Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Oji
Don Ubani writes that in spite of his many challenges, Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Oji, has worked hard to ensure that Abia remains God’s own state
When one is entrusted with the people’s confidence, resources and fortune, one would need the amazing grace of God to discharge one’s responsibilities with utmost care, prudence, transparency and equity.
In 1999, Orji Uzor Kalu was elected Governor of Abia State. His mandate was to impact positively on the people of the state using the common wealth of the people. But contrary to this expectation, Kalu, for eight years, only proved himself to be incomparably unscrupulous, greedy and extremely unintelligent.
The combination of extremity of Kalu’s vices amounted to, not only total disappointment to the people of God’s Own State but Abians taking a very strong decision never again to repose their confidence in a charlatan or in one whose pedigree is suspect. Kalu’s atrocities in Abia and against Abians were so devastating that the people of God’s Own State, both individually and collectively, wept and placed a curse on him, his mother and siblings.
When a people, with sorrow and tears, marginalisation, injustice and overwhelming depression place a curse on a greedy opportunist, the consequence is always unimaginably enormous. It is the curse that Abians and, indeed, many other Nigerians placed on Kalu that has continued to torment him. Otherwise, why must he sponsor one Odimegwu Onwumere, to write a piece that is full of incoherence and only amounts to a nonsense.
In the said write-up, Kalu, through Onwumere, fruitlessly and unethically expressed his grouse over the ‘claim’ by one of Governor Theodore Orji’s Aides that the Governor has restored the dignity of the Abia person? Kalu, being conscious of the havoc he wreaked on Abians, would not want to hear of the restoration of the ‘dignity’ of Abia people.
Hence, he has continued to cry wolf where none exists.
For purposes of educating Kalu and equally calling him to order, let me talk on ‘dignity’ and its restoration in Abia State. Kalu does not know that ‘dignity’ is that intrinsic quality in one that earns or makes one deserve respect.
Dignity does not necessarily flow from wealth. Rather, it is an inalienable associate of character. Having taught Kalu this elementary lesson, hoping he would learn though he may lack the mental capacity to absorb and retain simple but decent knowledge, I would now say only a few things to justify the claim by the governor’s aide on restoration of ‘dignity’.
When a person’s ‘dignity’ is restored, the person enjoys enhanced positive image. By virtue of constitutional democracy, every Abian is entitled to certain fundamental human rights such as: freedom of thought, freedom of association and freedom of worship.
Any time that fundamental right of an Abian or any other individual is violated or denied, it goes a long way to cause psycho-social depression. This, certainly, affects the individual and therefore, impacts very negatively on his or her character and by clinical extension, his or her ‘dignity’.
I am saying it for the umpteenth time that during the tenure of Kalu as governor of Abia State, the fundamental rights of many Abians were deliberately and consistently trampled upon by Kalu and his unprecedentedly avaricious mother, Eunice.
Today, Orji has given appointments, contracts and other life-support incentives to many Abians without subjecting any of them to any form of oath-taking. This is restoration of ‘dignity’.
For the eight years that Kalu presided over the affairs of Abia State, he never gave any quantifiable consideration to the health of Abians hence; he did not think it necessary to erect even a one-bed clinic.
That Governor Orji, a quintessential administrator and an accomplished alumnus of Nigeria’s premier University of Ibadan, has been able to build and equip two hundred and fifty health centres spread across the state and two functional diagnostic medical centres in Umuahia and Aba, has definitely tormented Kalu who now perceives the governor’s performance as a deliberate design to dump him in the dust bin meant for non-performance.
Abia is an oil-producing State, courtesy of Ukwa-West Local Government Area. Throughout Kalu’s tenure, every plea made by the people of Ukwa-West for his administration to set up an Oil Producing Area Development Commission naturally fell on his deaf ear. But no sooner had Orji became governor than he set up the Abia State Oil Producing Area Development Commission.
That commission has helped immensely in the development of Abia State, particularly the oil-producing areas of the State. Many traditional rulers from Ukwa-West had no vehicles but today are proud owners of jeeps that have, for sure, enhanced their status. Kalu has always been a victim of ignorance and, so, will not realise that an elevation of this magnitude for traditional rulers in Ukwa-West would go a long way to give impetus to their ‘dignity’. Does this not justify the claim by the Governor’s aide?
Kalu’s eight-year governance of Abia State did not witness any quantifiable empowerment of the Abia youth. His administration only recorded donation of ‘Tokunbo’ motor-cycles and wheel-barrows to Abia youths. On the contrary, the Government of Ochendo has motivated Abia youths with more than five hundred cars and more than two thousand tricycles, otherwise known as Keke-Napep.
The beneficiaries of this unparalleled benevolence of the governor have subsequently become self-employed and are living very responsible life and discharging their social cum community obligations.
For youths that could only dream of motorcycles and wheel-barrows during the administration of Kalu to have their taste redirected and their status radically upgraded, Kalu would not perceive any meaningful restoration of ‘dignity’ in this context. What a pity!
In order to address the problem of youth unemployment and its attendant youth restiveness; a twin problem that was poorly unattended to during the era of darkness which Kalu’s government represented, the Orji government has offered employment to four thousand and five hundred Abia youths and is encouraging them to acquire useful skills with the money they are paid in order to guarantee a stable future for themselves.
Because Kalu would not wish or see anything good in Ochendo’s government, he would not agree that youths that were hopelessly abandoned by his administration but are now being rehabilitated by Governor Orji have had their ‘dignity’ restored.
While the Federal Government of Nigeria legislated eighteen thousand naira as minimum wage for the Nigerian worker, the Abia State Government, under Ochendo, pays twenty thousand and one hundred naira to her lowest public servant. It is only the devil that will not see restoration of ‘dignity’ in this vivid expression of humanity.
In this piece, I do not intend to mention the numerous legacy projects initiated and being executed by the administration of Orji in the state. Should I talk of the civil servants’ secretariat complex that is eighty percent completed or the five thousand seat capacity International Conference Centre, also eighty percent completed?
If Kalu claims not to have seen the new functional industrial market before the University of Agriculture Umudike, would he be justified to say he has not seen the modern Umuahia market at Ubani-Ibeku, which is just conspicuously along his Ohafia-Umuahia Road? There are too many projects to be mentioned that space and time may not permit here. I, however, challenge Kalu for an open contest on the issue of restoration of ‘dignity’ for Abians by Orji.
To ascertain how myopic Kalu and his uninformed Onwumere are, one has to compare and contrast between their preposterous claim that there is not restoration of ‘dignity’ in Abia and their contradictory questioning of the source of money with which the wife of the governor, who through her Non-governmental Organisation, Hannah-May Foundation, has been touching the lives of the less-privileged by building a three-bedroom bungalow, with provision of water and furniture for such people in the State.
It is for the reading public to assess and evaluate if indigenes aof a state that hitherto had no shelter of their own but through the milk of kindness of the governor’s wife now own their own houses should be said to have been impacted positively on or otherwise.
As I had earlier stated in many of my write-ups, former governor Kalu intentionally murdered sleep in God’s Own State, he would, therefore, know no sleep.
*Ubani is a citizen of Abia