Assessing the Assessors of the Government of Abia State
I will start with a full disclosure of my person and involvement with Abia State.
I am from Abia State. Isingwu Ohuhu, Umuahia North to be precise. I worked with the administration of Governor Orji Izor Kalu for 4 years from 2003 to 2007 as a Media Aide and with the administration of Governor T.A. Orji from 2007 to 2011 in various capacities as Speechwriter, Chief Press Secretary and later, Director of Protocol. I left the Abia State Government on May 29 2011 as a fallout of the friction between Orji Uzor Kalu and T.A Orji as having been a close aide of Orji Uzor Kalu, my place in the T.A Orji administration in the aftermath of his falling out with Orji Uzor Kalu was at best tenuous and ultimately prone to endless needless suspicions.
When I disengaged from the T.A Orji administration, I relocated to Abuja where I became a communications consultant to Ministries, Departments and Agencies in addition to my job as Editor of African Leadership Magazine ( www.africanleadership.co.uk. ).
I refrained from commenting on Abia State after I left Government so that whatever position I take would not be lost in it's misconstruction with where I am assumed to stand in the current political alignment.
In the build up to the 2015 elections, I relocated to Abia State to actively participate in the transition process to cement my conviction that we all have to be involved in the process or we lose our moral foundation to criticise the outcome.
It was while I was actively participating in the transition process in Abia State that I was informed of the visit of the social media actors to Abia State and invited to participate in the tour.
I joined the tourists (I deliberately choose not to use the other appropriated titles e.g social media influencers or bloggers as frankly, it is a somewhat egoistic appellation and truth be told, a Blogger by inference has to have a blog and just a few of the participants have a known blog) and together, we visited all the project sites culminating in the interactive session with the Governor.
After the tour, when the tourists left, I posted a tweet laying out the option before the tourists. I mentioned three options. 1. Report what you saw without an opinion. 2. Diss the Governor in alignment with the general notion that he is a non-performer and 3. Praise him and ride the storm. In conclusion, I implored the tourists to be true to themselves.
Having set out this admonition, I awaited the report of the tourists.
Within the week, a number of reports have come in and while noting the few objective analysis of what transpired, I submit with disappointment that a majority of those who have written their reports have tended towards the condemnatory and the dismissive.
I note a sad need to wait for others to write their report, guage the response and follow the audience. Or how else do you explain the fact that while there were about 60 tourists that visited Abia State, only about 13 have deigned it fit to submit a report after almost a week of leaving Abia State.
I noticed a trend during and after the tour. Most of the tourists tweeted that they will write their report after leaving Abia State to avoid a repercussion. That was a cross between immaturity, premeditation, bandwagon tendency and unprofessionalism.
At the query by some interested tweeps as to why there were no live tweets and pictures from project sites, some of the tourists alluded to poor network and other such lame excuses. I make bold to state that mobile networks are fully functional all over Abia state. I submit no further proof than the fact that most of the tourists posted selfies at various points during the tour.
Some of the reports I have read have mentioned actual projects visited but with a quick need to question the relevance of the projects. These same projects were lauded as exceptional in other states but condemned in Abia State as pointless. How sad.
Projects which relevance have been questioned include the new Abia State Government House, the International Conference Centre and the Abia Mall to mention a few. Another general thread is the seeming discomfiture with the fact that some of the projects were a product of Public Private Partnership. The question then remains that for a state with meagre resources, what is the sin of a government that chooses the PPP model to realise it's projects?
I also noticed that some of the tourists questioned the price of some of the projects without a comparative presentation of what similar projects cost in concurrent jurisdictions. An example is the cost of dialysis at the Specialist Hospital. It is obvious that in the rush to jump on the bandwagon to diss the Abia State Government, no attempt was made at rigorous reportage and fact-based analysis. Sad.
Note that all the tourists who have rated the Abia State Government have scored the T.A Orji administration an average of 25%. Is that a factual analysis, a coincidence or the result of bandwagon analysis?
I am a supporter of Governance Tours by tweeter personalities so that they will have perspective when discussing political players but the outcome of the Abia Tour puts to question the readiness of participants in such tours to be objective as opposed to playing safe by sticking to the perception of such players in conformity with the popular trend no matter how faulty the foundation upon which such trends are based.
I make bold to state that most of these Abia tourists had a draft of what they intended to report before setting out for Abia State. This submission is buttressed by the fact that most of the tourists were not interested in what they were being shown. The bulk of them huddled in corners discussing football while briefings were going on and did not care to listen to the reports on each project. When they cared to ask questions after the briefing, their questions had been answered in the course of the briefing and some of the questions were more intended to play to the gallery than elicit facts. I stand challenged on this assertion.
I will refrain from commenting on my assessment of the current Abia State Government as such it is not the subject of this intervention but suffice it to state that what I have read so far is a few objective analysis and a torrent of hogwash.
My advice to organisers of future tours, invite only those genuinely interested in an objective analysis who are willing to write factual reports and ignore the rabble rousers who are looking for an outlet to propagate their own selfish ends.
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