The Eagle On Iroko

Leadership is not a tea party. For one to get into the annals of good leadership, one must have something to offer. It may not always be praise and halleluiah songs. Sometimes, the situation is grim and solemn, but a good leader makes the best of all situations whether good or bad.

According to Nelson Mandela, 'There are times when a leader must move out ahead of the flocks, confident that he is leading his people the right way,'

In the bible, Moses, a crisis leader of the Israelites made a choice whether to live in comfort while his people suffered, but he rejected princely and urbane comfort to suffering as to liberate his people. Even when he meant well, the people grumbled, murmuring in high decibels, but this did not deter him. Nelson Mandela in neighboring South Africa confronted death so many times putting his live on the line. For his stoicism and zeal to liberate the suffering South African blacks; he spent 27 years in jail.

Even in democratic experience, JFK, one of the American bests agrees that one of the accepted form of government is like roses always with their thorns. 'Democracy is a difficult kind of government, and requires important qualities of self discipline and restraint, a willingness to make commitment and sacrifices for the general interest, and also it requires knowledge.'

Such cataclysmic experiences have modern parallels in Abia where T.A. Orji was elected and he was able to free Abia people from spiritual and anti democratic servitude.

Since then, Abia has in totality distanced itself from darkness, human shackles and is presently glowing in the bright light of freedom, equity and justice. Abia has been lifted from depth of lies, mendacity and mediocrity to truth, transparency and meritocracy. These are not mere quotes but are tangibly verifiable. In truth, they are manifest through many angles.

Born on November 9, 1950 to Chief Tom Ikoro Orji and Mrs Virginia Ifeoma Orji in Amokwe Ugba, in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State, he was educated at St Michaels Primary School, Ugwu Nchara Umuahia, Santa Crux Secondary School, Olokoro Umuahia South Local Government Area, Holy Ghost College, Owerri and finally at the premier of Nigeria universities, University of Ibadan.

He is married to Chief Mercy Odochi Orji, Osinulo, The Dorcas of our time, a marriage richly blessed with children. He was elected Governor in May 29 2007 and since then his leadership style has brought remarkable changes in the landscape of Abia.

In the Health sector, he has instituted the specialist hospitals and diagnostic centres in Umuahia, Amachara and the Abia State University Teaching Hospital in Aba. He has updated the Primary Health Care to a total of 710, built 100 bed Hospitals in 10 LGAs with 17 ambulances in all the LGAs. The CONHESS and CONMESS salary scales have been adopted in Abia to make the health workers comfortable. Abia by these have joined the medical tourism centers of the world.

Education has had the pride of place in the primary and secondary where school fees are abolished. In Umuahia and Aba metropolis, students ride on free buses with scholarship and bursary paid to Abia Students in all the tertiary institutions in the country. The Abia State University, The Polytechnic at Aba, School of Health Technology are fully on government subvention. Hundreds of Schools have either been built or renovated with free books given to teachers and pupils.

The youth of the land have not had it so good with multiple programmes and empowerment components of different hues topped by a bequest of free vehicles without a kobo paid.

The above is true of the Agric Sector, Ministries of Environment, Housing, Works and all. Over 300 Roads have been constructed and are daily maintained.

Umuahia for once is wearing the semblance of a State capital unlike before. The newly built markets at Ubani, spare parts at Ohiya and industrial market at Ofeke Ndume have saved the town from choking induced by the ever-busy and clogged Ogwumabiri and Railway Gate crossing popularly known as Isi Gate. The site of the old market is fast changing shape into an event center.

The Ogurube layout, the new Umuahia, boasts of modern buildings and have made the Governor a Project Marshal. Standing boldly and magnificently are the twin tower secretariat, the Multi Storied and Multi roomed Joint Allocation Account Committee House (JAAC). The ASUBEB complex, ASEPA House, the 48 roomed BCA and E-library are previously unheard of. These are the Legacy Projects for which Orji will be remembered.

As the first of its kind, conferences that couldn't hold in Abia will now take place at the 5000 capacity International Conference Centre. The prudent management of funds made available to interventionist agencies like ASUBEB, ASOPADEC, CSDP, ADP, ABROMA and others make it impossible to know all the construction points.

The new Government House is an architectural showpiece. Do we talk of the peace and tranquility pervading the whole of Abia? Abia is united in one strong party, the PDP where all elders and statesmen rub minds and shoulders.

Kidnapping and daredevil armed robbery that challenged Aba and environs are no more and have become stories told by housewives. For these and more, Chief T.A. Orji has been honored at home and abroad. In far away Ghana in 2012 he was voted and crowned the best governor on security. The Medical and Optometrist Association, crowned him the best on health. He has been honoured across ethnic, denominational, and religious lines, bearing the Tobalashe of the Source and has the awe inspiring title of Knight of Saint Wesley of the Methodist Church.

The Abba Gana led Federal Government Peace Initiative made him a peace consultant and innumerable titles today adorn his shelves. On September 29, 2014, he will wear another crown becoming a commander of the order of the Niger, CON, a prestigious, meritorious national award. For Ochendo, Utu Agba Igwe, Peace Ambassador, Icon of Democracy, Best Governor on Security, Most Gender Friendly Governor, we cannot do more than joining friends and admirers worldwide to congratulate him. The eagle has soared so high and has no other choice but to perch on top of the Iroko, the highest tree in the forest.

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Articles by Eddie Onuzuruike