Uche Nwosu writes that contrary to a recent report, Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State has continued to protect the interests of all Ndigbo, irrespective of their states of origin
The recent attack by a group known as South East Progressives Assembly (SEPA) on Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State over the purported cancellation of Governor Rochas Okorocha’s Rescue Mission at the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba has once more shown how far some elements in Igboland could go on a soul travel to remain relevance in Igbo and indeed Nigerian political space.
The statement by this group against Governor Orji is as irritating as it is, to say the least, insulting to the personality of the Ochendo of Abia who is accommodating, amiable, democratic and who has done a lot to uplift the status of Ndigbo in all aspects. However, it is not surprising that the personality that wears the garb of SEPA’s presidency is also a media aide to the governor of a neighbouring South-east state who, in his inordinate bid to become Igbo leader and force the South-east states to become a stronghold of a newly registered political party, has thrown caution to the wind and embarked on all sorts of mundane issues including unrestrained tirades at eminent Igbo personalities.
The allegation that Governor Orji ordered the cancellation of the proposed inauguration of Nigeria Rescue Missionaries at the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba last Saturday fails to meet the basic rule of sound reasoning because the governor is neither the Rector of the institution nor the security agencies who apparently because of the failure of
the Nigeria Rescue Missionaries to meet some security guidelines decided to stop the programme from holding in the school.
Though the Nigeria Rescue Missionaries, as a group, has the constitutional right to congregate anywhere in Nigeria to hold its ceremony, it beats anybody’s imagination why a group that masquerades as missionaries supposedly formed by “men of God” should adopt the campaign logo and indeed enjoy the patronage of Governor Okorocha, whose Rescue Mission is currently being used as a political bait to capture the South-east states outside Imo.
May be that could be why both the security agencies and the school, having discovered the hidden agenda of these impostors, suspended the inauguration until they have clearly stated their main objective of holding the inauguration in the school. At this period of strong security challenges, it will only take the laisser-faire attitude of some security agencies to look elsewhere while a likely security breach is in the offing.
If they had planned to hold an innocent inauguration that has no security and political undertone, and Governor Okorocha had not planned to sneak into Aba to be part of the programme, how come that the Imo State government has literarily woken up the dead with its deafening and thunderous shake of the air waves over the matter since its alleged stoppage last Saturday?
That the SEPA could use a gutter language in addressing the Abia State government smacks of ill-mannered and uncivilised leadership of the man that is behind the organisation. On the contrary, Governor Orji has
treated all the South-east governors including Governor Okorocha with dignity and honour and regards them as brothers and friends in the much cherished expedition to develop the zone.
To him, if any politician in the zone sees him as an obstacle to the ascension of any political position, such person, should be left to be judged by his or her conscience. Rather, for him, Igbo unity and emancipation of Ndigbo from marginalisation by other tribes is top priority, as he has consistently demonstrated his love for Ndigbo with record breaking incentives to Ndigbo outside Abia state. This is exemplified by his appointment of indigenes of other sister Igbo states in various positions in Abia State since he became governor 2007.
Today, citizens from Imo, Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi States hold various political appointments in his government. They are
also in charge of market unions in Aba and Umuahia and they have shops and stores allocated to them even at the expense of the indigenes of Abia State. Abia, to them, is their first home as they have unrestricted access to the various development projects of the Ochendo administration. Also, Ndigbo from these Igbo states, just like their counterparts from other non-Igbo speaking states, are the major beneficiaries of the ongoing distribution of vehicles by the Ochendo Youth Foundation (OYF).
Many of them also benefited from the government’s skill acquisition programme whose institute recently graduated over 400 artisans. It should be noted that in Aba and Umuahia, majority of the traders and business men are Igbos from other sister states. The Ochendo administration, realising this has put some infrastructure on the ground for the smooth and peaceful conduct of their businesses. That there
is adequate security in the state is due to the security consciousness of the governor who wants all traders and business men in the state to go about their businesses in a peaceful atmosphere.
The recent allocation of newly built markets in Umuahia where traders from sister Igbo states received major allotment also attested to the fact that Abia is a state whose leaders are detribalised. Even in school enrollment, non-Abians of Igbo origin are given whatever incentives Abia pupil/ students receive such as books, desks, etc; thus providing them the opportunity of excelling in academics.
The urban dwellers of Aba and Umuahia are made up of non-indigenes of Igbo extraction. It is on record that these men and women who are landlords in Abia State are the policy makers in terms of how the two cities are administered. In Aba, they form the bulk of leaders that run the Aba South and Aba North Councils both as chairmen and as councilors.
Therefore, it will be untoward and reckless by this pseudo-association to insinuate that Governor Orji has at any time betrayed the Igbo nation or created disunity in Igboland. In fact, he has used his position as governor to unite Ndigbo by making Abia a state for all Nigerians, particularly Ndigbo from other states whose businesses and interests are shielded from any form of plundering or attack.
This is why SEPA (if there is any registered association like that as investigation revealed that it was merely hoisted by officials of government in Imo to attack Governor Orji and the Abia state government for their principal’s failure to achieve another hidden agenda in Aba) should bury its head in shame since it has been unmasked as anti-democratic rather than champions of democracy which it dubiously claims.