…Of Friends and Fiends by Gov.TA Orji

…Of Friends and Fiends
I was just reminiscenting on how to propagate the above philosophical discourse and play up its prongs of deep seated implications, when I got further motivation and inspiration from this beautiful title track: “Achuzinam” (Stop hunting me) located in Prince Gozie Okeke’s “A cry for mercy”. In that endeavour, he was divinely inspired to overtly appeal to those who were maligning and casting aspersions on his innocent personality to refrain from such, given that his hands are clean and he has always advocated truth, equity, and justice, in his dealings with all and sundry
My persuasion is that Prince Gozie Okeke delivered on the conviction that agents of darkness were bent on derailing his God given vision. That thought provoking rendition widened and broadened my vision on the reality of wickedness making the rounds in our society.
I have always had a simple, broad-minded, and convivial approach to life. These derive from a simple back-ground of an only child, protected, pampered and favoured, which constituted my formative years and which I’m proud to brandish.
It has always resonated in my dealings with fellow brothers and sisters, irrespective of creed and social strata. A rational explanation for my steadfastness in keeping my retinue of friends made yester years even after destiny mandated me to become my people’s loyal gubernatorial steward.
My noble up bringing, dully spiced with integrity and good character motivated our inaugural resolution to make far-reaching and visible difference in the state. We were not unaware of its attendant furore and bickering, to the effect that we want to curry the favour of Abians and become victors while our predecessors are regarded as villains. It snowballed into the incredible and unfortunate era of hi-wired propaganda, malicious falsehood, intricate web-of intrigues and hatred.
Some times when I try to recall the initial challenges of our administration and the unimaginable extent people can go with deceit, I shudder in amazement, which is why, I cannot make head or tail of the show of shame recently brought to public domain. Those, whose deadly desire is to plunder the state, were the first to orchestrate the downfall of our administration on the sinking premix that we were not working. But the divine foundation and backing of our administration constantly raised a banner of defense, variously demonstrated in numerous infrastructural flagships dotting the nooks and crannies of Abia State.
My fraternal friendliness and brotherly bonds, motivated me to quickly spot Loop holes and political mines likely to undermine or derail the political ambitions of friends even when it was apparent they were being crooked and dangerously desperate. It provided me part of the clean-slate that characterized my eventful stay at Nigeria’s electoral umpire of that time, which mid-wifed the general election of 1999 and later earned me the Chief of Staff position where I was divinely guided to prove my mettle for 8 unscathed years. I can beat my chest to say that if I was a fish brain, my sojourn at the electoral commission from 1996 – 1999 would not have been carried out and the devastating implication would have been that perceived friends and associates who desperately devised means to cheat on electoral qualifications, would have been identified and thoroughly disgraced. Providence produced me to take the risk of stopping their cheating ass, so as not to expose their laughable ignorance. No trailer load of “Toronto certificates” will facilitate your electoral victory, if the people decide not to give you their mandate and neither will the electoral authority, disqualify you, if you satisfy the basic requirements. True to my nature, I saved a situation without making a hue and cry of it and several of it in such manner by simple way of advice and tutelage devoid of tempting aggrandizement. I am not about to blow my trumpet as some people may erroneously interpret, or cast aspersions on those who think they own the world, but it will only be appropriate to reiterate that we should be weary of those who mercilessly strike in the bush and run out to ask who is doing the striking.
On assumption of office as the Governor of Abia State, I carried over my obsession for loyalty and made it sacrosanct so much so that I was ready to disown any of my own that dared to advice otherwise. Unfortunately, my loyalty and childish belief in corporate and gentleman agreement as it were, became my albatross save for Gods amazing grace. My initial platform, which we all struggled to build, became a nest for witch-hunting. If in the face of unwarranted criticisms some people still stoutly stood and aligned with you, then something must have obviously endeared you to them. The myopic mindset of our chronic detractors beclouded their sense of reasoning from hooking up with our progressive mind-set. Selfish and parochial interest, which we were not ready to assuage and placate inevitably, made the centre to cave in and today Abia is breathing a sigh of relief. The platform that was intended to be a convocation of brothers and sisters initially anchored on a zeal to deliver the dividends of democracy, metamorphosed into a ring of devourers and mud-slingers: Pious and Angelic by day but devouring blood-suckers by night. My only transgression was anchored on an innocent desire to effectively and responsibly coordinate the affairs of government given that posterity will x-ray our stewardships. “No body is an island to himself” they say and the veracity or if you like the extent of one’s invincibility can only be exercised by the extent to which people or his followers allow him to continue.
