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Friday, April 12, 2024

Critics Are Unfair to Gov. Orji – -Nwosu



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Mr. Friday Nwosu, a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party in Abia State, speaks on Gov. Theodore Orji’s administration and the national conference, among other issues.


What would be your honest assessment of Gov. Theodore Orji’s administration?

For some of us who are from the state and knew how bad things were before he assumed office, we know he has taken Abia to the next level with his developmental projects. But before we go to the issue of the projects, I want to emphasize that the greatest achievement of the Orji administration is the liberation of the state from idol worship and family domination.

Many administrations came before him yet the state does not have a befitting Government House, no befitting state secretariat, the ministries were scattered all over the place while parastatals operated from rented houses. I learnt the present Government House is a private property donated to the state. Umuahia was a glorified state capital that had no conference centre which could accommodate more than 500 people.

Most of the structures Gov. Orji is putting in place now should have been done by his predecessors. Can you imagine if his predecessors had put all these structures in place, his administration would have begun on a solid foundation. By now, Abia would have had its own airport and other adjunct structures. So, I commend Gov. Orji for the projects he embarked on. Looking at the International Conference Centre, the new state Secretariat, the High Court Complex, the new Government House, the housing estates, the dialysis centre and huge investments in the health sector, does it not occur to you that his predecessors did not get their priorities right?

I make bold to say that Abia has been turning round and round before Orji came on board. The governor deserves to be commended for his vision and supported to do more. He has laid a solid foundation for the state.

But his critics insist he has done little to develop Abia?

People who hold such opinion are the missing the point. They are the greatest enemies of the state. First, they have to find out how much Abia receives monthly, how much is spent as wage bill, how much is left for capital projects, how much is the monthly IGR. Any comparison without these factors is unfair. When they say neighbouring states of Abia, in this aspect of development, I think they refer to Rivers and Akwa Ibom.

Have they cared to know the amount of money the two states gets monthly? I agree they are oil producing states as we are, but the difference is still very clear. Check the records for the monthly federal allocations of each of the two neighbouring states; it may be four times that of Abia. I think what is important is what the governor does with the money he receives. If any assessment is done with this in mind, such person would find out that from what is on ground, the governor has lived up to expectation.

Gov. Orji is not a profligate governor. He has managed the state’s resources well. Have they cared to know that he has not borrowed a dime since he assumed office? We can be proud to say that we have a befitting state capital now with the legacy projects the governor is undertaking. Another interesting area I score Abia governor high is his partnership with the federal government. I think the state is better for it.

Can you tell us the gains of this partnership with the Federal Government?

They can be found in various sectors: power, security. Governors are supposed to have cordial relationships with the president who is the father of the nation. I am happy Gov. Orji is one of the closest state chief executives to the president. This is why he has been nominated to some important party and national committees including the PDP caucus. Again, the new power station at Ohiya is one of the gains of the partnership.

Power supply has improved in the state capital and neighbouring communities. The era of kidnapping which brought the state to its knees in the past is a good example. The NNPC depot at Osisioma Ngwa which supplies petroleum products to Aba and environs was reopened through his partnership with the Federal Government. The depot was closed for 10 years before his intervention. However, there is room for improvement.

In Abia as in any other state, challenges of development are glaring and visible. The poor state of infrastructure is as a result of age-long neglect by successive governments particularly in Aba. Gov. Orji inherited it and has been doing his best to salvage the situation. He has started by rehabilitating some roads in Aba. Thank God, he still has some years left, more roads will be done. I urge the people to be patient because no one administration be can solve all the problem of any state.

What would be your advice to residents of the state, particularly those who are opposed to the governor?

One thing is that you cannot get everybody’s support no matter how good you are. You cannot stop people from expressing their opinions. Those who you call critics are people who never support anything good. I call them detractors. What the governor needs is support from residents of the state. People would readily point at Aba. We have 17 local governments, but he knows the problems of Aba which are road and power. Both problems are being tackled.

The Senator Femi Okuronmu led advisory committee on national conference by President Goodluck Jonathan has submitted its report but it was greeted with mixed reactions. What is your view?

The inauguration of that committee by the president deserves to be commended. It showed that Jonathan has the interest of Nigeria at heart. I don’t think there is anything wrong with somebody saying, let’s sit down and talk. Opposition to the national conference is unfounded and highly misplaced. If you analyze the flank from these oppositions came from, you will discover that it is from the same people and groups who have been clamouring for a national conference even before the advent of Jonathan’s administration.

Is it not the same Bola Tinubu who has been shouting himself hoarse on the issue of convening a national conference? Does it not show double standard? For those who insist the confab is too close to the general elections, it is mischievous for them to say it will give the president an edge in the poll as he is entitled to contest election in 2015. If the people of Nigeria want him, the few disenchanted minority cannot stop him.

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