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Posts tagged ‘Umuahia’

National Conference: Igbos abroad move against Ike Nwachukwu.


 

A cross section of Igbos in the Diaspora have kicked against the choice of retired General Ike Nwachukwu as leader of the Igbo delegation to the National Conference inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan this evening in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.

Acting under the aegis of Nzuka-Igbo USA, they are demanding Nwachukwu’s withdrawal from the conference, saying that his antecedents do not inspire any confidence in his ability to represent Ndigbo well the confab. Nzuko-Igbo USA made its case in a statement signed by For and on behalf of Nzuko-Igbo USA Vincent O. Erondu, President; Owen Owunwanne, PhD, Secretary; Attorney Uche Okedi; Mr. Oster Nwankwo; Mr. Ugo Ukandu; Sylvester Nwaoye, PhD; and Mr. Clement Dennar, The statement reads as follws:

“Nzuko-Igbo USA, calls on South-East Governors Forum, Ohanaeze Ndiigbo, Aka-Ikenga and all stake holders in the South-East to please replace General Ike Nwachukwu as the leader of South – East delegation to the forthcoming National Conference.

“Various reactions are trailing General Ike Nwachukwu’s selection not only to be a member of the delegation from Abia state, but to lead the South-East delegates to the national conference. The issues arising from this nomination go beyond General Nwachukwu’s membership of Abia delegation, but how he emerged as the leader of the delegation. The public, particularly the Igbo would like to know who chose General Nwachukwu to lead the delegation. As for the membership of the delegation from Abia State, no one should be surprised that he made the list. “Governor T.A. Orji never believes in fairness, experience and equity. He is an ardent believer in personality cult, rubbing the palms of praise singers, hand outs to political party agents disguised as traditional rulers, instead of using public resources to execute projects beneficial to the citizenry regardless of status, ethnicity, and local government of origin.

“Unreservedly, we admit that Abia state delegates to the conference are qualitative. Abia has so many qualified people for this job in all respects. Picking just 10 with all the strings attached is an onerous task. The two Generals; Ike Nwachukwu and Ihejirika should not have been on the delegation list for obvious and different reasons.  With several qualified persons in Abia and the South-East region the choice of General Nwachukwu as a delegate let alone leader of the team is a mistake that should have been avoided.

“Whoever that recommended or chose General Ike Nwachukwu to lead our delegation should tell us when the General began to take interest in Abia State, Igbo and regional matters. Do his supporters not know that this General has a lot of political baggage? He has not been able to defend all allegations against him about the Nigerian-Biafra war. He is not known to be a builder or a leader even though he led soldiers.  The National Conference calls for civilian leadership. It is not for the elites alone, or for the military top brass. General Nwachukwu was given the opportunity to lead the Igbo twice: as Military Governor and Senator but he blew the opportunity each time.

“As a military Governor, he set the Igbo clock of progress backward. He destroyed all that Governor S.O. Mbakwe put in place. Our cities Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, etc began to deteriorate as all rubbish/trash bins stationed at strategic places for the proper disposal of rubbish/trash disappeared. His era marked the genesis of urban deterioration in the old Imo State. Our cities are yet to recover from the disappearance of the sanitary equipments. We were subjected to Educational suffocation as he abolished a system that had campus in the five senatorial districts of the state and replaced it with a single campus university. Each campus of the then Imo State University system had the potential of developing into a university. The cost to the Igbo as a result of this hindsight or lack of planning is not quantifiable.

“As a senator, he was not effective. Let him tell the Igbo Bills he initiated to correct the structural imbalance and obnoxious military decrees and edits that targets the Igbo, including boundary adjustments to deprive Igbo States off shore oil revenues. Since he left the Senate and retired to private life what Igbo group does he belonged to and what has he done to further the interest of the Igbo or our region. Former Senator Joseph Waku from Benue State (a retired Non Commission Officer) was more active than our General in the Senate. Since Senator Waku left the Senate he has been active in Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF).  He is heard in almost every national debate but nobody hears from General Nwachukwu. Now he wants to lead the South-East delegation to the National Conference.

“In 2003 General Elections, General Ike Nwachukwu contested for the presidency of Nigeria. He was the flag bearer of National Democratic Party (NDP). His campaign never got off the ground, turnaround he was merely filling in for a northern General. How can the Igbo trust his leadership to the National Conference?  Considering all of the above, this man does not have us at heart. He does not know our states, Igbo or our regional problems and boundaries. He lacks community spirit and community organizing skills. We have not read where the Federal Government indicated that zonal delegates must be lead by retired Generals. South-East may be the only zone to be led by an uninterested retired General in a predominantly civilian affair.

“The old war horse Senator Uche Chukwumereije is suitable for this leadership position, but for the national assembly’s lackadaisical attitude towards the national conference. Senator Chukwumereije, is a solid gentleman who would under no circumstance stab his people or colleagues at the back. We understand Senators Adolphus Wabara and Senator Ken Nnamani, having held the highest political office currently in the South-East zone can lead the delegation. As a matter of fact any vibrant and experienced politician from the zone should replace General Ike Nwachukwu. We are not short of qualified personalities. We still have people like Admiral Ebite Ukiwe who has fully integrated himself into civilian society and has participated directly or indirectly in matters affecting the region and Nigeria at large. Replacing General Ike Nwachukwu is imperative to get our delegation back to track and have them enjoy the fullest support of our people the represented.

“The constitutional Conference is a rarity; Nigerians have agitated for it for several years. It offers an opportunity to shelve or consign all manners of injustices, inequalities, imposed colonial and military constitutions, to the dust bin and put traditional colonists in check. It will replace the anomalies in our polity and lay the foundations for modern Federal system of Government rooted in democratic principles and Rule of Law.

“General Azubuike Ihejirika, the Darling of the people: This newly retired gentleman should not have been nominated to the National Conference. He needs time to rest, reintegrate himself into civilian society, and understand the needs and aspirations of his people at various levels; Local, State, Regional and Federal governments. His accomplishments speak for themselves. When our win at all cost politicians could not retrieve the arms they gave to their tugs and kidnappers to intimidate their opponents and the public for election purposes, and could not provide them with livelihood, the tugs turned their weapon on our people. General Ihejirika with the blessings of President Jonathan rid our home of the tugs turned kidnappers and made the South-East livable again. General! Take it “Nwayoly” Age is on your side. We shall not forget when your time comes. We also, disagree that the elevation of General Ihejirika ended Igbo marginalization in Nigerian Army but a desirable improvement to our aged long situation.

“The stake holders and the powers that be in the South-East should feel the pulse of the people, read and digest comments from various Igbo organization and individuals and act accordingly.

Remember that “a stitch in time saves nine”. Avoid had we known.

“Nzuko-Igbo USA, calls on South-East Governors Forum, Ohanaeze Ndiigbo, Aka-Ikenga and all stake holders in the South-East to please replace General Ike Nwachukwu as the leader of South-East delegation to the forthcoming National Conference.”

Source News Express

MASSOB THE SYMBOL OF FAKE BIAFRA FREEDOM FIGTERS, launches a new plate number for motorcyclists in Enugu SELLING IT FOR N1,500. DO NOT BUY THIS PLATE IF YOU ARE A TRUE BIAFRAN.


 

massob pLATE

The Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, over the weekend, launched new Biafra motorcycle plate number in Enugu.

MASSOB leader, Chief Raph Uwazurike, who performed the official launching in Nsukka called on Ndigbo to see the new Biafra plate number as their identity and as one of the criteria for the realization of freedom.

Uwazuruike, represented by Chief Larry Odimma, Aba Regional Administrator of MASSOB, enjoined members not to be afraid of purchasing the plate number.

“I am here on the mandate of our leader, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike to launch this plate number, which is aimed at identifying Biafrans and forestalling criminal activities among people who hide under our name to perpetrate evil”, he said.

According to Odimma, the plate number would be sold to people with unquestionable character.

He said, “the national leadership of MASSOB applauds the freedom being enjoyed here in Enugu State unlike what we witness in places like Aba, Ontisha and Umuahia, where our members are constantly harassed by security agents”.

He sued for continuity of peace and harmony in the conduct of MASSOB activities in the state

“We urge you to continue in our vision of non- violence and non-arms carrying as we march towards the take off of Biafra government”, he added.

In his remark, the Regional Administrator of MASSOB in Nsukka, Mr. Kenneth Okwudili said the region expects everyone who shares in the dream of MASSOB to comply and get the plate number

“We expect every true and honest Igbo man with motorcycle to come forward and buy the plate number; this is our identity as Biafrans and we have to embrace it”, he stated.

He further noted that since the creation of Nsukka into a region in 2010, they had managed and sustained the struggle of MASSOB, adding that the launching of the plate number was part of their contribution to the sustenance and struggle for the actualization of the sovereign state of Biafra.
“MASSOB members will continue to partner and support the ideas of the Joshua of our time, Chief Dr. Ralph Uwazuruike in his course of maintaining non violence in actualizing Biafra”, he assured.

