By Onuoha Amadi
Recently, the media reported that a so-called Peoples Democratic Party Performance and Publicity Tour led by Chief Olisa Metuh, the party’s national publicity secretary visited Abia State on the watch of His Excellency, Governor Theodore Orji and rained accolades on the performance’ of the governor. The accolades came when while on the puzzling mission, the Metuh-led team which had a band of journalists in tow confessed what it called a "media conspiracy" against Governor Theodore Orji. It required little imagination to deduce that the main target of the excursion and attack is His Excellency, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, former governor of the state who anointed the current governor. According to a report by a national daily, “This corroborates the earlier position of the state government that some sections of the media, whose annoyance is that Orji's towering achievements have dwarfed the purported records of his predecessor, Orji Kalu, have deliberately decided to propagate lies on the efforts of the governor to change the face of Abia.”
Warming up to its hatchet project, “Orji accused his predecessor of using his media outfit to twist facts and fabricate falsehood with the intent to malign him and cause disaffection among the people. But the findings by the PDP team seem to have proved Orji's detractors wrong.”
This scenario raises several pertinent posers - for both Chief Metuh and the current Abia State chief executive which pivots on the fundamental meaning of governance. It may interest Chief Metuh and Governor Orji to know that good governance is a critical determinant of human progression. Hence, the challenge for all societies is to create a system of governance that promotes supports and sustains human development. Good governance involves a web of networks - including public and private sectors, institutions, organizations and individual actors that can influence the development journey. It can also be seen as the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a state's affairs at all levels. It comprises the mechanisms, processes and institutions, through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences.
Fundamentally, good governance has three legs: economic, political and administrative. Economic governance includes decision-making processes that affect a state's economic activities and its relationships with others. From the foregoing, good governance clearly has major implications for equity, poverty and quality of life. Societies that aspire to greatness can simply not navigate otherwise.
Given his privileged position as the national secretary of a ruling party, Chief Metuh ought to have raised his sights higher than getting involved in demeaning, irrelevant excursions that allegedly puts money into his pocket but questions his intellectual qualification for this position. What’s more, this kind of mission not grounded on any scientific parameters of measuring human development certainly puts his party in a rather bad light.
From the elementary definition of good governance, where and how can Chief Metuh’s score card of Abia State government be located or quantified? Metuh’s Abia escapade even calls to question what level of party authority he derived the clearance to embark on such quirky missions. What parameters supplied Chief Metuh’s team the verifiable data to hail Abia State as the ‘Dubai of Africa?’ This is simply laughable and a failure of genuine imagination.
After eight years as governor of Abia State, Chief Orji certainly cannot thump his chest and say he has leveraged “God’s Own State” meaningfully, measured against the quantum of resources that has flowed into the state’s coffers for this period.
Just over seven weeks ago, a personality who doesn’t need handouts from Governor Orji told him the blunt truth about the development status of Abia State. It could be recalled that during the 23rd anniversary of the state’s creation, billionaire business mogul and something of the godfather of South-East politics Prince Arthur Eze told Governor Orji to his face that Abia State stinks.
A disgusted Prince Eze actually dropped the microphone on the bare floor and stalked out of the event’s venue. In Prince Eze’s words: “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 in their faces. Are there no elders in Abia again? If so, what are they doing? What are the senators, the members of House of Representatives, and other elected people doing? Nothing. If you do not know what to do again, please write to President Goodluck Jonathan, and let him come to your aid. Abia State needs help.” Against this background, how can the Chief Metuh-led team now be hailing Abia as the “Dubai of Africa?” Metuh actually can be accused of intellectual vagrancy – that is factoring in his peculiar intellectual pretensions. How can this demoralizing scenario in Abia State be logically labeled as: “Orji's towering achievements dwarfing the purported records of his predecessor.”
In a sense, it’s perhaps understandable that Governor Orji simply embarked on an image laundry project to leverage the image of his lack-lustre eight-year tenure. But must Chief Metuh permit himself to be enlisted in this kind of hatchet project when the party is enmeshed in the biggest battle of it life in 2015? Big question!
(Amadi, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Umuahia)