Fifteen passengers and driver cheated death in Delta State

By Odimegwu Onwumere

As the reporter was coming back from Lagos to Port Harcourt on Sunday, May 25 2014, for the Promasidor Quill Awards for journalists, where he was a runner-up of the awards with his investigative report titled, “CSR: Companies Fare In Nigeria”, filed under one of the seven categories of the awards named, “Best CSR & Industry Report of the Year”, this accident happened.

It was not the bus that he was in, but the one the bus he was in was following. What caused the accident could not be ascertained, as there was no collision with the bus and another vehicle.

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The accident happened with the speed of breeze, with full 15 commuters in the bus. It jumped on the barricade between the two-expressways along Agbor, Ekwuoma areas of Delta State.

The bus fell sideways and, was immediately turned to stand again by passersby. The reporter saw commuters in it wreathing in pains of wounds they sustained. Their luggage spread on the road.  But no life was lost.

However, due to the painful mood of all, neither the driver nor any of the passengers commented to the reporter on the cause of the accident.

But there were suspicions that it could be that the driver was sleeping or he was not a master in driving or he was doping that could have caused the accident, as there was no sign of pothole on the road.

(Photo: by Odimegwu Onwumere)

A future wrecked by divorce

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Tom Ugo is not his real name. He was 4 years old when his parents were divorced in 2012, because of what they said were their irreconcilable differences. Ugo did not go to school in the preceding year due to the quandaries that the divorce had degenerated into.

Ugo’s family resided in Oyigbo, a suburb of Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, during the time of their troubles. His parents fought over who should take custody of Ugo. While doing so, they did not take into cognizance the sermon by experts on marital challenges that parents’ divorce will mean breaking of trust among their children. Also, they did not mind the matrix that says what is on the mind of every child is to see their family being stable and last with love.

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(Picture: From Internet)

Given the situation, Ugo’s parents were not in the near to recognize the anxiety their separation from marriage was causing him. His hope was shattered. No professional counselling or approaches seemed to be in place to tame and manage the experiences of Separation Anxiety Disorder that supervened. Ugo’s parents later went back to court and were cleared on who should take custody of the young boy. Making clear the security and care for Ugo by the court Ugo will go to school again by living with his mother.

Ugo had to start going to school again in 2014. Although, Ugo’s mother won the custody of keeping Ugo, the impact of the divorce was still visible. The young Ugo was always upset by the issue of separation. He hardly kept useful routine at home. This was because he could not maximize the benefits he needed from both parents he would have loved to live together. Unpredictability and poor structure caused by the separation of his parents was quickly weighing him down.

What is the origin of divorce? Has it a history? Divorce is as old as the origin of human family relationships. Some early history of divorce was traced to Europe around 1857; and in that early era, only men were permitted to divorce. In this period of time, there was Matrimonial Causes Act. This act allowed ordinary people to divorce. Though all men were presumed to marry and divorce, the right to divorce through the Act of Parliament was only opened to the rich. Divorce was hugely an expensive social occurrence then. From Henry VIII to White v White as reported on Saturday 19 September 2009 investigation by a broadsheet, Henry VIII was granted a divorce by the Archbishop of Canterbury, long before then. Church courts retained the power to dissolve marriages.

Conversely, whichever institution that retains the autonomy to dissolve marriages, psychoanalysis by a Gimba Abdullahi Liman on June 15 2012 expressed the concern of one Mrs. Maryam Mohammed Madam, a Sociologist, in the Department of General Studies, Federal Polytechnic Bida that divorce has negative effects on children’s education. It highlighted the impact of physical, emotional, cognitive, moral and educational effects on the children. Liman in his summation, added that the single parent no longer has ample time for the children and they fall victim of many antisocial behaviours from peer groups. Parenting as a single household is increasingly under pressure to do better and save children faced with stressful lives of here today with a mother and there tomorrow with a father in shared time lines.

Coming to terms with a high rate of divorce in society these days, many children in Nigeria are being exposed to divorce that many had to repeat class over and over. In the event that children from divorced backgrounds did not drop out from school in its entirety, a child is easily trapped with poor school performance and repeating of classes. They are subjected by their parents’ divorce to experience rejection, trouncing of love and bodily injury. In school, they show traits of urchins, because they were not given attention and, are made to be unhappy. The impact of divorce on children is no easy emotional and stressful development.

Such children with divorce experiences may engage in drugs and other social crimes such as petty stealing, suicide, murder. They suffer the psychological and social issues of their parents’ divorce anywhere they went. Some of them show serious mental health outcomes to deal with. The consequence of which will give their school authorities a handful of troubles that they cannot contain. Many suffer from delayed learning process; while others who are not in bodily contact with each of their parents, may fail to equal the level of the educational achievements of their parent.

