THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOVERNOR THEODORE AHAMEFULA ORJI’S C.O.N. AND CHIEF ORJI UZOR KALU’S M.O.N.
The human society, especially governments, has always been confronted with challenges of varying degrees. The challenges, if left unaddressed, could generate tremendous consequences on man and society. Responsible and responsive segments of the human society have, at various times, shown commitment to problem – solving and conflict resolution. Evidence of such commitments has been found in the family, village, church, school, community, industry, bank, government and other forms and levels of human organization.
In the family, for instance, a single member of the family, realizing that the family is poverty-stricken, could decide to sacrifice his or her own personal aspiration, growth and comfort in order to propel other members of the family grow and, by so doing, break the back-bone of poverty. At the village or community level, some individuals volunteer themselves to ginger activities that transform to enormous human development. In the church, many have been known to have single-handedly built a place of worship for God. Many security operatives have patriotically put their lives on line just to save their father- land.
In recognition of these selfless sacrifice made by individuals in order to guarantee peaceful, safe and progressive existence of the human society, it became necessary, for purposes of motivation, that individuals or even corporate bodies that distinguish themselves in any credible field of human endeavour, are not left unnoticed but recognized and honoured.
On March 25, 1863 the President of the United States of America; Mr. Abraham Lincoln, in the name of the U.S. congress awarded honours to some Military personnel that had excelled during the American Civil War which began on April 12, 1861 and ended on April 9, 1865.
In Nigeria, the Federal Government instituted the National Honours Act No. 5 of 1964, during its First Republic, just to honour her citizens and friends who have rendered service to the benefit of the Federation. The Nigerian National Honours, in descending order of importance, are;
(1)Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (G.C.F.R)
(2)Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (G.C.O.N)
(3)Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (C.F.R)
(4)Commander of the Order of the Niger (C.O.N)
(5)Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (O.F.R)
(6)Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (M.F.R) and
(7)Member of the Order of the Niger (M.O.N.)
The said Act No. 5 of 1964 purely confirms the fact that the Nigerian Government appreciates contributions by her citizens and friends. By this Act, there are seven categories of honour, arranged in their descending order of importance.. While commander of the Order of the Niger (C.O.N) is the fourthon the rung, the Member of the Order of the Niger (M.O.N) is the seventh, the last and the least.
Before Chief Orji Uzor Kalu (should it not be Nsiegbe) emerged as Governor – Elect of Abia State in 1998, he had arrogated to himself the conferment of the National Honour of Member of the Order of the Niger (M.O.N). many Abianshad reasoned that if the Nigerian Government could consider him fit and proper to be conferred with Member of the Order of the Niger, even though the least in Order of importance; it meant that the Federal Government had found him to be worthy of responsible leadership. Unknown to the unsuspecting Abia electorate,that claim by Orji Uzor was completely false. No Nigerian government had everconsidered Orji Uzor Kalu worthy of any honour.
However, a time came in the course of his governance of the down-trodden and economically emasculated people of Abia State when people decided to find out if Orji Uzor Kalu actually was a recipient of the country’s M.O.N. All therelevant books of record were looked into but Orji Uzor Kalu (M.O.N) was conspicuously absent..
Realizing the significance of such a discovery of spuriousness, Orji Uzor, being the con-man he had always been, quickly and cunningly claimed that his version of M.O.N. meant “Madu Oha Nile”, that is the Igbo interpretation of ‘a man of the people’.
The absurdity of Orji Uzor’s claim goes very far depicting the crass of depth of deceit and extortion the innocent people of Abia State were hauled into simply for voting Orji Uzor, whose only agenda was to milk them to a state of unparalled economic deprivation and socio-political instability.
On the contrary and as the Holy Bible puts it, when the righteous is one the throne, the people rejoice. With the emergence of Chief Theodore Ahamefule Orji; an accomplished gentle-man, whose paternity and maternity are well known and impeccably documented and whose father, Chief Tom Ikoro Orji, was among his generation of very wealthy Ibeku indigenes and, so, could not have abandoned his family name to adopt another because of excruciating poverty, Abia State started wearing another look. The toga of deceit for which Abia state Government was characterized during the inglorious era of Orji UzoKalu had to give way to collective governance based on collective aspiration.
