By EDDIE ONUZURUIKE
I HAD the opportunity of being at Abia Lodge inÂ T Y DanjumaÂ Street, Asokoro, a high brow area of Abuja that houses not less than thirty governors lodges, embassies and residences of ambassadors and high commissioners of many international missions.
The Abia governorâ€™s lodge was just renovated with an added floor on top of the garage and three of the blocks reroofed. The underground drainage was reconstructed with tunnels large enough to float war ships. In a brief press interview, GovernorÂ Theodore Orji said that his style of leadership was to make the place better than he found it just like his predecessor did.
The interior was glittering with granite floor, adorned with brand new furniture, most of them too exotic for me to the extent that I hesitantly sat on one of the cozy chairs afraid of ruffling the puffy fabrics. The liaison officer, Dr Chidi Onwuchuruba, fondly called L O, was beaming, having done a good job of supervising the activities and expected a pat on the back with smiles. Orji shuffled up and down in admiration, humming under his breath. Surprisingly, his mood changed and I wondered what the matter was. He beckoned on the liaison officer who was equally alarmed. â€˜L O,â€™ he said, â€˜youâ€™ve done a good job but something is missing.â€™
â€˜Nothing your Excellency, everything is in place,â€™ he replied confidently. I did not know whether to smile or frown, so I looked on poker faced. â€˜L O,â€™ he repeated â€˜there is no doubt that you have done well but something vital is missing, there is no Bible in my room.â€™ It was then that the anxiety was lifted and I chuckled. This episode took me into a deep introspection though I wasnâ€™t surprised having background knowledge of his Excellencyâ€™s religious background. Page eight of Saturday Thisday, August 29, 2009 featured a heading that I found funny, â€˜Abia not living up to Godâ€™s own stateâ€™-Clergy.
One Godwin Uwaoma of the Nigerian Christian Graduate Fellowship, NCGF, during a conference in Aba, surprised his fellow conferees with such an unguarded statement and went further to state that those who are governing us are idol worshippers. Well, Uwaoma, whom ever he may be, is entitled to his scraggy opinion as guaranteed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He has freedom of speech, but I wonder if he knows that such freedom is limited to theÂ truth as the opposite could attract libel and slander suits. I am sure that OrjiÂ is ever forgiving to take Uwaoma seriously.
Abia indigenes can attest to the governorâ€™s piety and devotedness to issues of faith. His activities since he was sworn-in as the third democratically elected governor of Abia State have led to a never-experienced inter-faith harmony in the state as he is sighted in different churches every Sunday, be it protestant or Catholic, orthodox or ecumenical. The governorâ€™s schedule must be a very busy one but it does not deter him from attending funeral services in churches on Fridays and Saturdays, consoling and exhorting all to pray for the state.
He maintains the chapel in the Â Â Â Government House with the zeal of the early apostles and his indefatigable wife complements by keeping a weekly prayer group at the Michael Okpara auditorium long after her prayers in the appeal court had been answered. Orji, since May 2007 when he got the reins of office, has sponsored thousands of Abians and non Abians on pilgrimage to the holy land, outside donations and material assistance to worship centres and religious groups.
I do not need to take Uwaoma seriously because I have encountered his likes, political clergy, in the habit of running down others as if they were paid to pray for Orjiâ€™s main opponent. He seems to lack vision, otherwise the governorâ€™s belief in God would have been revealed to him. Uwaoma should pray fervently to God to grant him the power of vision as to predict accurately; he equally needs divine guidanceÂ in his sermons. It would only be appropriate to end this piece with an OrjiÂ quote, in January 2008, while he was still in the appeal court. â€˜Our God who has brought us this far will not abandon us midway, He is faithful and just to conclude what He has begun in our lives. Our lives, faith and trust is in Him.â€™ On February 14, in Port Harcourt, he was vindicated as the Lord did not abandon him midway. I am very sure that Uwaoma knows the consequences of desecrating the Lordâ€™s anointed.
Onuzuruike is special adviser to Abia State governor on print media