By Onuoha Amadi
Democracy would lose its defining egalitarianism if it foreclosed free expression of viewpoints by its adherents – including often unreasoned perspectives by forces that seek to diminish and divide. Against this backdrop, we should then appreciate public communicators who by dint of self-discipline and diligent application of the power of thought have achieved that delicate, firm balance between researched opinion that informs and leverages society and humdrum commentary that diminishes and stunts.
In a recent interview with former Secretary to the Government of Abia State and self-confessed member of Abia Patriots, Mazi Donatus Okorie, published in a national daily, the gentleman’s hackneyed mission was surprisingly simple. This was to demonise the personality and demolish the image of former governor of Abia State, His Excellency, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu.
In the press interview under reference, the current governor and erstwhile protégé of Dr. Kalu, His Excellency Theordore Orji was made not even a candidate for sainthood but an outright saint and not surprisingly came off smelling like roses. It is the contention of this writer that Mazi Okorie did gross disservice to himself, Governor Theordore Orji and Abia State which he believes he is defending from imaginary adversaries. Here is why.
The abrasive defensive positions he canvassed in his media outing clearly stems from a survivalist footing fed by transferred aggression. While he is entitled to defend his principal who may have impacted his fortune on earth, he sorely needs to intellectualise his discourse, a pathway that would have deepened his perspective on the imperatives Abia State needs at this particularly trying period in our national life.
Those closely tracking developments – or lack of it – in Abia State would readily recall what transpired during the recent 23rd anniversary of creation of the state. During the event, a personality who doesn’t need handouts from Governor Orji told him the blunt truth about the development status of Abia State. It could be recalled that billionaire business mogul and something of the godfather of South-East politics Prince Arthur Eze told Governor Orji to his face that Abia State stinks.
A disgusted Prince Eze actually dropped the microphone on the bare floor and stalked out of the event’s venue. In Prince Eze’s words: “Right from the Abia Tower in Umuahia, the rot hits you. Abia State is now the dirtiest in the country. Garbage everywhere; along with bad roads. The people are really suffering, and you see it in their faces. Are there no elders in Abia again? If so, what are they doing? What are the senators, the members of House of Representatives, and other elected people doing? Nothing. If you do not know what to do again, please write to President Goodluck Jonathan, and let him come to your aid. Abia State needs help.”
It needs little imagination to link this public relations disastrous outing for the current administration with extreme efforts at image repositioning it is making presently. Mazi Okorie’s interview is one such exertion to correct a damaging truth about Abia development status today. But why attack the wrong target. It would have been a worthier effort to attempt to disprove Prince Arthur Eze’s verdict instead of attacking the former governor who left office some eight years ago.
In basic psychology this is called ‘transferred aggression.’ The office of secretary to the state government is an important position that requires certain intellectual credentials to operate. For a man that occupied that strategic niche to resort to such virulent offensive calls his advisory and governance capacities to question. This aggression should be properly targeted – assuming it’s necessary – after the core message is appropriately understood.
The other peg of this discussion is to locate Mazi Okorie’s principal’s famous achievements within the context of scientific parameters of good governance and hence disprove his flighty claims of Solomonic rule of Governor Theordore Orji.
It may interest Mazi Okorie and Governor Orji for that matter to know that good governance is a crucial determinant of human socio-political progress. Against this backdrop, the challenge for all societies is to create a system of governance that promotes supports and sustains genuine human development.
Moving forward, good governance involves a grid of networks – including public and private sectors, institutions, organisations and individual actors – that can influence the development journey. It can also be seen as the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a state’s affairs at all levels.
It comprises the mechanisms, processes and institutions, through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences. Fundamentally, good governance has three legs: economic, political and administrative. Economic governance includes decision-making processes that affect a state’s economic activities and its relationships with others.
From the foregoing, good governance clearly has major implications for equity, poverty and quality of life. Societies that aspire to greatness can simply not navigate otherwise. Using the foregoing parameters and given the quantum of resources that Abia State has garnered in the almost eight years of Governor Theodore Orji’s administration it could certainly not be said that the current governor has led God’s Own State to the Promised Land.
Perhaps more importantly, in the penumbra of a crucial general election, the intelligent pathway for Mazi Okorie, his principal and other stakeholders in Abia State to navigate would be to close ranks so that the opposition waiting in the wings do not capture the state
His viewpoints which he is entitled to should inform, heal and leverage Abia socio-polity rather than divide, diminish and stunt the state. A free-born folk sent on a slave’s errand can still deliver it far more differently than a slave. Clearly, in this case there ought to be a distinction between substance and transferred aggression.