DailyPost learnt that the MASSOB plate number costs N1, 500.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Return to develop your land, group tells Ndigbo -says Igbo World Union.


 

Igbo-World-Union

A socio – political group, Igbo World Union, IWU, has called on Igbo people living overseas to return home and develop Igbo land.

In an interview with journalists in Umuahia, President-General of the group, Dr. Mishak Nnanta, said his group is ready to partner with any organisation that shares its major objective of the development and unity of Ndigbo.

“We are appealing to well meaning Igbo sons and daughters to return home and help develop Igbo land. IWU is poised to stop the brain drain among our people. Only Ndigbo can develop Igbo land; not the Hausa, Yoruba or Ijaw people.

Igbos are hardworking people and should use our God-given resources to our advantage. Igbo World Union is about culture, tradition, development and bringing Ndigbo to the realities of the present day Nigeria.

 

“We are a new generation; a new generation in thinking, in strategy, in bringing glory and honour to our country, Nigeria.”

Nnanta disclosed that he will soon embark on a campaign abroad to sensitise Ndigbo on the need to return and invest at home.

“In February 2014, I will be away to Germany, Russia, England, USA and other countries to sensitize Ndigbo to remember their roots. We need more development in Igbo land. What sets us apart from other groups is that the unity of Ndigbo and the development of our land is of utmost concern to us. We are set to build a new Igbo.”

He commended the recent visit of the leaders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to President Goodluck Jonathan, stressing that such visits should be on regular basis and extended to other ethnic groups to build bridges of understanding in the country.

The president-general further dismissed reports in a national daily alleging that leaders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo fought over a gift given to them by President Jonathan.

“Such reports are not true. We have credible people in Ohanaeze Ndigbo like Prof. Anya O. Anya; Chairman of the Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Eberechi Dick; Chairman of South-East Council of Traditional Rulers; Eze Cletus Ilomuanya, among other eminent personalities who are highly respected.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Literally, An Abia Man Lost Two Of His People For Not Thinking Straight, Sold His Child To Bury Father.


child traficking

Kingsley Ubani, 26, from Eziama Nsulu in Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area of Abi, has admitted selling his three-year-old son to raise money to bury his father.
Mr. Ubani said this on Thursday in Umuahia when the Abia State Police Command paraded two child trafficking suspects and 19 pregnant young ladies.
He said that he sold his 44-month-old son in November 2012 at the rate of N260, 000 to a woman who is now at large.
“I told my wife that I don’t have money to bury my father who was in the mortuary at that time and she approved of the transaction,” Mr. Ubani said.
Earlier, the Commissioner of Police in Abia, Usman Tilli, told journalists that the suspect was arrested following a tip-off.
He said that investigations led to the recovery of the child who had been handed over to the grandfather for care and protection.
Mr. Tilli said that the police had on November 11 also arrested another suspect, ChimereSunday of Osisioma Local Government Area of the state for selling his two children.
He said that upon investigation, one of the children was recovered, adding that the buyers were on police wanted list.
Also, Mr. Tilli said that the 19 pregnant teenagers / persons, who were also paraded, were rescued from an illegal charity home at Umuobia Housing Estate, Olokoro in Umuahia North Local Government Area of the state.
“A team of policemen from the command raided the home during which the pregnant girls between the ages of 15 and 23, including a nursing mother, were rescued,” he said.
Mr. Tilli said that the son and daughter-in-law of the operator of the illegal home were arrested while the prime suspect, Nma Achumba, was at large.
He said that Achumba hitherto operated her illegal charity home in Aba, but decided to relocate to the rural area due to police crackdown on traffickers in the commercial city.
“We have given child traffickers a lot of chase in Aba and they now relocated to the rural areas,” he said.
Reacting to the development, Uchechukwu Ohuabunwa, son of the operator of the illegal charity home, said that he had severally advised his mother to stay away from such illegal business.
“I don’t know where my mother is at the moment though she told me that she was going for our father’s burial.
“I had earlier told her to let go of this business but she did not listen,” Mr. Ohuabunwa said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tilli has assured residents of the state of a crime free Yuletide.
He said that his confidence stemmed from the fact that the Command had cracked down and arrested notorious armed robbers and car snatchers who terrorised the area.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Again Abia police rescue 19 pregnant girls from illegal home.


Baby Factory

The Abia State Police Command yesterday paraded 19 pregnant girls in Umuahia, the state capital.

The rescued pregnant teenagers are: Mercy Francis, 18; Valentine Ikediora, 18; Martha Joseph, 19; Tina Inau, 20; Oluomachi Friday,19; Nkechi Eze, 22; Chidinma Andrew, 19; Grace Bassey, 23; Ifunaya Chika,19; Ibe Amarachi, 18; Uduak Thomas,19; Favour Sunday, 21; Caroline Peter, 22; Chikamso Magbo,15; Peace Patrick,16; Mary Linus, 19; Gift Nwankwo, 22; Ogechi Okoro, 22 and Happy Sunday, 18.

The state Commissioner of Police, Usman Tilli Abubakar, told journalists that the teenage mothers were arrested at an illegal charity

home at Umuobia Housing Estate in Olokoro Umuahia, a suburb of the state capital.

The illegal home reportedly belongs to one Mma Achumba.

The pregnant girls were said to have hailed Abia and other neighbouring states. During the raid, a nursing mother with a day-oldbaby was rescued as the son and daughter in-law of the fleeing proprietress were arrested.

Similarly, one Kingsley Ubani from Eziama Nsulu in Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area of the state was arrested for allegedly stealing the male son of one Mrs. Chioma Onu.

Upon investigation, the suspect confessed to have sold the male child to one Mrs. Nma to enable him raise money for the burial of his relation. But the victim child was later recovered and handed over to his grandfather for care and protection.

Also two hoodlums were found with three AK 47 rifles and one military rifle hidden in a bag and buried in the ground. Investigations revealed that the recovered AK 47 rifles were those grabbed from Inspectors Jimmy John and Kingsley Etuk who were shot dead recently along the Aba/ Enugu Expressway by some armed robbers.

However, three men suspected for gun running namely: Nwandi Emmanuel, 39; Ngozi Chiyere, 25, and Ekechi Emmanuel, 39; were arrested. Exhibits recovered from them are one locallymade revolver pistol and components of .8mm pistol concealed in a polythene bag. Some suspected armed robbers and car snatchers were also arrested.

They are Ikenna Chukwu who hails from Aha village in Orlu East Local Government Area of Imo State; Ndubuisi Emmanuel of Nkpa village in Afikpo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State; Moses Chimezie Amuchionu of Isingu Mbutu Osisioma Local Government Area of Abia State and Kelvin Chinedu Goodluck of Umuchi Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area of Abia State.

Items recovered from them are three locally made pistol, Keke Napep, one black Toyota Camry car marked LSD 478 BT, a dark grey Toyota Camry car marked DQ 231 DBU and various master keys and other incriminating items.

The police commissioner, however, said he would arraign the suspects before court as early as possible and promised hoodlums’ hard time this Yuletide season

 Source: Radio Biafra.

Crime: Report Criminals To Security Agents– Gov. Orji Urges Abia Landlords.


IGNATIUS OKPARA, Enugu

Abia state Governor, Theodore Ahamefula Orji has appealed to landlords in the state to always  have detailed information about their tenants, just as he enjoined  them to report people of dubious and questionable character to law enforcement agents.

Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State

Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State

According to the Governor, such measures would go a long way in  reducing crime in the State.

He made the appeal on Friday during an interactive session with landlords in the state at the Michael Okpara Auditorium, Umuahia.

Hear him: “As landlords, you know the character of those living in your houses.

“If there is anybody who has a questionable character and who is suspected to engage in criminal activities, just use your phones and let us know and then leave the rest for us.’’

Orji however, gave out the telephone numbers of Government House Chief Security Officer and Control Room to the landlords to use in case of security threats in their areas.

He also gave out the numbers of the Commissioner of Police and 14 Brigade Commander of the Nigerian Army in Ohafia.

The Governor said the heads of security agencies were ready to receive relevant information on security challenge in the state.

He also promised that his administration would initiate stringent measures to deal with those using his name to defraud unsuspecting people in Umuahia and Aba.

According to him, government was aware of imposition of taxes and levies by unscrupulous elements in the two major cities and promised to deal with the issue squarely.

He described the practice as double taxation, expressing regrets that the money being collected was not getting into government’s coffers.

He therefore, told the landlords to dismantle all projections being used for the display of wares in their buildings.

The state government he said, halted the demolition of the projections by the Umuahia Capital Development Authority in order to give the landlords time to dismantle them by themselves.

Government, he added, frowned at the conversion of residential buildings in Umuahia into shops.

He explained that the relocation of old Umuahia main market to Ubani Ibeku was borne out of his administration’s commitment to give Umuahia the befitting look of a capital city.