For purposes of leaving facts as they are, a very brief juxtaposition would suffice here,
(1) while Orji Uzo Kalu coerced Abians into oath-taking in juju shrines before giving them any assistance, Governor T.A. Orji rewarded Abians for their contributions and on consideration for humanity
(2) Orji Uzor Kalu used divide and rule and disunity as weird instrumentalities of exploitation of the people of Abia state but Governor T.A. Orji clings to the use of unity and harmony as essential apparatus for state integration,
(3) Orji Uzor’sabandonment of the intendment of Abia Charter of Equity gave rise to a highprofile of insecurity that produced the likes of Osisikankwu, stone, Onyime, Dabul, Shalama, and many others who boldly, in their own way, resolved to rebel against the state but Governor T.A. Orji’s approach of carrot and stick restored security and peace in their state,
(4) Orji Uzor Kalu left the state with embargoes on promotion of public servants but Governor T.A. Orji came in and gave automatic accelerated promotions to Abia Public Servants ,
(5) Orji UzorKalu left the state without building a single Maternity or Clinic but Governor T.A. Orji has built well over two hundred Health Centres, an Ultra Modern Dialysis Centre at Umuahia, a second to none Ophtalmological specialist Hospital at Amachara and has carried out quantifiable improvement at the Abia state University Teaching Hospital at Aba,
(6) Orji Uzor Kalu, who claims to be an Aba boy and whose mother traded on local gin, kola-nut, bitter kola and snuff, though on a table-sized level, did not build any market all through his tenure as Governor of Abia State but Governor T.A. Orji, who had neither been a trader nor a business man, built the modern Ubani-Ibeku Market, the timber market at Umudike and the Ohiya motor spare parts,
(7) Judges of the Abia state Judiciary operated in dilapidated court-buildings during the dark era of Orji Uzor Nsiegbe but under Governor T.A. Orji, they now sit in buildings that are symbols of modern architectural edifices,
(8) when Orji Uzor Kalu was Governor, no single political appointee left office with a vehicle but Ochendo has never asked any appointee to drop his or her official vehicle at the end of his or her appointment,
(9) Orji Uzor felt self-esteemed giving Abia Youths Wheel-barrows and tokumbo Motor-cycles as a Governor but Governor T.A, Orji doledout cars and vehicles to Abia Youths, having earlier given more than five thousand tricycles,
(10) While Orji Uzor was unconcerned that Abia Civil Servants squatted in distantly separated rented accommodation, Governor T.A. Orji, being a quintessential Civil Servant, did not only renovate and rehabilitate the old Nnamdi Azikiwe Secretariat built by military but went ahead and built a very befitting twin secretarial complexes,
(11) the military built the Michael Opkara Auditorium that can hardly accommodate five hundred persons yet Orji Uzor Kalu did not comprehend the utility of a modern auditorium and its connectivity to tourism but Governor T.A. Orji, being the well educated man that he is, appreciated the significance of what Orji Uzor Kalu’s intellectual limitation could not allow him embark upon and, no wonder, he initiated and is almost completing an international conference centre that is structured to accommodate up to five thousand guests at any given time, with more than ten different events; seminars, workshops, conferences, or talk shops, going on simultaneously,
(12) Orji Uzor as Governor who had right over the issuance of certificate of occupancy felt comfortable operating the affairs of Abia state in aGovernment House rented from the late Air Commodore Emeka Omerua but Governor T.A. Orji, whose first three years of Governorship were shockingly hampered by intrusion and imposition by Orji Uzor, his mother; Eunice Nmecha Nsiegbe and siblings, liberated the people of Abia state and has since the emancipation, embarked on the building of a Government House,
(13) While Orji Uzor Kalu recklessly put Abia state at war with the Federal Government of President Obasanjo, Governor T..A. Orji simply reconnected the state to the main stream of Nigeria’s politics and (14) Orji Uzor had vowed and boasted that the people of Ukwa and Ngwa would remain perpetually marginalized and dominated by people of Old Bende but Governor T.A. Orji believes that no society can have peace and development in the absence of equity, hence he is in synergy with the leadership of People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to zone the governorship of the state to Abia-South in 2015.
The choice of Governor T.A. Orji as a commander of the Order of the Niger by President Jonathan is desirable, justifiable, commendable and clearly shows the difference between Governor T.A. Orji as Commander of the highly reveredOrder of the Niger and Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, whose M.O.N. has been reduced to mean “Madu Oha Nile”, instead of Member of the order of the Niger.Congratulations Ochendo.
Chief (Sir) Don Ubani; ksc JP
(Okwubunka of Asa)