Two reactions have greeted the well-timed release of information on the massive heist in Abia State by the Father and Son Theodore Orji tag team. Graveyard silence pervades Government House and government offices. Anger and bewilderment walk the streets of Umuahia.
Diasporans are apoplectic with anger. Over the eight years in office, citizens of Abia State suspected that Theodore Ahaemefula Orji was following the footsteps of his godfather and predecessor Orji Uzor Kalu. He was stealing the state’s resources, never mind niceties such as corruption, misappropriation and misallocation. He and his cohorts were entering the barn and carting away goods meant for the collective.
The Orji Family was brazen about their looting of Abia State. The wife and sons of the Senator marched through Umuahia as imperials. They built malls and other businesses. They demolished things on their path. They owned the city and everybody. He even attempted to put the wife in the House of Representatives!
The current Speaker of the House was particularly offensive in his displays and utterances. He was our Louis X1V and by actions proclaimed
“L’Etat, c’est Moi”. Louis X1V, born Louis Dieudonne, was known as Louis the Great (Louis le Grand) or the Sun King and was King of France for 72 years.
The disclosures by the EFCC concerning the despoliation of Abia State by Father Theodore Orji and Son Engr Chinedum Orji is not news in the sense of something fresh. What is troubling is the scale and depth of the unbridled rape and looting of Abia State under this family. It is benumbing.
EFCC at the weekend 6 February 2020 in Abuja disclosed the details of the petition by Fight Corruption: Save Nigeria Group against the former Governor. The group said Theodore Orji the Elder diverted N521billion from Abia State to his personal use. Orji withdrew N500m monthly as Security Vote and secured it in his account. He followed a tradition established in his days as Chief of Staff to convicted former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu. He withdrew N500m every month for eight years. That alone translates to N24b.
The petitioners accused Orji, the Elder of “diverting N383 billion revenue from the Federation Account, N55 billion Excess Crude revenue, N2.3 billion Sure-P revenue, N1.8 billion ecological funds, N10.5 billion loan, N12 billion Paris Club refund, N2 billion agricultural loan, and N55 billion ASOPADEC money while in office.” Remove the hints of exaggeration here, and sleaze of humongous proportions still stares you in the face.
The petitioner noted in particular that N500m monthly so-called security vote was distinct from other security funds spent on the Nigerian Police, the Nigerian Army, Department of State Security, Navy anti-kidnapping squad, anti-robbery squad, purchase of security equipment and vehicles for the security agencies. It was a Security Vote, spent in secrecy and with no accountability. Never mind the 419 promise of a governor of a sister state who said he would forego his security vote. These fellows must imagine that citizens are dotards.
Then there are the bank accounts. Chinedum Orji runs about 100 bank accounts, the EFCC alleges. Only persons in shady businesses run many accounts, but certainly not up to such huge numbers. Even players of the game Monopoly® do not parade such a large number of accounts.
Note, dear reader, that Senator Theodore Orji represents me in the National Assembly. My community is part of his catchment area. The revelations sadden and annoy me.
I commented here on the first Orji now in the Evil Forest of Alaigbo. The undressing of Theodore Orji follows the same pattern. There have been a few feeble attempts to mount a defence for him on social media. They are welcome.
Every Abian and every citizen of Nigeria must pray fervently that the EFCC case does not take the 12 years of Orji Uzor Kalu. This case should receive an accelerated hearing. It speaks to so many narratives and would enable some measure of closure.
The EFCC disclosure on Orji the Elder and Orji the Son confirms the firmly held view that the problem in the South East is the political class and those who represent us. The bad governance of the first and second Orjis left Abia State in such a shape that the latter-day Ebonyi State is mocking it and encouraging it to get up and run the race. Defenders of those who deny Ndigbo a rightful place in the sun now cite them as a backhand justification for their wrong policies.
This second unveiling is a direct challenge to South-East governors, past and present. Citizens are watching. They will provide the dossier for the petitions against you. They will gleefully welcome your entry into the Evil Forest of ruined reputations. Soon, citizens may do more as in the traditions of yore.
The humiliation of Theodore Orji before the formal trial is typical EFCC. It throws a challenge to the incumbent. Government House is deliberately mute, as it should be. But what should the godson do when the enemy breaks the godfather in the battlefield?
Okezie Ikpeazu stands on the horn of a dilemma. He has to make the right choices at this crossroad. Let me suggest a guiding philosophy: what would serve the best interest of Ndi Abia? He has ample time to ensure that we do not continue the story of ugliness and shame around Government House, Umuahia and its occupants. Tufia!
– Nwakanma is a communication strategist