Governor Orji told the landlords that government had initiated discussions with land owners to acquire more land for the expansion of Ubani Ibeku market so as to accommodate more traders.

The governor also appealed to owners of private and public buildings in Umuahia to give their houses a facelift so as to enhance the state capital’s aesthetics.

He urged them to re-paint their buildings as many of them had remained unpainted for several years.

“You can paint the outside and leave the inside’’, he said, urging them not to go for the high quality and expensive paints.

Source: African Examiner.

About 16 years of very bad governance, Abia’s problem or cure?.


T.A Orji
By Chijioke Ngobili
One of the foremost Igbo intellectuals and a great historian fiercely told me after asking me a few questions about Abia State:
“Chijioke, something is definitely wrong with ndị Abia State. And whatever that’s wrong with them can be traced historically. I guess a certain curse is following some of their groups, and that’s why you have them comfortably silent in that decrepit condition of their State. We must try to know a people, and when we know that, we can know why they behave like they do and why they have a particular problem”.
I’m not going deeper into the import of that statement, but no doubt, something is definitely wrong with ndị Abia State and of course, things can’t be alright with Abia State when something is most certainly wrong with its people.
It baffles me the most that nobody is talking about it. Or, may I ask; has anybody forbidden anyone to talk about it?
Heck, nobody is talking about the decrepit, most woeful, most shameful, most raped, most debasing, most back-ridden and highly mangled state of Abia State; yet, ndị Abia and other Igbo persons are busy talking about Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi and Enugu politics.
From Ngwa road – Ehi road – Port-Harcourt road – Cameroun road – Milverton – Eziukwu road – Asa road – Ohanku road – to any of the most plied roads, one sees a dead Aba in the peace of a graveyard. From Osisioma park to Main Park to other parks, one sees a dead Aba contaminating its dwellers with huge doses of sicknesses like hepatitis B. If you’re in doubt, go and ask doctors and nurses who managed to be practising there the commonest illness they treat. You can imagine a very deadly illness like hepatitis being common in that failed City! What else could be the cause if not that Aba is the dirtiest of all Nigerian cities as at the moment?! Don’t shake your head like you don’t know; it’s not a new development. We all know it and everyone is aware that the present government there is just numb and dumb. But is that the main matter? Wait, I’m coming back to that!
Now, take it beyond Aba. In Umuahia, the State Capital, there seems to be virtually nothing going on there. Umuahia, a former seat of the Biafran government, has always been known as a small peaceful city with its signatorial cleanliness, but that was in the past. Everyone is equally aware that there’s virtually nothing people-oriented the government can be said to have done there. Is that the main matter? Wait, I’m coming back to that!
Take it to other places beyond Umuahia and Aba. Ngwa – one of the most powerful forces to reckon with in that State and whose land mass seems to be bigger than others – has nothing but only a sign of the government’s most woeful non-performance there. Igbere town seems to be visibly alienated from the woe, probably because it’s the dear town of the former governor Orji Uzo Kalu who stopped at nothing to make his kinsmen proud of him.
In Abiriba areas – where you have a greater population of very wealthy individuals – there seems to be efforts by their people to better their environment and its people. And Abiriba people are always interested in going home and participating actively in the age-grade activities and other traditions more than others. They’re great people and a force to reckon with in Igboland. No doubt!
And then from Arochukwu (one of the oldest Igbo town) to Bende to Ohafia (one of the greatest Igbo warriors) and other towns and communities, the only thing one’s eyes can be served with is the full and happy presence of Abia State government’s most woeful non-performance. Is that the main matter? Wait, I’m coming back to that!
In all these, one is forced to ask if Abia State receives any allocation from the Federal Allocation aside the largely innumerable levies business men and women there are over-taxed and over-tasked to pay. Yes, the State does. And besides, it’s one of the Niger-Delta States in Nigeria that have extra money accruing to it because of oil deposits in it. Again, one who doesn’t know may ask; is there a governor there?
Yes, there is a diminutive man from Umuahia who has been governing Abia State for 6 years now and still has 2 more years to govern it, making it 8 years in all. His name is Theodore Ahamefule Orji. What does he do and how has he been doing? Posing in his superimposing billboards throughout the State – on the refuse vehicles, on the roads and on poorly-built few structures – answering and calling himself “Ochendo” while smiling to the hungry-onlookers with a red cap on his annoying head. But is that the main matter? No, it is not!
The MAIN MATTER is that ndị Abia State have lived as if there’s nothing wrong with their State, yet they complain in their quarters and in their business places. And when you ask them why a great people like them allowed one man to make a mess of them, they will serve you these lazy clichés: “There’s no opposition. Onye kwanụ ga-ekwu?” “T. A Orji is from Umuahia, and nobody from Umuahia will ever smell that governorship seat again”. “It’s just remaining 2 more years and T. A Orji will go, and we will elect some other person who will surely be better”. “We’ve made that mistake and we’ll never make it again. Even Orji Uzo kalu regretted his benevolence to T. A Orji”.
Gosh! I can’t believe those lazy, dumb and cowing reasons are coming from such a conglomerate of strong men and women.
Heck! Have we quickly forgotten that one of the greatest resistances to colonial masters was done by Aba women as far back as 1929? Has anyone forgotten how fierce and fearful the Ohafia warriors have been known to be in Igbo history till this day? Has anyone forgotten that Arochukwu is one of the oldest Igbo – if not the oldest – where it took the Whitemen a great deal to destroy our greatest Igbo Deity there? Has anyone forgotten the many scary stories about Ngwa people and even their courageous ‘ọnyili ọnwụ’ way of life? Has anyone forgotten the economic strength of Abiriba and Igbere people – ndị nwelụ mmadu very well? All the mentioned areas are parts and parcel of Abia State, and I can go on and on to mention.
Abia State has a lot of educated people in large numbers. In UNN, a greater population of ndị Abia are professors and PhD holders as well as in other universities. When I think of all these, my mind is boggled and troubled as to why a people with such great strides and antecedents would be taken for a ride – more than a ride – by one man. Is it that they are apolitical? Perish the thought! All the kalus, Nwachukwus, Okparas, etc (no particular name in mind) have been discussing Anambra, Imo, Enugu and Ebonyi politics, but pay no attention to their own Abia State politics. And you tell me that something is not wrong? Hell, no!
No, no, no! I believe the Igbo Intellectual. Something has really and definitely gone wrong with ndị Abia State. All hands must be on deck.
Ndi-Igbo, I ask; BIKONU, WHAT IS WRONG WITH NDI ABIA STATE? IS IT REALLY HISTORICAL AS SAID BY THE INTELLECTUAL?.
Source: Radio Biafra.

Abia State: Theodore Orji’s Government of Deceit And Falsehood.


Gov. T A Orji
By Don Norman Obinna

The enthusiasms and expectations that greeted the election of Chief T.A Orji as the Executive Governor of Abia state seems to have gradually dissipated.  There is a growing disenchantment with the government from every nook and cranny of the state by the people who voted en masse for the Governor they once saw as the man who will lead the state to Eldorado.

Tales of sorrow and gnashing of teeth permeates the entire state as citizens’ recounts their ordeals. Abound are allegations of excessive levies and taxes, deception and despotism against the Governor, ranging from forceful destruction of properties, goods and markets without compensation; false claims of nonexistent employment and projects; forceful acquisition and conversion of people’s properties to personal usage to dereliction of statutory responsibilities. These put to question the underline philosophy of Governor T.A Orji’s socio-political and economic policies; whether they are people’s friendly, solution oriented or not.

Regardless of huge Federal Allocation estimated at #54 billion naira annually; Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of about #48 billion naira annually and #64 billion collected from the Federal account between January and December 2012, by Abia state government; which is exclusive of other allocations such as Derivation (for oil producing states), Excess Crude Account, Domestic Crude Account, Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (SURE-P), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) refund and Foreign exchange differentials. The dividend of good governance is comprehensively abysmal in the state.

Furthermore, a recent communiqué issued by the Technical Sub-committee of the Federal Account Allocation (FAAC) for the month of March, 2013 shows that Abia state shared among other states a total of #117,942 billion (26.72%) as against #106,442 billion received for the month of February. With its Local Governments among the Local Governments which shared #90,928 billion (20.60%) against #82,062 billion received for the month of February. Despite all these funds received, there is still a conspicuous absence of infrastructural development; complete collapse of roads in all the 17 local government areas of the state; heaps of refuse and decomposing corpses especially in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of the state; dilapidated school buildings and painted uncompleted projects refers to as legacy projects by the Governor and his aides.

