Former Abia State Governor, Theordore Orji, says reading is one of the things that makes him whole, writes Anayo Okolie
Senator Theodore Ahamefula Orji, representing Abia Central senatorial district is not new in politics. And also, he is fully aware of the hectic nature of this calling, either full or part time basis, especially in Nigeria where expectations are high from followers and the people in general.
No doubt, Orji has crossed so many hurdles in politics and is seen to have overcome them. Small wonder, he made history as the first governor in the history of Nigeria to win an election while in detention.
However, in spite of the distractions and challenges, he has continued to trudge on, doing his bits and giving his best. But how does he strike a balance between his official engagements and persona commitments? That’s a one million dollar question many a politician cannot haste to answer. Surprise, he did.
According to him, one of the unique ways he suppresses the pressure from work is by reading, working out regularly and giving back to the society. To him, politics is evidently tedious but as one who has elected to tread that path, he is unable to run away from the responsibilities that come with it, despite the treacherous nature of the game.
“I have found myself in politics and there is no going back. You have to face it squarely and face it properly. It’s actually a tedious business but then tedious business is also known for people, who are tedious in terms of their composition and all. So, we are trying our best to manage tedious politics and to manage other things.”
But first and foremost, the lawmaker said what is imperative “is to do this job that my people have elected me to come and do and that is to represent them at the Senate. The people of Abia Central voted me to come and represent them and that is what I’m facing now to represent them effectively, adequately and properly and by extension represent the whole of Nigeria effectively, adequately and properly.”
However, in suppressing the pressure that emanates from it, he does not joke with reading because it helps him to get rid of the pressure. If you deny him of food, he would not mind hence there are books to read. He finds pleasure in reading especially magazines, newspapers and novels.
Many may wonder how he gets time to read or attend to other personal things. But according to him, “Even if you don’t have the time to relax, you have to make out the time because relaxation is very essential for your health so that you don’t break down.
“So you have to make out time even if it’s 10 minutes, 30 minutes every day to relax and recreate your brain, remove your brain from the hustle and bustle of legislation. So, I try to make out time to relax in my home and discuss with my children and relatives. I read a lot of novels, magazines and newspapers and then do indoor sports to stay healthy,” he said.
Another thing he claims to do is giving back to the society. “My plan for my senatorial district and Nigeria, I have started that. We discussed about the scholarship, it’s a plan. And I also plan, apart from making good laws for my senatorial district and Nigeria in general, to touch the lives of the people of my constituency by giving them skills because we have skills acquisition centres in Abia, which we want to utilise.
“Organise seminars for them, there is a proposal that has come to me to train people in maintenance of GSM phones. I will sponsor that and train our people so that they can have a means of livelihood and be useful to themselves also.”
Orji, said, “There are things I am also doing for people from constituency. A lot of people come here to tell you about the problems they are having and solicit for your assistance. If I have, I give them to alleviate their problems.”
He is said to have empowered a lot of people in his state and beyond. Even as governor of his state, he organised so many poverty eradicating programmes.
Orji was first elected governor of Abia State on May 29, 2007 and re-elected on April 26, 2011. He was formerly a career civil servant, and served as the Chief of Staff to the then Abia Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu. Born in Amaokwe Ugba, Umuahia – Ibeku in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State in 1950, he attended Santa Crux Secondary School, Olokoro, Holy Ghost College, Owerri and obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the University of Ibadan in 1977.
He enlisted for the National Youths Corps Scheme on graduation and was deployed to Sokoto State as a teacher at the Government Secondary School, Shinkafi, Isa Local Government Area. On completion of his one year national assignment in 1978, Orji began working as an administrative officer in the old Imo State civil service in December 1979, where he served in various government parastatals.
When Abia State was created in 1991, Orji returned to Umuahia, where he served in Government House, Umuahia. In December 2006, he won the gubernatorial primaries of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) to contest the 2007 governorship elections in Abia State and defeated his closest rival with over 100,000 votes to emerge governor.
Having served his people for eight years, Orji on April 11, 2015 was again elected senator for Abia Central District. His achievements over the years are believed to have earned him several titles and awards.