By UCHE NWOSU
IT was Clement Richard Attlee (1883-1967), the British statesman who posited that “democracy means government by discussion, but it is only effective if you can stop people talking”. I will not hesitate to add here that democracy is not all about talking but also about popular participation. For people to feel the impact of governance both the influential and the deprived, the young and old, the educated and the uneducated etc must be part of what is happening in their own affairs.
In big democracies such as United States and Europe, it is taken for granted that the people will not only have a say on who leads them, how he does it and the way he provides governance to all and sundry, but hold him accountable for his deeds and misdeeds in office. In other words, “government”, like Edmund Burke (1729-1797) puts it; “is contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants”, adding “Men have a right that these wants should be provided for by this wisdom”.
Recently, a delegation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Abia State visited the new National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu in his office at the Wadata plaza headquarters of the PDP in Abuja to pay solidarity and congratulate him for emerging as the party’s national boss. The delegation was led by Governor T.A .Orji; a man who has variously being described as the icon of democracy and a unifier of all interests, shades of opinions and political leanings, in a state where these virtues took flight before he assumed office in 2007.
Certainly, during the visit, the issue of maintaining the peace and tranquility that now pervades the state and also ensuring the sustenance of the party’s winning streak in the state came up. The Abia stakeholders who graced the event, requested among others that for the current peace and unity to be sustained, the national body should avoid the temptation of virus finding its way into the Abia political space so that the system does not crash.
However, since the visit, many critics particularly those from a familiar territory have gone to town shouting themselves hoarse and making inflammatory statements . To them, the visit was targeted at Orji Kalu, former governor of the state. Writing in various columns particularly in the Sun newspapers, these hack writers situate that the delegation had no business going to Abuja to pay courtesies to the new national chairman.
How wrong they are! The delegation was there on behalf of Abia people. It was a delegation well represented by virtually all sections of Abia people. Those who call the shot in Abia politics, in the economy and in the social circles were there. the National Vice Chairman South East zone of PDP, all the three Senators, the eight Representatives from the House of Representatives from the state, principal officers of the Abia House of Assembly, Chairman of the party in the state and some of his exco members as well as key stakeholders of PDP in Abia state were there.
This is the quality of distinguished personalities that a columinst humorously and hilariously disparaged; calling them “small-minded fellows intent on dominating the political space, intimidated by others bigger than they”. That personalities like Ike Nwachukwu, a former military governor of old Imo state, a General in the Nigerian Army, Senator of the Federal Republic et al who also spoke at the event could be so demeaned in a write up scripted only in defence of a pay master, is to say the least disrespectful and lacking in all journalistic ethics and ethos.
Who was missing in that delegation that it should be lampooned. The Igbo say that in a forest where you behold ebi and ada (two diminutive species of ants) the census of animals in the minuscule clan is 100 percent. That Onyema Ugochukwu, Vincent Ogbulafor, Ojo Maduekwe, Adolph Wabara, Mao Ohuabunwa, Ihechukwu Madubuike, and all other personalities who had at one time or the other played significant roles in the politics and economy of this country to be there, under one voice, understanding and comradeship and Orji Kalu was not there goes a long way to show how he ran the state from 1999 to 2007.
Politics is about inclusion and not exclusion; that is why it is imperative for a chief executive to make sure that majority of the people operate on one page in the governance of their collective destiny. If a former leader did not do so but mystified governance and kept people who could offer sound intellectual and ingenious advice to the state were on continuous flight out of their homesteads, do you expect a hero’s acceptance for him? If the critics of the Abia delegation to Wadata house are not happy with the continuous plea to any national chairman not to re-absorb Kalu and his group into the PDP fold, they should seek to know why it is so.
Undue criticisms or going to the gutters to scoop the debris to smear people who are merely asking for the sustenance of peace in Abia will not solve the problem. Good leadership is the key. That governor T.A Orji is the darling of the people in Abia and beyond is because of his selflessness and live-and-let-live attitude. That is why Abia stakeholders rally round him, accompanying him to vital state assignments with glee.
Besides that, he has impressed all who cross his path. His ability to put in place certain structures hitherto lacking in all parts of the state is enthralling. Abia today has become a huge construction site with each month recording one project commissioned.
There is the multi-million naira state secretariat; the international conference centre, new Government house Umuahia, internationally acclaimed diagnostic medical centre and over 1000 roads built by the administration, construction of three major markets in Umuahia and now building of an airport
The state boasts of an ultra modern radio station, some housing estates scattered in the three senatorial zone of the state. Then you have the water and electricity initiative which the Stategovernment is pursuing to ensure that its citizens enjoy the dividends of democracy uninterrupted.
Various groups within and outside the country have applauded the youth empowerment programme of the present Abia state government. It is in Abia that unemployed youths are given cars and buses to make a living from; away from the past incident when they were given wheelbarrows, motorcycles to eke out a living etc.
Who wouldn’t associate with a performing chief executive of a state? That is why Abians delegated the stakeholders that came to Abuja with the instruction that they should congratulate Mu’azu on his new position and ask him not to demolish the structure that is standing as a symbol of win-win, peace and unity in Abia under whatever guise.
As for Mr Reagan Ufomba, he should understand that the voting and eventual result of the 2011 governorship election is in the public domain. If he thinks he won the election, he should feel free to publish the result by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and possibly the judgment of the election tribunal and the appeal tribunal for all to see. If this does not convince him that he was a pretender to that contest then he should go for deliverance.