Commenting on the “Legacy Projects”, a principal of a popular Secondary School in Umuahia, Abia state capital who prefers anonymity, said those buildings refers to as legacy projects have been in abeyance since T.A Orji’s administration. According to him, they are mostly uncompleted buildings and some existence old buildings, such as old secretariat building, School Road model primary school building, Dialysis and Ophthalmology Centre, Umuahia (former Aloma hospital) and General hospital Amachara hurriedly painted to deceive the Good Governance Team led by the Honourable Minister for Information, Labaran Maku. He revealed that in other to paint those so called legacy projects, workers in Abia state were owed six months salaries. Because the governor had nothing conspicuous then to show for his six years administration; Painting those uncompleted projects he noted, was the only option left as workers were made to suffer for his ineptitude.

His words, “while at the auditorium with the Good Governance Team, Chief T.A Orji said unabashed, I do not owe anybody. Is there anybody I owe?, by then they owed teachers six months salaries, Teaching hospital staff six months as well, I am sure they still owe them close to four months salaries as we speak. To our dismay, the Governor continued, the only local governments I owe are those ones that have refused to bring back their returns. Their money is there waiting for them, when they remit to the state government account they will receive their cheque”
He also lamented what he referred to as the mother of all deceptions during the time of questions and answers by the moderator who he accused of being bias. According to him, passive members of the public were tactically schemed out of participation. Rather some obnoxious paid praise singers who were strategically positioned in the auditorium were selected. “Instead of questions, what we saw to our bewilderment were eulogies and commendations for the Governor. Your Excellency sir, we want to know if it is your money you are using to do all these wonders. You have done excellently well; we have not seen this type of Governor before. A lot have been done in the rural communities. We appreciate you, thank you sir. Can you imagine such ignorance? There is absolutely nothing to show for his six years administration in the urban areas and some people were repulsively talking about development in the rural communities” he concluded disappointingly.

He blamed the deceit on the Good Governance team, for their lack of efforts to ascertaining the actual level of development at least by visiting some of the rural communities. He maintained that the state is at the verge of collapsing if nothing is done urgently. He wondered why a Governor who should be an epitome of integrity would resort to deception and cheap lies. According to him, that was not the first time the Governor would display such deceptive trait. He recalled how Governor T.A Orji publicly lied to the Governor of Sokoto state, Aliyu Wamakko during his visit to Abia state before the very eyes of the media.

His words, “Chief T.A Orji took Governor Wamakko of Sokoto state to Bende road just in front of Abia tower off Aba road and publicly told him that his administration has transformed the major road from single carriage to dual carriage road up to Arochukwu whereas, the dual carriage stopped at Isieke Ibeku primary school less than 10 kilometers from the tower. The most worrisome aspect of it all is that it was done before the very eyes of journalists who incidentally are also residents here. They know the truth but choose to report lies to the public who they ought to be their trustees. They keep snapping and placing Secretariat road on the pages of newspapers as if it’s the only road we have in Abia state. Try to visit our public schools, you will feel sorry for the teachers and students” he said regrettably.

To authenticate the verity of these claims, our correspondent drove through the road and found out that the dual carriage actually stopped at Isieke Ibeku primary school and not to Arochukwu as the Governor allegedly claimed. In fact majority of motorists and tricycle riders, who ply the road often, told our correspondent that the road from that point to Bende and other nearby villages is very deplorable and constitutes a death trap to users. A visit to several public secondary and primary schools within the 17 local government areas of the state also shows that the Education sector in Abia state is obviously in comatose contrary to the Governor’s speech on democracy day.

Almost all the school buildings in the state are virtually dilapidated with leaky roofs, broken furniture, doors and windows; some completely abandoned, with heaps of refuse, human excreta and over grown grasses a common sight. There is a complete absence of modern communication technology such as, computers which is today institutionalized by the educational system. No modern black boards and clean toilets, no functional science laboratory, library, sports development equipment and technical workshop for the technical colleges. A situation some teachers in the state described as pitiable.

A teacher in Holy Ghost Technical College Umuahia (one of the schools, Abia state government recently handed over to the churches) who asked the School Senior Prefect to take our correspondent round the school premises decried the state of education in Abia state and wondered why the state government has decided to toy with the future of the state.  Her words, “you can see for yourself the state of the school government said they returned to the original owners. If you had come here some few months back you will feel sorry for this state. Our principal, the Reverend Father has done much in terms of renovation still, it seem as if nothing has been done. How can a responsible government say they have handed over a school with all these dilapidated buildings to a church without a takeoff grant”? She asked angrily. According to her, the only responsibility the state government reluctantly accepted is the payment of teachers’ salaries for a period of time, while the churches take the responsibility of the day-to-day running the schools.

She also lamented the disdainful manner teachers in the state are being treated by the state government. She insisted that teachers in the state are not motivated at all; accusing the state government of making life unbearable for them by their constant renege from promises. She cited the delay by the state government to implementing the 27 per cent teacher’s salary scale and pro rata recently introduced by the state government to buttress her point. Her words, “the Governor promised to implement the teacher’s salary scale in 2010 and nothing was done until we were forced to embark on an industrial action. Truce was later brokered when he promised to implement it on September, 2011 and the strike was called off. But once again he reneged and moved it to 2012 with a promise that the arrears will be paid together. It was the threat of industrial action by Nigerian Labour Congress and Nigerian Union of Teachers that forced him to pay March and April 2013 salaries in line with the TSS which is even a stipend. For the past four years now, leave allowances, which is the 10 per cent of our annual salaries have not been given to us. Yet the Governor introduced pro rata to ensure that what is given to teachers is tactically taken back. We are in July, yet May salaries have not been paid and somebody is talking about pro rata”. She said frustratingly.

The story was the same when our correspondent visited Government College Umuahia, one of the secondary schools Governor T.A Orji claimed to have rebuilt and renovated alongside other schools such as, the former Annunciation Secondary School, Isuikwuato, Umuochaiam Girls High School Abayi, Aba, Ndume Otuka Secondary School, Umuahia and many others he failed to mention their names; to improve the environment for learning. The roof of the official resident of the principal two of the school is broken. The entire school buildings, from Wareham, Erekosima, school dormitory, staff room to the student’s dining hall are all dilapidated; with smell of human excreta oozing out from some of the abandoned classrooms obviously because of insufficient toilets. It was indeed a gory site. Except the 24 block classroom still under construction, there is apparently no rebuilding or renovation works ongoing. When approached by our correspondent who disguised as an old student of the school, the site engineer said when the new classroom block is completed; it will serve the entire school. He however decline to make further comments when our correspondent  questioned him on the possibility of the new 24 block classroom serving the entire school considering the large number of students the school has; with average number of students approximately 70 in each class that stretched from class A- J from JSS 1 to SSS 3.
A teacher, who craved anonymity, told our correspondent that such is the condition of almost every school the Governor claimed in his speech have been rebuilt and renovated. According to her, few classes they are managing at the moment were reroofed by the Old Boys Association of the School. She alleged that teachers’ salaries are not paid promptly; citing the case of teachers from Ugwunagbo LGA who she said are owed eight months arrears of salaries as an example of inhuman treatment teachers in Abia state are subjected to. Her words, “this government does not listen to voice of reasoning. What is the rationale behind constructing a 24 block classroom which can hardly accommodate 1/10th of our school population with such colossal amount of money we heard? The best option would have been for the government to renovate the old school buildings. What they have done is penny wise pound foolish, because there is no justification for this administrative blunder. Probably Ochendo wants his portrait in Government College as well”. She said jokingly.

A visit to the old secretariat Umuahia which shelters almost the entire ministries in Abia state by our correspondent lend further credence to the allegation of deceit against the Governor by Abia citizens. Contrary to the picture of the old secretariat published in some sections of the media and social media and the Governor’s speech on democracy day in which he said publicly that the old secretariat built by the Federal Government which was in dilapidated condition has been rebuilt and renovated. Our correspondent saw a dilapidated building, with dirty toilets, broken leaky roofs and office furniture, doors and windows with only the outside wall painted.

A Permanent Secretary in one of the Ministries who took our correspondent round the building and offices to take pictures described the secretariat as a white sepulcher. According to him, the outside was hurriedly painted because of the scheduled visit of the Good Governance Team to Abia state then. His words, “thank God you have taken the pictures, just take a look at the furniture, no toilets for a building that habours thousands of workers. People go inside the bush to ease themselves whenever they are pressed. Leakages everywhere, if eventually it rains now, you will run away from these premises to avoid being drenched. Look at the walls, the windows and doors, no sufficient office accommodation, people sits outside. Snap them and let the world see the true state of things here in Abia state. Nothing is happening in Abia state, government officials are not given money to run their offices, Commissioner and Permanent Secretaries sometimes use their money to run their respective ministries”.

He described the legacy projects as a hoax, and wondered why the Governor would say the old secretariat has been rebuilt and renovated, whereas nothing of such ever happened. According to the Perm Sec, “the only achievements Chief T.A Orji can show for his two terms in office as the Executive Governor of Abia state are the ASEPA building, State High Court building, International Conference Centre and the twin new Secretariat  all which are still under construction, except ASEPA building. The rest were in existence before his administration. The Abia Diagnostic centre was former Aloma hospital. The Dialysis Machine he is making noise all over is still not in sight, because the building is still under construction. Should we be celebrating such mediocrity after six years”? He asked rhetorically.