The list of challenges on children caused by divorce is a long one. The least of the effects that children of school going age may suffer in divorce situations in Nigeria can range from poverty to traumatic health imbalances. In the so-called civilized climes, children who are suffering from psychological traumas, as a result of divorce, are subjected to undergo psycho-educational testing. But in Nigeria they would be dropped out of school, due to the lackadaisical approach with which governments at all levels handle the issues pertaining to educators and parents.

Apart from that there is hardly any role of the government to determine the life of a child’s uneasiness at school. Just recently, the Director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, in Nigeria, Professor Hassana Alidou at a launch of the Education For All, EFA, Global Monitoring Report, GMR, said that Nigeria has some of the worst educational indicators in the world.

UNESCO’s representative in Nigeria disclosed that the menace is already costing governments $129 billion a year; ten per cent of the global spending is on primary education, yet, hardly a child out of four children can read a single sentence or solve a simple mathematics. UNESCO feared that it would take poorest young women in developing countries of Asia and Africa until 2072, for all to be literate.

This is coming after the body lamented in a report that over 10 million Nigerian children of school age are not in school. It is observable that children from divorced homes have inattentive and uncooperative manners and are beleaguered at school. And while these children suffer learning processes, hardly has any school in the country appropriately engaged a school psychologist that could examine the child and offer some appropriate counseling measures in order to place the child properly in school.

It is known that some schools attempt to say they have school counselors, who may have read such courses at school, but they are not professionals, who could have responsibility of a department, as observers and analyzers of troubles associated with behaviours of concern related to divorce at school. Factors that most times put the children’s academic future in danger could be itemized under frivolities of divorce.

Lately, a 50 year old business man whose name was given as Mr. Saliu Adesokan reportedly implored an Igando Customary Court in Lagos to dissolve his 17-year-old marriage to his wife, Jumoke Adesokan, for switching his children to Christianity. According to comments credited to Mr. Adesokan, he had enrolled his children in an Islamic school, but his wife withdrew them from the school and took them to church. But the wife, whose age was given at 45, said that it was the children, who on their own preferred attending church and, that she had no hand in their choice for church.

Investigation revealed that Mr. Adesokan had divorced his first two wives claiming that they had bad conduct; a case that Jumoke said that her step daughters were making life depressed for her and had turned her into a knocking bag. According to her, “If I report them to my husband, what he always says is that leave them, they will soon go to their husband’s houses, he will not even scold them.”

On March 5, 2014, Mr. Yusuf Abdulkareem, an Ilorin Upper Area Court Judge, apparently decried the high rate of divorce in the country and how it is disadvantageous to the future of children. Abdulkareem made this disclosure in Ilorin. He informed newsmen: “Children get wayward and unsecured as soon as their parents dissolve their marriage, because two good hands are better than one in training a child. You see children going into prostitution, armed robbery and other terrible acts just because their parents are no more together and they see themselves as being hopeless.”

The irony of divorce is that while the couple enjoys the attention they sought for in the hands of the authorities, the children do not, from such marriage. It is visible that children respond to divorce differently, depending on their gender, age and juncture of development. They have a feeling that since their parents could not stay together it was imperative that they did not love themselves.

Divorce is a current social crisis in Nigeria that is affecting children’s education. From across the regions – East, West, South and North – the story is the same. Northern areas of Nigeria continue to be hit by the nuisances of insurgents and divorce. The plague called almajiri could not be a product only created by the Islamic education system in the north, but, also, by failed marriages and family values.

Freshly, the Federal Government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Jonathan Goodluck government instituted Almajiri Education Programme in order to tackle the menace. But how seriously the nineteen states in the north and the Muslim clerics are that the almajiris utilize the school system modeled in a Western education form, does not meet the eyes.

According to a source: “The nineteen states in the north have had little success in containing the problem of the almajiris, facing strong resistance from Muslim clerics in the more traditional Muslim states of the north against any policy that is seen to restrict the operations of Islamic schools that are the source of these almajiris.”

The source was worried that the high rate of divorce in that region of the country is telling on children. The source also informed that since Muslims form the large part of the population of the north and are authorized to marry more than one wife, polygamy is rife “with 38% of those in rural areas and 22% of those in urban areas in polygamous marriages.”

Not even the religious and civic and traditional orders on marriage have helped the Nigerian children from being the most affected in divorce. Such children will most often hawk and beg, on the streets, to augment their income for wellbeing. The Universal Basic Education scheme (UBE) has a limit in funding the basic school, let alone, the children who are financially constrained.

It is unclear how the Matrimonial Causes Act enacted in 1970 has saved or is saving marriages in the country. The Act was primarily formulated to address the issue of dissolution of marriages under three separate laws. Social pundits apparently regret that what the Act had mainly focused on was to register more marriages than to solve the problem of dissolution of marriages.

One Rita Gonyok who was a youth corper with National Press Centre, Abuja, on 10 July 2008 advised that parents who propose to divorce should take their children’s security and their stability into consideration in order not to jeopardize their future. She warned that there is no loss that is heavier and that could be measured in both parents and the children than that of contested and devastating divorce.