This misconception, aptly gives credence to the political delirium of what may be regarded as a conclave of few siblings, whose intolerable abuses and distractions terminated their hitherto enjoyed good will. It reminds us of the biblical king Saul who having abused the throne, kept living on the revelrious illusion that God was still accommodating and condoning his riotous mannerisms.
I woke up one morning to the incredulous conspiracy that a government my regarded friends and associates were supposed to be a part of and to naturally promote its interest, is suddenly abdicating from its responsibility of paying workers salaries, among other diatribes. As we were trying to get over it, same friends orchestrated the unpardonable allegation that our administration has been a reception ground for hordes of criminals and societal misfits. Extrapolating in essence, that the government they shared in its construction is not far removed from criminality. What a world of irony? Time and space, may not permit me to chronicle the pro-active interventions made by our administration in the restoration of normalcy in Abia State coupled with the fact that I will only be over-flogging a position that is even known to a visitor in Nigeria. But permit me to aver with every sense of responsibility that if having detractors, gives one the latitude and concentration to build more workers secretariat, like the gigantic two now nearing completion, we welcome it.
The power to take stock is essentially the prerogative of God and the people. Enemies will evaporate like a vapour but the legacies we leave will remain green in the minds of the people. These realities have taken away laxity, docility and indifference from our operation to ensure the delivery of the landmark International Conference Centre rapidly being constructed. It was closely followed by the foundation laying ceremony of the new government house Umuahia located at the New Umuahia Layout.
We will ride on detractor’s incoherence to give our people more 132/33 KVA power stations similar to if not bigger than the one located at Ohiya in Umuahia south local government area. The more our people are conscripted to blindly pitch tent against us, the more we will respond by increasing health centres from the present 210 to 450 across the length and breath of Abia State and accelerate completion of the on-going kidney dialyses of ophthalmology center at Abia State Specialist Hospital and Diagnostic Centre.
Our humble and responsible response, will always be to sign more memorandum of understanding with foreign investors to open shop in Abia State, like the Al-Kamali Petroleum Company from Dubai currently at the verge of sitting a petroleum refinery company at Owaza in Ukwa West local government area and a cement factory in Arochukwu L.G.A.
We can graciously give thanks to God for the restoration of normalcy, which has made the state a beautiful bride, whose hand of business relationship is sought by various investors, the latest being Global Green Development Group of California USA. The building of new markets to relocate old ones to promote our cherished profession of commerce cannot be overlooked. The recent pockets of distraction in Aba where this administration has finished an overhead crossing at the Aba/Owerri road, the first of its kind in that city to mitigate against the crushing of innocent souls by motorists, which sought to cheapen and politicize the continental and global accolades of our fallen compatriot: Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu is symptomatic of the Biblical reaction of Jesus Christ, when he was innocently vilified. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” We have since taken it by our stride to avoid the punctuation of on-going and holistic infrastructural concentration in Aba viz; the completion of Aba-Port Harcourt Road, Construction of drainage at Osisioma/NNPC – Ekeakpara road, construction of Ohanku road, Dan-Fodio road, Obikabia old express road, Ukwu mango and others too numerous to mention without bank or bond facility. We do not wish to be insulated from criticism, but a measure of civility and constructive engagements will not be asking for too much. Let it be understood, as I revisited the subject of this endeavour that a man must always stand up to defend his name so as not to suffer extinction which is the meaning of my Igbo name Ahamefule of which I am conscious of. The legacies we are leaving in Abia State is like a volcano which will one day erupt and the mouth that has spoken ill of our stewardship will in no distant time make a reversal.
Chief Sam Mbakwe of blessed memory was similarly vilified and irresponsibly castigated in Aba while overseeing the affairs of old Imo State. He retorted by asking the now popular but amusing question, “if Mbakwe does not govern, is it your mother that will govern? But today the same Mbakwe remains a hero of the people. We shall not ask similar questions like Sam Mbakwe, but we shall remain a hero like him. History they say will vindicate the just.
TA Orji