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 also 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 this vicissitudes. For Abia State, it’s been like a fireball of bad luck all through,triggered by successive irresponsible political leaderships.
Since the creation of the state by the Babangida administration on August 27 1991, Abia has been bedeviled by the “one step forward, two steps backward syndrome” It leaves a lot to be imagined.
In 1999, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu rode to power on the mantra of “Abia gaadinma”, 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 a 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,a 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 abouta 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 TA Orji were characterised by total collapse of infrastructure and at best mediocrity. Out of the blue, his son Chinedum Orji emerged and became the tsar of thatadministration. 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, DrOkezieIkpeazu.
Again, infrastructural deficit of the state grew more weeds and sustained by the clay-footed regime that favoured mostly his family members and friends. Under Theodore Orji,Abia State was raped repeatedly and its resources hijacked and plundered by the Governor’s son, who overnight became stupendously rich. Suddenly,Abia’s wealth became the private affairs of the Orji family. Yet the people watched helplessly.
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 isa 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 tranquility, the important offices must be distributed and rotatedamongst these zones. Now, during the tenure of Orji UzorKalu 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 held from Abia South, while the speakership was zoned to Abia North. Political peace reigned. IkpeazuOkezieis from Abia South while his Deputy Rt. Hon. Sir UdeOkochukwu is from Abia North (old Bende). Presently, the speaker Rt. Hon. Chikwendukaluis 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 ready to buy his way as the Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly. He is being alleged to have promised every member of the State Assembly N20 million each, in addition to a Prado jeep, estimated to cost N35 million each. Dependable sources close to the Assembly revealedthat in order to secure the bye-in of the members, he has promised to first advance each of the members with the initial N10 million, accompanied withthe said Prado jeep. After his election as the Speaker he will then paythe remaining balance to the members.
Although, Chinedum Orji is entitled to contest for any political position in the state until probed and found guilty, there are however clear indications that his game plan is to hijack the state legislature using it as instrument to usurp the powers of DrIkpeazu’s administration.Again, it’s being alleged that once he secures the Speakership, the next move is to orchestrate the impeachment of Governor Ikpeazu, so as to finally realise his ambition of being the Governor of Abia state through the back door. How achievable this game plan is depends on the space assigned to him. But as they say beware of an ambitious mad dog.
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