FIRST 100 DAYS: ABIA: ORJI'S NEW SONG
THE first 100 days of Governor Theodore Orji's second term invariably confirm the saying that there is nothing like freedom. Freed from the hold of his one time godfathers and mother, the Governor has launched a series of initiatives to the surprise of observers.
Chief Theodore Orji's actions in his first 100 days in office in his second term so far indicate that he is deviating from the culture of his first term which showed no clear direction of development. The few actions he has taken seem to show that the Governor is poised to transform the state by giving it a direction. In terms of infrastructure development the Governor has commenced the rehabilitation of the state's rundown roads.
Politically, the Governor who used caretaker committees to govern the state's local governments throughout his first four years has this time commenced moves to conduct local government elections before the end of the year.
The administration recently created the Abia State Physical Planning and Infrastructural Development Fund. The fund will evaluate and tax property owners as appropriate and inject the money raised in providing infrastructure in the areas where the tax is collected. The government followed it up with a summit with stakeholders aimed at creating enough awareness among the people about the new law and its operations.
Also in line with laying a sustainable foundation for development, the governor has also constituted a committee to relocate the Umuahia main market which is badly located at the heart if the state capital. The relocation is aimed at curtailing the nuisance arising from incessant traffic jam, environmental pollution and other ills.
There is also the committee that is currently demolishing illegal structures to give the major cities in the state a new look. The committee is also trying to ensure that markets are relocated from the streets and that motor parks are located at the outskirt of the cities.
The governor seems to be prepared to extend democracy to the grass roots by organizing local government elections. Political observers in the state feel that with the nomination of members of the state electoral commission to the State House of Assembly with a renowned retired Judge, Justice Igbozurike Akomas as chairman, that the local governments could also benefit from the famed freedom that Governor Orji himself got when he disengaged from his predecessor.
In his first four years, Governor Orji used caretaker committee members to run the council administration. So with the new electoral body coming on board, perhaps there is hope for the rural masses to get democracy closer to them.
Within the period, the administration has awarded few contracts for the provision of some infrastructure. The contracts are in the areas of road and electricity provision worth about N3.8 billion. The electricity contract involves the evacuation of electricity generated at Ohiya 132 KVA power station which was awarded at a cost of N287 million.
The road contracts include the reconstruction of the 4.7 km Ohanku road in Aba which was awarded to Coduc at the cost of N733 million, the Isuochi-Owerri-Ezunaka, linking Abia with Anambra, awarded at a cost of N390 million and the 8.4 KM Obohia road which links Aba to Ugwunagbo Local Government Area of the state at a cost of N1.7 billion. It was also awarded to Coduc Ltd. The construction of a new secretariat in the state was also awarded to J and J Company based in Port-Harcourt at the cost of N1.7 billion.
It could thus be said that for the people of Abia, Orji's second term may indeed have been a better beginning.