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NewsReel 24/9/14 - Orji Uzor Kalu's Bad Report Card

NewsReel 24/9/14 - Orji Uzor Kalu's Bad Report Card

[ Masterweb Reports: Charles Ajunwa reports ] - Every student usually brings home a report card at the end of the school session. Like students state governors too get report cards at the end of their tenures. The report card can be a source of joy and pride or scorn and ridicule depending on the performance of its owner whether as a student or as a governor. When the content of the report card is
failure the owner is gripped with shame.
 
But in Abia State we are facing a different situation. The former governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, who has a very bad report card, has no shame. That is why he could afford to point his invidious finger at Governor T.A. Orji (Ochendo) and unashamedly accuse him of under-performance. Kalu who has hidden his report card because its content is failure has characteristically turned round to malign his successor whose report
card is a public document and a source of joy and pride to Abians. In his frustration occasioned by the knowledge that Ochendo has outclassed and dwarfed him in every yard stick used in measuring quality leadership and governance Kalu has decided to vent his anger on his successor. He has been doing everything to belittle the monumental achievements that Governor T.A. Orji has recorded, which are shinning
out in every sector of the Abia economy. Kalu has found his newspaper, The Sun a veritable weapon to fight his evil war motivated by malice, envy and hatred. For those who may not know, Kalu became a newspaper proprietor after killing off the state owned National Ambassador. So Kalu’s Sun newspaper rose from the ashes of Abia State owned National Ambassador. A judicial panel of enquiry which investigated the dastardly act has already established how a state asset was converted to personal asset in disguise. And instead of using the newspaper to promote development in Abia, Kalu has turned it into propaganda tool against the
government and people of God’s Own State.  He even commissioned his much
educated lackeys to write a weekly column for him where he pours out his
vituperations, lies and revisionist concoctions to deceive the uninformed by presenting a totally different picture of what is happening in Abia.

Instead of joining his fellow Abians to appreciate the fact that Abia has finally taken off on development flight, Kalu has reduced himself to a grumbling man, whose past time is croaking that “nothing is happening in Abia”. This has become his mantra in the so called Orji Uzor Kalu Leadership Series in the Sun newspaper. But if indeed he has a strong conviction that in the international measurement of human development
indices nothing is happening in Abia presently, he should be bold enough to show his own report card for comparison. He has tucked it away because it is a very bad report card. He failed in all sectors as a governor. Otherwise the Orji Uzor Kalu we know would not have wasted time making it public. Yes, if Kalu had left office with a good report card In fact, his scribes would have been instructed all this while to
pour out the content in the newspaper column that bears his name. The other time he attempted to say that he built some roads and even unashamedly named a few insignificant roads which he claimed he built in eight years. He then made a blanket statement that he built all the “major roads in Aba”. That was the much he could enumerate as his achievements after helping himself and his family with the resources of Abia State. With nothing more to claim he veered off in his deceptive
characteristic and promised that he would make known his achievements at a later date.
 
The Kalu we know will never open his report card. But we already know its content because we are living witnesses to what he did in eight inglorious years during which Abia State was in a state of inertia. That was the actual period when nothing happened in Abia in terms of tangible development. Abians have not forgotten that during the dark years under Kalu youths were empowered with shovels, wheelbarrows, head pans and pickaxes. The idea was to subject them continually to subsistence level of making a living so that his family would continue to call the shots. In Ochendo’s time an unprecedented youth empowerment programme has been implemented, which has become a reference point to other states. Abia
youths in their thousands have been trained in various vocational skills and provided with the requisite tools of their trades as well as cash to make them economically independent. Similarly, the yellow cars and buses that have become ubiquitous on the roads of Abia and beyond are products of Ochendo empowerment programme. Those vehicles were distributed to the beneficiaries free of charge with no string attached. Can this in any way be compared to the era of wheel barrow empowerment?

As a man who is not well lettered Kalu placed no value hence did not encourage Abia youths to go to school.  The school system was in shambles and the scholarship board was asphyxiated. But at his back the school system was infused with Ochendo’s breath of fresh air and it has come back to life. Check out the transformation of Abia schools with aesthetic infrastructure and modern facilities, then the revival of the scholarship board to award scholarships and bursaries to thousands of Abia students at home and abroad. Add the free school bus transport
scheme and the enhanced incentives of the teaching staff and you will understand why Abia State under Ochendo has been posting excellent results in public examinations and school competitions.

Inside Kalu’s report card the health sector was marked zero and justifiably so. During the military era soldiers who succeeded in coup making described the nation’s hospitals as “mere consulting clinics”. But what Abia experienced under Orji Uzor Kalu was worse than that. Abia hospitals could not even qualify as “mere consulting clinics” as no consultant or doctor could work under such debilitating environment
where hospitals were like cow sheds. But as Kalu’s era was buried in the ashes of dark history of non-performance, then came the governor who believes that health is wealth and that only a healthy person can enjoy dividends of democracy. Ochendo has put in place a healthcare system that endowed Abia with modern health care facilities that ranks among the best in the country. At the grassroots level there are 710 health centres across the state, three specialist hospitals and modern diagnostic centres with nine 100-bed hospitals, state of the art dialysis and eye centres with more still ongoing. Did Orji Uzor Kalu bequeath such legacy to the people of Abia? No. The only thing he attempted doing in the health sector was to acquire a van which he said was meant for mobile clinic but like everything associated with him the
programme turned out to be a ruse.

