PPA READS RIOT ACT TO ABIA GOV, GOV KICKS, SAYS HE WAS NOT HEARD OUT
Governor T.A Orji
Concerns over the state of insecurity and the general collapse of infrastructure in Abia State took a curious twist yesterday when Governor T.A Orji's Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) handed him an ultimatum to either perform or face the party's wrath. The party's National Working Committee in a press conference in Abuja directed the governor to, as a matter of urgent necessity, set in motion all necessary machinery towards addressing the plight of the people of the State particularly with respect to the deteriorating infrastructure and insecurity in the state - with particular reference to the spate of kidnappings there.
Accordingly, the party said that it has accepted and embraced without question, the admonitions of the people of Abia State thus marshaled out a Seven-point action plan for the governor to comply with latest by August 2010.
But in a swift reaction to the development, Gov. Orji said that the party's resolution was ill-informed and portrayed the party as acting out an already prepared script, pointing out that it was preposterous that his own party would reach such grave conclusions on his state without as much as hearing from him.
National Chairman of the PPA Mr. Larry Esin who read the riot act to the Abia State Governor at a press conference in Abuja, said that following the series of complaints and petitions from people of the State, the party resolved to roll out a 7-point action plan for the governor who is standing on the party's platform to comply with in accordance with the mandate given to the PPA by the people.
The action plan, according to Mr. Esin, includes the payment of all outstanding salaries owed Civil servants, rehabilitation and construction of major roads in Aba, as well as the cleaning up of Aba town to rid it of embarrassing refuse.
In what seemed a confirmation of the speculation that all might not be well between the governor and his predecessor in office, the PPA also directed the Abia Governor to endeavour to immediately repair the strained relationship with the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PPA Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, the Deputy Governor and all the chieftains and stakeholders in the State.
It further directed the Governor to approve the payment of all outstanding statutory allowances owed to the Deputy Governor by the end of August as well as ensure that all outstanding contracts that can be completed by December 2010 should be made priority and focus of the administration.
It further directed: 'That a committee to include all security agencies should be set up immediately to find sustainable solution to kidnappings in the state. The committee should also be mandated to consult other states in the federation, like Lagos, that have successfully tackled crime in the past. That a PPA unity rally in Abia must take place not later than the end of August 2010'.
?The PPA National Chairman explained that the directive was coming on the heels of summons extended to the Orji Kalu, T. A. Orji, Deputy Governor Chris Akomas and Senator Uche Chukwumerije on June 15th as a result of petitions and complaints received from the electorate in Abia State which bordered on a seeming vote of no confidence on the party's government in the state.
According to Mr. Esin; 'The PPA believes in its fiduciary responsibility to the electorate and, as such, we have to respond swiftly to the people's call for a change of attitude and priorities in governance of the state. For the PPA to govern well, we cannot shift the blame even where it is apparent that certain lapses can be attributed to the failure of the PDP-led Federal Government to fulfill its responsibility to the Abia people on rehabilitation and construction of numerous Federal roads that pass through Abia.'
Esin further stated that the party believes that the governance of its only state and the welfare of its only child (Abia), for which the people stood firmly behind it in 2007 by energizing its struggle against tyranny and injustice, cannot be toyed with. He said it was for this trust in the party that Abians endorsed the party and the party's conviction that public wealth creation and not individual wealth creation, remain the cornerstone of development.
'It is therefore the responsibility of our party the PPA, to intervene and restore hope to the people of Abia who gave us their mandate', Esin stressed
The PPA National Chairman dismissed speculations that Governor Orji is planning to defect to another political party, saying that such a move would not in any way address the problems being faced by the people stressing that; 'PPA would prefer that Governor Orji remains in the party to solve the problems
He equally dismissed the allegation that the PPA BOT Chairman was involved in contracts in the Abia State, saying that the former Governor of the state had severally challenged anyone with any proof indicating that he has interest in any of the companies doing business with the state government to so declare but nobody has ever come forward till date.
But maintaining his stance that he was not fairly treated in the matter by the party, the governor, speaking through his spokesman, Mr. Kingsley Emeruwa, said that the party's resolution came even as the one-week deadline given to him to appear before the party had yet to elapse.
Hear him: 'The party wrote the governor on June 15 asking him to appear before the National Working Committee between June 22 and 24.
'The governor wrote backing asking to be given two weeks to appear, citing ill-health and the fact that he was just recuperating.
'On June 24th, the party wrote back to acknowledge receipt of the letter. But they said that two weeks was too long and that the governor should appear in one week.
'Curiously, on 26th, they wrote him again to communicate their resolution. And so, the question the governor is now asking is: on what facts did they arrive at the resolution, if they were yet to hear fro him or received any submissions from him?'
Emeruwa also picked holes in some of the resolutions. For instant, he said that some of the issues mentioned were already overtaken by events. According to him, as at the 26th of June when the resolution was communicated to the governor, the state had cleared all arrears of salary and there was no category of civil servant being owed by the state government.
On the issue of kidnapping, the governor's spokesman said that, short of carrying a gun himself and chasing after kidnappers, the governor has done everything to bring the situation under control. 'He had provided gadgets, equipment and logistics needed to combat the menace yet the thing persisted'.
He continued: 'Even the federal government was aware of this and had decided to intervene directly. And we are already seeing the impact of that intervention'.
While he said the governor would continue to address the other issues raised by the party, 'the law of natural justice demands that the governor, just like every other party to an issue, be heard out and given the opportunity to react, before a decision is.