She frowned at divorce because, according to her, it causes the children untold stress, complications in sleeping, problems in schooling, nervous habits, recurring physical behaviours, and a relapse of episodes of behaviours. The dangers of such emotional stresses will result in bed-wetting, fears, and at randomly taking solace in undesirable pastime activities to wreck their future.

In Gonyok’s strong view, children may become clingy and whiny and they may need greater understanding of their moods and behaviour. She warned that children have a greater need to be nurtured; but failure of which may in turn impose greater need to “take care” of their parents. She added that giving up one’s childhood to care for emotionally troubled parents is an all-encompassing characteristic outcome in children of divorced family.

The outcome of disturbed emotions translates into behaviours of concern that impede learning and positive contribution to one’s society. This is more noticeable among children challenged with circumstances of their parental divorce. By experiencing children faced with sporadic and planned divorce, educators in Nigeria must truly find ways to work with professionals in the field of child education and complex needs to make them better persons through balanced psychological, supportive and positive behaviour approaches.

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet/Writer based in Rivers State. Contact: +2348057778358. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

Transcript from Odimegwu Onwumere’s speech on Saturday, May 24th 2014, for being a nominee of the Promasidor Quill Awards for journalists which event took place at the Grand Ballroom, Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos

Men of the Press, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Today marks another milestone for journalism in Nigeria. It is a day when people of the media are again celebrated. It is a day that patriots are recognized outside politics. I am grateful to share in this banquet. Although, I cannot remember the actual date when I began the work that drew smiles on the faces of these honourable judges that have won me this nomination today.

Odimegwu Onwumere

But I can remember it was 9-something in the morning on May 20, 2014 when I received a call from a soft-spoken Mr. Charles Igbinedu who introduced himself as calling from Promasidor. And I had been nominated for the Promasidor Quill Awards. I was immediately and loudly, ecstatic. I remember Mr. Igbinedu laughing quietly at me.

My mind raced straight to the powerful and generous editor of the “Nigerian Pilot” who read my article and saw fit to publish it.  My mind still turned as hundreds of thoughts moved through my head like the wind.  I’m not sure that I can thank the editor enough. But I believe him to be one of the great un-explored media gurus in the country.  He is an intelligent and humble man who recognized human dignity and I look forward to day when we meet in person so I can shake his hand in appreciation and gratitude.

It is my greatest joy to continue my career’s journey celebrating this nomination today.  Though even as I do, out there – in the towns and villages – there are many talented people who could have just as easily been here with us, maybe even as winners, sharing their mammoth experiences through the written word. These persons with the rare and powerful gift of the written word locked inside, work steadily at hidden altars of writing without acknowledgement, appreciation, completely unknown. I was once just like them!

While this nomination I am receiving today could be attributable to the untiring hard work that began in 1994, I understand that great words than mine are being placed on paper that we never see.  I have listened to the radio and watched TV where governments at all levels have awarded national honours to people. Folks among them did not contribute what many of the newspapers, radio, TV, citizen editors and journalists contribute on daily basis in making sure that there is a balanced society. Yet, I am not sure we do not have any that has been recognized in that capacity.

If there is any, check the person proper, he or she might not be neutral with his or her journalism practice and with the government activities. But I’ve heard of such awards, awarded to musicians, films actors, footballers… And everyday, there are complaints that our children and education are spiraling down. Then we ask, instead of “Bring Back The Book” as President Goodluck Jonathan started championing the project since 2010, what the government, at all levels, seem keen to bring back are the downsizing of literary people with an uttermost scorn.

The Guild of Editors today, is calling for funds to erect its official edifice. The Nigerian Writers Association’s (ANA’s), acres of land in Abuja have been there for years without any significant building that could be called ANA’s erection on it. The same story plays out with journalists. News websites in Nigeria hardly store or keep information on their different news sites for long period of time, unlike their western counterparts.

And I read somewhere that Nigeria would be using Africa as its “Internet Password” or something, like you have United Kingdom signing with UK. I ask, how can our children pay attention to reading when their government has shown and indirectly been infusing in them that these professions are better than literary works. Hence, our children model these professionals as role models against literary men in this country.

It could be such a mindset that propelled a lady I was bird-eyeing some years ago to abscond, because I told her that I was a writer. The comment that came out of her already poisoned mind was, “Writers do not feed well in Nigeria.” Another lady was uncomfortable to stay in my house and did not want to do anything with me again in life after seeing from the entrance of my apartment to the floor, to the parlour, bedroom, kitchen, in short, the whole of my house were books and newspapers.

When I asked why she ran away I learned she was worried that I hadn’t television, big records, computer games and other of her fantasies the environment had poisoned her mind with being more important than books. She saw books and newspapers as taboo and avoided the reader like a plague. Then, you wonder how seriously such a girl would take to reading. But by tomorrow, you will not be surprised to see her winning one national award, because she represented her state, school or the country as Miss XYZ, whereas her mates and elders who had buried their lives in books would not receive such acknowledgment. This is why I fought to make sure my words are not left unread, unknown on my altar and earn this nomination.