If a man would set out to run down every good thing happening in a state where he once governed then we must see Kalu for what he really is: agent of confusion. He thrives in crisis and the prevailing peace and harmony in Abia is making him very uncomfortable. Throughout his period as chief executive of Abia the three arms of government never worked in harmony hence the state was in perpetual crisis. The executive arm was in turmoil, the legislature was in disarray while the judiciary was
reduced to a bystander. Orji Uzor Kalu created an unenviable record of working with three deputy governors in eight years, a turnover of deputy governor every 30 months. He started with Enyinnaya Abaribe (now a Senator), fell out with him and picked Dr. Chima Nwafor (now late), whom he rubbished and ended with Acho Nwakanma, who barely managed to hang on and tag along with the overbearing boss till May 29, 2007.

Kalu instigated the House of Assembly with his divide and rule tactics and plunged the legislature into a gale of impeachments. The House became so unstable that it changed Speakers four times during his eight years in office. The Speakers were Nkem Ike, Christopher Enweremadu, Stanley Ohajuruka and Agwu U. Agwu in that order. The ruling party, PDP did no fair better. The PDP was so factionalized that Abia’s political elites were at constantly at daggers drawn and they never found a common ground on any issue hence they could not attract any federal project
throughout Kalu’s regime. The enfant terrible did not help matters as he constantly antagonized the federal government, engaging then President Olusegun Obasanjo in ego warfare. Kalu made absolutely sure that PDP remained in crisis until he finally left the party in the last quarter of 2006 to start a political party (Progressive Peoples Alliance) wholly owned and controlled by his family. That is what you see in Kalu’s
report card.



One can easily decipher why Kalu was thoroughly disappointed when he came to realize that the person that succeeded him is a man of peace. Governor T.A. Orji was not happy that he inherited a state torn apart by conflicts and he made sure that he reconciled all the centripetal and centrifugal forces tearing Abia apart. His sincerity, humility and sense of purpose made it possible for him to win over all the warring groups. The peace and stability in Abia was further extended when governor
fought and extricated Abia from the grip of kidnappers, armed robbers and other criminal elements, an offshoot of Kalu’s wheelbarrow empowerment of youths. Abia is today among the three most peaceful and stable states in Nigeria. But Kalu, an agent of chaos is not happy that Abia is enjoying peace dividends of Ochendo administration. He craves for an Abia in turmoil like it was in his days as governor so he could operate well by knocking heads together and turning brother against
brother, father against son and wife again husband.

Even when he knows that Abia of today is not the Abia of his era Kalu is still hell bent on dropping the apple of discord and setting the state on fire. While he has successfully enlisted his toady writers in his medium, Kalu has also resorted appealing to notable Abians to join forces with him. In one of his vain glory outings in his make belief column he solicited the support of Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, Senator Ike Nwachukwu, among others.
Perhaps he forgot or pretended to have forgotten that these were same people he despised and hounded out of Abia tagging them Abuja politicians. Kalu equally forgot or pretended to have forgotten that these prominent Abians are men with higher intellectual capacity, who would not bring themselves to his inane level of pettiness, envy and malice to run down their own state. Unfortunately to Kalu the prominent
Abians he was trying to enlist to join his war against Abia had already seen the leadership qualities in Governor T.A. Orji which made them to work extra hard to bring him back to the PDP after the liberation from mamacracy. These men have not been disappointed over the choice they made as they have continued to testify that Abia has finally got its bearing because of Ochendo.

In Kalu’s report you will not find a secretariat for the state miniseries, international conference centre, modern judiciary complex, befitting government house, new ultra modern markets among other legacy projects. Kalu knew quite well that Abia needed these projects and even more but rapacious tendencies prevented him from using the state resources to work for the Abians. He should be asking himself why Abians are not celebrating him just as his contemporaries are being celebrated in Imo, Enugu and Ebonyi states. Chief Achike Udenwa, Dr Chimaroke Nnamani and Dr Sam Egwu all have good report cards in their respective states and nobody can wish away the legacy projects they left behind. I challenge Kalu to show the people of Abia and indeed Nigerians his report card. Enough of the arrant nonsense of a column in the Sun newspaper, which they call Orji Uzor Kalu Leadership Series. It only leads to lies, malice, crisis, deceit and ultimately, perdition.

Charles Ajunwa, Chief Press Secretary to Abia State Governor reports.
 
*Photo Caption -  Former Abia governor, Orji Uzor Kalu