Abia’s Ex-Governor T.A. Orji Remains The Worst Governor – Ukasanya
The founding Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State, Chief Tony Ukasanya, has said that former governor of the state, Chief Theodore Ahamefule Orji, is one of the worst performing governors Nigeria has ever produced.
Ukasanya, who was also a Board of Trustees member of the PDP and served in ex-Governor Orji’s government for 29 months before joining the All Progressive Congress (APC), said the former governor was chasing shadows when he called him (Ukasanya) a greedy and fair-weather politician that was receiving monthly allowance of N1 million as a political adviser and still making demands on him.
Ukasanya described Orji as one who ran government by deceit and ended up performing badly in office.
“He (Orji) ran the state as an uncivilised man, one who believed in using the resources of the state in buying cheap popularity, in place of using it to better the lot of the people. He is the only governor who did not build a single road during his eight-year tenure as Governor of Abia State. He remains one of the worst performing governors Nigeria has ever produced,” Ukasanya said.
On his work with Orji, he said: “He hiredme to launder his image, which was battered as a result of his political recklessness and incivility. He said he was surprised that I went back to Orji Kalu, who made him a governor. The truth is that I got back to Orji Kalu knowing the difference between the two people. I worked with TA Orji for 29 months and with Kalu for three to four years. I found out that Kalu was a better person to deal with than TA Orji. Kalu does not make promises he would not fulfill. TA Orji doesn’t keep promises.
“During his first tenure, Orji made several visits to me in my country home at Ubakala, trying to convince me to facilitate his return to PDP. I had discussions with him, and pleaded with other elders of the state and we all agreed to give him a try; but all we got was total disappointment. I served his administration for 29 months and discovered that he deceived me and others to help in stabilising his government, as all the promises he made were not fulfilled.
“He knew that I did not join his government for my personal interests. He should remember that Orji Uzor Kalu and I bargained to recruit him in 1998 when he was working with INEC. He knew my status during that period. After recruiting him in 1999, we promised to make him principal secretary to government, government secretary, permanent secretary and Chief of Staff, which he held until he went to prison. From prison, he was assisted by Orji Uzor Kalu to become the governor of Abia State in 2007.
“TA Orji is a man you sit with and he will be telling you yes, when he actually means no. Orji Kalu, on the other hand, keeps to his word and promises. During the time I worked with TA Orji, I did my best to give his government a boost, both in the state and the nation.”
But, this reporter asked, TA Orji said you were awarded a contract and never executed after collecting money…
“As I speak with you, government is owing me about N68 million, which he refused to pay before leaving office. So he lied saying that he awarded me contract and paid me upfront. He never paid. He did the same to so many contractors in and outside the state.
“He had intentions of ‘dealing’ with anyone he suspected of having the same political aspirations as him. He would do everything within reach to ensure that he either incapacitates the person politically, drain the person’s finances or any other thing that would make the person not have money to challenge him politically. He believed that the best way to deal with some of us was to fleece us of our money through giving us contracts, which we would use our money to execute and he would not pay. He did the same to many other people in Abia.
“When I was his adviser, I asked him to make sure that he reactivated the regional water scheme. He started it and abandoned it immediately I left his administration. He should tell Abians what he did with their billions for eight years, without infrastructure on the ground. There is no water, no hospital; what he did at Amachara Hospital and Abia State University Teaching Hospital, they are all death traps now. Anyone who goes there has made up his mind to die. Go to Abia State University Teaching Hospital, it is just painted structures, no equipment. There is no water, proper ventilation, electricity and equipment. Go to the so-called state secretariat and see the quality of the buildings. There is no electricity and toilet facility,” he said.
When Daily Sun noted that Orji was now a senator, Ukasanya quipped that: “It was evidently clear that nobody voted for him. We shall see the next place he will fraudulently go after this place. Now as a senator, what contributions would such a person make to better the conditions and lives of his constituents? In a civilised world, a person like TA Orji shouldhave faced the court to answer charges on what he did with the federal allocation and IGR for eight years.
“This man should have been in prison, convicted for failure to give account of his stewardship for the number of years he served as the governor of the state.
“When I was still in PDP, he made a promise about his successor. He said that the elders of this state, the party and himself would jointly decide who would take over from him. He reneged and decided to single-handedly appoint his successor, to continue being a de facto governor after serving out his tenure. When I found out that it was his intention, I opposed it, but because he has the treasury of the government under his control, he was able to actualise his wish. His successor cannot perform. This is because he is just like a man who is asked to go and swim with his hands and legs tied. This is the kind of governor he has made.
“At the House of Assembly, he made sure that the governor was not in control. On the executive structure, he made it such that the governor has no right to choose his Chief of Staff and others to serve him. The governor cannot control the Attorney-General, Secretary to the State Government, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
“The deputy governor is the nominee of TA Orji and his son; so with such a structure (Governor Okezie) Ikpeazu can never perform. As a young man, he would like to make a name, but he won’t get that chance, except he tries to unfetter himself from Orji and his family.
The Ngwa people, who are happy that they have a governor of their own extraction, will, along the line, find out that the way things are in this state, this governor will not serve them. I want the governor to bear in mind that Nigeria of today is different from what we had two years ago; whatever he does, he should bear in mind that at the end of his tenure, he will give account of his stewardship to Abians.
“I am also calling on Orji to come and give account of his stewardship to the people of Abia before the people, on their own, drag him out to do so.”