He however busted into laughter when reminded that the present administration not only established a skill acquisition centre but also a youth empowerment programme as well as, placed 4,500 Abia youths on welfare salary. According to him, “the Skill Acquisition Centre does not exist anywhere except on the pages of newspapers. During the Good Governance Team visit, people were mobilized, uniforms given to them and they were presented to the team as students of the institution. They were paid between six thousand to seven thousand naira for about six months or thereabout and were later laid off. They gave some, generating set, some hair drier and some sewing machine. Is that what you call empowerment? What do you expect an indigent person to do with a generating set”? He asked, shaking his head in disbelieve.

On the issue of 4,500 youths the Governor claimed are on welfare salary in his speech on democracy day. The Perm Sec said it is all part of self aggrandizement and gimmickry to deceive uneducated people because they feel people will not ask questions about the verisimilitude of the claims.  His words, “who are these invincible youths we cannot identify? How much are they being paid as welfare salary? The Governor should publish their names and data for all to see. Over 2000 youths who paid between #500 and #1000 according to their educational qualifications for Civil service forms, in anticipation of job offer promised by the Governor are still not employed. I can authoritatively tell you that no stipend in form of grant or welfare is given to any of them officially or unofficially. Is that not executive fraud? He queried.

He also alleged that the relief materials meant for the supposedly flood victims in Abia state were hoarded and later shared to the First Lady’s prayer group which assembles every Wednesdays at the Government House Umuahia. “Such is the level of impunity here in Abia state because we have a Governor who does things with careless abandon”. He lamented.

He described Chief T.A Orji as a despotic leader who runs a government of arbitrariness and caprices, citing his refusal to conduct Local Government election as one example of his autocratic dispositions. According to him, not having legally elected Local Government Chairmen in the 17 local government councils of the state is the cause of the gross underdevelopment that has bedeviled Abia state. “How can a Governor who came to power through electoral processes refused blatantly to conduct LGA election on flimsy excuses? Is that not undemocratic?

His words, “chairmen are appointed on interim to run the affairs of the local governments and are laid off between three to six months after appointment. Such retrogressive arrangement is alien to democracy and will never accelerate development as we have witnessed in Abia state. There will be no commitment from the interim chairmen because of lack of motivation. They are being subjected to so many illegalities, but they would not want to confide in you because they are still serving under this government”.

When prodded further to explain the kind of illegality these interim chairmen are subjected to, the Perm Sec alleged that they are force to sign vouchers for money they never collected or in most cases given a fraction of the actual amount they signed. His words, “such is the level of corruption here in Abia state; a state that is yet to find its bearing. One of my friend who served as an interim chairman was full of regrets. He wept while narrating his ordeal to me while in office”.

He described Abia state as a dead state because of dearth of opposition. According to him, “some of the oppositions compromised while those who stood their ground are constantly harassed with the state security apparatus.” They are afraid to talk because they know that the Governor is ready for any showdown.  We are not fighting any war in Abia state yet security personnel are almost in every corner of the state”. He said frustratingly.
Contrary  to the claim by Chief,  T.A Orji that his administration has  concentrated enough attention in relocating and building new markets to satisfy the commercial yearning of Abia citizens as well as a successful completion and  relocation of the Umuahia Timber Market to a more expansive and convenient location. Investigation revealed that larger number of timber dealers have since relocated to Onu Imo in Imo state, while plans are on the horizon for their colleagues at Ahiaeke to join them.

We reliably gathered that their refusal to accept the Private Partnership offer by Abia state government was simply based on the terms and conditions given to them under the PPP arrangement. This they said led to their forceful ejection by the state government. Goods worth millions of naira were destroyed and lives lost as bulldozers crushed every lockup stores in sight with the help of security officers irrespective of the fact that the case was still in court then.  They alleged that their Executive members were coaxed, harassed and threatened with thugs from court premises even to their bedrooms

When our correspondent visited the new Timber market at Ahiaeke Ibeku, the dealers who obviously are planning to reunite with their colleagues at Onu Imo were cautious in making comments but directed him to Onu Imo in Imo State to see things himself. On getting to Onu Imo popularly known as the RESCUE MARKET, our correspondent was greeted with a conspicuous bill board with the portraits of Imo state Governor, Rochas Okorocha, the speaker, Imo House of Assembly, Hon, Ben Uwajimogu and the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, DR. Best Mbanaso with the inscription, “WELCOME THE PEOPLE’S GOVERNOR. WE APPRECIATE! IMO IS BETTER INDEED” courtesy Timber and Allied Products Market, Umungwa Obowo, Imo State, apparently to taunt the Abia state Governor

Opposite the Timber market are lockup shops under construction. Our correspondent was told that the shops are being constructed by the traders presently at the main market, Umuahia Abia State, who Chief T.A Orji is also planning to displace and relocate to Ubani. The pace at which construction works are ongoing indicate the traders resolution not to comply with the Abia state government directives; should they carry on with the plan of relocating the main market to Ubani.

However, the Executive Members of the Timber dealers who were about to converge for an EXCO meeting, narrated their ordeals in the hands of Abia State Government and their machineries; before Imo State Governor, Owelle, Rochas Okorocha came to their rescue. According to the Chairman of the Timber dealers, they ran to Onu Imo because Abia State Government rendered them useless.

His words, “timber market has been in existence in Afara Ibeku since 1974. The land was given to us by the then government and we built it with our money according to the prototype given to us. We have members who started this business then, who are now old and dependent upon the annual or monthly income they generate from their shops rent age for survival. Trouble started when Abia State government told us to relocate to Ahiaeke Ndume Ibeku. There was never a time we objected to the idea of relocation but the terms and conditions attached to the relocation.  We were asked to build the shops and on completion, the total number of shops built will be divided equally between us and government. In other words, if we build 3000 shops, government will take 1500 shops out of it. And we asked them what will be the fate of our members who cannot afford to build even a shop. They told us that government will give them shops from the ones collected from us at the rate of #1.6million”. Can you imagine such insensitivity? How possible is it for someone who cannot afford to build a shop pays such exorbitant amount to buy? He asked angrily.

The chairman explained that the former Timber market at Afara Ibeku, Umuahia was theirs because they paid allocation fee to the then government as well as, developed and built the shops with their personal money. He said that, ‘a balance arrangement would have been for government to allot them land that is the size of their former place with allocation fee and allow them to build according to the prototype, since they have not defaulted in revenue payments’.

His words, “we had about 3000 shops in Afara Ibeku. We pay #2,000 each to Abia government for business premises revenue, #2,000 for infrastructure, #1,800 to Local Government and #500 on each truck that load. Over 500 trucks load daily and the funds go to the government. When you check that, you will see how much it amounts annually”. He maintained the reason the Abia state government treated them like criminals, is because majority of them are from Anambra.

He however, thanked the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha for coming to their rescue. According to him, the Imo State Government paid compensations to the owners of the land unlike Abia state government who will destroy and collect people’s properties by force without compensation. His words, “Abia state government said the reason we were chased out is because they want to build Housing Estate there. But up till now nothing is going on. Probably the Governor want the land for his personal use, because when he got there, we were told he shouted in Ibeku dialect waeee! Ala di ofe ooo! Meaning Ha! There is land here. So what does that signifies? Questions about the ownership of the said Ohobo Housing Estate must be asked after the completion, because it is not just enough to assume that it is a state government initiative”.

He however, said the Rescue Market was given to them for #50,000 by the Imo state government unlike the Abia state government who asked them to pay #855,000.00 for open shops and #1.6milion for lockup shops without guarantee. His words, “The Abia state government told us to bear it in mind that the relocation to Ahiaeke is a temporary one, because government can come at anytime without notice to reclaim it for development purposes. But the Imo state government gave us the C of O of this land to indicate that it is ours. And if the need for relocation arises in the future due to development; we were assured of a proper and safe relocation to the new site by the Imo state government”. He thereafter, relish the progress they have made so far, saying that they have close to 4,900 shops at the moment but are fast expanding to having 9,000 shops before first quarter of 2014.

Experts however, estimate the economic implication of losing timber market to Imo state to approximately 1.5 billion naira annually, warning that the figure would increase if Abia state government does not rescind their plan relocation of Umuahia main market to Ubani village. To them the welfare of the citizens should be the paramount thing to any responsible and responsive government. They therefore advised the Abia state Governor, Chief T.A Orji to always put people’s susceptibilities into consideration before taken any action. According to them, 85 per cent of Abians are self employed and should be supported by the government instead of making lives unbearable for them. And in a state where there are no industries except trading and menial jobs like Abia state; government should be supportive of the citizens instead of subjecting them to unnecessary suffering.

