This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: 'Year 2012 Has Been Great for Abia'

Nnaji Obed Asiegbu, Special Assistant on e-Governance and Strategy to the Governor of Abia State speaks on his job profile, and takes inventory of the state's performance in 2012 concluding the achievements of the administration has a laid a solid foundation for greater achievements in the new year.

What do you consider some major achievements of Governor Theodore Orji administration this year?

Year 2012 has been full of great accomplishments in Abia State. It was a year when Abians saw heavy duty building equipment on various legacy project sites. The new International Conference Centre, the new secretariat, the new international market, the new timber and allied market, two ultra modern high court buildings in Umuahia and Aba, respectively, the new ministry of justice complex in Umuahia, the construction of various administrative buildings across the state, the development of affordable housing schemes for medium and low income earners, a billion naira loan was secured and disbursed to farmers for increased output in agricultural produce; May 29 2012 ushered in the construction and reconstruction of about 38 rural and urban roads. These include the Danfodio by East Road in Aba, the Ukwu Mango Road, the old express by Samek Aba, the Jubilee Road Aba, the Owerri/Port Harcourt Road also in Aba, the Tower/ Ahieke Bende Road in Umuahia, the Nunya Road, the Ohuhu Ring Road, the Ibeku Ring Road, Okwoi Ozu Item Road, Ameke Road Ibeku, Okagwe Road at Ohafia etc. In addition to the existing 38 roads either as work in progress or completed, the state government added for construction the latest 16 roads in Aba by mobilising contractors to work with time frames Milverton, Ngwa, Omuma roads and others, are currently undergoing reconstruction.

In 2012, Abians saw some relative constant power supply for the first time after many decades of being offered low current and inadequate power supply especially those in Umuahia and environs. Above all, Abians still enjoy peace, security and stability through the year 2012. It was a relatively crime free year for Abians.

His focus

My focus is on working with my boss to improve the lives of people in Abia and making sure that we lead the way in promoting good governance by making ourselves engaging and transparent to the people we serve. I have also attended several e-governance and IT courses to enhance my performance.

What does the office of special assistant to the governor on e-Governance and strategy entail?

As a special adviser on e-governance and strategy to the governor of Abia State, My primary duty is to make all relevant information available to the public especially to Abians using the information technology. Creating platforms for the people's voice to be heard is also part of my primary responsibility (G2C, C2G approach).

For instance, we designed the state's website www.abiastate.gov.ng to suit the new media needs of our people and the general public. We respond on daily basis to general users enquiries just as we direct some specific enquiries to the appropriate quarters for action. We are also much into the use of the social media to disseminate information, interact with the people and gather feedbacks for policy making. My office is equally responsible for the provision of internet services to the users within the Government House.

What do you consider the government's plan for a sustainable development?

Evidently, the governor has embarked on numerous legacy projects thereby putting Abia State on the path of sustainable development and growth. The foundation being laid by this government will massively accelerate future sustainable growth in the state.

In August, many residents expressed their concern over the filthy condition of Aba. What has been put in place to check this?

The government of Abia State has embarked on continuous sensitization of Aba residents on the need to be environment friendly. I remember before the last rainy season, the e-governance team sensing the dangers ahead and to support the government efforts, initiated various healthy environment awareness campaigns using social media to drive the message home. We campaigned against the incessant blocking of drains by Aba residents, inappropriate refuse disposal attitude, we campaigned against street trading, urging the new media users to pass the message across to parents, relatives and traders.

We warned against the dangers of sabotaging government's environmental policy in Aba town. We solicited for collective efforts at solving some environmental issues which are as the result of human activities. While the campaign was on, the state government continued the drastic opening up of water ways that were illegally blocked by traders and residents, the big drainages like the School Road by East were opened up and it helped during the last raining season. Currently, about 800 illegal structures are being pulled down to give way for water ways and restore sanity. Aba master plan that was thwarted by past administrations is being restored.

Traders are being relocated to designated market sites...demolition is ongoing in some part of Ariaria where the past governments allowed traders to build what is known as gutter lines, shops built on top of gutters that run through the market. In addition to that, some damaged roads are being reconstructed.

How did Governor Orji tackle the issue of insecurity which was a major challenge in Abia?

The governor made security top priority when it mattered most in the history of the state with adequate funding and proper use of security personnel while adopting the right approach to safeguard lives and property in the state. Some of us forget the origin of government. Government became needful as a result of insecurity. Without security, development in any form becomes a mirage. I give kudos to the Governor for the human safety felt in Abia State today. Not many Governors or African leaders will consider security as priority because it is not seen physically but the truth is that staying alive in peace allows for hope.

What is your response to allegations you posted false and unsubstantiated stories by creating false e-mail accounts and comments to smear opponents?

I would like to say my business is to be part of the solution and not the problem. Integrity means a lot and I too have been a victim of these unfair and despicable slur tactics'. I understand that allegations and blackmails on a public servant like me should be expected. These are all unfounded and malicious.

However, I will say nothing you've highlighted is true. I role model myself on being an authentic individual who is principled and from a strong Christian home. I am serving a sincere government under the leadership of Chief TA Orji, a well known God-fearing man. I have a strong identity to protect even though there is no room for smear campaigns under the current administration in Abia. It's important for us to focus on the difference the state is making in improving the lives of thousands by restoring peace and economic growth

But I wonder who the opponents are really; the last time I checked, Abians are still at peace with one another except for one man who Abians rejected for making a mess of the eight years opportunity granted to him and also attempting to hinder his successor's efforts to reposition the state.

Background

I'm originally from Amafor Isingwu Ohuhu in Umuahia and attended St. Finbarr's College, Akoka, Lagos (year 2000 old boys set.) While at Finbarr's College, I played for the school football team in major football tournaments - the Principal Cup, Shell Cup, the then Arch Bishop Okogie Cup and other tournaments An active member of school society like the interact club, I studied at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka where I obtained BA (Hons) in history and international studies and later a master's degree in international relations and development studies at the University of East Anglia in England.

Legacy

Governor Orji's multifaceted legacy is the total commitment of transforming the economy and infrastructure base of Abia as a roadmap for the total transformation of the state. We now have constant electricity supply in Umuahia and its environs up to Isiukwuato and Aba areas. This is obviously evidence of democracy dividend. We now have transformers being distributed to the communities in the 17 local government areas of the state just as the water schemes in the state capital are being reactivated extending to Umuopara, Abiriba, Umuahia, Aba, et al.

On the political turf, Governor Orji has united the party such that the opposition has gone into hiding and the old order of godfatherism has been completely wiped off with merit as the basic criteria for earning appointments and rewards. Definitely, a sure foundation for the true practice of democracy, infrastructure development and growth is being laid in Abia.

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