Don Norman Obinna is the Media Adviser to the immediate past Governor of Abia State and Senator representing Abia Central Senatorial district at the National Assembly, Sen. Theodore Ahamefule Orji. In this interview with SAM OBINNA IBE he speaks on how T.A. Orji has transited in the past one year from executive to legislator among other political issues in Abia state.
How has Sen. Orji been able to transit from executive responsibilities to legislation considering the fact that both have different exigencies?
Well, the job of legislation is not the job for rabble-rousers or garrulous people; it is the job of the witty. Sen. Orji no doubt, proved his leadership prowess during his term in office as the executive governor of Abia state between 2007 and 2015 when he inherited a dysfunctional state replete with challenges as large as Mount Everest and wittily transformed the challenges by harnessing to the best rewarding proportion the potentials that abound.
So having set that unprecedented record, the issue of transition was not difficult because he has a blue print of the objective he wants to accomplish as well as time frame for its accomplishment. That was why he set the ball rolling immediately he was elected the Senator representing Abia central
senatorial district by sponsoring eight bills as part of his legislative oversights and at the same time ensuring the wellbeing of his constituents with mouth-watering empowerments to ensure their financial freedom in just 365 days at the red chambers of the National Assembly.
Are there plans to attract Federal projects to his constituency as well as plans to tackle the ecological challenges in that area?
We are not talking about plans anymore, it is no longer a question of if but when because as we speak, through the persuasive demands of Sen. Orji at the NASS, the Federal Government
through the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), has requested for expression of interest for constituency service for the maintenance/repairs of critical failed sections, along Umuahia-
Ariam, Ikot-Epkene road in his constituency; Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State.
We also have the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs invitation for prequalification and direct tendering for works, goods and expression of interest for consultancy services for the 2016 capital projects for the design and supervision of Mbom-Ameke- Olokoro-Umuikea roads, 7up/Umuola-Nkwo Elechi Ohuhu road-5km and the consultancy services for training and empowerment in agriculture and other value chain in Abia State. These are verifiable facts because they were published on Thisday newspaper edition of Monday, June 13, 2016.
So hopefully after the rainy season, works will begin on these roads to ameliorate the transportation hardship of our people.
Recently, a group under the auspices of Ndume Otuka IbekuYouth Council issued a communiqué alleging that Sen. Orji caused division and hatred in Ibeku clan. What is your take?
First and foremost, as an Ibeku man I don’t know of any organization with that name and I can also tell you that the names of the so called president and secretary of the so called organization are pseudo names based on my research.
So I want to believe that it is the handiwork of mischief makers or failed politicians who want to be heard because no true sons of Ibeku will make such pitiable allegation against a man who ensured the financial freedom of over 50, 000 youths as the then governor of Abia State with various empowerment programmes as well as ensured that Ibeku youths are educated to be able to compete with their contemporaries from other clans and states. It is and will remain a political statement until those behind the masquerade unveil themselves.
All I can say is that Sen. Orji is well loved by his people and you can see that through the warm reception they accord him each time he visits Abia State.
What is your reaction to Nduma Otuka Youths call to EFCC to investigate Sen. Orji?
Like I said before, the group is not in existence and from their so called action it is obvious that they are not conversant with the happenings in Nigeria. EFCC does not investigate a public office holder who discharges his or her duty diligently and Sen. Orji happens to be one of such persons. However like I said before, we will not in any way glorify the ranting of disgruntled elements.
We will rather tell the people of Abia Central what Sen. Orji has
done this past one year which I have highlighted in the beginning.
How has his representation so far transformed the lives of his constituents in this past one year?
I will say his representation has affected his people in several unimaginable ways because apart from these legislative oversights which are his primary responsibilities Sen. Orji has also touched the lives of his people evenly.
As we speak, he introduced an annual scholarship scheme designed to produce 240 graduates in four years. 60 indigent students; 10 from each of the six LGAs that make up his constituency will annually benefit from this scheme.