A senior staff of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Abia state who prefers anonymity decried the level of intimidation and suffering in the state. These he attributed to the Governor’s highhandedness and insatiable appetite for material possessions. “This is a man who claims he is working with lean resources but has close to 100 buildings in this state. Go to Aguiyi Ironsi Layout he has virtually bought every property there. He will either force the owners out or coax them to sell their properties to him. He bought Empire Hotels from Chief Empire Kalu and rechristened it Benac Hotels. Go to his estate at Ochendo close, off Azikiwe, he has acquired almost all the properties there from the owners forcefully.  His personal house in the estate has been going through construction and reconstruction since 2007.  Because whenever the Governor traveled out and sees current design, he will come back and pull down parts of the building to accommodate the new design. Unfortunately Chief T.A Orji and his personal investments are immune to the lean resources which has grossly affected development and socio-economic activities in Abia state”.

He also, dismissed the Youth Empowerment programme that witnessed the distribution of buses, cars and tricycles at inflated prices to supposedly Abia youths along with a musical concert as a show of shame. He wondered why a Governor will celebrate such anachronism with such elaborate media publicity and fanfare in a contemporary society that placed a premium on education and exposure of the youths to modern communication technologies.

His words, “the Governor acted impulsively as a result of pressure and shame of nonperformance. There was an urgent need for quick fix because people were obviously becoming frustrated and disillusioned. So the distribution of the vehicles under the guise of youth empowerment then was the only handy option; but was blown out of proportion because of his love for media hypes and praises. The beneficiaries of these buses, cars and tricycles are mostly political thugs and sycophants who are not less than 45 to 60 years old, while the real youths are the drivers, conductors and the riders. Others who cannot condescend; mostly the graduates are roaming the streets as derelicts. Many are mentally ruined as a result of heavy indulgence in hard drugs. Go to former Mgbuka, there is a building where this illicit drug business is going on. You will see the alarming rate thousands of Abia youths are smoking and sniffing their lives and future away. Government cannot claim ignorant of the existence of this building and the illegal activities going on there. It is very sad that we are haplessly watching Abia state collapse right under our watchful eyes”. He said painfully.

He however, bemoaned the exorbitant rates these buses, cars and tricycles were given to the beneficiaries; insisting that it look as if government is treading with the future of the beneficiaries. “The Toyota Hiace buses were given out at the rate of #7million, while the Sienna Space Wagons were given at the rate of #2.8million. The Passat Saloon cars and the tricycles were given at the rate of #1.8million and #650.000.00 respectively. Except the Toyota Hiace buses, the other cars are tokunbo (fairly used). What is the life span of these vehicles? If the beneficiaries manage to pay at the end; would the vehicles thereafter, be able to sustain them”? He queried. He therefore advised the Governor to look for something more solution oriented, like revamping Golden Guinea breweries and Ceramics which will not only provide reasonable employment to aspiring and enterprising Abia youths but will also revive Abia economy to a large extent.

Narrating his ordeal, one of the spare parts dealers whose goods and shop were affected, because of the forceful destruction of Mgbuka spare parts market told our correspondent that he would have since relocated to the village if not for his wife who has been sustaining the family. According to him, “we were given a short notice to relocate to Ohia village and before we could even state our case; government bulldozers have started destroying every buildings and shops on sight. Nine upstairs which are not part of Mgbuka, with C of Os belonging to individuals were pulled down forcefully without notice or compensation. One of the owners of the buildings known by the name” Rejoice in the Lord” is left frustrated. Everyday people die of heart attack. The booming businesses in Abia state are Keke (tricycle) riding and bus driving; people have suddenly grown older than their ages. Some have turn to tigers, while some to drug addicts and drunkards. Please you people should ensure that President Jonathan hears these”. He passionately pleaded with our correspondent.
T

he story was even worst when our team of correspondents visited Aba the commercial nerve centre of the state. Contrary to Governor T.A Orji’s claim in his speech on democracy day, that In the past two years, his administration has forcefully tackled some of the State’s lingering and abandoned infrastructural facilities, especially in Aba where the major road that link the city have been executed, while others are on-going. There was no sign of road construction or rehabilitation going on; rather heaps of refuse, flood and decomposing corpses littered the entire city. Virtually all the schools from Primary to Secondary school buildings are at the verge of collapsing, while majority have already collapsed. National High School, Eziama High School, Wilcox Memorial Comprehensive School, All Saints Secondary School, just to mention but few are just shadows of their old selves. Except the access road to Aba Township which was poorly executed and inferiorly constructed; every other road in the city is deplorable and flooded. The situation forced our correspondents to abandon their car and boarded Keke (tricycle) for the reportorial assignment.

Ikot Ekpene road is completely abandoned, both Omuma road, School road, Clifford road, Eziukwu road, have been taken completely by flood, Kaduna road to Cemetery is permanently closed.  Saint Michael’s road, close to CPS Headquarters, Osusu road, Urata road, Obohia road, Force road, Nkwo Ngwa market road and Port Harcourt road are no go areas, while Asa road by Pound road and Ngwa road by Ohanku road, just to mention but few are completely covered by heaps of refuse almost as high as a story building. In fact decomposing corpses littered the city nickname Enyimba City.

The odour emanating from the heaps of the refuse constitutes a serious health hazards to the residents and traders, who surprisingly ignored it for their business transactions apparently because they are use to it. Most traders and Keke riders who spoke to our correspondent are actually aware of the danger trading in such dirty environment poses to their health but maintained that their daily bread must take precedent over every other thing.

A trader who identified himself simply as Ekene, described T.A Orji as the worst Governor to have governed Abia state. He wondered what the state government has been doing with the revenue being generated from the five main markets they have in Aba. His words, “excluding these streets trading, we have five main markets here in Aba. Namely: Ariaria, Aba shopping centre, Cemetery, Ala Oji spare parts and new market where we are now.  Look at the level of negligence and how people are suffering under sun and rain to survive. What the Local Government is good at is to collect revenue and overlook the refuse.  Undermining the horrible state of Aba, Abia State Environmental Protection Agency, (ASEPA) will go from house to house, street to street arresting and extorting money ranging from #10,000 to #15,000 from people for minor environmental offences whereas, government is the worst culprit”.

He narrated how the Governor, Chief T.A Orji was pelted with sachets of pure water the last time he visited Aba, insisting that they are ready to do it over and over again as that is the only practical way people can collectively vent their anger and frustration on the Governor; since staging a peaceful protest in the state now is completely unthinkable. When asked why people are afraid to exercise their democratic and civil rights, he said that the pioneers of the protest will either be killed or kidnapped the next day. The occasional cases of kidnapping and killing of some residents of the state by unknown persons, our correspondent gathered might not be unconnected with their resistance and refusal to be coaxed into doing the Governor’s biddings.

Another trader, Ikenna by name, accused the state Governor of insensitivity. According to him, Abia state government is only interested in revenue generation, while they neglect their core responsibility of providing healthy environment among other social amenities to the people.  His words, “there is no kind of revenue, rate, emblem and ticket we are not forced to purchase in Abia state, yet nobody knows what the state government is using the money for. No viable projects on ground, we only heard about the Governor’s achievements on Broadcasting Corporation of Abia (BCA) whereas in actuality, those things propagated are nonexistent”.

In his view, Abia and Anambra states are the only states that can boast of a commercial city among the other South East states, yet Abia is the list developed, despite the fact that their Federal allocation is higher than some states like Enugu state. Enugu state he maintained cannot be compared to Abia state in terms of infrastructural development yet you cannot hear the Governor praise himself or make noise unnecessarily about his achievements unlike T.A Orji whose noise is far greater than his so called achievements you can hardly see. “People are the ones singing Governor Chime’s praise because his achievements are too obvious. The transformation of Enugu state is so tremendous; even a blind man can feel it”. He insisted.

He however warned the Abia state government to rescind its plan to introduce #3500.00 taxes for individual shop owners in Abia state; as such action will lead to chaos and total breakdown of law and order.  His words, “after paying all manner of taxes and levies, Abia government has concluded plans to introduce another #3500.00 individual shop owners tax. We heard from a reliable source that the proposed tax will take effect from July. You can imagine a government that has done nothing to ameliorate our suffering imposing tax upon taxes on us; the most annoying part is that you cannot even see the effect of all these revenue in Abia state. We are waiting for them; it will be tenaciously resisted by the people”. He assured.

Tricycle riders and motorists are also not left out of the complaints about the state of affairs in Abia state and the excessive taxes they pay to government in form of tickets and emblems. They blamed the constant damages to their buses, cars and tricycles and the huge amounts they spend on maintenance and repairs on the state government for failing to repair the roads. The tricycle rider who took our correspondents round Aba lamented the excessive payments motorists pay to government daily.

His words, “we buy two types of daily tickets, one for #200.00 and the other for #20.00. We also buy five annual emblems namely: ASEPA, LG, Ministry of Transport, ASATOA and ASPEN for #500.00 each.  That amounts to #220.00 daily and #2500.00 annually for each keke. The same applies to the buses and taxis, but theirs is a little bit higher compare to ours. We have about 100,000 kekes or thereabout as well as, uncountable number of buses and taxis in Abia state. When you calculate what it amounts, you will agree that government has not been fair to the masses. Except few civil servants, majority of Abians are self employed; I wonder why things have turn out this way”. He said confusingly.

