By Johnson Eze
It is no longer news that three local governments in Isiala Ngwa axis that fall within the Abia central senatorial zone have endorsed Sen. Theodore Orji for a second term in the senate. Meaning they are satisfied with his performance and therefore ready to vote him in come 2019 general election.
Similarly, the respective party chairman of Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP in the remaining local governments that make up Abia central senatorial district have also met and endorsed Senator Orji for the second term. The implication is that while grass-root leadership of the party he contested and won the senate seat is already rooting out for him to continue, the electorates in his constituency are singing the same song of continuity.
With the scenario at sight, the distinguished senator has over 90 percent chance of winning the senate seat for the second time if it pleases him to re-contest and he appears unperturbed by whatever any other candidate of whatever political party or acronym could have as political strategy.
The question most discerning minds are asking is what is the special quality in Sen Orji that has so endeared him to his constituents? The answer to this pertinent question will lead to addressing the issues of credible leadership which distinguished senator Orji personifies especially in the context of Abia politics.
In a politically dynamic state like Abia, where a former governor like Chief Orji Uzor Kalu has been struggling to no avail to win senate seat even for a half term, Senator Orji has been witnessing series of delegations endorsing him and asking him to re-contest and continue for the second terms.
The truth is that democracy is gradually taking root in Nigeria and water is finding its level. The natural selection process in the legendary Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory is manifesting in politics of Nigeria. That is many have come into the field of play , few made the mark and are chosen.
Just as practiced in the developed democracies like the United states of America which Nigeria is emulating some of its element of governance, parliamentarians that perform well are usually supported to return many times. Senators like Robert Carlyle Byrd from West Virginia spent about 52 in the US senate. Daniel Ken from Hawaii spent about 32 years, James Strom Thurmond from South Carolina spent 40 years, and Edward Moore Kennedy spent from Massachusetts spent about 35 years.
In United Kingdom, Williston Churchill served in British Parliament for 63 years and Charles Pelham Villiers served for 62 years until his death in 1898 at the age of 96 years 13 days. In Italy, some parliamentarians are appointed for a lifetime. It all depends on the leadership quality one brings to the table will determine how the electorate and indeed followership will respond to it.
Like philosophers usually adduce, that nothing happens without a cause. Sen Orjis’s rising profile in Abia state politics and by extension Nigeria did not come on a platter of Gold. It is a harvest of the senator’s unwavering dedication to the service of his people at various times he is opportuned to be entrusted public office.
In all, the occasion leadership has beckoned on him it has always been a story of golden fish having no hiding place and moving him from one level of glory to another.
For instance, for the period he worked in civil service, the independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to be precise, he distinguished himself in service to the extent that he was easily spotted like a white sheep in the mist of dark goats. Consequently, he attracted the government of the day and was expressly appointed as the Chief of staff to the governor.
In the same vein, when the time to elect the Governor of Abia came, his style of handling assigned responsibilities put him ahead of all rivals that it was an easy ride for him to clinch party ticket and subsequently win the governorship position of Abia state without much effort. He was re-elected for another four years making it altogether eight years on the saddle. If the Nigerian constitution had not set limit to tenure of Governors, he would have still been there till date.
Within the period Sen Orji was governor, he showed that peace and security was neither depends on bullets and guns nor on policing. If people are adequately taken care of by their government, there would never be crisis of any form
Though Abia state is not the richest state in Nigeria in terms of resource allocation or internally generated revenue capacity, Ochendu as he is fondly called was able to utilize the moderate resource o the satisfaction of many. Roads, bridges, Electricity, healthcare-general infrastructure and amenities required of government were provided within the limit of available fund.
In like manner, human capacity building, poverty alleviation, credit facilities in the form of soft loans were showered to deserving Abians in a balanced form.
As if the various good governance initiatives he brought to bear in the God’s own state were not enough, Ochendu stick out his neck and preached political fairness in Abia state like a pastor on the pulpit and insisted that Abia charter of equity must be adhered to and obeyed. For the benefit of those who may not have the knowledge of this all important document-Abia Charter of equity is a power sharing agreement reached by founding father of Abia state prior to the creation of the state, in which it was agreed in principle that in order to ensure that no part of the state dominates each other, the positions of governorship, deputy governorship, Speakership of House of Assembly must rotate among the three senatorial zones that make up the state. Sen Orji fidelity to that age-long agreement gave rise to the chance of Abia senatorial zone producing the governor today in the person of Gov Okezie Ikpeazu.
These and many more distinguishing trump cards of Sen Orji made the Abia people to unanimously vote him to the senate of Federal republic of Nigeria to advance his good stewardship. In the senate, he occupies the office of deputy chairman of all important Senate committee on Agriculture. He remains one of the most vocal members of the senate and regularly makes meaningful contributions to issues in the chambers. He has many bills and countless motions that touch lives of Nigerians to his credit.
At the constituency level, he has carried out many life enhancing projects. For instance few months back he donated N100,000 to 73 youth /women which he sponsored on training at Root and Crops Research center on food processing and packaging. Another 20 persons also supported by him for integrated entrepreneurship training at the National Centre for Agriculture Ilorin, Kwara state also got cash donation of N100,000 each. Another 63 persons on the expense of Orji who completed vocational training on Mechanized farming from Federal college of Agriculture Ishiagu, Ebonyi state also got N100,000 each. Over 30 Tricycles were in addition shared to tricycle riders, 600 bags of fertilizers distributed to farmers. Earlier about 180 students of Abia central benefited from Sen Orji Scholarship .
With all these outpouring of service and support to the people he leads, who will not appreciate Sen Orji? Definitely none.
Johnson is the Editor-In-Chief of Instant Africa Magazine and writes from Abuja