This is where the country has ebbed to. It is the same even in religion, everywhere. The journalist in Lagos or Abuja or elsewhere working hard to succeed in a pious manner is not given the same respect as his 419ner-mate enjoys or as the contractor, pension/police funds looters enjoy. Let me digress!

It is the same media that has been promoting and popularizing certain sections of religions, that have planted an obnoxious mindset, a thinking that they own the concept of “God”, simply because they are popular.

It would behove the authorities to give traditional believers the same status they have given to the two foreign religions of Christianity and Islam in the country. The marriages and activities of traditional believers should also be made popular and recognized. Recognised heads of villages in the country should be constitutionally empowered to sign traditional marriage bond. They should be allowed to enjoy any benefit that Christians and Muslims enjoy in Nigeria. Without this, Nigeria is yet to become a secular country!

I say that traditional believers should not (even atheists)  be relegated in Nigeria, because Arch-Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa once wrote a book titled, “God is not a Christian”. He says that one’s conscientiousness about God depends on where one was born. If you were born say in Afghanistan you will probably be a Muslim; if you were born in England you will probably be a Christian and vis-à-vis. I want to appeal that our history as a people from different ethnic groups in Nigeria, did not start with the coming of the rapacious Imperial Masters. It is time to invalidate the constitution of Nigeria and make traces of a constitution that will show largely what we believe in.  And practice as a people and not what Europe or America wants us to believe in.

Some of us have been writing for decades in Nigeria but still live a life of squalor. Footballers and artistes are promoted with funds. In this era of technologies, the internet is inundated with Nigerian writers. Many of them are not paid. Not even many of those working in the print houses. I was once told by a brother that came back from Europe that anything a freelancer contributed that was published in the newspapers there would, at least, place a plate of food on the table of the freelancer.

But the case here is that many of the newspapers houses are out of business and many more might go soon. Because, they do not have sponsors in government; their owners are not the occupants of either the state or federal government houses. The same is applicable to radio and TV stations. Some of these stations keep talking about football from the early hours in the morning they open to the next morning they want to on break. Because, Mr. President or Mrs. Governor is a fan of one foreign football clubs, whereas he or she is not a fan of one local football clubs, let alone, being a member of any literary organizations in the country that were instituted by individual efforts.

I’ve said in different forums that governments at all levels need to revive writers in Nigeria and the media houses as a matter of urgency. I have always said that the Nigerian government has to provide for the Nigerian writers/media men, like it has done to performance artistes in 2010. Government should invest in cultural infrastructure, such as the building of theatres, stadia, releasing funds to newspapers companies and hosting large festivals all over the country for writers/media men at all levels.

Government should build the Abuja Writers’ Village, which the late Mamman Jiya Vatsa procured for the Nigerian writers in 1985. The 56 acres of land is located at Mpape, a suburb of the Federal Capital, Abuja. The lackadaisical manner with which  government treat  writers/media men in the country is largely  responsible for  the underdeveloped reading/Education culture in the country  and, this should be quickly  addressed if we are serious about developing reading culture in Nigeria.

The government should help writers/media men by building standard and state-of-the-art publishing, radio/TV industries to cut cost of publishing. Constant scarcity of printing materials and electricity problem should abate. Dearth of trained publishing personnel should be re-addressed. Writing and broadcasting in indigenous languages should be re-awakened. The inconsistent education policies and lack of direction on the part of operators should be quickly addressed. Piracy and poor promotion and distribution of books should be aggressively dealt with.

My thanks, again, is not enough for the efforts of one man in helping me reach this point at the Promasidor Quill Award today. But I would like to dedicate this to the Feature Editor of the Nigerian Pilot, Mr. Alozie Emma. While that may last, it might be imperative that authorities should beam their lights on people like Alozie. He is a hidden treasure.

I thank all of you who have gathered here today and have waited patiently as the awards activities unfold. It was my article titled, “CSR: Companies Fare In Nigeria” that has brought me this far. We are only two nominees in the category of the awards called, “Best CSR & Industry Report of the Year”. And one person won.

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I thank my family members and relatives, my Chi, the organisers/sponsors of the awards, those who have assisted me in one way or another in my writing/media career.  I thank the Nigerian Pilot, inventors of the internet, the media houses and journalists across the world for always being innovative even in this world of uncertainties. Where in many countries journalists are seen and treated as terrorists and their media houses, theatres for terrorism.

I send my warmest regards to all the pen-pushers who are unjustly thrown into the prison. My empathy also goes to writers/media men who were killed by the enemies of truth they tried to unravel, as I appreciate the invaluable nomination for the Promasidor Quill Awards for journalists.

Thank you.

