The Chief Press Secretary to Abia State Governor, Mr. Ugochukwu Emezue, in this interview with journalists in Lagos, speaks on the steps taken by Governor T.A.Orji to improve the lives of Abians among other issues. Charles Ajunwa was there
The opposition has accused Governor T.A.Orji of not doing anything in terms of infrastructural development of Abia State. What is your response to this?
Let me start by saying that Governor T.A.Orji is not averse to criticisms, especially when they are coming from the opposition. He is never perturbed by negative criticisms from the opposition in the state. The truth is that he remains focused and committed in delivering the dividends of democracy to Abians. In terms of the development of the state, the Governor has shown the zeal and commitment to take Abia State to the next level.
During the beginning of his second tenure, the governor told Abians that this is the time they should begin to rate and judge his performance. So far, he has been able to lay a solid foundation for a new Abia State in all sectors.
Agricultural sector is one area the governor is making great impact with silent revolution. The belief of the governor is that oil will one day dry up. It is a fact, oil can’t be there forever and there must be an alternative. This is why Governor T.A. Orji is investing so much on agriculture.
In education, he believes strongly that if you educate the people you are making them to be self-reliant; you are making them to stand on their own and education is key to any development. The state government is doing free tuition for primary and secondary schools in the state.
In the area of transportation, the governor has injected lots of buses into our agencies to make sure that our people go to wherever they want to go with no inhibition as far as transportation is concerned. When you are talking about transportation the roads must be good, you cannot have effective transportation without having roads that are motorable.
As at today, the governor is targeting a 10-kilometre road in every local government. In my own little village, we are already beneficiary of such project. He is doing same across all the communities in the state. If you go to Aba, the governor late last year awarded contract for the construction of 18 roads. Within five months the state government has been able to achieve 10 of the roads.
There was an empowerment programme in Umuahia recently. What was it all about?
It was a youth empowerment programme. You know that when the youths are idle then there is a big problem. The devil makes use of an idle mind and the governor is saying no, the youths are the future of any generation so they must be equipped if their future must be bright and taken care of.
Most of them are graduates, some young school leavers with nothing doing and the governor wants to make them entrepreneurs on their own. He has given most of them buses and cars and the state government i believes that most of them will become big transporters and also contribute to the economy of the state. Most of them now have computers, which of course offer a lot of opportunities for them, some have barbing saloon and are becoming employers of labour in their own little way. By the time the entire exercise begins to yield full fruits, it will bring money to the system.
What was the secret of the peace achieved by the state governor given the state of insecurity that once loomed large?
You know the governor is a man with a large heart. As a governor, he made sure he accommodated everybody. There must be political peace, which he ensured was achieved. He made sure all the gladiators, who is who in Abia State, those who used to be away from the state because of what they considered a hostile environment were now given their due recognition and respect.
When there is hostility within the elites it affects everybody. So he tried to achieve the peace among the political elites, bringing them together to assist in proffering solution to the challenges of the state. The elites are now saying one thing and doing the same. Secondly, by being in the centre politically, coming into the mainstream of politics the governor was able to align himself with the Federal Government so that when the issue of insecurity was at its peak, the governor sought intervention from the Presidency.
On the 29th of this month, Abia State will join other states in the country to celebrate the Democracy Day. Is it really worth celebrating?
Yes, it is worth celebrating. It will be a day of glory for us. 2013 for us is one of the most memorable years for Chief T.A. Orji as a governor. He has come to blossom to a level that the world has come to affirm that this is a man who makes less noise, but committed to action. The awards Governor T.A.Orji has received this year are intimidating.
These are awards that you will be proud to receive, awards based on merit. It will be a celebration of the liberation of the state, a celebration of laudable projects that have kick-started the solid foundation of the state. Above all, it will be a celebration of the glory of God on the state among others.