Gov T.A. Orji Building A Solid Foundation Upon Which Abia Will Stand
It appears that even before the creation of Abia State in the year 1991, precisely on the 27th of August, God has Chief Theodore Ahamefule Orji in mind to reposition the state and create a solid foundation upon which Abia will be built.
Many Abians will ask why do I say so, does it mean that a state that is almost 23 years old never had a foundation? And my ready answer is, in the case of Abia NO.
The uncommon transformation going on in Abia today tagged "LEGACY PROJECTS" are supposed to have been embarked upon 23 years ago by the former Governors of the state which include military administrators and civilian rulers but for reasons best known to them they all chose to over look those projects that are supposed to be the foundational projects of any young state and that's why you can't stand anywhere in Abia to point at one project embarked upon by any of its former leaders both the military and the civilian governors not even the ones abandoned midway in form of abandoned projects, but rather what we have is a long list of dying or already dead industries and institutions which Abia inherited from the then eastern regional government under chief M.I. Okpara namely the Golden Guinea Breweries, the Modern Ceramics industry, the Aba Textile Mill, the farm settlements eg.Ulonna North and South etc. Abia also inherited from the then Imo State under the leadership of Chief Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe, industries like the Ogwe Golden Chicken, the International Glass Industry and the Imo Hotel Ogborhill Aba, also the the World Bank and low cost housing estates were part of what Abia inherited from the Mbakwe administration.
The Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State and the Ambassador newspapers were built by the then military administrator Frank Ajobena, while Chief Ogbonnaya Onu left us with only the Abia tower in 1992.
It's quite unfortunate that while other states created the same date with Abia State are busy expanding the frontiers of what they inherited from their parent states, in the case of Abia the former rulers left them to rot.
That's why I have always described Governor T.A. Orji as a governor laying a fresh foundation for the state after 23 years, in natural law its always easy to dig up the ground while it's still very soft and wet but when the land has gone through years of dryness without being wetted you and I can understand the difficulty in digging up such a ground and the very first process of laying a foundation is to dig up the ground at such it takes courage, determination and extra strength to lay a foundation on a ground that has been dry for two decades plus. I make bold to say that Governor is God's sent to Abia.
Ochendo has gone the extra length by building the structures necessary for the take off of a state like Abia, while I don't totally blame those who criticize the efforts of the present administration in repositioning the state and placing it on the right foundation it's because we have had governors who did nothing to better the lot of the state and its citizens but rather concentrated on enriching themselves, their cronies and establishing personal businesses in other states and countries with the money meant for the development of Abia State and its citizenry.
In as much as criticism is a part of governance, every rational mind would appreciate the efforts of Chief T.A.Orji and the challenges in building pilot institutions for the state at the age of 22 plus, the projects he is undertaking now are projects he should have inherited being 8th person to man the affairs of the state. Abia before Ochendo should be described as an institution without an administrative base and I wonder how such an organisation will succeed.
Some people who do not see the efforts of the present administration are those who either do not know the history and background of the state or intentionally do not want to appreciate the developmental strides of the present administration under Chief T.A. Orji. Honestly, a lot has been done and many more are still being done to make Abia regain its glory as Gods own state.
Security is the foremost contract the people have with their leaders and its evident that Abia is a secured and safe state unlike what is obtainable in Abia State between 1999/2008 where by the state was held hostage at different times by the Aba Mafia, armed robbers or kidnappers which forced the people of Abia to form their own security outfit known as Bakassi Boys since the government as at that time has failed them, the lives and property of Abians were no longer guaranteed. The underworld gangs were in charge of the state while the government which has the sole responsibility of securing the people no longer care about the people they are supposed to protect until Ochendo came with the present security arrangement in Abia which saw all the criminals leaving the state or pay the supreme price for criminality. Today, Abia has been described as the safest state in the federation.
In the area of health, Governor T.A. Orji "Ochendo" has built and equipped over 710 Primary healthcare centres, two Diagnostic centres in Umuahia & Aba, nine 100-bed General Hospitals across the three Senatorial Districts, a new Dialysis Centre and Eye Centre. He is also expanding and re-equipping the Abia State Teaching Hospital Aba, Chest Clinic at Amachara, Pediatric Clinic & Emergency Centre at Amachara etc.
