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.