Theodore Orji and critics

By Emma Maduabuchi on

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Vilified and persecuted

"Well, there's two sides, to every situation

Yes, there's two sides, two interpretations

A laugh is a cry, hello means goodbye

You're saying something, I don't wanna buy"

 

Sometimes it is difficult to stay completely aloof from politics (worst of all, Nigerian politics). This is usually the case when balance is being deliberately undermined. Then, like the Carpenters sang in one of their many master-pieces that there are two sides to every situation, one is forced to have a say on some of the issues.

When you are a person whose whole nature abhors lies and manipulation of truth, especially when done to afflict others, you will see yourself being drawn out to say things that have bearing on politics. It does not mean you have become obsessed with politics like many people are, it only means that you are being human. If you are somebody who always stands for the weak and the persecuted, then you will find that sometimes you are compelled to rise, and to fight battles that have no direct bearing with your beliefs.

This you will do, if not for anything, to offer balance; and this is what yours truly is set to do at this very moment. In the past two months or thereabout, several things have been written and said that amounted to unfair bashing of a public office holder. This is why I intend to put in one or two words on the matter.

That office holder is Theodore Orji, the Governor of Abia State. He has been prominent in the news for more than two years now, constantly accused of neglecting Aba, the states commercial hub; he was said to have done nothing developmental in the entire state since he became governor in 2007.  On Facebook and other social media platforms, photographs have been displayed and arguments made, which seem to suggest that his critics were right. But critical analyses have shown that many of the photographs were mostly either doctored or outdated; and many of the argument concocted lies.

The bashing is suspicious because it made no sense. It concerned a Governor that was already winding down his government as he has virtually served out his tenure. So why all the murderous attack when it was certain he would not be running for the office again?

It began to make some sense on realisation that some people who have been edged out of the centre-stage of power in the state, were no longer able to deep their hands in the public treasury, and as such were waging a titanic battle to help themselves clamber back into reckoning. For me, this presented a clear case of wicked hounding. It was a case of some people saying to the Governor, "how dare you disobey us by leaving our fold?” Or even to themselves, "come let us show him that he shouldn't have asserted his independence from us as we planned to manipulate him".

This made it possible to begin to consider the fact that all projects the Governor chose to build, he has been building with unparalleled gusto, notwithstanding that he would be exiting office in few months’ time. He was building them as if he was a first term governor seeking to impress and be accepted by the electorate for a second term.

Most intriguing is that among the projects this most wronged and vilified Governor is currently, and passionately constructing is a massive Governor's lodge which he is sure not to live in at its completion. Yet, he has pursued the construction with such indescribable commitment that one began to wonder why his critics could not even acknowledge this act of selflessness. One has looked back from the creation of the state, to see that this was perhaps one of few states that have been run from ram-shackled buildings from its inception. Looking at some of the offices and buildings housing hospitals, ministries, etc., all looked more like poultry and piggery structures.

None of the Governor’s traducers have highlighted the fact that none of the past governors of the state had thought much of this – to construct a befitting secretariat for the state. Many of them were on spending mania with the state funds, and spending on inanities and making the state unattractive to outsiders. The state was so neglected that no serious conference or gathering of quality-individuals could be hosted in it; neither could the crème do la crème of business men from anywhere in the world be drawn to the state.

Critical appraisal showed that no previous governor was bold enough to take on these projects until the current governor of Abia State took over the mantle of leadership. Yours truly has gone to Abia and seen that this governor is building some foundational structures for the take-off of government. Should his critics not highlight some of these for balancing purposes? They did no such thing.

Now, is this article a wholesale piece written as a total support for the Abia State Governor (a Nigerian politician for that matter)? Far from it! Rather, it is also to acknowledge the fact that there are also things the governor did and is doing that does not resonate with me.

A good example is the sloganeering and praise-singing which he accepts but which this writer abhors. Going across the state, one sees billboards and posters that make praises of the Governor. Even though he claims ignorance of those mounting them, this writer is not convinced. Added to that is his decision to run for a Senate position, which does not gel with the likes of me – he has been in public office long enough to decide to take a long rest.

My criticism of him in those areas does not mean that I should accept absolute falsehood just to discredit him. No! Those who post false pictures of roads of Abia State, should have remembered the old maxim that you can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time.

I input that Abia State under Governor Theodore Orji is not the best it can be, yet it is not what his traducers make it out to be. This is one of the reasons why I detest politics, most especially Nigeria politics – even dogs in the mire rise up to point accusing fingers at others. 

 

Posted on November, 20 2014

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