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Orji and the transformation of Abia

By Gab Ejuwa

WILLIAM Shakespeare it was who said, “In my stars I am above thee but be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them”.

Dr Theodore Ahamefule Orji, the   third Executive Governor of Abia State, might not have been born great, but certainly he has achieved greatness – becoming the number one citizen of his state – and has had greatness thrust upon him, having the singular honour of winning the governorship election while in detention. When confronted with the epithet, “giant progress,” one begins to wonder what the Governor has been able to do within such a short time  to deserve such an accolade.

However, the question is easily answered by the very eloquent, self-evident and self-advertising landmark achievements he has recorded within just two years  in office as Governor of Abia State. According to Mazi Donatus Okorie, the Secretary to the State Government.

On his own part, Professor Chibuzo Ogbuagu, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, regards the Governor as a “consumate manager of human and material resources”. The pertinent question really, especially in the light of these glowing encomiums is, what is the big deal?

How, across the board, has the Governor performed within two years  to be given such citations? Answering this question necessarily entails reaching out to some key ministries involved in the articulation and execution of government policies and programmes.

First in this instance is environment. On assumption of office, the Orji administration was aware that the environmental problem in the state constituted a big embarrassment dating back to previous administrations.  This is why it decided to pursue a waste policy by  entering into an agreement with the California-based Phoenix Environmental Resources to evacuate all waste matter in Abia to their factory in Obingwa and convert same to organic manure to be sold to farmers in the state and beyond. Other activities of the Environment Ministry included street sweeping, destilting of blocked drains, flood control, aesthetic beautification of the environment and erosion control.

On commercialisation and industrialisation, Gov. Orji initiated the construction of the New Umuahia Modern Market, the relocation and expansion of the Timber and Allied Market, the Aba International and Industrial Market, the reactivation of the Umuahia Modern Ceramic Industries, the relocation and expansion of the Umukalika Industrial Cluster with a view to decongesting available residential accommodation in Aba, the initiation of the Ovom Industrial Workshop Estate, and the resuscitation of the Aba Metallurgical Complex.

The Youth Development Ministry under Barrister Uche Ihediwa has been engaged in a series of activities geared towards enhancing the fortunes of the youths.There is also  the mobilisation and empowerment of youths for training in agriculture, the setting up of workshops for human and institutional building,  peace building and leadership development, fisheries and agriculture as well as distribution of motorcycles to youth development organisations (YDOs), etc.

The Finance and Economic Development Ministry  has constructed office blocks, launched Local Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (LEEDS) in Umuahia North, carried out sensitisation programmes on the New Partnership for African Development (NEPA), the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), in addition to reviewing  UNICEF activities in the state and publishing the 2009 edition of Abia State Statistical Year Book.

On co-operatives and poverty alleviation, the state government has completed a rural electrification project of installing 300 KVA transformers, effected the promotion of all the staff of the Ministry to the next grade level, expanded the ministerial administrative office block, provided office furniture for the Commissioner’s office,  renovated the office generally and reactivated the Orji Uzor Kalu Transport Loan Scheme and Artisan Support Programme.

“Health is wealth,” the adage says. The Orji administration has provided the General Hospital Amachara with modern hospital equipment as a first step in upgrading the hospital to a specialist status. The equipment include X-ray machine, ultrasound machine, colorimeter, spectrophotometer, flame pluton and electrophoresis machine. A new block of storey building has been completed to house the X-ray and laboratory equipment.

Mr. Ejuwa, a journalist, writes from Lagos.


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