Batty Ukaogo: A Supposed Education On Former Governor, Theodore Orji of Abia State (Part-1)
By Paul Ikechukwu Njoku
I was completely perplexed and unbearably shocked when i read about the litany of the unfair, biased assessments and induced vituperations meted out against the person of former Governor T. A Orji of Abia State by a certain self-acclaimed “elder statesman” in Abia State known as Chief Batty Ukaogo who is a native of Ohuhu in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State.
Chief Batty Ukaogo, recently granted an interview to an Abia State Journalist, and bitterly denigrated TA Orji’s administration as a former governor of Abia State and also tagged the adminstration of all the former governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) extraction in Abia State as “serial failures” mered with corruption, mismanagement and misappropriations.
In his interview which was widely published by some credible online media, Mr. Batty Ukaogo, vowed not to have seen any verifiable, confirmable and justifiable project executed by TA Orji and other known governors of Abia State.
He went further to say that “Abia State was taken by the devil in a God’s own State”. He also hypothesized that in Abia State, one is taken to be governor when not prepared.
As a matter of fact, i proudly and utterly disagree with Mr. Batty’s open but senseless tantrums, allegations, conflicting utterances, decharacterization, unwarranted damages, insincere views and unfair hate speech.
A man who contested to be Governor of Abia in the Second Republic under the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) which was a dominant political party in from 1979-1983 should not be telling unbridled and misleading lies against human persons simply because of his unresolved conflict of conscience to the core facts of the aforementioned economic development in Abia State specifically under governor TA Orji amongst other governors in Abia State.
In as much as no human is a monopoly of perfection, there must be other notably good and encouraging strides of every human.
Mr. Batty Ukaogo is a known secret agent with penchant for lies, deceit, propaganda, envy and callousness who once sought to be relevant in Abia politics but was rejected and perceived a theory of uselessness and beautiful nonsense who dances naked at the market square with a historic personality disorder in his pervasive family fundamentals.
Since Mr. Ukaogo has demonstrated and subjected himself to a lowest level of sincerity, commitment, maturity and truthfulness, I have decided to educate him in this episode (series) on some of the giant strides of TA Orji as the then governor of Abia State from 2007-2015.
As the third civilian governor of Abia State, Governor Theodore Ahamefule Orji, raised the bar in delivering the dividends of democracy to his people.
He always kept at the back of his mind that the people of Abia elected him to render the dividends of democracy to them and as such, never disappointed them.
The Abia State government, under the administration of TA Orji, displayed an uncommon zeal and determination to confront the need to create access roads for its people. Towards this end a large chunk of the state’s resources was channeled towards reconstruction and maintenance of a network of roads in both Umuahia the capital city and Aba the commercial city.
The roads completed by the administration include the following:
The Abia Tower (Ossah)Â Okpara Square dualized Road; the Uwalaka Ahia-Orie Ugba Road; Ibeku Road extension, Ozuitem Street, Abam-Orie Ugba Street, Umuovom Nkatta Road (Ochendo Bye-Pass), Ahieke-Okwuta-Isieke Road with spur to the Cenotaph, Uyo Street, Okwulaga-Afaraukwu Road, Umuafai-Lodu-Ahieke Road, Link Road between Aba Road and Timber Market, Nkata Ameke Road, Nkata-Alike Ring Road, New Secretariat By-pass, Ubakala-Old Umuahia dualised Highway, internal Roads in Abia State House of Assembly, Abia Transport Road, Enyiukwu Road, Okigwe Park Bye-pass and the asphalt overlay of over twenty-five streets within Umuahia the state capital.
In Aba, Governor Orji completed the Okwu Street, Ezeogo Road (Opposite Ngwa High School), Nwala Street, Mount Zion Street, Ikonne Street and the rehabilitation of A-line and F-line, Ariaria Market. Other roads completed in Aba include: Umule Road, Umuocham Azikiwe, Okigwe, Faulks and Orieohazu.
TA Orji, mustered the political will out of love and zeal to leave lasting legacies when he embarked on the construction and installation of the much-needed drainage in Aba as seen at Ama-Ogbonna and Ngwa Road by East respectively.
