Senator T.A. orji, Abia’s worst leader – Ohajuruka, Ex-speaker.

Former Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Chief Stanley Ohajuruka recently gave a damning verdict on the tenure of the immediate past governor of the State, Senator Theodore Orji.

In an interview with  select journalists in the state, Ohajuruka also spoke  on issues affecting  governance in  Abia State and the defection of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  bigwigs in the state to the All Progressives Congress (APC), among other issues.
The APC in Abia State has been witnessing a deluge of defections of PDP members to its fold, what does that mean to your party in the state?

The truth is  that it shows that our people, particularly, in the South East have realized that being in the mainstream of Nigerian politics is the best thing that can happen to them. Majority of Nigerians have embraced the change mantra represented by the APC. We needed change from the way things were done in the past. We needed to ensure that there is probity and accountability in governance.

There is no way people of the South East would be aloof to change. We strongly believe that if we don’t kill corruption, it will kill us. Thank God that some people in Abia State are seeing what we have seen over the past eight years that the state has been in comatose. The last administration was the worst thing that happened to Abia since its creation. Our people were confused and misled with propaganda by the last administration.

In the last administration, sycophancy and bootlicking were the booming industry in Abia. A few of us who had the temerity to challenge bad governance were hunted and cajoled and we know what we passed through. It is a good thing that majority of Abia people have realised the need for change and are trooping into APC. We are advising progressives and likeminded people to join APC and salvage our state and Nigeria. The progressives must come together to bring change, because Abia won’t be an exception.

You can find some progressive elements in APGA, PDP and other parties, what they need are to come together with the APC. When progressive minded people coalesce together, they can make a lot of things better for the society. Birds of the same feather congregate in the same proximity; you have seen that in APC, we are already welcoming them with open arms. In APC, we don’t need the conservatives in PDP, those who wants the status quo to remain. With the quality of people in Abia APC, if an election is conducted today; it will be a landslide.

What do you make of the impression that the PDP members who recently defected to the APC are aggrieved members of the party?

We have been receiving progressive-minded PDP members into our party. This is not the first time. If you listened to Senator Chris Adighije, he said he is no longer contesting any election, but has come to work with the APC to salvage the state and country. We all know him as a goal getter. Look at Senator Nkechi Nwaogu, she is a woman of substance who has served well as a political leader.  Everybody in Nigeria knows Chief Tony Ukasanya’s political antecedents and how he has always delivered in any political party he finds himself. There is also Senator Onyeka Okoroafor who was a member of NADECO and ex-Information Commissioner, Eze Chikamnayo, among others.

All these politicians who joined from the PDP have great followership. We are glad that these quality people joined the APC. I want to tell you that many other progressives from the PDP are set to join APC because they won’t want to be left behind in the emerging new order of decency in governance and rule of law in Nigeria.

People say the APC is the main opposition party in Abia, but  we are yet to see the party fit into such role?
We had our problems which has been resolved. Now everyone is working together because an individual cannot make a political party. We have all agreed to work for the common good of the people. The progressives are back to ensure that what is happening at the centre, is replicated for the good of Abia people. The APC has been repositioned and cannot be intimidated by anybody in fulfilling the roles expected of us as a party.

The incumbent administration in the state  marked its first 100 years in office recently. What are your impressions?

There is no impression. They still have vestiges of the former administration around. The only time we will begin to assess Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration is when the vestiges of his predecessor has left it. During the last eight years, Abia was a definition of bad governance. In one of my interviews, I advised Ikpeazu to be his own man and think independently. I understand Ikpeazu is an intellectual. As a result of his status, he is not expected to be dependent on anybody. He has no reason to rely on his predecessor, who has nothing to show for his eight year administration of the state.

I am saying this because Abia people are still finding this vestiges of the former administration in him; if this continues, we will strive to ensure that it won’t be the voice of Jacob and the hand of Esau. Ikpeazu should avoid this as much as possible.

When you said Abia is a definition of bad governance in the last 8 years, one can recall that the immediate past administration said it built legacy projects, are you not aware?

Let me correct an impression; there is no legacy project in Abia. Look at what we have suffered in the last eight years; Abia is an example of rape on democracy. The definition of bad governance is written all over Abia. What we had was mediocrity, sycophancy and bootlicking. In fact, the only industry in Abia prior to this period was sycophancy. This was the character of the last administration in Abia. Tell me your friend and I will tell you who you are.

Where are the so called legacy projects? Is there any well-equipped hospital in Abia?
No. In agriculture, I urge you to go to Bende; between Umuahia and Uzuakoli, you will see where the government reclaimed a rice farm with its natural terrain for a housing estate. Is this the character of a government interested in agriculture? Again, why will you say you are building a new government house when the topography where the current government house sits remain the best which can be found anywhere in Nigeria. It should be developed and an edifice built, but they have abandoned it to embark on a new one that is not even 50 percent completed, because of clannishness. Most of the roads and other things they showcased as their legacy projects were actually built by the administration of Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu. So, Theodore Orji’s administration left no legacy in Abia state.

Recently, a group petitioned the EFCC against the former governor of the state over alleged looting of state funds. What is your take on this?
I am not a member of EFCC or ICPC. I am not here to recommend people for jail. I am only interested in encouraging people who find themselves in governance to know that a day of reckoning must certainly come. You will always be assessed by your actions. In the course of your actions, if you are found wanting, the law will take its course. You will be called to account. This is why I encourage public office holders that they must be ready to give account for their actions.

A situation where after your tenure, you go into hiding and cannot work freely imply  that you are not clean. The test of good governance after your tenure is to walk the streets without army of security agents guarding you. Any governor, who wants to test his popularity whether he performed well or not, should walk the street without security. But most former governors can’t even go near their own villages without heavy security. If you are a good man, people will be clapping and singing your praises. Some of our former governors can’t even walk freely in the local markets in their villages. If you are only praised while in office and when out of office, people no longer sing your praises, it means you should have a cause to worry that you have a case to answer.  Unfortunately, in Nigeria, most of our former governors cannot walk the streets freely without being stoned.

Some civil servants were disengaged because they were non indigenes?
This is a wicked and discriminatory policy. Who is a non indigene? Nobody is a non indigene because we are all strangers. We all came into this world. When we leave Abia, are we not non indigenes? Some of our daughters born in Abia were even sacked from service because they are married to people from other states. People were made refuges in their own states. I urge the United Nations to look  into this evil policy.

Ndigbo are yet to get their due in President Buhari’s administration, what is your take on that?
We should do all we can to de-emphasize ethnic politics. I was born in Zaria, Kaduna State. I believe that having been born in Zaria, nobody should stop me from enjoying the rights and privileges of a person born in Kaduna State. We should look at merit in everything we do. Thank God, merit can be found everywhere: Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Kanuri, Ijaw, Efik, etc. As Ndigbo, we should not be beggarly. We have people who can lead this country. We shouldn’t feel marginalized, but compete with others to get a feel of  it.  You can’t succeed in any endeavour when you have personally relegated yourself. People will never know where you are, until you make yourself visible.

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