The attention of Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, the apex sociopolitical youth group in the Southeast, was recently drawn to a press statement by a People’s Democratic Party’s chieftain and former chairman of the party on governance in Abia State.
After reading the said release, as a Coalition, we wish to, at this point, refresh the memory of the party bigwig since he may have lost record of facts. However, it does not beat us that the Chief fell short of expectation as a father who is supposed to lead the up-and-coming age right.
In the said release, Ukasanya, who was even the party chairman during the administration of Governor Orji Uzor Kalu (1999-2007), alleges that the foundational fourth republic governor of the state did not lay the necessary governance foundation for the successive governments to build on. To Ukasanya, Abia lacked such structures that allow government to run due largely or squarely to Orji Uzor Kalu’s inability to put in place such structures, a failure he said led to successive failures save for Okezie Ikpeazu, Ph.D who he claims is building the state from the scratch.
We do not know for whom Ukasanya was speaking or whom he was representing – be they or it a group or an agency. But such assertion coming from a man from whom much is expected is quite unfortunate. Let it be stated that governance is continuum and does not run in vacuum. It is our belief as a Coalition that had it not been for the foundation laid by His Excellency Senator Theodore A. Orji, Governor Ikpeazu wouldn’t have reached the mile and recorded the track record he has now.
Let it be stated and for the record too that when Okezie Ikpeazu was, during the 2014/15 electioneering, asked what he wished to bring to governance if and when elected, that the governor, then a PDP flag bearer, had said he wished, as it were, to continue from where his predecessor stopped. At this point, what does that tell men like Ukasanya? It is simply this: That from sitting at his feet, Okezie took double blessings and governance experience from Theodore A. Orji aka Ochendo Global, and that were it not for Ochendo Global, Abia State wouldn’t be having today as governor a man like Okezie Ikpeazu.
As a state party stakeholder and chairman in 1999, what did Ukasanya do to influence or constructively shape governance using his good offices?
May we remind Ukasanya that it was under Ochendo that Abia became the most secure place and destination for investors – foreign and local – with quadruple growth in the state GDP and internal revenue (independent revenues). Aside other works, Theodore Orji, in all fairness, decided to have a rotation of power that favours the Ngwaland, a people who since the days of the old Imo State have been agitating to govern but were each time denied same. This was done in the spirit of equity. Again, massive youth empowerment which reduced unemployment and ensured productive engagement of the Abia youth was launched during Ochendo’s tenure. Also, during the said tenure which lasted from 2007 to 2015, scholarships were given to indigent Abians across all seventeen local government councils in the state under the auspices of the state scholarship programme initiated by Ochendo and issued to recepients by His Lordship Bishop Lucious Ugorji, Catholic Bishop of Umuahia Diocese.
In the health sector, Ochendo Global’s administration built health centers in all the autonomous Communities in the state, rehabilitated and built new general hospitals across the state, built an ultra modern diagnostic center in Umuahia to handle special health challenges and equipped the hospitals to enable them deliver better health services to the people.
On infrastructure, Ochendo gave the state a facelift via massive construction of roads across the 17 Local Government Areas of the state. It will be difficult to elucidate the transformational achievements of Distinguish Senator Theodore Ahamefula Orji in one piece.
What Tony Ukasanya means by saying there was no structure before the coming of Ikpeazu is not clear. Maybe he wants some relevance or to appear important being a spent force. Whatever Ukasanya wishes to gain, we are convinced, will definitely be made public someday, but for now, let us remind him that Ikpeazu is standing on high shoulders and is following after the footsteps – like he swore to – of his predecessor, His Excellency Senator Theodore A. Orji. This is not any apologia but a public record.
Hon Goodluck Ibem
Comrade Kanice Igwe