from Ebere Wabara
I am just reading the current edition (September 29, 2014) of TheNews magazine which has as its cover story “War of the Orjis” with the portraits of the former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu (MON) and Governor Theodore Ahamefula Orji as emblazons. I must commend the publication for its professionalism in balancing their presentation by having both parties’ input. That is what journalism is all about—not mercantilism through sponsored advertorials couched and presented as an interview with a particular benefactor as intrepid ‘Insider Magazine’ does!
A fortnight ago, Dr. Kalu said he was not the problem of Abia. I want to tentatively disagree with my boss. The government of the state could not have spent almost eight years battling him if he was not giving the governor sleepless nights and therefore distracting him from concentrating on the arduous business of governing God’s Own State. Dr. Kalu unwittingly has become the central figure that looms largest in our state.
The present administration in Abia would be remembered most for their combativeness with the Kalu blossoming political empire than any legacy whatsoever. Nobody can talk about the tenure of Gov. Orji without unconscious reference to the enigmatic Kalu. Why is it so? It is so because more time is being spent in diminution of Kalu than in the good governance of the state. If I were the governor, I would have moved on these past seven-plus years confronting the serious challenges facing the 23-year-old state instead of dissipating energy and other official resources on battling the enfant terrible.
In the process of dismantling all that Kalu represents and holds dear, his successor has ended up amplifying his supranational popularity that is bursting at the seams! Now, the villain has become the saint as people wonder what could have strained their relationship and consequently end up sympathising with Kalu over the sour development. Of course, Dr. Kalu, on his part, too, will not allow sleeping dogs lie as he joins in the crossfire, against wise counsel by some of us at various levels. Indeed, if you ask me, I will candidly tell you that my principal is the reason Gov. Orji has not been at his best because he spends invaluable time, energy and fiduciary resources fighting his benefactor and predecessor. Matter-of-factly, the issues have been so muddled up that nobody seems to hold a grip on where it all started, how, when, why and the way out of the jaundice.
Issuing from the above, I hold my oga vicariously for the dearth of transformation in our state. But I am equally confused on grounds that Gov. Orji declares that he has liberated the state from “strangulating godfathers’ clutches” (couched reference to Kalu and his loyalists) and yet there are incomparable attainments with the liberation. I had thought that after the strenuous extrication, the state would become a miniature Dubai, at least. Alas, there is little or nothing to really cheer about in celebrative underpinning of the so-called freedom.
Therefore, I am inclined to equivocate on this matter. It is obvious then that Dr. Kalu truly may not really be the problem of the state. What then is responsible for its backwardness after 23 years of its creation? Is it that the military administrators that held sway before Dr. Kalu did not do anything in the state? Was it so bad that after Dr. Kalu took over in 1999 with Chief T. A. Orji as the man in charge and Kalu a figure-head, as it were, that everything the Orjis (no copyright apologies to TheNews!) did paled into insignificance? Is it a question of the pot calling the kettle black? What is the morality in Gov. Orji screaming to heavenly realms that Dr. Kalu did not achieve anything during his tenure when one and all know the person who was calling the tune in that regime: T. A. Orji for those who may not know? The nebulous intricacies defy any rationalization which was why I intimated to TheNews (as published) that only both men, at the opportune time, would let Nigerians into their crevices and cubicles of this landmark feud. If a third party uses his head to break this dry coconut by trying to unravel this unprecedented tiff, he will not be alive to drink its reconciliatory water.
My belated and genuine advice to Gov. Orji is to redeem the state as much as possible in the remaining months of his tour of duty by avoiding more needless acrobats with his erstwhile chummy. It would not be memorable to implant on Abians and Nigerians this cantankerousness that merely undermines good governance which the state direly needs at this critical period in its 23-year history. The state can move on without the crass criminalization and holistic demonization of a man that unambiguously has nothing to lose.
The collapse of social infrastructure in Abia today is directly proportional to the quantum of precious time and public funds expended on the futile invasion, otiose embarrassment and self-inflicting humiliation of one of the state’s shining political icons—a fact acknowledged even by the worst hypercritic and oppositional minions. Dr. Kalu is too hot to drop by the national leadership of the ruling party and Nigerians and too cold to behold. And that is why he is wrongly seen by the local wing of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abia State as an irritant fly on the scrotum or in the ointment: remove it and incur irredeemable wrath and leave it to your eternal damnation!
These inexplicably confounding dynamics were what made Dr. Okey Ikechukwu to dispassionately declare in his column sometime ago on the back page of THISDAY that Kalu is a flourishing asset with a superfluity of potentialities that is being mismanaged by those who should know better but because of selfish reasons that border on raucous antagonism and asininity!
Moving forward, there should be a reconstruction of the face-off between these men whose acrimonious posturing has undermined the renewal of our state. Otherwise, the next governor may end up spending his own tenure grasping and reviewing the retrogressive and querulous template left by his two immediate predecessors. That will translate cumulatively to 24 unbroken years of waste in the life of a state!
I will end up this explication with a recent quote by Dr. Kalu: “I am ready to pay the bills for a financial audit of my administration so that the public will understand what the issues are in Abia State and be able to evaluate both administrations properly.” Who will take up the gauntlet?
Now, who still does not know the problem of Abia? In case you do not know yet: leadership mediocrity—no longer “strangulating godfathers’ clutches” and other insinuative deductions by a coterie of famished errand boys who are more concerned with choking survivalist challenges than ethics or propriety. After all, in political warfare, propaganda by the establishment is acceptable and, if allowed, over time, takes the garb of the gospel truth!
At the risk of reiteration, Dr. Kalu is not and cannot be a problem in a state he contributed and still positively impacts immeasurably with a passion that surpasses spousal love for the entirety of fellow Abians, nay Nigerians.