Still On Kalu’s Stewardship

By Olaniyi Olanike

The former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu has been putting in a lot of his energy and resources for the betterment of his home state of Abia. In the 3rd series of his article titled, “My stewardship as Abia governor (1999-2007) – 3”, published in The Sun edition of October 4, 2014, the vocal Kalu has guaranteed that the present government in Umuahia has been all about lies, claiming in actual sense, some of the projects that his once administration in Abia State, delivered in the period of 1999 and 2007, as its own.

Why I've taken it upon myself to be following these revelations by Kalu is that we have heard and read a lot of garbage against Kalu that are now found to be untrue. Courtesy: the government in Abia State. The irony is that the government that is bent on vilifying the reputation of Kalu through its media propagandists, would not respond to such claims by Kalu that it has been commissioning some of the projects that his administration delivered in the state, thereby making Kalu a truthful person and all that baloney we have heard against him meant for the trash bin.

According to Kalu, “There is hardly anybody in Abia State who does not know that Chief Theodore Orji runs a government of deceit. Abia State is in its present state of hopelessness and backwardness because the governor has chosen to fritter away resources of the state meant for development into oth­er useless and selfish endeavours. Why should a state that has received close to one trillion naira (by the time the admin­istration draws to a close) not be able to meet its legitimate obligations, which put together cannot amount to N100 billion. Where has the remainder of the money gone to?

“I find it offensive and an affront on the collective psyche of our people that Chief Theodore Orji should have the temerity to stand up to anybody who challenges his excesses, when he should have buried his face in shame. It is only in a society as ours that laxity and sleaze are openly rewarded. Take for instance, the confer­ment of a national honour of CON on him. What justification did the handlers of the award have for bestowing such an honour on a man that has mindlessly and recklessly pillaged the resources of his people?”

I'm well convinced that Kalu was not holding water in his mouth when in the recent times; he challenged Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State, to come forward with a probe of his administration and the present one. But this clarion call seems to have fallen on a dried land, as the government in Abia State, has shown a deaf ear to that call. Kalu did not end there, he even challenged the government to proceed with this call and that he was going to provide 50 percent of the money for the apparent auditors as far as they are well-known in the business and in the world; not some “Ochendo Auditors” that would do the bidding of the governor in the process.

Better that the audit was conducted now, because Kalu has said: “It is not enough to unleash attack-dogs on whosoever holds a contrary view from his; what is needed is for him to back up his claims with verifiable proofs. Nobody needs a soothsayer to tell him that at the end of his administration he will be called upon to give an account of his steward­ship. When that time comes he will be left in the cold, because most of the peo­ple milling around him today are just fair-weather friends.”

Kalu has also said that corruption is dancing in public in Abia State and that any doubting Thomases should institute the probe he has been calling, for a long time. To Kalu, Abia State has become a den of corruption where the common wealth of the state is used to build personal fiefdoms and in­timidate people unconscionably. He has exhumed that workers are not paid for months, roads are decrep­it, morale is generally low, and life very short and brutish. He continued that roads in Aba are impassable; the taps are not func­tioning, insecurity and refuse everywhere.

Worst hit are those in the rural areas, according to him: they have been literally abandoned. He asked: What of staff of tertiary institutions in the state? They have not been paid for months. He has said that the Abia State University received N100 mil­lion monthly throughout his tenure as governor, excluding many developmental projects his administration embarked upon there. What obtains there today is heart-rending, he has said, workers there are owed many months of unpaid salaries, while there is hardly any project to point to as having been car­ried out by the present government.

In the words of Kalu, the projects the governor showcases to the world are usually projects executed by Kalu's administration and the Federal Gov­ernment through the Educational Trust Fund (ETF). This is serious! Whereas the government had been informing us of how the state is now the Canada of Nigeria in term of development to the extent that we have heard of the “Ochendo Legacy Projects”. So, it this tag a ruse? To be honest, no sensible person should think that Kalu is against the government in his home state, because of these revelations. I see Kalu as a man who likes the first thing to be first and the last to be last, unlike what the government in Abia State was teaching the populace: Last thing is the first.

Olaniyi Olanikewrites from Umuahia.

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