Odimegwu Onwumere ‘arrested’? No, not in Delta State, but in Abia State

By Odimegwu Onwumere

The Abia State Governor T.A Orji’s boys have been spreading falsehood with their pseudonyms and through blogs they create and on social networks that I was arrested in Delta State a fortnight. They said that it was due to my attempt to collect money from the Delta State government, according to them, because I wanted to blackmail the Delta State governor and, he refused.

They have also laced their fabrication with and, sheepishly said, that I’ve implicated the former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, as my sponsor. They also added their shame for the public to continue to ridicule them, saying that the honourable body for journalists in the country – Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) – has distanced itself in the faked arrest.

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They labeled me fake journalist, madman, rapist, blackmailer, kidnapper and whatever unprintable name you may think of on the mother earth. My only ‘sin’ was that I’ve been writing series of articles directing the government in Abia State to change its non-performing attitude and give the people dividends of democracy.

This is just the reason the government wants my head! But Gov. T.A Orji’s media goons thought otherwise and started to write against me in the only approach they know how to handle media matters – blackmail. They have been using this method to silence dissenters. Many people I knew who raised their voices at the early stage of this government and saw that their names were peevishly associated with such grumpy behaviours, they chickened away.

The media hooligans to and, with the governor of Abia State, could be surprise how I’ve resisted their evil agenda against me since 2012, they have been in this ugly trade of blackmailing me, for my critical views.

They will soon write that I am using Kalu’s brain to write, through cloning. Hope you read that I was arrested in Asaba, rapist, blackmailer, extortionist, fake journalist, madman etc.? My people, don’t mind the T. A Orji’s media-hoodlums.

Such write-up is all that they know how to write better. Anyway, thank you my people for your concern. I did not want to write about this type of tantrums targeted against me by the Abia State Government again, because I’ve written against such severally, for the records. And I’m responding again because of you; because you said that I should.

Please, am not working for Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu or for anybody, but for posterity of our children here and unborn. I’m working for my conscience. I’m very sure that the blackmail is coming from the media aides of Gov. T. A Orji. They have done this before. I don’t think they will stop. This is all they know how to do better.

They can’t deter me from my journalism practice. They are towing the line of the government in Umuahia they serve: A failed and denounced government.

As you can see am a very free man walking the streets and doing more investigative works than ever. They pose as ladies online for their kill, their gibberish-nuisance called my arrest in Delta State. Gov. T.A Orji’s boys have been peddling this about for so long. The media-assailants of the governor use different names and styles to blackmail their target.

They had once circulated that I raped a 10yr old, caught in extortion in Port Harcourt, arrested by Governor Chibuike Amaechi in extortion… But in all of this, if I was ever ‘arrested’ it is in our state of Abia State, where the governor is using blame and propaganda as tools for governance, where agberos have a field day and the quest for power becomes the shoddy ordeal of the masses.

I was ‘arrested’ in Abia where nobody in the government is ashamed, responsible for the woes that have become Abia State. I was ‘arrested’ in Abia State where Gov. T.A Orji is still blaming Kalu for the mis-governance he is exhibiting in Abia.

Imagine, Kalu who has left office as governor for close to 7yrs now, a governor in power is still blaming him for his failures as governor. Let us agree that Ndi-Abia are crying that had Kalu known that T.A Orji would be the thug to good governance he has become, he would not have supported him to become the governor of the state.

And Kalu has apologised for the apology that Gov. T.A Orji has become in the state.

I was ‘arrested’ in Gov. T.A Orji’s Abia State, where the government has no solution to direct the many issues confronting it except to marshal out media-mobsters to fight in conk manners against anybody that is perceived to be telling it the truth.

This is the limit of desperation to duty of the Abia State Government. I pity this government and its agents that have taken to habitual blame-game and falsehood to keep people away from communicating genuinely with others about it. Claptrap!

Odimegwu Onwumere, a Poet/Writer, writes from Rivers State.

Tel: +2348032552855

Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

http://www.odimegwuonwumere.wordpress.com

Abia ‘Seaports’ Located In Aba

By Odimegwu Onwumere

The area has been forgotten for close to 8yrs. Yet, they still remain law abiding citizens upon that they are left to man the affairs of their area. Since Governor Theodore Ahamefule Orji of Abia State came to power in 2007, the state has been a shadow of its old self.

taorjiochendo

At Ehere in Aba area of Abia State, the tenants and adjourning kindred around are contributing money immensely in making sure that they have the popular Aba-Ikot-Ekpene Road that has been forgotten by the Abia State Government repaired. The aim of the tenants is to start repairs from the well-damaged Opobo Junction to Ehere market.

They believed that their adventure would help people to have easy access roads and, at least, boost the image of the modern market in Obi-Ngwa and make the tenants not to be relocating to other perceived safe places outside the state. Desmond Uko, a tenant in one of the streets told this reporter, as the reason the tenants are bent on repairing the surrounding roads.

It’s being wondered that a state government that was unable to provide entrée roads for its citizens is today mouthing of building a seaport in the state. The media has been inundated with the noise of the seaport project for two years now. The government has informed the general public that it is going to source for fund from the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) initiative.

