba. And true to his promise, he has re-entered Aba with a Midas touch and his dream is to leave a legacy.
Perhaps Orji, being a literary scholar, must have stumbled on Longman’s immortal lines: “The heights by great men all remind us, we must make our lives sublime and, in parting, leave behind us footprints in the sands of time.” He has an inspiring predilection for footprints – legacies, both tangible and intangible, the indelible memories that transcend life and time. This can be accentuated by the new four-storey secretariat complex, the ultra-modern conference hall, the new Government House complex, and a host of other projects in the state. He has a passion for monuments and for the good that is not interred with our bones. In Abia, the story is about the legacy projects and the current dream is to make Aba a living legacy.
Aba has been the centre of criticism against the Ochendo government. But the critics did not seem to understand the history of the cumulative decay of the city which started with the previous administrations of the state. They did not also factor the fact that Orji has only a paltry N3.5 billion monthly federal allocation to cater for the entire state. But today, Orji has marched into Aba to match action with words and his vision is to create an enabling environment for the reemergence of the small and medium scale enterprises and for the growth of the informal sector in Aba. He wants to restore the lost glory of Aba.
Indeed, Aba is rich in history. The city is key not only to the Igbos but to the entire people of Nigeria and Africa. Apart from its political history with the Aba Women Riot of 1929, there is a rare ingenuity and dexterity for creativity and innovation which germinate in Aba. In little corners of the ancient city, little men of giant minds replicate the kind of creative imagination for which the three Japanese cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka are known. Today, the new political will of Ochendo is to rebuild and transform the city, and the determination to re-invent the Japan of Africa.
Aba is also the commercial hub of Abia State and the business epicentre of the South-East. A greater percentage of the state’s internally-generated revenue (IGR) comes from Aba. It is a city of commerce and enterprise and a place where men sit back in their backyards and try to design, create or develop a product. By the time Aba was in its glory, it was a great centre of business. People came in hordes from all areas of the West African sub-region to buy the Aba-made goods. The city made a great contribution to the Nigerian economy, contributing both to the industrial growth and tourism.
Besides the people’s creativity, Aba also played host as zonal headquarters of many multi-nationals. During the civil war, the area sustained the secessionist Biafra in the area of local food production. But suddenly, Aba fell from the pinnacle of its glory to the backwaters. Without any measure of control, the once beautiful city built by the colonial government became a mad house. The situation was worsened by the menace of flood and filth. Makeshift kiosks sprung up everywhere and people built on top of drainages. Without an enabling environment, the small and medium scale enterprises began to die. The final death knell was the spate of insecurity witnessed in the area in recent times.
Aba also has a recent history of insecurity that came to its peak with the crime of kidnapping. Realising that law and order are the conditions for all other socio-economic activities of man, the governor waged a war against insecurity by confronting and combating the menace of kidnapping and other violent crimes that gripped the area. In collaboration with the Federal Government on a three-pronged strategy that involved the Army leading an expedition in Abia, Orji stabilised the state and ensured that peace returned to the once volatile areas. He has continued to sustain this atmosphere by retaining the services of the Army in the area.
With security in place, the governor has gone ahead to woo foreign investors to the state. All the companies that once relocated from the city have returned to Aba. The strategy is to revamp the industrial base that existed in the area. This would assist in creating job opportunities for the teeming youths and boost the governor’s youth empowerment programme.
There is a new picture of Aba, a mental prototype of what Aba should be, in the mind of Ochendo. Thank God, he is today in Aba with full force working towards the actualisation of the Aba of our dreams. The transformation is starting with the construction of 16 roads. The caterpillars are at work. Through Azikiwe, Asa road, Brass, etc, it is a new face for a once fallen city. By the time Ochendo is done, Aba residents will sing a new song. The critics will swallow their words. They will sing eulogies to a man whose entire trajectory in power has been a rescue mission for the people of God’s Own State.
i don’t think there is something OUK did to compare with what am seeing now on ground….OUK was only going about recruiting tugs and agero to man some stations and do dirty things …..he spread money to tugs to win their hearts,he did nothing to move Abia state forward…am so sure we all know this….T.A has been great with performances ,that is a fact
i don’t think there is something OUK did to compare with what am seeing now on ground….OUK was only going about recruiting tugs and agbero to man some stations and do dirty things …..he spread money to tugs to win their hearts,he did nothing to move Abia state forward…am so sure we all know this….T.A has been great with performances ,that is a fact