Studies have without doubt proven that it is seasonally expedient to pause at some point whether in the pursuit of personnel or public interest for a back- ward voyage, designed for mental stock-taking or if you like captured in the memory lane of where it all began.
The case of Abia is very eventful and awe-inspiring when juxtaposed with the magnitude of the sorry State she was hitherto identified with.
Rewind to one of our annual facilitation conveyed through this veritable platform where I acknowledged in one of the editions, the huge expectations of our people on the capacity of our mandate to deliver.
Even when history and precedence may have given our people occasion not to, their over-whelming endorsement of our mandate, boxed us into a speechless corner as we could not reciprocate with the fitting syntax to exhaustively express our heart felt gratitude to our people. It was therefore not surprising when torrents of criticisms where hurled on our mandate when it was assumed we were derailing. But Abians were oblivious of our steel-hearted dedication to lift the state from the ashes of despondency. Consequently, a filtering instrument was designed to sift-through issue based and unbiased positions and adopt it in our blueprint for development. On another note, mischievous and colourless positions designed to mislead and plunge the state into political conflagration were hurriedly dispensed with.
I have for the umpteenth time, variously acknowledged a cancerous pain inflicted on our stewardship, during the tortuous half of our 8 years gubernatorial assignment. But for the intervention of divinity, the Abia of precarious yester-years would have remained intractable. Present exhilarating state of affairs in Abia is a function of divine mercy visited on the state and leading to a sweeping liberation from insensible god-fatherism, which assumed a delusionary invincibility.
It was an impactful paradigm shift, which began to lift the state from the clutches of impoverishment and socio-economic amnesia.
At the expiration of our political constraints, authored by god-playing gladiators, the frightening enormity of infrastructural laybacks prevalent in the state menacingly starred us in the face. Â But we soldiered on and before long, seeming impossibilities began to metamorphose into possibilities. We were buoyed by the belief that small beginnings gives birth to conglomerates as we shall briefly appreciate, given the magnanimity of space. But just as the state was savouring the tranquility of peace and unfettered access to movement of goods and persons, there was an incredible jolting visited on her by the alien name; â€œkidnapping for ransomâ€.
Abians did not give a thought to the possibility of her own wards subscribing to the extreme wickedness and atrocious life style of kidnapping and raping their victims before placing a ransom on their head. But crossing the Rubicon to tamper with the lives of our 15 greater tomorrows and Nigerian Journalist who were navigating their way back from a conference in Uyo, was more than the state could stomach. Â As expected, our venomous anger was unleashed on these evil mongers whom we comprehensively over-whelmed to become a model in security, nationally and internationally.
Fast-forward to a resurgence of enabling environment achieved through security clean up, the state was at the precipice of insolvency, largely due to the absence of a blue print to make her economically viable. What obtained was a hopeless dependence on revenues accruing from the centre and perennially inadequate to shoulder the retinue of domestic responsibilities in the state. Naturally, the loopholes created from the neglect of looking inwards constantly enriched custodians of strategic government revenue windows, who exploited the lack-luster approach of succeeding regimes to re-engineer the machinery for internally generated revenue.
My heart will always skip a beat, each time I dare to compare the enormity of infrastructural necessities, gasping for injection of life, vis-Ã -vis the financial far cry at our disposal. The reality of our innumerable electoral promises kept dawning on me. Our flammable angst for the disorder we inherited was quickly visited on the vitality of instituting a virile and result-oriented pathway for shoring up our revenue base. This was an inevitable approach, having seen the heart rending monthly balance of an infinitesimal 1 billion from 3.4 billion after salaries left for us to thoroughly manifest, the infrastructural deficiencies scattered here and there. Our evolving revenue strategy then began to yield fruit, and has graduated from a monthly 150 million naira that I met on ground, with a realistic potential to net 1 billion.
Chronic critics, whose positions lack substance, have at different times and fora undermined these essential variables while battling to drive home their point. A blanket appraisal of our stewardship exposed to pathetic monthly revenue of 3.4 billion in comparison with others who coast home with 19-22 billion is practically pedestrian and laughable.
But we have not been sulking in despair. Â We rose from the drawing board of dexterity and prudent management, to significantly change the infrastructural identity of Abia state. Millennium Development Goals, our inaugural partners in progress, synergized with us, towards the realization of a humble beginning, which produced functional health centers and cottage hospitals in excess of 250. Abians will not be in a hurry to forget the excitement associated with the health care icing of Abia Specialist Hospital and diagnostic center delivered to them by this mandate.
This mandate, backed by its towering divine endorsement has ridden triumphantly on the wings of obvious constraints to attain several infrastructural mile-stones viz- the eye wondering and ear tingling state secretariat due to be commissioned in few months time, ultra-modern and gigantic high court complex in Umuahia and Aba, relocated and occupied timber market, soon to be occupied new Umuahia modern market Ubani, on-going and global best standards in government house, state of the art 5000 seating capacity international conference center due for public presentation in a matter of months, on-going classical edifice for state jointÂ account allocation office complex, new office complex for the state Universal Basic Education Board, New office complex for members of the state House of Assembly, completed and commissioned state environmental protection Agency building, completed and occupied new office complex for the state Ministry of justice and innumerable others that spaceÂ and time will not permit me the luxury to accommodate. But suffice it to say that this brief disclosure, though in public domain, is an obedient fall out of demands arising from peoples well-intended request desiring us to share in testimonies won from our resilience and doggedness.
Our determination to reverse a retrogressive history cascading over the state, constantly stimulated us to latch on every inhibition as stepping-stone to success. Our vision was further enhanced by the dismantling of every vestige associated with apostasy and oath of allegiance before any alter, other than the heaven aboding God named after our dear state.
T.A Orji, is the Governor of Abia State.