Recall the Unity Garden/Osisioma Ring Road, Timber and Allied Products Market internal Roads, Uratta Road, Dualization of Aba-Owerri Road with the spur at the Osisioma Ngwa end of the Enugu-Port-Harcourt expressway and the dualization of Aba-Port Harcourt Road, Udu Street, Umugo Ugwunagbo Road, Uratta, Ngozi Avenue, Omenazu, Okigwe Road and East Street all in Aba metropolis.
Ochendo also accomplished a road project on the Umuafai-Agbama Road, Ahia-Isiama-Afaraukwu Road, Nkata-Alaike-Umukabia Road, Umuekwule-Umukabia-Amaogwugu Road, Ofeme (Okpara) Road, Ugwunchara Road, Nkata Â House of Assembly Road.
In the rural areas, his government also worked on the Ozu-Abam Ndi-Okereke Road, Amaekpu-Okagwe-Ohafia Road, Amankalu-Alayi-Akoli-Imenyi Road, Ariam- Usaka-Ikwuano Road, Nunya-Eluama-isuikwuato Road, Ovim-Isuikwuato Road, Aba-Obikabia Road, Umugo-Alaoji-Umunka-Umuodo-Ugwunagbo Road, the Ntigha-Mbawsi Road, Iyienyi-Okwoi-Ozuitem Road, Umueze-Agbo-Ubani Ibeku Road, Nkata Mbom Road, three internal roads in Ossah and the Achara-Ihechiowa Road.
All these are in addition to the rehabilitation of federal roads in Abia State which he embarked via massive reconstruction of the Aba-Owerri Road, the Aba- Port-Harcourt Road and the Aba-Ikot-Ekpene Road. The then governor also tackled the perennial flooding at the Binez
Junction of Aba Owerri Road, where motorists hitherto spent precious man-hours before crossing over.
In 2009, TA Orji, rolled out the Abia City Transport Scheme which aside creating gainful employment for Abia people, equally resolved the perennial problem of lack of adequate and befitting intra-city transportation in Abia State. The state government also gave out over 500 vehicles under the Transport Loan Scheme.
To complement the essence of acquiring taxis and ensure the sustainability of the objectives, TA Orji, rolled out new sets of dial-a-cabs, modeled after the transport system in developed states in which you can call and they come and pick you from wherever you are.
He acquired executive buses and cars for the Abia Line Network to serve the needs of the people. As at 2010, over 2,500 buses and taxis were acquired to ameliorate and ease the transport challenges in the state.
Governor Orji, also provided free transportation every Christmas and Easter periods for the indigenes of the state living far away. The Ochendo administration introduced the novel free school buses that conveyed pupils and students in the state to and from school.
In 2007, the Abia State Government under TA Orji, sustained the street lights in areas where they were installed just as several streets were linked to the scheme whereby enabling almost every street in Umuahia and Aba lighted at night.
In response to global trends to conserve the eco-system and reduced global warming, the Abia State government under his government, was in the process of converting all our street lights to Solar-Powered Panels so that they can be less harmful to the environment.
His government intensified its drive towards rural electrification by distributing transformers to over 270 communities within the rural areas to ensure that they werere connected to the National Electricity Grid.
In addition, there was a partnership with Geometric Power Incorporated to ensure the speedy realization of the Aba Independent Power Project.
Another milestone in provision of public utilities was the work at the 504 MW Power Line at Umuobasi-Ukwu, Ugwunagbo L.G.A under the auspices of the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP).
In the area of water supply, the “water-must-flow” programme waa sustained with the constant maintenance of existing water works while also opening up new regional water scheme in various communities in the state. Through the World Bank/FGN Millennium Development Goal Programme, the State Government assisted in the installation of over 140 water boreholes in mostly rural communities in the state. Governor Orji, donated 40kva generators to Federal Government-owned media organizations in Abi state.
From the inception of his government, Governor Theodore l Orji did not leave any discerning mind in doubt of his intention to see that education is prioritized being a graduate of the prestigious University of Ibadan.
Consequently, on assumption of office, the former Governor, increased monthly subvention to all the tertiary institutions in the state.
The inherited moribund State Scholarship Board was reactivated with the Scholarship Board living up to its responsibilities by ensuring regular bursary disbursement to indigent Abians.
