By Uzoma Ozoemena
There is palpable fear in Abia state and that fear is justified, given the activities of some politicians bent on not only foisting their authorities like a colossus on the people but controlling the entire political structures of the state.
Their intention is to pocket the whole of Abia for their command and control. In fact, the race is to make Abia their empire. The move began in 2007 when they strolled into the political space like thieves in the night. Today, their fangs are clawing deeper than imagined, casting a blistering spell with unfathomable implications for a state, proudly cherished and referred to as ‘God’s own State’.
As humans, life they say, are pages of many colours, painted in phases. In our struggles to succeed, we often face the good, the bad and the ugly; within a competitive space fraught with luck or bad luck. Nations pass through these vicissitudes. For Abia State, it’s been like a fireball of bad luck all through, triggered by successive irresponsible political leadership.
Since the creation of the state by the Babangida administration on August 27 1991, Abia has been bedevilled by the “one step forward, two steps backwards syndrome” It leaves a lot to be imagined. In 1999, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu rode to power on the mantra of “Abia ga adi nma,” that is, Abia shall be well. When he was through with his administration in 2007, Abia took a different road, totally at variance with his glowing promises.
Wanton abuse of the state resources by a certain cabal became the order of the day. Marabouts and spiritual gamesters had a field day. Every progressive tendency was frowned at and vehemently resisted. And so at the last count, his regime left a deep and painful Crete on the political space. The hope of people took a flight and they suffered.
Then came his successor, his former Chief of Staff who at the first instance, appeared like a harmless lamb, a progressive front liner. With the benefit of hindsight, every Abian expected a better outing by T. A Orji who was crowned Governor straight from prison. In the run-up to 2007 gubernatorial election, his predecessor jumped all obstacles to foist T. A Orji on the people of the state. Unfortunately, clean water emptied into a polluted bottle has no business with purity.
The fate of the people of Abia state became like the heart-wrenching story written by Marianne Mash about a neglected girl betrayed and exploited by the neighbour she trusted. Ndi Abia trusted T.A as he was popularly called, but he gave them a leprous finger handshake.
The eight years of the regime of T. A Orji was characterised by total collapse of infrastructure and at best mediocrity. Out of the blue, his son Chinedum Orji emerged and became the tsar of that administration. One of the legacies of T.A Orji after ruling Abia for eight straight years was backlog of unpaid salaries to the civil servants of the state, which he bequeathed to his successor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu.
Again, infrastructural deficit of the state grew more weeds and sustained by the clay-footed regime that favoured mostly his family members and friends
Although, 2019 election has come and gone but there are spirited moves by Chinedum Orji to consolidate on building the T.A Orji political dynasty. Checks revealed that currently there is a raging battle for who becomes the
Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly. Chinedum Orji wants the coveted seat badly, a development that would see his father as the Senator and himself as the Speaker. Inukwa! Should this development go unchecked, the zoning principle of the state would be disparaged, all to satisfy the power-hungry young Orji.
Ikpeazu is from the Ukwa-Ngwa axis of the state. Since the inception of democracy, Abia has been ruled by the old Bende division. For point of clearance, we must be abreast with the fact that Abia is divided into two major fronts; the old Bende division and the old Aba division. Breaking it further down, as in every state in Nigeria, Abia has three senatorial zones namely; Abia North, Abia Central and Abia South. The founding fathers of Abia state in their wisdom saw the need for the rotation of power amongst these senatorial zones, all for equity and justice. They reasoned and quite rightly so that for there to be peace and tranquillity, the important offices must be distributed and rotated amongst these zones.
Now, during the tenure of Orji Uzor Kalu who is from Abia North, his Deputies were from Abia South while the speaker of House of Assembly came from Abia Central; specifically from Umuahia/Ikwuano area (old Bende) of the state. During the tenure of T.A Orji who is from Abia Central, his Deputies was from Abia South, while the speakership was zoned to Abia North. Political peace reigned. Ikpeazu Okezie is from Abia South while his Deputy Rt. Hon. Sir Ude Oko Chukwu is from Abia North (old Bende).
Presently, the speaker Rt. Hon. Chikwendu Kalu is from Abia Central (old Aba). The Senator representing Abia Central is from Abia Central (Umuahia/old Bende). Peace is reigning. Political power blocs are happy. But the political peace that is being enjoyed in Abia state is being threatened by the political greed of a particular people cum family to destabilize the relative peace in the state. Meanwhile, the state party Chairman of the PDP is also a clansman to the Orji family from Ibeku.
Information gathered revealed that Chinedum Orji is desperate to be Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly.
The Abia state Governor must watch his back, hence the clarion call for Ikpeazu to borrow a leaf from the Roman adage, which says that: ‘Nero should not fiddle while Rome burns’ The last time I checked Abia state is not a family business neither are we unmindful of our rights for self-determination.
Abia elders as well as Abia Restoration Forum and indeed all well-meaning Abians must rise to clip the wings of this emperor from having his way. Abia state is beyond and above anybody and not personal fiefdom or dynasty of the T.A Orji’s family. Indeed, this rising emperor must be stopped before it is too late.
*Uzoma Ozoemena, wrote from Umuahia, Abia State capital