The Abia State Government does not end at that, it has also been telling the world of its plan to build airport as well. It also has told the world that it was going to build monorail. This titular monorail project by the government took part of the activities of the media three years ago. Yet, there is no sign of such project in sight in the state.

ariara international market

After presenting the state’s 2014 Appropriation Bill to the House of Assembly on Monday December 30 2013, Gov. T.A Orji told onlookers that his intention was to start the projects, but not to complete them.

“I will not tell you that I must complete them because they are capital intensive but the two projects are vital to the economy of the state and I know that the incoming government will not abandon them. The important thing is for me to commence them because they are important to the state,” he had said.

Looking for the sites of the projects that the governor has told the House of Assembly that he would start but would not complete, a resident of Aba decided to take the writer on a fact finding around the city of Aba. Thinking that they were heading to one of the sites of the projects, the resident who simply gave his name as Chidi, said to the reporter while they were in a hired tricycle popular called Keke NAPEP that Gov. Orji has a lot of ‘seaports’ in the area.

On getting to one of the ‘seaports’, Chidi  told the reporter that a radio station in the state has always listed them and, they include: “Ariaria Market, Omenazu, the newly Ochendo commissioned ‘Seaport’ at Akalanna, a larger one is at Ohanku Road and many more…”

It was a hilarious truth that what Chidi meant by ‘Abia Seaports’ are gullies that dot the surroundings of the state, due to the government negligence to its responsibilities. He wondered that if the media of nowadays have ethics how could pressmen account for projects that do not exist in the state and inform the people that they have been completed by the swaggering Abia State Government.

“Do media in Nigeria have ethics? If yes, why would they account for the several uncompleted projects in Abia State, whereas when you visit the locations, you won’t find anything of such,” Chidi decried.

Another man who gave his name as Williams said that his worry is the Achara-Ihechiowa Road. Williams said: “I can authoritatively tell you that the Achara-Ihechiowa Road has been awarded for about five years now to one company known as Worldwide Environmental Technologies and the company showed presence at the early time the contract was awarded and no one saw it working on that road again.”

Williams added that the company might be one of the alleged companies owned by the governor that the state’s contracts of all sorts are awarded to. The companies were given as (1) NGAME NIG. LTD is allegedly (working for the wife); (2) GLANO CONSTRUCTION is allegedly (owned by his brother in law); (3) CIREO NIG. LTD is allegedly (owned by his in law);

(4) BENICOUX NIG. LTD, allegedly, bought Empire Hotel as BENIS HOTELS and allegedly (siphoning for Governor and Son- ikuku); (5) OKEY TECHNICAL LTD is allegedly (milking ASEPA for Orji’s Son, Ikuku);

(6) SPRING INVEST AND PROPERTY CO. LTD, is allegedly furnished the Governor’s office with 56 million naira; (7) CHARBEL LTD, is allegedly (Lebanese constructing the conference centre and working for the Son, Ikuku); (8) NEW IDEA, is allegedly (the master agent of siphoning); and (9) SEAMARK ELECT. CO. LTD is allegedly (Son’s).

The pains of the people are felt on their faces. At the front of Terminus Fries, Aba-Owerri Road, the story is the same, as the conspicuous pot holes on both lanes cause serious traffic jams. This has been happening for years now and the roads are dividing at the middle as a result of that.

Investigation revealed that Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State who is known as a true governor of his people has repaired a part of the Ikot-Ekpene Road in his state, but his counterpart in Abia is busy with his alias – Ochendo Global – without any hope for the people that he will do his part as Akpabio has done.

“Today, traders hardly come to Aba to buy their wares. Traders from Akwa Ibom that happen to be our neighbours prefer going to Onitsha to transact business, due to the deplorable conditions of the roads in Aba, but especially that of Ikot-Ekpene Road. They follow Ikot-Ekpene-Umuahia Road and then, take a turn to Mbano to Nkwere to Ihiala to Onitsha expressway,” lamented Williams.

No doubt, people are taking flight from Abia State to other states where there are perceived government presences. Apart from Achara Ihechiowa, the deplorable condition of Okpurukpu and Amafia-Amaetiti roads in Arochukwu local government area of Abia State are better imagined than experienced.

Achara-Ihechiowa Ring Road has divided into two due to rainfall, which has aided the unpardonable condition of the road. This anomaly has provided untoward job for commercial motorcyclists popularly called ‘Okada’, who now charge as high as N5, 000 for a trip, across the road.

The irony of it all is that many of the so-called prominent people come from some of these areas. The late Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr Nneukwu Ukoha warmheartedly called ‘Razor’, came from this area. Although, he reportedly died just-about five months, after his appointment, of outlandish illness.

“At a state burial in his honour, government promised to embark on immediate construction of Achara-Ihechiowa road,” Okaula Njoke, a community leader, had told newsmen that the promise made had not been fulfilled by government.