The Board also reactivated the Overseas Scholarship Scheme by which it granted bursaries to over twenty-five students of Abia State origin studying in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Asia.
Allocations was approved by the Orji’s administration for the Board to ensure that the scheme is continued and not like a flash in a tea cup.
The state under his administration, also increased the fleet of buses in its Free-School-Bus Scheme for students in Secondary Schools and repackaged the scheme to ensure effective and efficient service delivery.
As the most adored then governor by the Nigerian Students given the plethora of awards from both students and the PTA, Governor Orji, reciprocated positively to the chummy relationship between him and the Nigerian Students.
It was his love to see the Nigerian child realize his potential through learning, that spurred the Governor to sponsor the Rochas Foundation in its Face of Hope Project aimed at removing one million Nigerian kids from the streets. He also approved a piece of land for the Foundation to build its school in the State. As if that was not enough, Chief Orji, instituted a private scholarship scheme for 25 undergraduates in various disciplines within the country. This project had the respected Catholic Bishop of Umuahia, Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, as the Board Chairman.
He also extended welfare packages to some non-state owned tertiary institutions by donating buses to federal government-owned schools.
All the tertiary institutions in the State remained citadels of academic excellence with full accreditation and excellent student performances.
Similarly, approximately N200 Million was expended in massive renovation works in primary and secondary schools to ensure their suitability for learning with the project spread across the three senatorial zones in Abia State.
These interventions in the educational sector started bearing fruits as can be gleaned from the plethora of laurels and awards garnered by the state at various national and zonal competitions.
In 2013, the State took the overall best position in the Universal Basic Education Commission Good Performance rating for the entire South-East Zone; the State also came second in the South-East Zone and was rewarded with a plaque and cash prize of seventy million naira. The achievements indeed are endless.
TA Orji’s government faced heavy challenges in her quest to improve the environmental status of the State
His government confronted the menace of the refuse in Abia State.
His government pulled down all the shanties that defaced the city as well as provided-den cocoon for criminals and other undesirable elements. Street sweepers were engaged to keep the streets clean and tidy on a daily basis by alsy watering the flowers planted on the median of dualized roads in State. This is in addition to the complete de-silting of blocked drainages and construction of new ones as witnessed in Ama-Ogbonna and Our Lady’s in Aba and Uwalaka Street in Umuahia.
Ochendo, vigorously pursued its beautification project by ensuring the mapping out of selected areas as green areas and parks. These green areas and parks under the supervision of Open Spaces Commission was realized.
His administration was able to remove to better locations and with better management, the two dump sites at Ubakala and Osisioma which hitherto constituted a nuisance to the public especially visitors.
Adequate efforts were made to contain the erosion menace sites in Abia State while making representations to the Ecological Funds Unit of the Presidency for their intervention because erosion sites in Abia State are beyond what the state can handle alone.
However, his government resiliently tackled some of the menacing ones to protect the immediate environment from further collapse. Among the sites that received attention from the state are the Amankwo Umuopara Erosion Site, Amaiyi Uhu and Uturu Erosion Sites as well as the Amankalu Igbere, Alayi and Ohafia Erosion Sites.
Ochendo, religiously aspired to provide meaningful development by providing job employment. It is in the pursuit of this goal he reached out to several companies both local and foreign, who in turn favourably responded to the call to partner with the government in her industrial and commercial development.
The modern ceramics industries was back to business and fully functional after 14 years of inactivity. This was as a result of the partnership entered into with UCL Consortium, promoted by the Catholic Diocese of Umuahia to revitalize the industry. The project was commissioned by the then President Goodluck Jonathan on January 30, 2009.
He initiated the resurrection of Golden Guinea Breweries after years of inactivity, with the factory engineers who commenced the installation of the new equipment and tying up some lose ends amongst the core investors. The plant and production came back to life in Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s tenure though.
The International Glass Industry at Aba, which was part-leased to Churchgate Group, commissioned a new production line during TA Orji’s government being the first major activity undertaken by the Aba Glass Industry in the past ten years. With the new production line, the company was the largest manufacturer of pharmaceutical bottles in Nigeria.
The Aba Malting Plant built by the Nigeria Breweries Plc was commissioned by TA Orji’s Government. It will be recalled that the Nigerian Breweries closed their brewing plant at Aba years ago but returned and resumed full production under the TA-led goverment.