When calculated, based on the information given to us by the Keke riders, the total amount of revenue Abia state government generates on tricycles (Keke) alone, amounts to #22million daily, #660million monthly and #8.17billion annually. This amount is exclusive of revenue generates annually from commercial buses and cars in Abia state, main markets, lockup shops and recently introduced #3500.00 individual shop owner’s tax and revenue generating method known as Consolidation Assets and Resources Inventory System (CARIS). The system which entails the enumeration of all buildings in the communities in the whole of the 17 Local Government Areas of the state and the identification of purpose for which each property is used, commercial or residential as well as indicate the type of business being done in each of them to enable the state Board of Internal Revenue easily assess the taxes due to them.

According to former Golden Guinea breweries Senior Manager, who is now a pensioner,” with such funds available for the state government, the complaint of working with lean resources by the Governor is unfounded. How  much funds were available for the late Chief Sam Mbakwe, the former Governor of the then old Imo state who constructed the roads and built the projects that have lasted for 34 years, which Chief T.A Orji and his predecessors have abandoned to their alter disgrace”?. He fumed.  He noted that Abia state has not been lucky with governance, but maintained that the administration of Chief T.A Orji, popularly refers to as Ochendu is the worst ever in terms of development, transparency and accountability

His words, “what is governance without transparency and accountability? We are yet to be told how the 2012 budget of #129.96billion which the Governor christened “Budget of Transformation” and claimed would stimulate economic growth and development of the state was implemented. He has submitted a whopping #134.14billion budget for 2013. Budgets are submitted and read each year without plans for proper implementation and you dare not ask questions. The indigenes don’t even know how they are being governed. Recently, we were told that Abia state through an act of parliament instituted the Abia State Oil Producing Areas Commission (ASOPDEC), to tackle the issues of development by deploying at least 30 per cent of the 13 per cent derivation fund accruable to it for development projects in the host communities. That was the last we heard, when you visit these oil producing communities you will wonder if 30 per cent from the derivation actually gets to them”.

He however, berated the Abia House of Assembly for fraternizing with the Executive arm of the government which they are instituted to check in order to ensure prudent spending. His words, “the House of Assembly members have shamelessly abandoned their job of legislation in favour of praise singing. Instead of their legislative duties, they have become spokespersons and regular guests of Broadcasting Corporation of Abia (BCA) disseminating propaganda and falsehood to our sheer trepidation”.
He therefore implore Chief T.A Orji to channel these funds being wasted daily on media hypes to providing democratic dividends to the people of Abia state who voted for him en masse and pay little or no attention to these insatiable sycophants and political subversives with egoistic disposition in the House of Assembly and around him, who keep telling him that the people are happy.

According to him, “the truth is that Chief T.A Orji is very susceptible to gossip and media hypes. His aides are aware of these self destructive flaws and are using it to his disadvantage. They keep telling him that all is well whereas the people are disenchanted, and are already complaining. There is consensus of opinions especially among the commoners that Chief T.A Orji has completely reneged on his electoral promises. He should not be deceived, the office he presently occupies and not his personality is the reason these sycophants are all over him. He should not wait till 2015 to realize these verities of life.” He sincerely advised.

Speaking in the same vein, a trade unionist, Comrade Darlington Chukwu corroborated the views of others, insisting that Chief T.A Orji is the worst Governor Abia state ever had. His words, “even the military administrators performed better than Ochendo, because I can still recall that it was during Amadi Ikwueche regime that Ndiogoro Flood was drained and the owners of the land were able to reclaim their lands and rebuild their houses. But in this present administration nothing is happening in the whole of Abia state, except beer parlours, motels and petty trading. People do all kind of silly things in Abia state just to see that they feed. Even married women have joined the single ladies in immorality just because of hardship the entire citizens are subjected to”. He said painfully.

He also bemoaned the exodus of viable companies and industries from Aba; insisting that their departure is as a result of the deplorable state of Aba. His words, “those days in Aba we use to have billionaire business owners and companies competing among themselves. Companies like Onwuka Inter biz (a metal nail company), Onwuka Inter Land LTD. (manufacturers of soft drink), Cristo Park Hotels (one of the best in the eastern region then), Bodex (a telephone company), Enitona Hotels, Star paper mills ETC. they have all left Aba. People like, Chief SAB Ejimofor and Chief John Anyaehe, just to mention but few have all left Aba.  Those days, Ekenna and Margret Avenue were competing with Ikoyi in terms of rent. But today those areas have become shadow of themselves. The most painful aspect is that you cannot sell your three storey building in Aba today and use the money to purchase a storey building anywhere in Lagos”.

He also recalled that schools such as, National High School, Wilcox, All Saints, Eziama, and Osusu Secondary Schools which have all been abandoned to ruin by the present administration produced some of the great footballers; like Ben Iroha, Okechukwu Uche, Chidi Nwanu and the rest who played for the Super Eagles in the past. He regretted that the Abia government has failed to build on those successes as the schools do not have common conducive classrooms not to talk of playing fields.

He accused the Governor of making reckless statements and wondered why the Abia House of Assembly has not dimed it necessary to impeach him. His words, “how can the Governor say that his immediate predecessor prevented him from working? What the Governor fails to tell us is whether the past governor is the one who was collecting the Federal allocation, internally generated revenue, 13 per cent derivation and five per cent VAT on his behalf then. This is a man who had nothing to campaign with in 2011 election except the liberation slogan. I asked liberation from whom? It is now that Abians are experiencing a real political bondage and the earlier the liberation the better”.

He however berated Chief T.A Orji for abandoning his responsibilities to following President Jonathan about like his errand boy; insisting that it is a political strategy to circumvent imminent arrest by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). His words, “is T.A Orji the only PDP governor? Serious minded governors are in their various states attending to some pressing matters, while our governor is busy gallivanting around the world with the President like his Personal Assistant.  He will come back tomorrow to tell us that he is seeking for foreign investors and expects us to benefit from his foreign trips; as if we do not have learned people in Abia state anymore. The reason he is following President Jonathan around is very obvious. He wants presidential protection from the EFCC; knowing that the chances of Jonathan ruling beyond 2015 are still there. But any attempt to shield him from arrest will spark off protest in Abia state”. He warned.

When contacted on phone to respond to some of these allegations against the Governor, the, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Ugochukwu Emezue said the process of cleaning Abia State is ongoing and cannot be achieved over night. He however, blamed the immediate past administration for the slow progress of Chief T.A Orji’s administration. His words, “it is no more news that the past administration did not allow Chief T.A Orji to fulfill his electoral promises to the good people of Abia State in his first tenure. Now that the Governor has started working, he should be encouraged”. He pleaded.

Though he declined to respond to the questionnaire forwarded to him through his email box; he however denied on behalf of the Governor the statement credited to him in his 29th May (democracy day) speech, where the Governor said that the old secretariat has been rebuild and renovated. His words, “the Governor did not say that. He only said that renovation work is ongoing and will soon be completed”. When reminded that the full text of the speech is still available with us; he said the governor was probably misquoted by the person who copied the speech and made it available to the public. He however   said that Governors like Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state, are performing simply because of the strong foundation their predecessors left behind which is not the case in Abia state. He promised to re-invite our team of correspondents formally to Abia State in August when according to him; the Governor will be commissioning some landmark projects. He thereafter, directed us to the Special Adviser on e-governance and Strategy to the Governor, Mr. Nnaji Obed, for further clarifications. When contacted, he requested that the questionnaire should be forwarded to him, but took time to explain what the Abia state government has been doing in the past two years to accelerate infrastructural development in the state and also debunked some allegations of deceit leveled against the Governor by some citizens of the state. When asked to explain why Governor T.A Orji told Governor Wammako of Sokoto state that his administration had transformed Bende road from single carriage to dual carriage road to Arochukwu, whereas it stopped at Isieke Ibeku Primary School, less than 10 kilometers from the tower, he only said Bende road is a Federal road and declined to make further comment on the issue.

He waved aside the comments of the Permanent Secretary who accused the Governor of deception and mediocrity as baseless; insisting that the PERM SECS are the least people to trust or listen to when it comes to governance and administration. His words, “who are the people behind the ghost workers fraud? The Permanent Secretaries; who are the people behind the Ministries’ poor output today? The Permanent Secretaries; you see, the reason that PERM SEC said what you alleged , is because the Governor has blocked all the illegal means through which the State is reaped off and has demanded total commitment from the Civil servants. His gross isn’t farfetched”. He concluded.

