By Jerome Samson-Ukaoke
About seven years ago, His Excellency, Governor Theodore Ahamefula Orji of Abia State was elected the numerouno citizen of God’s own state. Throughout his first 4 years in power, he, through the help of the media generated massive sentiment and sympathy of the people, shouting to high heavens his incapacitation to deliver his campaign promises.
According to him he had to service his indebtedness to his one time political god father i.e Orji UzorKalu , who, we all know controversially handed him the keys to the government house. Of course free and fair election was a far cry at the time as the political undertakers had both the oratorical cum manipulatory wherewithal to direct the outcome of elections.
So T.A sold to the Abia people the fact that they should not expect much from the government in his first tenure because of intrusions from the immediate past governor and the people bought it hook, line and sinker. To think that the people sympathized with this road side propaganda beats me. How gullible!
It worked. It did work because for the period in question, people regarded the former Governor as ‘evil’ alleging that he placed his successor in a sort of bondage. Stakeholders cheered Theordore for fighting to liberate the state (himself actually) from the grips of the ´evil genius´ while others prayed that God will come to his rescue. This was the governor’s ploy to deceive the people, enrich himself and further under develop the state.
Help me here. Is it morally wrong for a man to ask another to respect his own side of a deal? From what we know, Orji Kalu generated the guber-dream, drafted the roadmap, organized and financed the campaign of Theodore Orji. What I mean here is, while Mr. T.A Orji was in kirikiri in the EFCC net, the then governor anointed him his successor. Kalu campaigned for him and he won (while in prison). How somebody of low political profile could win an election of a state, with all the allegations against him right in prison is a discuss for another day. It is gentlemanly for agreements to be respected by parties involved- my thoughts. This is not to say that I endorse whatever pact they may have signed at the expense of the development of the state. Not at all.
Now for years the incumbent governor continued to lament that he was paying his campaign debts. He continued to say that he was under bondage. This was the justification for his not doing anything tangible as a governor of the state in the initial 4 years. The overtone of this is that he was using the state money meant for developmental purposes to sort personal squabbles. And the people cheered him.
He used the allocations from the federal government (estimated at 54 billion naira annually and internally generated revenue IGR of about 48billion naira annually among a host of others) to feed his family, build personal empire instead of state legacies, stuff his son to throw wild parties, flex muscle in amorous gymnastics with the she folks and other unprintable activities.
The four years over. He got re-elected. Of course by the same people who have been grossly bombarded with lame rhetorics, and manipulated to pitch tent with a gang of hocus pocus- political magicians, if you like. This same people whose ego has been raped in broad daylight and cajoled to belong to the O-yes –member-confraternity. Thus, mortgaging their collective destiny, and that of their children on the platter of meager chicken feed from by the ruling class.
Today the oil rich God’s own state lays in ruins, without a feel of leadership. For example, in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of the state, roads are constructed on bill boards, transformers donated to the communities in the airwaves. Also the duo of corruption and lawlessness are walking physically through the streets in broad day light.
As I pen down these thoughts, there is a conspicuous absence of infrastructural development, complete collapse of roads in the 17 local government areas of the state, dilapidated school buildings, heaps and heaps of refuse dumps, no pipe borne water, no food on the tables, no housing plan- at least the basics of life. How can a leader so short change his people for eight long years?
With this extent of reckless abandonment, underperformance and deceit, our dear Ochendo seeks to contest for the Senate after the expiration of his tenure. What an effrontery! This is a slap on the collective sensibility of entire humanity, an obvious archetype of one without conscience.
This selfish ambition of the governor must be butchered by everyone who longs for positive turnaround in the way things are run in Abia. We must realize that with Ochendo in sanate, he is still in extension governor of the state. His senatorial district and indeed the entire Abia state will continue to wander in this abyss of suffering, underdevelopment and lawlessness.
Any man of integrity and character would have observed his own massive failings, acknowledge his lack of leadership acumen and toll the path of honour by relinquishing power.
Are there no more men of honour and strength of character in Abia who will challenge this evil? In God’s own capital where people of diverse tongue and tribe should come and find pasture- green?
In a sane and compromise-free political society, ‘Ochendo’ as it’s popularly sung by the Broadcasting Corporation of Abia (BCA), should have been impeached way back. If you think this verdict is quite hasty and completely harum-scarum, please visit Abia State.
I write as a concerned citizen of the state who has observed the extent of commitment from different governors nationwide. All over the country, Lagos, Anambra, Edo, Enugu. AkwaIbom, Rivers, Kano- everywhere governors are receiving the applauds and endorsement of their people because of high level performance.
I write as one who at least understands certain principles of governance. I write to challenge the men of worth in our dear state to arise and salvage this land of promise for the ruling class has taking the gentility of the cat for stupidity. This has lingered and time has come for us, Abians, home and abroad to begin to chart a new course for the state. In unison, let us say an emphatic NO to bad governance. Let us begin to build the Abia of our dreams, a haven to our children yet unborn, solace for the troubled, meeting point of sound minds and of course an impeccable God’s Own State.
Enough is enough Ochendo.
Jerome Samson can be contacted through email:[email protected] and twitter handle: @jeromecares
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