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A Time For No Rancour In Abia State, To Enable Growth Under A Visionary Leadership

The Oasis Reporters

June 26, 2019

Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu.
Governor of Abia State.

In the history of global economic management and development, there is a Man that commands my respect. I perceive him as my economic Hero of the Second World War era. He is Emperor Michinomiya Hirohito of Japan, post- humously named Showa.

For purposes of this feature, I have deliberately chosen to present Emperor Hirohito; who reigned from 1926 to 1989, having been born on April 29, 1901, using the present tense.

It is on record Japan was an ally of Germany during the Second World War, a war that was madly pursued by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Army.

America, Britain and France had formed themselves into a formidable bloc known as Allied Forces. They did not spare any opportunity to bring Hitler and his war mongers to submission.

On August 6, 1945, America detonated an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, with very devastating consequences. Only three days later, America, still under the Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, dropped another deafening bomb on another of Japanese cities, Nagasaki.

The bombs, which almost marked the end of the Second World War, left Japan almost completely ruined. Japan, as at July 1945 occupied the ninth position on global economic ranking. Its economy was driven by the manufacturing sector.

At the end of the Second World War, with mountainous ruination of almost all that Japan had stood for, the only factor that could have stood between the ruins of Japan and its recovery or oblivion was visionary leadership.

Luckily for the Japanese, their Emperor; Hirohito, was spared the travails of persecution or prosecution on atrocities of war.

Consoled that though Japan had lost almost everything that constituted her national pride, including permanent membership of the world’s Security Council, Japan had come back from the global holocaust with their brains still intact.

It was based on this realization of intellectual cum psychological strength, that Emperor Michinomiya Hirohito rallied and sensitized his citizens for post war Japan. He gave an injunction to his people. He said, ‘henceforth we shall make no more war, we shall rather make money and more money’.

True to that injunction, Japan has since been known for its economic growth and stability. Her balance of trade hardly experiences any deficit. Her Gross Domestic Product; GDP, is one of the highest in the world. From her pre-war ninth position on global economic ladder, Japan ranks third today.

This enviable height of Japan could not have been attained if there had been bickering and rancour amongst the citizens of Japan.

If there is anything the good people of Abia State need today, it is peace. A rancour-infested society can not go far in terms of development.

This brings to the fore some posts that have gone viral in recent times, assumably authored by a former Commissioner for Information in the State, Barr Eze Chikamnayo.

Barr Chikamnayo’s posts, as controversial as they have been adjudged by many, have equally generated diverse responses and reactions. All in all, the posts and reactions have not given a fair description of peace to Abia State.

A perusal of Barr Chikamnayo’s posts leaves one with the resume that he is purportedly worried that Pensioners and some segment of Public Servants in the State are owed by the State Government. He also alleged that the Governor pays millions of naira to the immediate past Governor of the State, Senator T A Orji and his first Son, Rt Hon Chinedum Orji, whose emergence as Speaker of the 7th State House of Assembly he had queried.

In a democracy, one is entitled to one’s freedom of thought and expression of same. That has always been the beauty and attraction of democracy. Therefore, Barr Chikamnayo, by his desire, had simply made use of his constitutionally- guaranteed fundamental human rights.

Having conceded his entitlement to his fundamental human rights, it is, however, necessary to point out certain facts I consider, in my humble opinion, could be morally undeniable.

Before I continue, I wish to state that I am one Man that strongly believes in the biblical injunction that the Labourer Deserves His Wages. It is, therefore, my firm belief that whoever works, be it in the Public or Private sector, even when one works for oneself, should be paid commensurately for work done.

Having made the above assertion and without, in any way, trying to hold brief for Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, I want to believe that the Governor, being humane, a former earner of wages by public sector engagement and a son of parents who were workers, would not naturally be insensitive to the plight of workers and pensioners in the State.

That Pensioners and some public servants in the State are owed must be a challenge that is worrisome to the Governor. I know I have heard the Governor on one or two occasions give assurances that his government will definitely address challenges in pensions and workers’ emolument.

On Barr Chikamnayo’s allegation that the Governor pays millions of naira to the family of Senator T A Orji, I think the lawyer could have conveniently avoided delving into this aspect. I say this because as a lawyer, he knows and should appreciate the fact that an allegation of this magnitude has to be backed by law of evidence. In the absence of substantiated or substantiable evidence, this allegation would naturally remain mere speculation and unfounded.

Personally, again without speaking for the immediate past Governor and his family, I will find it very difficult to be convinced that Senator T A Orji could be mounting financial pressure on his successor, Governor Ikpeazu.

My stand here is based on Senator Orji’s declaration on many occasions when he was Governor of the State. In many meetings of the State Executive Council, which he presided over as Governor and which had me as a Member, he repeatedly said and assured that whoever would be his successor would have no basis to quarrel with him. According to him, being guided by his experience with his predecessor, he would avoid those steps or demands that could irritate his successor in office.

Senator T A Orji is a seasoned and accomplished Administrator and Bureaucrat. I am honestly tempted to believe that the peace and cordiality that have been existing between Governor Ikpeazu and his Predecessor’s family might not be unconnected with Senator Orji’s conviction that his Successor must be allowed free hand and liberty to chart his course in governance.

As it concerns his displeasure that the first Son of Senator T A Orji, Rt Hon Chinedum Orji, emerged the Speaker of 7th Abia State House of Assembly, even as his father is also a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, my take is that the 7th Abia State House of Assembly is made up of twenty-four independent-minded legislators elected by their respective constituencies to represent them. Whatever decision they had taken in order to constitute their leadership, was purely internal and out of their own volition.

If we still agree on the essence of the Doctrine of Separation of Powers, there would be no justification trying to query who becomes the Speaker of the State’s House of Assembly. It is holistically an internal business of the House.

In respect of either legal or moral eligibility of Rt Hon Chinedum Orji to be elected Speaker of the State House of Assembly, the gentleman, both ways, is qualified. Here in Abia State, while Chief Orji Uzor Kalu was Governor, his younger brother, Nnanna, was a Member of the House of Representatives, not even representing his native Bende Federal Constituency but Aba-North and South Federal Constituency.

I hold the opinion, without wishing to cite many instances, that Rt. Hon Chinedum Orji has to be assessed on his personal credentials and merit. That his father was a Governor of Abia State should not, in any way, deprive him of his right to pursue his legitimate personal aspiration, for he has his life to live.

On a very important note, I must acknowledge that the issues raised by Barr Chikamnayo are ones that naturally would raise much concern in the State. They even have the capability of heating up the polity, if not well managed.

Deeply-speaking, I would think that Barr Chikamnayo, having been of the Establishment for years, including serving in the Ikpeazu’s first tenure, ought to have expressed his concerns through known administrative procedure. Except he had written memoranda or sent text messages to the Governor and he refused to acknowledge them, it was improper for him to have gone public, to the extent of his posts going viral.

Abia State needs maximum peace for development. In a very competitive economic society that is merely managing to grapple with hard knocks of national economic depression, making it difficult to guarantee the confidence of investors, the altercation and rancour emanating from Barr Chikamnayo’s posts, are not in the best interest of the State. This is more so when he has allegedly been creating the impression that his life is under threat, including those of his family members.

This alleged alarm, coming from a two or three-time former Spokesman and Image- Maker of the State, is capable of scaring investors to the State.

Like Emperor Hirohito instructed his people, ‘Let Us Make No More War, Let Us Make Peace And Allow The Economy Of Abia State Grow!

Written by Sir Don Ubani; KSC, JP, Okwubunka of Asa.

Former member of Abia State Executive Council.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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