By Eddie Onuzuruike
The publication of the Sun Newspaper on page 42 of Saturday, 18th January 2014 came as no surprise. The Sun has long taken the franchise to insult Chief T. A. Orji and denigrate Abia people at will. It is a procedural relay baton that moves from one columnist to another. From the past, it was the hired pen, Odimegwu Onwumere and the regular columnists like Adesina, Ukeh and others. Now Obinna Kalu has mounted the saddle,? the question is, who comes next? We know why, as it is said, ?he who pays the piper dictates the tune,? and this time, he wants it shrill and strident.
They obviously have adopted the words of Frank Smedley, which states that, ?all is fair in love and war.?? As stated in previous rejoinders, to Abia, the Sun is a rooster jurisdiction of a fiendish court where the cockroach cannot get any bit of justice even with a battery of lawyers.? What surprised me was that it came from a column titled Legal Forum. One would have expected a just and upright dissertation but it was the complete contrary, with grave intent to harm, demonize the victims and misinform the unsuspecting public.
Shamelessly, Kalu Obinna presented fallacies as facts from start to finish.
In the first paragraph Obinna claimed that ?serious public condemnation has trailed the announcement of the proposed project? referring to the proposed innovative Abia Airport and Seaport. It will be legally fair for Obinna to tell us how and where he garnered his public condemnation. Whether from the newspapers or the radio? I am very sure that Obinna doesn?t live in Abia and did not conduct any opinion poll unless an imaginary public rally and protest.
In his hurry not to see any good in the present administration of Chief T.A.Orji, he exposed his prejudice. He acknowledged in his writing that the project will be a PPA. He probably meant PPP. His mind is subconsciously rooted in? Progressive People?s Alliance, the PPA, a tottering and fumbling party, an adjunct and collaborator of Sun Newspaper who is still brooding over the loss and slide in Abia politics. If he really meant PPP, how then will the government use it as a conduct pipe to siphon funds? The partners will manage and fund the projects.
Going through the maze of his writing, one would notice serious efforts to sell his lies as truth but according to Grosvenor, ?empty bags cannot stand erect.? Facts are sacred and opinion is free.
The Airport and Seaport initiative of Abia present administration is well thought out and like other projects of Ochendo, meant to raise the indices of growth in Abia as a 21st century participant in world commerce. It is very obvious that Obinna needs some lessons on economics. Abia people especially in Aba are deeply into commerce which involves travelling, importation, export and stocking of varying goods. An airport and seaport in Abia with other services, will create job opportunities, curtail smuggling, boost the IGR and increase the tourism potentials of Abia. Obinna?s real intent is envy that Ochendo and rather than his sponsors will go down in history as the man who gave Abia air and seaport. That is all!
The proposed seaport at Obuaku is a defunct port of ancient experience, predating the coming of the Whiteman. It has a natural seaway to the Atlantic. This move by Abia government will recreate a navigable route as it is only seven kilometers to the Atlantic Ocean. With a seaport, the fatal occurrences that our people suffer in sailing on critical vessels while going to Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome will be eliminated. Not only that, it will rekindle in the Ukwa people, the lacking cultural water transport, bringing anew an almost forgotten skill of canoeing and boating which are presently Olympian sports with high commercial index. The tourism potentials of Abia as stated earlier, will be further enhanced with the connection to the Blue River. Most importantly, it will be the only nautical connection of the South East Geopolitical zone of Nigeria to the Atlantic Ocean and the whole world, thus allaying the claim that the South-east is landlocked. Is this not unprecedented?
It is so unfortunate that a legal forum column can take on such a high degree of misinformation. Obinna claims that the empowerment vehicles which the whole world is aware? were freely given, witnessed by no other than the Governor of the Central Bank, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi were given out on hire purchase? basis. To make his lies stick, he quoted funny prices of 1.8m and 600,000 thousand Naira respectively. If kalu could go to the extent of publishing falsehood in a newspaper, then I will not hesitate in calling him a liar until he proves his claims. Presently, over 700 vehicles have been given out, witnessed by journalists and the public. The list of recipients were published in Newspapers and magazines with names and phone numbers, numbers of vehicles, and state of origin. Please, I urge readers to verify if kalu?s claims are based on facts.
His enumeration of moribund industries in Aba and the accusation that the state was responsible is the mother of all lies. It is a known fact that due to power supply which ebbed since the nineties, many manufacturers migrated to other West African countries, especially? Ghana. These were not caused by Abia State. Most of the establishments he mentioned have either management problems or have changed hands like Bourdex Communications which was taken over by another group. It is on verifiable record that the present administration has done so much to shore up the growth of industries. The evacuation of power from the 332KVA, Ohiya power plant and the construction of a road to Geometric in Aba and support jobs to Aloji power station are evident efforts to make Aba, Power-sufficient. These are few examples.
Talking about roads, the present administration of T.A. Orji has constructed more roads than the previous administrations, military and civilian put together. The recent 102 roads done in Abia has Aba taking the lion shares. The security issue which Obinna?s group previously denied and now acknowledge, has brought more business to Aba. The road decay in Aba was not caused in the last seven years of T.A. Orji?s administration. It was there and Ochendo has done quite a lot. All the roads in Aba in particular and Abia in general cannot be finished in one day, it is a continuous process and Ochendo has vowed to leave Abia a lot better than he found it.
The health sector is at its best since 22 years of existence of Abia. Do we need to repeat ourselves over and over? The Abia Specialist Hospital and Diagnostic centre is good news in Nigeria. No less than Dr. Onyebuchi? Chukwu, the Health Minister came and unveiled the project. The 100-bed hospital is a medical rave. Does any other state have 710 Primary Health Centres? Has he heard about the ambulance services in the 17 LGA?s? The mother-child maternal care involving multiple immunizations has brought laurels and Abians are happier. Mind you, Chief T.A. Orji has sworn to be governor of healthy people rather than the sick who by their state may not enjoy the dividends of democracy.
In the educational sector, there is also massive improvement with the synergy of Abia State Universal Basic Education Board, ASUBEB and the Ministry of Education, building new schools, refurbishing and furnishing old ones. Education is free in primary and secondary. Bursary and scholarship are back. Schools have been returned to missionary owners to enhance efficiency and intensify moral education. Surprisingly, the Government is still paying the salaries of teachers in these returned schools, so what more do you expect? Presently there are the model schools, each in the 17 LGAs and better equipped than most universities in Nigeria.
Obinna kalu is actually toeing the line of the Sun group who has sworn to fight the government. From all intents and purposes, Obinna is desperately fighting to keep his job but 2015 is gradually approaching, and when T.A. Orji leaves, I wonder what else Obinna will write about. It is obvious that Obinna is putting a curse on himself as he is telling lies against Abia for certainly, he will use the Abia Airport sometime in life.
Onuzuruike wrote in from Umuahia, Abia State.
By Eddie Onuzuruike