How Gov. Orji Nearly Not Returned From USA
It was Abia State at 21. August 27, precisely was the date of celebration. Expectations were very high. Many were bemoaning that what was there to celebrate. Others were very worried of why Governor Theodore Orji of the state had not returned from his
journey to the United States. 'Prolonged overseas trip of Abia Governor,' they characterised it. This was causing tension among stakeholders if the governor had abandoned the state owing to the widely known fact that he had failed in the leadership of the state.
Orji was not yet back to the Government House, Umuahia, the seat of power for Abia State, as the state marked its 21st anniversary which held on Monday, August 27, 2012. The number one man of the state was yet to be back. The aides continued to give hope upon hope that he was going to be the Chief Guest at the imposing anniversary celebration. Through Abia state-owned Television and Radio station, BCA, jingles of this were deafening, yet the governor was yet to make it.
He had gone to the United States to visit his daughter, Nneoma who put to bed. In the rumour mills, Nigerians heard that what might be holding the governor back in the United States was a secret deal he allegedly entered to purchase a vessel overseas for personal use but was swindled. Nonetheless, in a statement of September 2, 2012 it was a different song. In its headline, Vanguard Newspapers reported, 'I was not swindled, says Gov Orji'
The news reports was that he made the statement on Sunday in what was characterised as 'on arrival from his annual vacation in the United States of America'. The unique thing about his return was that there was no denial that his subjects swarmed the Banquet Hall of Government House, Umuahia to welcome him. The people were looking at him like a lost but found person. Orji was away to the United States where leaders know their onus to statesmanship enjoying and left his state in outmoded situation. How many American governors would come for vacation in Abia State?
Instead Orji would plead for the people for embarrassing them with his overstayed trip to the United States, he rather waved shame with the back of his hand, and said: 'While we were away, we heard both the good and bad things that were happening at home. I also heard that I went to buy a ship. I laughed my head off when I heard that story and I knew that some people were still suffering from hallucination. If you buy a ship and give it to me free of charge, I will reject it. I am not a business man and can never be. That I am a governor cannot intoxicate me. I am not here (in government) to acquire the whole world. The world is a stage. You come and play your part and you are judged by the role you played. Whatever they are saying does not mean anything to us provided our conscience is guiding us.'
Many Abia people who listened to him were very disappointed. They could not make head or tail of this. It was very confusing. He said that the allegation that he was swindled was provocative, why was his abandonment of the state for that long period not giving him bellyache? The insinuations were that he was not ashamed of boasting about his trip to the organized United States whereas Abia people at home and in the Diaspora are not happy with him over the deplorable situation of their state and no one could believe that Abia State is one of the oil rich states in Nigeria that was supposed to be overdeveloped.
Abia is one of the states in Nigeria that lays the golden eggs for Nigeria. However, it has become a state where the qualities of roads being constructed are mostly done with head pans and shovels, whereas in the United States Orji had gone and enjoyed himself, sophisticated machines are used in the construction of roads. Everything is done orderly in America.
At the Banquet Hall of Government House, Umuahia where people had swarmed to welcome him, it's obvious the people present were hired praise singers. No sensible Abia person would be there because he disappointed them as once a civil servant, political appointee, and now a governor. This is a man who cannot list any meaningful accomplishment in any Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Abia State, but had gone to the United States for extravaganza. What is his consolation? Orji thinks that governance is shadow boxing himself and not delivery of service to all and sundry.
In America does their governors not read newspapers, pick calls from the citizens and reply e-mails to understand the plight of their people? But in Abia State lawyers protested on 18th September over one of their own who was allegedly arrested by this government because of an article the lawyer wrote addressing the government of the necessity to put the roads and other decayed infrastructures to order. America means well for her people, how about Abia State under Orji? There is no superior distractor than the promise and fail behavior of Orji government. Is the governor not at war with Abia people? Does Orji not deserve to be insulted?
Whether he was swindled in the United States or not the fact remains that Orji has swindled the people of Abia State of good governance. Without communications how does he expect the individual's economy to grow? Orji cannot always be calling on the people of the state to trust him when they cannot see reason for that. The fear now is that by when Abia State will be 22, who knows the country he would run to and keep his people of Abia State is a condition of despair?
Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author, Media Consultant, Motivator, Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), and the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV), is based in Rivers State, Nigeria