All The Bloggers In The World Will Not Save T.A. Orji BY Orji Uzor Kalu
I have spent the past two and half months detailing my achievements for the eight years I was in the saddle as the Chief Driver of Abia State. I have also used the two and half months to put a lie to the deliberate and malicious distortions of facts spearheaded against me by Governor Theodore Ahamefule Orji.
From the facts and figures unleashed, it is easy to discern that the present administration in Abia State, to the best of my knowledge, is deceitful, inhumane, insensitive and incorrigible.
It is deceitful, because most of its claims in the media about performance are false and presumptuous. There are no hard facts to corroborate these claims. Most of the projects it had caused to be published in the media as paid advertisements were projects started and completed by our administration between 1999 and 2007. I enumerated these projects and supported them with copious verifiable facts. Up till date, all the state government and its media agents have succeeded in doing to refute these facts was engage in name-calling, threats and intimidation. Unfortunately, it missed the mark, because I am not the kind of man any person can easily intimidate, especially when I am sure of my facts.
In all my years on Planet Earth, I have never seen a man as deceitful in character and uncouth in language as the incumbent governor of Abia State. He says one thing and does another. This is manifest in the manner he has administered the affairs of the state since he came on board in 2007. You can never take him for his word.
He always says one thing and does another. Take for instance, his assurances to me that he would govern our state with the fear of God and good conscience. What happened in the end? He jumped ship and declared me and anybody related to me as an enemy.
The hallmark of any responsible leader should be the fear of God and respect for human dignity. But here is a man who does not understand the basic elements of human interrelationship and its accompaniments – honesty, truth, transparency, candour, integrity and pragmatism.
It is no longer a hidden fact that the government of Governor Orji is predicated on self-aggrandizement, greed and avarice, with little or no consideration for the majority of our suffering people. There is no single project done or ongoing by the present administration that has had any direct impact on the lives of the people. Almost all the projects the administration has embarked upon under the Legacy Projects are white elephants. And sadly, too, none of them has been satisfactorily completed and put to use nearly eight years into its tenure.
As I write, millions of Abians have no portable water, no roads, no functional health centres, and no food. The available roads, which we built between 1999 and 2007, have not been maintained ever since. The rural health scheme we set up to take care of our rural dwellers was stopped by the government of Governor Theodore Orji and replaced with a diagnostic centre in Umuahia established to serve the interest of his family and the High and Mighty.
To further show how greedy and uncaring the administration of Governor Orji is, it will be fine to look at how much it has received and how much it has expended on the welfare of the people. According to available statistics, the government of Abia State has received approximately N1 trillion in revenue (from the Federation Account and sundry sources, including internally generated revenue and special grants) between 2007 and date. What has he done with the money since there are no amenities on ground to justify the huge receipts? What reason would the governor give for not paying workers for the past six months, for dry taps in all of Abia State, for the poor conditions of roads in the entire state, particularly Aba, for the mountains of refuse that litter every nook and cranny of the state, for the increasing state of insecurity, and for the huge debts now owed by the state when we left a clean slate on May 29, 2007?
What the governor showcases as achievements for the close to eight years he has been governor are hundreds of thousands of posters announcing his interest to vie for Senate, when in truth his tenure has been an unmitigated disaster. Go to the local government councils in the state and you weep for Abia State. The local government councils have been mortgaged through huge debts. There is no local government council in the state that owes the banks less than N500 million in loans and overdrafts. How can they repay the money when the state government stifles them of their statutory allocations? This is one of the reasons the government has shied away from conducting elections into the councils and, instead, preferred to use caretaker committees.
That is not all: Governor Orji and his family have been on buying spree with major properties in Umuahia in their acquisition. What do they need all the properties for when an average Abian cannot afford a decent accommodation or meal? What would have happened if our administration had not built some housing estates in Aba and Umuahia, especially the 1000-unit Ehimiri Housing Estate, Umuahia, for civil servants on owner-occupier basis? The incumbent governor is a beneficiary with two blocks, contrary to the state government’s directive then that each person was entitled to just a block.
Under the watch of Governor Orji, Abia State has been an object of ridicule in the comity of states in Nigeria. The situation is made worse when it is considered that Abia State is one of the Niger Delta states and, therefore, should signpost positive infrastructural development. Surrounding states to Abia State are doing very well in every stratum of socio-economic life. What then is wrong with God’s Own State?
Critics can easily advance the argument that Akwa Ibom State earns bigger allocations than Abia State. Agreed! But evidence has shown that it is not how much one receives that counts. What counts is how the money has been utilized. A reckless spender can squander N1 billion naira in less than 24 hours, while a judicious and prudent manager can use the same amount to produce eye-popping accomplishments. While the Federal Government is hyping its transformation agenda, the Abia State Government is flaunting its tantalizing agenda. The so-called legacy projects are tantalizing projects, not life-transforming projects, which are what the people really need.
I do not subscribe to the school of thought which says leaders are born, not made. To me leaders are made by the circumstances that shape their development into adulthood. Power is the central element that shapes the lives of leaders. You can only know the real worth of a leader when you entrust him with power. Before he became governor, Chief Orji was deemed to be a humble, coolheaded and resourceful person. At least that was what we were able to glean from his outward appearance.