The state also entered into strategic partnership with the Hermes Juno Consortium to develop several projects in Abia State. The first was a Modular Refinery at Owazza in Ukwa-East Local Government Area of the State. The Refinery also has a bye-product, a fertilizer plant within the same complex. The company in addition constructed Housing Estate for inhabitants of the area. The Hermes Juno Consortium also won the bid for the setting up of a Cement Factory at Arochukwu.
Orji’s government equally recorded appreciable feats in Agricultural Development. In 2008, Abia State hosted the 5th National Cocoa Day in Umuahia which had the then President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, in attendance alongside thirteen deputy governors.
Abia State under Ochendo, graduated the first batch of students in her Youth-in-Agriculture Initiative, making it the first state nationwide to graduate students from the National Scheme.
His government made appreciable giant strides in the area of Cocoa Development while increasing the quantity of fertilizers distributed to her farmers annually in addition to giving every necessary support. This was evident in the acquisition of fifty-five tractors from the Federal Government to assist farmers migrate from subsistence to mechanized farming.
TA Orji positioned Abia State to benefit from the scheme earmarked by the Jonathan-led Federal Government as grants to commercial and large-scale farmers. The Abia Palm Estate in Ohambele, Ukwa-East Local Government Area, which was comatose for twelve years, was handed over to Frie-El Consortium of Italy for revitalization.
The company revitalized the Mbawsi Oil Mill and transplanted twenty thousand palm seedlings from its nursery at Ekiti State to the Abia Palm Estate, Ohambele, for immediate take-off of the estate then.
The State Government under his administration, acquired land at Okwoi for the pilot project of massive planting of plantains and bananas using the Songhai farm model. Abia Rubber at Abam in Arochukwu Local Government Council was reactivated. To re-position the economy of Abia to attaining self-sufficiency, the state government under the supervision of the State Planning Commission in collaboration with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and Alpha Institute organized the first-ever Abia Economic Summit. The Summit adjudged laudable had in attendance all the world-class economic operators from Abia who were also part of the resource persons for the very successful summit.
In line with the mindset of creating an economy less dependent on allocation from the Federal Government, the State Government under TA Orji, wholeheartedly provided the needed incentive for the reviving of the tourism industry in the State. In the 2012 Abuja Carnival, Abia State won the first prize.
The Azumini Blue River is an International Tourist Centre recognized by the United Nations. The resort has however not been fully utilized but his government initiated to build a proposed world-class tourist centre there.
Abia State, under TA Orji, recorded considerable giant strides in the area of health care delivery in the State.
He equipped and up-graded one hospital in every senatorial zone into a referral hospital for specialist treatments and diagnosis. His administration undertook a massive re-equipping and modernization of the Amachara General Hospital as the pilot hospital for Abia Central Senatorial Zone and the Abia State University Teaching Hospital Aba to serve the people of Abia South Senatorial Zone whilst the Umunnato General Hospital serve as a Specialist Hospital for the Abia North Senatorial Zone.
He acquired the defunct gigantic Alaoma Hospital on Aba Road in Partnership with MEI-CARE of India, with the intention to make it one of the best referral diagnostic centres in the South East. This Abia Diagnostic Centre installed with the state-of-the-art equipment for easy and early detection of causes of ailment especially in the areas of renal diseases was termed ‘Ochendo Wonder’.
In the rural communities, the state government complemented the Federal Government to ensure the attainment of the Millennium Development goals which built and equipped 165 Health Centres in various villages in Abia state.
The Ochendo government distributed ambulances to ten Local Government Areas in Abia State to aid in conveying pregnant rural women to the nearest hospital in order to guarantee safe delivery.
In addition, he undertook massive refurbishment and expansion of works at the School of Health Technology Aba, the School of Nursing, Umuahia and the Uzuakoli Tuberculosis and Leprosy Centre.
Crime and criminality in Abia State was drastically reduced during Ochendo’s era as one notorious and murderous kidnap-kingpin, Osisikankwu, was hunt down and crushed to the grave.
I therefore wish that Chief Batty Ukaogo would render an unreserved apology for misleading and exciting Abia people against TA Orji and others whilst we await for the part-2 of this article which would be released very shortly.