Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Article: Governor Theodore Orji’s Critics And Defenders

Governor Theodore Orji

By Boniface Nwachukwu

Whenever the multitudinous critics of Abia State Governor, Theodore Ahamefula Orji, castigate him for under-developing the state, his rambunctious defenders get wild and take such antagonists to the cleaners. And they go about it in the stupidest way ever imaginable! Their victims’ impeccable pedigree and status in the society do not count as the venal whims and caprices of their principal are massaged.

The vain-gloriousness is shrouded in rapacious media frenzy that is sponsored with public funds that should have been deployed in the transformation of the state and its dispirited and despondent people. On the heels of this media duplicity is the compromise of a few so-called elders who routinely rise up in defence of their paymaster. And just like kindergartners from an impoverished home, bowels of porridge carried with lucre throws them into reckless survivalist antics that cultivate calumny and blatancy of lies.

Recently and last Saturday, former governor of the state and founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu,  MON, punctured the claims of his successor and declared him a serial liar with mutational proclivity for criminality. Expectedly, the governor’s wild animals bared their fangs in lugubrious defence of their benefactor. They went online employing all manner of digital platforms to pour invectives on Dr. Kalu instead of addressing the salient points he raised and continues to throw up in his articles.

Last Wednesday, in Gov. Orji’s notorious normality, he staged an elaborate 23rd anniversary celebration in commemoration of the creation of the state. Of course, all the editors on his payroll were invited to the three-day jamboree and frolic with state funds that should be used to grow the state that is in dire straits, which explains why some editors were not at the Nigerian Guild of Editors’ conference which held contemporaneously in Katsina with Ochendo’s anniversary merry-making in the face of decadence, which is a blossoming global legacy.

One of the (invited) elite guests and multi-billionaire on the occasion, Arthur Eze, astonished everyone when he gave a true picture of the decadence of the state under the watch of Gov. Orji. Arthur Eze lamented that the level of rot in the state was incomparable to other places in the country he had visited in the past seven years or thereabouts. He literally declared that Gov. Orji was the worst governor in the world—not just here! I hope that the beasts of burden in and outside Government House, Umuahia, would not descend on this highly respected elder-statesman and silent philanthropist of citizenship illustriousness. I am delighted that this time Dr. Kalu will not be denigrated as he revels in the corroboratory intervention of Arthur Eze.

What were the issues Arthur Eze re-emphasized. To most Abians particularly and Nigerians generally, there is nothing new that Arthur Eze has said that had not been in the public domain since 2007. Most of the social infrastructures still standing or functional are the ones Dr. Kalu imprinted and which have been refurbished, whitewashed and upgraded in the name of “Legacy Projects” that are a mirage only seen by “Abia elders and cowed local journalists”, who periodically get peanuts for their taciturnity and collusive perpetration of unwholesome and retrogressive governance!

From the seven-year decomposition, Gov. Orji mistakenly invited Arthur Eze to come and inhale the stench that has enveloped the state. Apparently, the man they call “Ochendo” had miscalculated that Arthur Eze will endorse his breach of social contract with Abians by praising him! Unfortunately, Arthur Eze is billion miles away from the cubicle of Abia “elders” who depend on the governor for daily sustenance and therefore cannot see or hear any evil about their messianic master! So, in the circumstance, Arthur Eze had no inhibitions pouring his heart out the way he did last Wednesday because he does not and will never need anything from the scallywag in Umuahia.

It is regrettable that the desecration took place in the Michael Okpara Auditorium in Umuahia, the state capital. Such travesty evokes pitiable emotions taking cognition of the fact that the late colourful politician who was named after the hallowed chambers will be unwittingly brought to such opprobrious circumstances by officials who do neither appreciate nor comprehend the magnitude of rot and deceit going on in Abia with Ochendo and his son as the supervisors.

It is good that this stark reality is being declared by no less a personality than Arthur Eze. Let us take his memorable words at this point before we round off shortly.

“Abia is stinking. Right from the Abia Tower in Umuahia the rot hits you. Abia State is now the dirtiest in the country. Garbage everywhere, along with bad roads. The people are really suffering and you see it on their faces. Are there no elders in Abia again? If so, what are they doing? What are the senators, members of the House of Representatives and other elected people doing? Nothing!”

As a remedial measure, Arthur Eze volunteers: “If you (the governor) do not know what to do again, please write to President Goodluck Jonathan and let him come to your aid. Abia State needs help.” After his no-holds-barred remarks, an irritated and enraged Arthur Eze dropped the microphone on the floor and left in anger to the bewilderment of the crowd who engaged in affirmative musings as they nodded in confirmatory acknowledgement and appreciation of Arthur Eze’s supersonic boldness.

It was for reasons less critical than this that Mr. Ebere Wabara was callously handcuffed and abducted in March from his Lagos home to Umuahia CID by 17 policemen at the instance of Gov. Orji. Fortunately, the governor is a small rat where Arthur Eze is and cannot, therefore, in his stench imagination, ever dream or contemplate of abducting Arthur Eze for doing worse than Wabara did! Those who know—and who does not, even beyond these shores?—Arthur Eze will appreciate the point being made here. Arthur Eze has a superfluity of potentialities and capacities to crush Gov. Orji beyond eternal recognition if he so desires, but being a compassionate and God-fearing man and not a politician, the Arthur Eze that I know can never think of that.

All well-meaning Nigerians should commend Arthur Eze, who, by the way, unprecedentedly, does not flaunt his borderless and boundless opulence, for making his convictions public in the jolted presence of Gov. Orji (his host) and other top dignitaries from all walks of life without caring whose ox was gored. Such rarity of boldness and courage are the signposts of a man whose life is daily navigated by the Almighty and blessed beyond measure. Nigeria certainly needs more Arthur Ezes to cleanse the Augean stables in ultimate national emancipation.

(Nwachukwu, a political analyst, is based in Umuahia).

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