Uche Igwe, whoever he may be wrote in the Punch of Wednesday May 21, 2014, on his viewpoint column. It was sheer blackmail from first line to the last one. He pretended to know Abia. Reading in between the lines, you notice a trail of slandering and negative penning that actually reveal whom he is working for. He spared nobody in his hatchet job from Chief T.A. Orji, his son, the wife of the President Mrs. Patience Jonathan, Senator Nkechi Nworgu, the PDP leadership, and the President. We are used to such hatchet jobs and can decipher the Isaac’s hands and Jacob’s voice.
The Port Harcourt/Aba Express road is a federal road in which the state government has plunged so much money, making it motorable till the Minister of Works, Arch. Mike Onolememen, came to Abia State last year and flagged off the reconstruction of the express road which was awarded to Arab Contractors and Setraco Nigeria Limited. If the so called Uche Igwe actually drove from Umuahia, he would have seen mountainous heaps of crushed tar and asphalt converted for surfacing hardcore scraped and compounded with fine and sturdy laterite. The rainy season interrupts construction but work goes on daily. He refused to notice that whatever is being done on the express road came after pressure and the diplomatic tours of South-east leaders to Abuja coupled with Ochendo trademark diplomacy that was squandered by one of the predecessors.
He called Aba names she didn’t deserve. He complained of darkness in Aba which hardly is the responsibility of the state government. The Governor of Abia State has done much to encourage independent and alternative power supply like the Ala Oji and Geometric power plants which the state government has built roads to ease movement to the plants. There are many cases where the government have given innumerable transformers, connecting remote towns to the national grid.
Igwe’s wolfish complaints in Aba demonstrate that he has not been to Aba for years. Aba was abandoned for so many years especially by the immediate past administration when drainages blocked the green belts, gardens and shockingly, floodplains were allocated to cronies and family members as plots.
The present administration has done much in opening drainages. The biggest drain in Aba emptying at the Ogbo River was blocked for many years. T.A. Orji engaged Chikwe Tech that worked with Mioneer Construction Company, MCC. As you can see, the government and Governor are doing their best.
A few years ago, the Governor kicked off the dry season of 2012 with multiple roads including the reclamation of Ukwu Mango ditch untouched for over 20 years to which Eze Ikonne, son of Aba Ngwa land, took up advertorial, stating that for so many years of his living in Aba the wonders of Ukwu Mango was the rarest.
Orji has picked up many roads which his predecessor abandoned, mind you, Aba is not only the town or Local Government Abia has. Work is simultaneously going on in Bende, Arochukwu, Ohafia, Ukwa areas just to name a few.
Igwe referred to many issues that are non issues but he took notes from a scrap of paper he was given. He wrote about the pelting of the governor which is a popular refrain of his camp that orchestrated the odd job. That is the burden of office. In the late eighties, President Obasanjo was burnt in effigy in the North; it did not stop him from his comeback as democratic president in 1999. Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw his shoes at then U.S. President George Bush on December 14, 2008.
On April 7, 2008, Arbab Ghulam Rahim, the former Chief Minister of Sindh, Pakistan, was leaving the back door of the Sindh assembly building after taking oath as a newly elected member when he was hit by shoe from Agha Javed Pathan, a worker from the Pakistan Peoples Party. Former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, on 4th September 2010 had an egg and shoes thrown at him at a signing for his book ‘A Journey’ outside Eason’s in Dublin.
On September 11, 2010, a shoe was thrown at Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, while he was inaugurating the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair. Democrats were pelted with bricks and death threats for Obama healthcare reforms recently. It happens and should not be a triumph.
Many world leaders have been pelted especially when people differ with their policies, that included, Maggie Thatcher when she withdrew free milk from the public schools.
T.A. Orji has given vehicles where shovels and wheel barrows were shamelessly issued with fanfare to Abia youth. He replaced motorcycles with tricycles, saving lives and stemming crime. He has taken on housing at Amauba, Amaokwe, Isieke, Ubani/Ngwu just to mention a few.
Abians and foreigners will have seminars and conferences in a 21st century International Conference Centre, capable of hosting over five thousand at a seating and proudly competing with the ones in Abuja, Pretoria and Johannesburg. If you are in doubt ask Labaran Maku, the Federal Information Minister.
Umuahia has been greatly sanitized, transferring markets that clogged the capital city to healthy and spacious suburbs, thereby creating new cities. Abia students in tertiary schools have been paid bursaries of 50,000 Naira each when the past administration abolished such.
The health sector can boast of a robust leap with a specialist hospital and diagnostic centre that houses dialysis machines and modern laboratory. There are 710 primary health centres and nine updated general hospitals. There are eye and chest centres, office and boarding for trainee doctors. Abia is the envy of other states with over five schools of nursing and midwifery.
Chief T.A. Orji, the eagle on Iroko is presently the Chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum which no living Abian has attained. You do not just award marks, they are based on achievements which Ochendo has in quantum and can be verified. What about the construction of new Government House and the workers’ secretariat which is partly in use? Or the Helipad at Isuikwuato, first of its kind.
I can go on and on for all these were not there in the previous administration, so how can T. A. Orji be the worst when he has implanted things that weren’t there before him?
From all accounts, Igwe was paid for this dirty job as it veers of the non-partisan editorial policy of the Punch Newspapers. Igwe has stirred the hornet’s nest. He has murdered sleep and can sleep no more.
Let the world judge T.A. Orji, Igwe and his masters? Like one Pastor Dike said, Chief T.A. Orji is already on top of the Iroko tree, no amount of hooting by devious, cheating and disgruntled fellas can bring him down.
*Onuzuruike is Senior Special Assistant to Abia State Governor