The Crucification of Gov. T.A Orji; the Gospel Assessment of a Tour – Part 1
By Fejiro Oliver
For weeks, Nigerians from all works of life have bombarded my phone lines with request of my honest view and assessment on my tour to Abia State. Whenever I check my social media messages, the same call is made for me to grade the man, Theodore Ahamefula Orji that I went to see. Hard as I try to shy away from writing on the issues; I am compelled to respond the baggage of stories written on the media concerning him. Whether positive or not, my questions to most of those interested in my report have been that they should judge the Governor and the State from the eyes of my colleagues who went there. “Fejiro. Speak so that we can believe” have been the unanimous responses to me”
Let the gods speak through me as I pen down this words. To say I was stunned when I got the invitation would be a lie of the decade; as I already knew long ago that I may be visiting the State soon for an assessment tour, haven being briefed by my good friend and brother, Nnaji Obed, the S.A, E-Governance and Strategy. I know I just shot myself on the foot for being close to Obed, but again I cannot deny him because of politics and what people say. When the invitation came as expected, I set forth. Follow me friends.
Is T.A Orji a failure in governance? Has he truly underdeveloped Abia as we all read? Is he a media creation of Obed and is he truly the worst governor in Nigeria? Truth be spoken, he can be any of the above depending on which side of the divide you stand. But friends and fans, if you have followed me and believed me all these years when I speak the thoughts of millions without being compromised, then kindly lend me your ears and stand by me as I spew out what I saw during my tour.
It is a mortal crime that heaven will never forgive if we begin to judge a governor by the works of his neighbor. It is also a bigger danger that the celestial may hold against one, if parameters for good governance is judged with one local government area. Every State must have a foundation and bid me say this today; Abia State NEVER had a foundation until Gov. T.A Orji came on board.
If Abia had a propeller, the Abia that we all saw would have been a paradise today. Here was a State that had no functional Specialist Hospital nor a State Secretariat. This State today boasts of one of the most beautiful Secretariat in the whole of South East with lifts and a working Specialist Hospital. This was not built with sands but from the meager money which the State generates.
Truth be told, I went to Abia with the hope of seeing nothing on ground. The low and medium housing estates all over the State will not be discussed by me. Let it be left to those who will pack in when completed for them to tell us how much we vilified a man, for trying to make his State look like a modern city. They criticize his International Conference Centre and I ask, “Why are men so insatiable?” They forget so soon that this is a State that boasts of renowned men and women who attracts event to the State and thus cannot afford to host such under canopies. The ICC built with less than N2 billion will stand shoulder tall with the one I have seen in most States in Nigeria. Let’s not take this glory from him.
Friends, I will not also tell us on the Abia State Digital Library that we all saw. The facilities inside will bring back a dull brain after staying inside for seven hours. Oh yes, it is as beautiful as that. And before you go comparing it with the Akwa Ibom E-Library; permit me to tell you that I have entered the two edifices, and while Uyo edifice is more beautiful, Abia State own is more structured and built with sincerity of purpose. Did I tell us that there is an ‘Idea Room’ inside for those who want to think and brainstorm?
The Umuahia we once know used to be a city of traffic gridlock, but today there is free vehicular movement. The reason is not farfetched as the market causing the gridlock has been relocated and in its place sited the Umuahia Event Centre; a place so big that it can occupy 10,000 vehicles. Why hold rallies in Stadium and destroy the place when this event centre has been built? Today’s action of ours will speak against us when we condemn a man who dared to put his State on the map of pride.
We love the Cinema world! This is also coming life to Abia courtesy of T.A Orji who successfully signed a partnership with Spars to build a shopping mall that has such facilities. We love the night life, yet we wish to see a State like Abia without it. What hypocrisy. And before you come calling for my head that it is not owned by Abia State; friends, it is called ‘Abia Shopping Mall’, not Shoprite. Give Orji his dues on this and not play political ludo with this. Abians deserve a mall of theirs and he has attracted this.
If the Shopping Mall is a surprise, then the New Umuahia Main Market, Ubani will be more surprising. Not just the regular market spread across the country, but with organized parks and terminals. I know this because I have gone to various international markets in Nigeria. This market which is still ongoing and will house 10,000 stores will be the pride of every trader. Not because the road network is good or the transport fare is subsidized but few kilometers away from their houses a sprawling Ubani New Market Estate meant for them. Yes, the traders will be proud owners of their own houses.
The Eastern State is known for having mechanic village for artisans, but until T.A Orji came on board, there was none. Do we call him a criminal for relocating the artisans to a villa of their own, which has decongested the city? May I remind us that to relocate such persons takes guts, and anyone in doubt should ask Orji Uzor Kalu who tried it but never succeeded.
Friends I saw beautiful schools which can be mistaken for Secondary School, but they were not. They are Primary Schools built by the Governor with 70 of them spread across the State. It is called the blue roof revolution. If Primary Schools can be like Secondary Schools, then imagine how the Secondary Schools look like. A trip to the Abayi Girls Secondary School may quench your curiosity.
I bid you point any Nigeria Governor who will build a house that he will not live in. but it happened! A state like Abia living in temporary apartment is enough same for the generations unborn, so much that they will cause the day they were born in to Abia. But it all ended as there currently lies in the State the New Abia Government House. Even for a night, T.A Orji will not live in it. He has successfully bequeathed this legacy edifice to the next governor; no one can be more selfless than this.
And then the famous Aba. We all went and got disappointed. Disappointed because the Ogbor Hill we all see on Social Media is far from reality. The real Ogbor Hill is well tarred and the roads linking each other were not left out. The Iriruka Road which is 100km from Aba as well as the Milverton Road was not this way many years ago, but today, cars are driven past there.
For a State that has a monthly allocation of N5 billion with little Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) coming into it to achieve these; let our conscience be our judge. To compare Akwa Ibom State whose Governor Security vote is more that the whole money in Abia State treasury for a year is wickedness taken too far. Friends, just few days ago, the famed Imo Rescue Mission had one of his buildings collapsed, despite all the billions pumped into it. None of this has happened in Abia. The buildings and roads we saw are of the best quality that can stand the test of time.
I refuse to join the palm wine bloggers drunkard club who never saw or even saw but for fear of being said he/she is bribed bring down a man who has laid a foundation for Abia. Is he without his faults and shortcoming? Why are projects rushed in the twilight of his tenure? Many of these posers will be answered in subsequent series.
To T.A Orji, they say, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him”, but like Pontius Pilate, I watch my hands off the hands of an innocent man in the media crucification.
NOTE: Watch out for subsequent series and photo evidences.
These little things matter…
Fejiro Oliver, Managing Editor of Daily Voice NG and Media Consultant can be reached on +2348022050733, +2348160067613 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Engage him on twitter on @fejirooliver86
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