“Njoke continued that the community wrote to the government through the office of Secretary to the State Government to remind them of their plight. He also explained that authorities at Arochukwu local government area had not responded to their letters and complaints on the erosion issue.

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“Government was reported to have announced on Broadcasting Cooperation of Abia State (BCA) that the road was on the list of roads constructed by past administration. The newsmen, however, learned that government was being economical with the truth in its reactions to the erosion issue and the Achara road debacle,” Sunday Trust had reported.

It was gathered that what the government does was to mount sign posts on the awarded roads to be reconstructed, creating the impression that the roads have been duly constructed. According to a source, one elder Nnenna Kalu Uduma of Okpa Secondary School said: “Government even telecast that Okpurukpue Achara Ihechiowa road has been constructed. We were surprised….We petitioned, petitioned and petitioned but nothing happened.”

Odimegwu Onwumere, a Poet/Writer, writes from Rivers State.

Tel: +2348032552855

Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

http://www.odimegwuonwumere.wordpress.com

Abia Airport, Abia Seaport: The Noise Of ‘Ochendo Global!’

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Our ears were deafened since two years now by Gov. Theodore Ahamefule Orji of Abia State and his bunch of bamboozled aides that the government was set to build airport and seaport in Abia State through the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) initiative.

The governor after presenting the state’s 2014 Appropriation Bill to the House of Assembly had that as a chorus on his lips. When the rather rubberstamped lawmakers asked him of how the projects could be funded, the governor decried that it would be funds from PPP.

His words: “My intention is just to start the projects. I will not tell you that I must complete them because they are capital intensive but the two projects are vital to the economy of the state and I know that the incoming government will not abandon them. The important thing is for me to commence them because they are important to the state.”

Much as we know, the governor is one who has said in a different forum that his government cannot provide job opportunities for our teeming unemployed people in Abia State. Today, he has capped that by telling us that he is a governor who starts projects that he hadn’t in mind to complete them; because he feels that the persons that will succeed him will source for funds from the blues to complete such projects.

The only project that is on the mind of Gov. Orji now is his senate ambition 2015. He does not see this to be capital intensive. He slouched that there were pressures on him for to go for the senate. Even after presenting the state 2014 budget of N149.6billion to the state assembly in Umuahia on Monday 30/12/2013, he said: “For some time now, there has been so much pressure coming from different groups, communities, individuals and organisations that I should run for the Senate. Since this is coming from my people, I have no choice than to accept the demand.”

All are balderdash because no sensible Abia persons is rooting or that will root for Gov. Orji to vie for any elective position again, anywhere in the world, due to the woes of governance they have experienced in his leadership-less government. If he is using the PDP as a cover and describing it as one party with national outlook, we wonder where his state outlook is under the government of PDP he represents.

It is not about him urging the people to continue to support President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, when the government in Umuahia is malfunctional and is rarely enjoying the support of 10 per cent of our people.

To tell you who the person of Gov. Orji is, the same man who is saying that he is going for the senate in 2015 due to what he said are pressures by people to do so is the same man who has turned out, set to imprison the people, saying that pasting posters or mounting of billboards are today punishable offence in the state.

Known for double speaking (1) That the people are the ones who have asked him to contest for the senate in 2015. (2) Through a press statement made available to newsmen through his Chief Press Secretary, the gentle Charles Ajunwa, said he has bemoaned that he did not ask anybody or group to print and post campaign posters for him. Is anybody thinking here? You accepted their ‘pressure’ on you to go for the senate, but do not accept their posters and bill boards campaigning for you in that respect?

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Gov. Orji even threatened that hereafter anyone caught pasting posters or erecting billboards would be prosecuted by law enforcement agencies. This is the same governor who is enjoying the ‘pressures’ he said are from people and group that he should contest for the senate in 2015.

Gov. Orji does things that are not relevant to our people. This was how he inaugurated an inter-agency committee to check sales of babies in the state, something he would not do for the proposed airport and seaport in the state. He would always say that his administration was determined to ensure sanity in the state, when what we are seeing are activities of social maladies and a double-speaking governor.

Gov. Orji would be quick to make the following clatter: “These nefarious activities are sometimes carried out by some unscrupulous owners of social/motherless babies’ homes in the state. Our government has decided to take all the necessary actions to check the spread of this ugly situation, Our state has also observed that some homes liaise with doctors, nurses and the get-rich-quick desperate individuals to foster babies for intending adoptive parents without been duly registered…”

Gov. Orji sees the sales of children in the state as anti-social activities, whereas his government is leading on that because of its falsehood to governance. The government continues to paint our people and our state in a bad light before the public.

Odimegwu Onwumere, a Poet/Writer, writes from Rivers State.

Tel: +2348032552855

Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

http://www.odimegwuonwumere.wordpress.com

Gov. T.A Orji: Yes, Odimegwu Onwumere is a ‘madman’

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Ordinarily, I do not bother to join words with the media aides of Governor Theodore Ahamefule of Abia State, because they do not use their real names in the media works and do not make substantial points, except gibberish. I could remember one of them confiding in me that they do so, because they are mortified of signing their real names in their articles for a government that has been widely denounced.