On the teachers complaint of their leave allowances which have not been paid for four years and the delay in payment of their salaries; Mr. Obed said that it is in the attitude of teachers all over, to complain over delay or nonpayment of their salaries. His words, “teachers would not confide in you whenever they are paid; it’s only when there is a little delay that the whole world will hear. All I can tell you is that one of the priorities of the Governor is to ensure the adequate welfare of workers in Abia state”.

He also said that the state Governor is living no stone unturned in his effort to revamping the education sector; insisting that renovation works have started in most Secondary and Primary schools he failed to mention their names within the state. He however, declined to explain further or respond to the questionnaire forwarded to him, but promised to invite our team of correspondent to Abia State in August to ascertain the level of progress then.

According to him, “activities have been mapped out by the Executive Governor, Chief T.A Orji for the commissioning of ‘the legacy projects’ in commensuration with the 22nd anniversary of the state since its creation from the old Imo state by the then military government led by General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida in 1991”. He also explained that the reason those projects are referred to as “Legacy Projects” is simply because they were not in existence in Abia State before; until Chief T.A Orji made them possible. He however pleaded that the publication should be put on hold till August when the Governor must have completed and commissioned the “legacy projects”.

Though the Chief Press Secretary and the Personal Adviser on e-governance and strategy to the Governor failed to tell us why Abia State Government posted contrasting information and pictures of the old secretariat and some of the “legacy project” buildings on the social and traditional media as well as, a good reason they want the publication put on hold till August except some project commissioning activities. Their blatant refusal to respond to the questionnaire forwarded to them through their email boxes lend credence to the allegations of misappropriation, insincerity, falsehood, despotism and deception against  the Chief T.A Orji’s led government by the Abia state citizens.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Why Buildings (And Nations) Fail By Olugu Olugu Orji.


By Olugu Olugu Orji

In Architecture, failure is simply the inability of a building to fulfil its design objectives. So if a building was designed specifically to attract the public’s attention in order to boost patronage and that does not happen, then that building has, to that extent, failed. This principle also applies to parts and components of a building structure. A window, for example, is designed to let in natural light and ease ventilation. If an enclosure, despite having a window, remains dark and stuffy, the window as a component and the enclosure have failed.

A building does not necessarily have to collapse for failure to occur even though building collapse is most certainly the ultimate form of failure. That a highway has failed does not mean that it no longer supports traffic. Heart failure is not exactly synonymous with death: it simply means it is performing way below installed capacity.

When failure is attributed to a nation, it does not also mean cessation of existence. It only means that nation is not living up to her raison d’être. If the welfare and security of citizens is the reason a nation exists, and yet the citizens are left to their own devices, the extent to which citizens must cater for and secure themselves is the extent of the nation’s failure.

Why do buildings fail?

1.    If a building is wrongly conceptualized, it can never meet the design specification; and that is failure.

2.    A building may be well designed but if poorly executed, it can also exhibit tokens of failure. A design may have provided for cross-ventilation but if after erection the windows fail to open properly due to poor workmanship and supervision, such a building or any component part can be termed a failure.

3.    The process of use can also precipitate failure when regular and mandatory maintenance is not carried out, or is badly done.

All cases of building failure can be traced to both human and material elements. The human element accounts for at least 75% of all failures. It is humans who make poor design decisions, badly construct such buildings and engage in abuse and neglect of the same buildings. Even in cases where materials are below-standard quality, the human element is partly complicit. Except in rare cases where quality of materials cannot ordinarily be known, most cases of building failure traceable to compromise in material quality bear the imprint of human intervention usually for pecuniary gain.

Because no nation can fulfil all her obligations to citizens, none can claim not to manifest some degree of failure. So if some people choose to characterize Nigeria as a failed state, it should not be such a big deal but an incentive for leadership to buckle up.

Just like buildings, nations fail. I appreciate why some people are vehemently opposed to tagging Nigeria as a failed state because it conveys the impression of a barely-functioning entity. While this may not be a fair description of the whole system, there are certainly sectors for which near-collapse and comatose are fitting labels.

Nations fail for about nearly the same reasons as buildings.

1.    Faulty conceptualization. The British who cobbled Nigeria together were primarily motivated by selfish, economic interests

2.    Those who have run Nigeria so far have done a very poor job. With very weak institutional structures, Nigeria has been run more on ad-hoc bases.

3.    Even the few promising structures are criminally denied maintenance through unqualified leadership, corruption and poor funding. The result is a nation incapable of supporting the citizens’ highest aspirations.

Happily, failure can be mitigated. Since it is clear that the human element is more critical in the proper functioning of any nation, we must inaugurate a regime that ensures that only those willing and able actually assume leadership.

“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil,” says the Good Book. Because evildoers are not adequately and expeditiously punished, evil thrives and will soon overrun the whole landscape.

It is deception of titanic proportions to suggest that Nigeria is indivisible much like the makers of the Titanic had dubbed it unsinkable. If we persist along the precarious course of incompetence and moral incontinence, the ship of state will capsize faster than it takes to recite the National Pledge.

Some Americans had prognosticated years back that Nigeria will cease to be in 2015. Even if that was a prophecy, only we as Nigerians hold the key to whether it comes to fulfilment or not.  The ancient Biblical city of Nineveh had such a sentence of annihilation hanging over it with a moratorium of only forty days!

The people of Nineveh acted appropriately by repentance and the execution of the calamitous judgment was stayed. Nigeria’s problem is more human than material; it is more moral than it is structural. No matter how often we tinker with the Constitution, as long as leaders and the led remain greedy for filthy lucre, we will keep going round in circles.

Let me conclude by repeating a solemn warning made by Someone who should know to a people who, like us, were under the delusion of exception: “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Olugu Olugu Orji mnia
nnanta2012@gmail.com

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

EFCC Press Release: N700m Scam – EFCC Seizes 44 Properties.


By Wilson Uwujaren

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has received an interim order from Justice F.A Olubanjo of the Federal High Court, Umuahia, Abia State, to take possession of 44 assets of the eight persons who allegedly defrauded Union Bank of Nigeria Plc of about N700 million.

The order also covers the freezing of the account of one of the accused persons with a credit balance of N30million.

The eight accused persons are Chikezie Neoma Agbara, Amarachi Iroha, Lucy Nwosu and Glo Chizzy International Limited. Others are Nneamaka Raphael Iheabuchi, Nnamdi Nwosu, Ikechukwu Nwosu, Chukwu Chikezie and Oliver Ogbujie.

The accused were arraigned in two separate charges that border on criminal conspiracy, stealing by fraudulent conversion, money laundering and fraud to the tune of about N700million.

The EFCC had on January 4, 2013 sought the leave of the court to seize their assets – in line with sections 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004.

Section 28 reads: “Where a person is arrested for an offence under this Act, the Commission shall immediately trace and attach all the assets and properties of the person acquired as a result of such economic or financial crime and shall thereafter cause to be obtained an interim attachment order from the Court.”

Justice Olubanjo in granting the interim forfeiture request ordered as follows, “That all assets as listed in schedule 1 to 5 of the ex-parte originating summons being proceeds of economic and financial crimes held directly by or for the benefit of or on behalf of the persons named in schedule 1 to 5 of this ex-parte originating summons be temporarily attached pending the conclusion of trial in charge Nos. FHC/UM/CR/30/2012-FRN VS. Chikezie Neoma Agbara and 3 Others; and FHC/UM/CR/77/2012-FRN VS. Chikezie Neoma Agbara and 6 Others.”

The Judge also ordered the manager or “ such other person in control of the financial institution in schedule 6 of this ex-parte originating summons i.e. Zenith Bank Plc, to freeze all accounts held directly, indirectly, by or for the benefit, and on behalf of one Oliver Ogbujie within Nigeria more particularly account No. 2006909505.”

A  breakdown  of the assets  affected by this order is as follows: A four bedroom apartment at World Bank Hosing Estate, Umuahia; twin two bedroom apartment at Amakama, Umuahia; one storey building of four flats at Umudike, Umuahia; an undeveloped plot of land at Government Station layout, Umuahia; another undeveloped parcel of land at Udume Ibeku Umuahia North LGA; uncompleted Hotel project at Winners Road, near House of Assembly Complex, Umuahia; a 2002 ModelToyota Camry and 2002 Model Toyota Corolla cars – all belonging to Chikezie Agbara.

The properties belonging to Nneamaka Raphael Ibeabuchi include, five bedroom duplex with two rooms Boys Quarters at Umuagoro, Umudike, Umauhia;  a block of five self-contained students Hostel at Umuagoro, Umudike, Umauhia; 3-bedroom bungalow at Plot UM/964, Health Centre Road, World Bank Housing Estate, Umuahia, among other assets.

Assets belonging to Nnamdi Nwosu include, one story uncompleted block of 16-room students residential apartment at Unuahu/ Ofeke Ndum Ibeku, Umudeke Umuahia. A parcel of land at Umuohu Azueke, Umudike, Umuahia belonging to Ikechukwu Nwosu was also attached.

Wilson Uwujaren
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
9th June, 2013

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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