The scheme has produced its first 60 beneficiaries last year and the second batch of another 60 beneficiaries will come up sometime this year. Sen. Orji has also restored the limbs of some luck physically challenged persons in his constituency with the donation of 20 wheel chairs; ensure also their financial freedom with the donation to the indigent entrepreneurs vocational equipment such 25 sewing machines, 25 grinding machines, 25 2.5KVA generating sets, five tricycles, and two 18-seater buses. And in furtherance to his Food Security Bill, Sen. Orji also provided 100 liquid
fertilizers for farmers to ensure robust farm produce.
We were told by a representative of the Abia State Min. of Agriculture during the presentation that if properly utilized, the fertilizers are capable of enriching 200 hectares of farmland. So you know what that means to agriculture in Abia State.
It is also worthy of mentioning that another set of 250 bags of fertilizers have been purchased by our amiable Sen. Orji to be distributed to farmers in his constituency. They will soon be distributed to farmers. Again, we also have other projects which are intended to develop our pupils and youths to ensure that they compete effectively with their contemporaries from other states and in the world as well. So over all, he has provided avenue for
financial liberation of his people.
Apart from the well- publicized legacy projects, what other achievement(s) would you say are Orji’s greatest that endeared him to the people while in office as governor of Abia State?
Of course, security was one of them, remember the era of the contrived kidnapping which apart from the security threat it constituted also to a large extend crippled the buoyant Abia State economy.
You have to appreciate Sen. Orji’s ingenuity in tackling as well as exterminating the menace of abduction with the application of scientific methods despite the fact that this happened when kidnapping was alien to us. Another, is the elimination of idolatry which held sway in Abia State prior to his emergence.
It was a known fact that qualified Abia youths were debarred from political appointments and participations with this anachronistic ideology and of course the effect was the abysmal underdevelopment which Abia state suffered before its liberation in 2010.
Then the most recent one which earned him the enviable title of Opuru Iche (Unique), 1 of Igbo land is his insistence that an Ukwa Ngwa man will be supported to become the governor of Abia state in line with the Abia Charter of Equity against fierce opposition by some people whose motive was to stoke up the polity and made mess of the unity which Sen. Orji labored to contrive among the people.
These three achievements no doubt were what endeared him to the masses and to a large extent the reason he was elected en masse by his people to represent them at the National Assembly.
That decision has proven to be a smart one as this last one year has proven.
What else should the people of Abia Central Senatorial district be expecting from Sen. Orji in the coming years?
Well Sen. Orji believes so much in the “Right Base Approach to Development”; a political ideology which sees the people as the right bearers and government, the duty bearers. In other words, Sen. Orji believes that the people are rationale and as such should be consulted in decision making and in provision delivering.
There are insinuations that Sen. Orji is responsible for the problems in Abia PDP, governorship tussle because of imposition of unpopular candidate; what is your take?
Well I do not know if there are problems in Abia PDP, all I know is that some external forces with the help of some selfish Abia politicians are trying to disrupt the peace and tranquility we presently enjoy in Abia State by disrespecting the Abia Charter of Equity. Although I do not understand what you mean by popular candidate all I can say is that what we need in Abia state is a competent candidate with integrity and thank God that was
All the candidates that contested and won elections in Abia state on the platform of PDP were not appointed rather theymwere elected according to the wishes of the electorate.
Some believe that Sen. Orji has not been fair to his estranged Godfather Dr. Orji Kalu; when will he reconcile with OUK?
Well there was no time that it was said or rumoured that Orji Kalu met Sen. Orji for any political assistance and Sen. Orji refused to grant it if such request is within his powers. Those who know Sen. Orji very well will attest to the fact that he is kindhearted to a fault and can never hurt a fly not to talk of harboring resentment.
Instead of believing hear say, I think it will be better we wait for the day when that will happen, let’s see if Sen. Orji will refuse to offer assistance. The issue of when will they reconcile should not exist in the first place because reconciliation is only needed where there is offense. So if there was no offense why do you talk about reconciliation?