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After a wide consultation, I was advised by people to use the opportunity of their recent article titled, “The Shimei in Odimegwu Onwumere”, or as they re-titled it in another forum, “Pastor calls Odimegwu Onwumere Madman” and tell the world about the person of Ike Nwachukwu they are bragging about that their Ochendo Global appointed to lead Ndigbo to the National Conference, because their Ochendo Global is the chairman of South-east Governors’ Forum.

Please, as you might have known, the media aides of Gov. T.A Orji use over 20 captions and over 20 pseudonyms to circulate just one article. I later found out that the reason they do this is because they are not trained writers and have lost sense of what to write about the government that they even know is non-performing except to spread falsehood around aimed at deceiving the unsuspecting people of the society.

Nevertheless, the masses have already known that the government of Gov. T.A Orji is a letdown, so people no longer take the falsehoods the media aides write about and circulate seriously. If they think that I’m a madman, it is because the government in Abia is not working. I think there are one million and one ‘madmen’ in Abia State and out of the state that the direction Gov. Orji has directed the state has affected their quietness. Now, they are talking. And because of that, the prejudiced aides of the governor are calling them names.

This set of ‘mad people’ in and out of Abia State do not have any options since they are not Osisikankwu of this world to pick up arms against the government, hence they take to writing about the government that has made our people to regret ever coming back to democracy or ever being Ndi-Abia.

I’m called a madman by the Abia State Government through its agents due to my position that there should be a change. We can remember that on September 10 2012, the now former governor of Anambra State was calling on relevant aviation agencies to investigate Nigerians who own private jets. He said that it was luxury and products of fraud that do not support the economic situation in the country.

As if Obi was talking to Gov. Orji whose son, Chinedu and, wife, Odochi are today apparently use private jets, Gov. Orji who does not frown at corruption was very quick to respond that those who thought that politicians were the only corrupt people in the country were too quick reach at that conclusion.

Such a comment can make more thousands of people to go mad, do you doubt? And the governor did not see anything wrong with Obi calling for the probe of perceived corrupt people? Who said that a guilty conscience does not fear an accusation?

This was one of the reasons that I did not want to respond to the governor’s media goons initially, because they know that the type of government they are running in Umuahia may not be far from the fears of Obi. They were even not ashamed to associate Omar Sanda Ike Nwachukwu with Gov. Orji as the latter’s favourite that should represent Ndigbo at the ongoing National Conference. Birds of the same feather would always flock together.

This is Nwachukwu many Igbo people are saying that it would have been aplomb if Umaru Diko is their representative instead of Nwachukwu at the conference. In an interview with Sunday Sun of May 18, 2014, Leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, Ralph Uwazuruike, was angry when the interviewer mentioned Nwachukwu’s name.

Uwazuruike retorted: Omar Sanda Ike Nwachukwu is not an Igbo man. Somebody that fought against us during the war, fought in the bush, on the side of Nigeria against Ndigbo? Then the governors, these sick people we have who are called governors picked him. When we have people like Dr Ikedife, Dr Ezeife, they brought a Hausa man to represent us. I would have preferred an Umaru Dikko to lead Ndigbo than Ike Nwachukwu. It is an insult, honestly…”

Gov. Orji’s aides said that it was the (sick?) him that picked Nwachukwu to represent Ndigbo at the conference. They even boasted! Insult will never represent respect; the former being what our people of Abia State are suffering in the hand of Gov.Orji.

Uwazuruike asked again: How can Ike Nwachukwu represent us? Theodore Orji did it because he is from his state. I don’t know the rationale behind that. Although, Uwazuruike has said that he doesn’t really want to dabble into Igbo politics, but affirmed that the woes of Ndigbo are caused by the Igbo elite. Perhaps, he had the likes of the (sick?) T.A Orji at heart when he used the maxim that the Igbo elite are empty upstairs; they answer professors, doctors, senators, yet they know next to nothing.

The media gangsters of Gov. T.A Orji said that I was dragging Gov. Godswill Akpabio into the politics of Abia State when I admonished that Gov. Orji is still confused with governance, when a Governor like Akpabio is seemingly looking for ways to extend development to the neighbouring Cameroon. The media urchins also said that no matter the level of my ‘madness’ that I can never stop their Ochendo Global from going to the senate in 2015.

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I pondered that if not for politics what can Gov. T.A Orji do to survive, because as a civil servant he nearly could not pay his children’s school fees. Today, he is a governor and many people cannot pay their children’s school fees due to maladministration on the part of the government, yet he is swaggering of instituting “Legacy Projects”. And when the people react, the media agents of the government are quick to call the person a madman.

Odimegwu Onwumere, a Poet/Writer, writes from Rivers State.

Tel: +2348032552855

Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

http://www.odimegwuonwumere.wordpress.com