As soon as he grabbed power, his real self was exposed. Beneath the veil was a cast of multifarious characters camouflaged by meretricious and superfluous mien, giving him away as a righteous, puritanical personality. He now wears a new garb of ‘Ezeonyeagwalam’ (the incorrigible ruler). This is why I agree totally with Shakespeare that there is no act to find the mind’s construction on the face.
If the governor were not a deceitful person why did he promise Abia people prosperity and instead gave them unlimited suffering and chastisement? The pain the people go through every day to eke out a living cannot be properly captured in print. It is better seen. The economy of the state has collapsed irretrievably. How can the economy grow when the commonwealth of the state is concentrated on the hands of Governor Orji and members of his family and political associates?
There was no way Abians would have thrown their weight behind him if the governor had shown the flimsiest sign of incompetence and arrogance of power. He lacks the courage to own up to his inefficiency. Instead of owning up to his sins he works in vain to heap the blame on me. The only sin I committed was to convince Abians to vote for him. He should bear the brunt of his actions and inactions.
Now that the period of giving stewardship is fast approaching he should ready himself with facts and figures, because the people will ask him questions about how he managed their affairs in the past eight years.
He has continued to distort facts and bend the truth about true happenings in our dear state, often concealing the truth from the public. But for how long is he going to do that before the cookies crumble? Day and night he is busy looking for where and how to destroy my reputation. Sadly for him, the more he tries the more difficult it is for him to make the people hate me. He has claimed all the projects we did as his and went a step further to document them as having been completed by his administration.
Who in this world does not know that Governor Orji has never embarked on a single project worth N2 billion, in spite of the mega allocations he receives from Abuja monthly? All the so-called projects he has embarked upon do not have direct bearing on the lives of the people, and none of them is worth up to N2 billion.
As I stated earlier in this piece they are white elephants meant to bamboozle the people and create the impression he is working. If he is an honest leader let him publish all the projects his administration has started and completed, stating how much each of them cost, the names of the companies that handled them, where they are located, and other such facts that will erase any doubt. Sincerely speaking, Abia State is in a mess. Forget all the media hype and invectives the man spews on me on a daily basis, our state needs redemption.
The only project worth more than N2 billion is his personal house in Umuahia – standing towering in the heart of the city centre, blocking 5 public streets. The location of the huge house is simply a menace.
It demonstrates in very clear terms the man’s irrationality and insensitivity to the plight of the people he superintends over. Show me anywhere in this wide world where a leader could be as reckless and inconsiderate as to flaunt his ill-acquired wealth before his impoverished and hunger-stricken people. This is the show of shame that is governance in God’s Own State.
The irony of it all is that even the most unenlightened Abian knows how much the man was worth before he became my Chief of Staff. Nobody expects his new status as governor not to rub off on his mien and his place of abode. It is natural. But it is offensive to deliberately refuse to work for your people even in the midst of plenty. What justification does he have not to work for Abia State? All he does is regular visits to Abuja to gossip and curry favour. Unfortunately, the topic of discussion has always been Orji Kalu.
For the eight years I served as governor I was passionate about the welfare and sensibility of the people. We never took any decision that did not factor in the feeling of the masses. That was why in spite of the meager resources available to us we were able to affect the lives of the people. The achievements we recorded between 1999 and 2007 are what stand as a sign of the presence of government in Abia State in the past 15 years. Yet the governor has never for one single day commended our administration for the giant strides we made in the development of the state. All he has done is to buy space in newspapers and magazines, and use the state’s media and hirelings, to insult me and members of my family.
A busy governor will have little or no time for inanities. But this governor has time to gossip for hours. This is why Abia has suffered from stunted growth since he assumed the leadership of the state. What is left of his tenure is just six months. In six months a serious-minded governor could still do something to affect the lives of the people positively. Nevertheless, this may not be the case with Abia State as the governor is busy junketing all over the place, seeking how to doctor the results of PDP congresses that never held in Abia State. Why is he afraid of genuine primaries? The answer is simple: he has nothing to offer. Let me ask again: are there two ways to transparent and credible primaries?
It is painful that some people somewhere are goading the governor in his misadministration of Abia State. Those who ought to speak out have failed over the years to do so. Such people should know that they will partake in whatever punishment God decides to mete out to him in due time. For their interest, I advise them to hands off and allow the people’s will to prevail.
Perhaps what makes the situation in Abia State look difficult to ameliorate is that Governor Orji is a very obdurate and incorrigible person. You may be taken in by his innocent looks, but beneath it is a defiant and recalcitrant persona. He detests the truth and does not like anybody who tells him the truth. The disagreement we have had stemmed from his lack of amenability to corrections. He behaves this way, forgetting no man is an island or knows it all. We need one another’s support and crosspollination of ideas to succeed in whatever we do.
He can hire all the media managers and bloggers in the world, for all I care, to launder his image; this will not save him from God’s anger that is about to come to judgment in Abia State.
Chief Orji Uzor Kalu was governor of Abia state from 1999 to 2007
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