As you can see, Ochendo is not only securing the lives and property of Abians, he is also safeguarding the health and lives of Abians. He has also paid off the debt the state inherited from the OUK administration and has been able to lift the state from its pariah status which the state was plunged into by the immediate past governor of Abia State Chief Orji Uzor Kalu when he entered into an ineffectual war of words with the federal government under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and today Abia is not only seen as a friend of the government at the centre it also maintains a healthy relationship with other sister states and regarded as one of the most economically healthy state going by CBN index.
The state government under Ochendo went into aggressive agricultural revolution so as to make sure that Abians are not only healthy and safe but to ensure that they are well fed, that informed his decision to establish liberation farms across different LGA's in Abia State which is intended to bring our youths back to agriculture and make the state self-sufficient in food production.
Before the Ochendo administration Abia youths were usually empowered with guns and machetes and the only employment known to them was thuggery but today the youths are now trained in different skills and trades and upon completion are given grants to enable them get established. Instead of giving the youths guns and machetes they are now being given vehicles without asking for pay backs just to get them gainfully employed and out of the street. Over 3,000 cars have been distributed to the youths of the state.
Aba that used to be very dirty which was formerly known as the dirtiest town in Africa is today described as one of the cleanest towns in Nigeria and Umuahia the state capital is now described as the cleanest capital in Nigeria courtesy of Ochendo,s ingenuity and leadership craftiness.
Because of his love for education he is building and renovating schools across the 17 LGAs in Abia State and has given school children free school buses that take them to school in the morning and bring them back after school hours. Ochendo's hardwork in education is evident with the last WAEC result where our children performed creditably well.
Its on record that Abia civil servants have not gone on strike for once since the inception of the Ochendo administration because of the understanding and care the governor has shown them. Today Abia State government pays higher than the federal government stipulated minimum wage for civil servants across the federation. The governor also built a state of the art Secretariat for Abia civil servants so as to enable them work in a serene and cosy environment.
The relocation of the Umuahia Main Market is a feat that seemed impossible in the eye of many, other governors toyed with the idea but do not have the will power to carry it out until Ochendo came and today Ubani Ultra Modern Market is a sight to behold, while the new Timber Market and Ohiya Mechanic Village has taken off full blast. The removal of these markets from the centre of the state capital is meant to decongest the state capital and give room for meaningful development.
The beautification of the state capital is going on from one corner of Umuahia to another, traffic lights are being mounted at major traffic spots and flowers are being planted along the major roads of Umuahia with monuments being erected at every round about to add beauty to the town.
Governor T.A. Orji also established Abia Roads Maintenance Agency (ABROMA) to take care of road maintenance in the state and the Abia State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (ASOPADEC) whose aim is to ensure that development gets to every nook and cranny of Abia State more especially the oil producing communities in Abia State whose youths became very restive due to long years of neglect by previous administrations but today calm has returned to such communities as they are seeing the gains coming from such communities.
In the area of housing, the Governor T.A. Orji administration has built quite a number of housing estates to ease the housing problem which is always one of the major challenges of a growing town like Umuahia. Some of the housing estates include: Amaokwe Housing Estate,
Ochendo Liberation Housing estate, Isieke Housing estate, New Ohobo Housing Estate, Traders Estate Ubani,Ochendo Liberation Estate at Amauba etc. The building of a new High Court building, ASUBEB building, the E-Library, ASEPA building and most importantly the new government house. It should be noted that some of these projects and many others which space cannot allow me to enumerate are foundational projects which a state needs to function but in Abia it has been lacking until Ochendo came. Some of our former governors rather than building the state chose to build their personal businesses outside Abia State leading to capital flight whereby Abia gets underdeveloped but their personal businesses are growing in other states and countries where they pay huge taxes to their host states and countries.
Even as his tenure is rounding up Governor Orji has promised to make sure that projects he initiated are completed before he leaves office.
He may not have solved the entire problem facing the state but the truth is that he has built a solid foundation upon which Abia will stand.
Aguoru Writes From Umuahia