IT is a common mistake to think that just any criticism of those in authority is intended to spur action in the positive direction.
Many do not fully understand the unique and complex background from which AbiaState recently emerged . It was a failed state in every sense of it.
For eight solid years AbiaState remained under the stranglehold of despotism and demagoguery. It was a regime that smacked of inconsistencies in word and action. People like ‘yours faithfully’ were hunted down for daring to speak out against official malfeasance and unbridled profligate lifestyle at the expense of the public till.
There was deliberate policy of state terrorism endorsed with the executive red pen. Thuggery was legitimized and it formed an inseparable arm of government. ‘Yours faithfully’ and few others who braved the situation to speak out had all the paraphernalia of executive incumbency unleashed against us. Communities like Idima Abam were almost destroyed on false information to the police in an attempt to arraign ‘disloyals’ on trumped-up charges. These and a myriad of other vices were the woes that Abians daily struggled to live with during the eight years of Orji Uzor Kalu’s rule in AbiaState.
I am not just a living witness but a victim of the misrule and highhandedness that befell AbiaState for eight years. The story of what happened in Abia between 1999 to 2007 is one that would require a full-time narrative and it should be left for another day. My concern today is to draw a contrast between the erstwhile regime and the present one, for purposes of clarity.
What would be the yardstick to measure performance in AbiaState in terms of good governance to the people. Certainly not one offered by the likes of Orji Uzor.
I am, to say the least, very stunned to note that he has the effrontery to accuse the present Governor of non-performance in the administration and management of the State’s resources. In one of his diatribes he accused the Governor and his children of amassing so much wealth and even dared to query his source of ‘wealth’.
The question is, what does Governor T.A. Orji and his children have that a governor can’t legitimately afford?
It should be recalled that in Orji Uzor’s overmastering desire to subjugate the Abia political elite, he cultivated a horrendous intolerance of any form of dissent between 1999 to 2007. This was a period that no well- informed Abian is in a hurry to forget.
It was a period when governance equated to prodigality and ostentation, while ambiguity was the norm in virtually every official transaction. Memories of history do not fade away quickly. It is strange as it is amusing to read the former governor of AbiaState in his desperate bid to convince the public of his ‘good governance’ in Abia during his eight-year rule. I can only grieve for the reading public who might not have the facts to effectively situate the two regimes and personalities. For the avoidance of doubt, these are two extremes with a marked difference in perception, emphasis, objectives, values and priority.
During the period of that regime, when inclination to intolerance gained ascendancy over reason, and many politicians were cowed and made to cultivate a slave mentality that consistently crawled for parental adoption, there were few of us who had the steely determination to call the bluffs.
A person’s true greatness does not fully surface until he vacates the scene, otherwise the private and public life of the present governor of Abia State would bear true of an ancient injunction that ‘honour be given to whom it is due’. Understandably, this injunction has evolved to a nascent political axiom which canvasses ‘honour’ as the function and product of the performance ethics that border on selfless service and sacrifice for collective good.
In the thinking of the ancients, ‘honour’ becomes the group recognition of the relevance of character and action to the development of human collective.
It insults the sensibilities of Abians to read Orji Uzor trying unsuccessfully to inflict dent on the character and integrity of Governor T.A. Orji, perhaps in vexed protest to the expose of his moral ills as then governor, by the sterling qualities of his successor.
It is not the fault of Governor T.A. Orji that Orji Uzor chose to fritter away eight solid years on the altar of prodigality and ostentation and embraced actions that were visibly inimical to the objectives and logic of collective development. The spoilsport propensities in which the Abia executive arm thrived under his regime left much to be desired and riled many of us whom he hunted down with all the war chest available to him as governor. The reign of Orji Uzor’s regime was anchored on vile propaganda and cruelty that surpassed those of the Roman emperors.
Contrariwise, the conscientious, considerate spirit with which Governor T.A Orji has marked his dealings with people has earned him the respect and admiration of people like me and we are in the greater majority of the Abia populace. He has, by consistent moral uprightness, struck a note on the imperatives of selfless service to Abians, considering public good greater than his personal convenience- a clear departure from what it was under Orji Uzor Kalu.
According to Melford Okilo, “Honour is the practice of right actions”. This statement bears true of the character and person of Chief T.A Orji, who merely endured Orji Uzor for eight years, being a career civil servant at the time.
The former Governor has no moral standing to utter a word against Governor T. Orji, or any member of his family because what stands sure behind Governor T.A Orji is priceless and timeless. It is beyond the mundane, and radiates transcendent value. It is the beauty of his humble but firm Spirit which daily seeks to practice right actions in service to humanity and worship to God. Sorry, it differs from the prestige conferred by wealth and the material privileges bestowed by class that engulfed the former governor while in office.
Mr. OSAMPSON ORJI a was a member of the State House Assembly during ex-gov. Orji Kalu’s tenure.