T.A. Orji: Celebrating an Achiever at 66


Charles Ajunwa
Let’s celebrate Senator Theodore Ahamefule Orji, popularly called Ochendo, the senator representing Abia Central senatorial district at the Red Chamber of the National Assembly. He turns 66 on November 9, 2016. We have to celebrate with him, even though he does not make a pomp and pageantry out of it.

He likes going out to reach the downtrodden in the society without clattering over what he shares with them. Ochendo would tell people around him that he is not a celebration man, not a party man; not used to throwing parties and inviting friends.

He prefers a gentle lifestyle, but this does not mean that he does not inform his friends, especially those around, of his birthday anytime it sets in. But he does not like people making a case out of his birthday like putting up adverts and what not. He prefers the quiet celebration with prayers to his God for His blessings to him.

He would say, “It’s not by inviting the whole world and buying drinks and cooking food, and getting every person dancing. Instead, you should be humble before God and thank Him, because He is the person that has made you what you are. If there is any offering you have, you offer to God. If there is anything you want to do for God for keeping you alive you do it.”

He said that part of example of the above is the churches he has built to appreciate his God. For example, the church that he built in Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, which is a cathedral, he built from base to the end.

He opined, “That is to appreciate God for what he has done for me in life. That is just one church; there are many of them. I built for Catholic, I built for Church of Christ, I built for Anglican, and just like that, to say God thank you for all you have done to me. And I believe that is the best way of thanking God and celebrating any good thing that has happened to you.”

On his influence as a senator, Senator Orji has sponsored seven bills at the Senate, by December last year, therefore sending traducers packing and to look for a better job than selling naughtiness against him before the people, since the 8th Senate was inaugurated on June 9, 2015, where he’s the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, a member of the Marine Committee, a member of the Air-force Committee, a member of the Police Committee and a member of the Health Committee.

Apart from his committee holding several meetings with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh and stakeholders in agricultural sector in order to chart a new direction for this all important sector, Senator T.A. Orji recently attended an international seminar on agriculture in Turkey, where his presentation was applauded by experts from all over the world. He proposed a Bill last year for making food a necessity for every child in Nigeria, and he wants it not to go the way of other food programmes the country has had in the past.

The Bill, passed the second reading, and was first read on the floor of the Senate on the 8th of October 2015. His objective was for Nigerians to gain freedom from hunger with primary right to food. He believed that every child in Nigeria has a right to food security with its production as the fundamental need of every citizen.

On marine, the committee went to Lagos on two occasions. The first time of the journey was spurred by a report by Senator Remi Tinubu over a supposed traffic jam experienced on Apapa axis of Lagos State. Senator Orji said that both the police and the Air-force authorities and the Senate had met over certain issues of national concern and appropriate measures were mapped out for tackling the issues raised.

Born on November 9, 1950, Senator Orji, who hails from Amaokwe-Ugba, Umuahia – Ibeku in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State, had an eventful eight years as governor of Abia State. Abians cherish him because of the good works that were people-oriented he did in the state when he was governor, which he has increased in folds now that he is senator.

As a senator, he has given scholarship to many students; a scheme which was published in the newspapers. His aim was to make sure that at least, ten or more students from each of the six local government areas of Abia Central senatorial zone were given the scholarship. For now, about sixty persons have received the scholarship, with a total unveiling cost at six million. Each student got 100,000 naira.

Senator T.A.Orji was able to give a facelift to a damaged Women’s Hall in Umuomainta in Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area of Abia State. This is apart from employments he has been offering to people of his constituency, of which some of them are working in his office. During the last Yuletide he vowed to empower the nooks and crannies of his constituency with 20 units of 2.5 megawatts generator, 20 units of home grinding machines, 20 units of sewing machines, 100 bags of fertiliser, 14 units of motorcycles, 10 units of tricycles, 15 units of wheel chairs.

In one of his public presentations, Senator Orji said, “There are also some schools within my senatorial zone that I have earmarked, personally, for renovation, because they are currently in bad shape. I will also renovate health centres that are in bad shape within my senatorial district. For skills acquisition, I have made arrangements for the youths from my senatorial zone, so that they can be trained in phone repairs, computer repairs and other things that can sustain them in life without looking for employment. So these are the things that I intend to do within this period and as we progress, what I promised my people of Abia Central was that before I finish my first tenure in the Senate, they will feel the impact of my being in the Senate. Employment is a priority to me.

“I can produce a file that I have filled up with applications, both from people at home and from people in Abuja, who are looking jobs. I’m using my connections to see how I can provide employment for these people. If you employ one person you have relieved a problem for that family. These are the things that we are doing and as we progress other ideas will come. The ones I can do, I will do. The ones I cannot do, I will always direct them that this is the way to go about it.”

As a man with a great passion for the financially poor people in his constituency, while speaking during his visit to Ikwuano and Isiala Ngwa North council areas during the last Yuletide, Senator Orji said that the students and the reading public from Abia State should take their books seriously. He has a belief that education is the bedrock of the society and every student has to embrace this as a reality.

Given his glamorous antecedents at the Senate, let’s join hands and celebrate this enigma, lover of people and a gentleman to the core.