Did God really travel or Is Abia still Gods Own State
Life always allow lots and lots of ironies. Everywhere you look, in everything you do, there can be found always around us some form of ironic disorder–some to comic relief, others so appalling that “someone” in certain “high places” can’t help but be shocked.
Today as I woke up and viewed a video sent to me by a friend, showing the beauty of ”God’s own Country”, I couldn’t help but be alarmed at the irony of the slogan of my dear Abia state “Gods own state”.
It is often said that man was made in the image of God. To those of us who are Christians (and really some of our Muslim brothers) adherents and proponents of the bible as the word of God, this is an undeniable fact.
Though not a few have argued based on the level of facial configurations (ugliness) of some humans that they can’t exactly be an image of the great and wonderfully esthetic creator our God is. I leave them to their opinion and choose to believe the image in biblical context isn’t only about looks but rather also about form and structure.
Again, too many times, due to the level of sophistication (by sophistication I mean advancements and unprecedented achievements in all areas of human life and in all indices of human development) she has attained, America is often referred to as “God’s own Country”.
Whether the framers of state slogans in Nigeria had an image of America in mind or not is not the context of my writing nor the source of my irk, rather what ills me is whether Abia state in all honesty should still retain the slogan of Gods own state?
I am not one to delve into the muddy waters of politics or claim any form of political sagacity, for I have since taken my place as a social critic with my pen and words, both to uphold and promote my core belief in the very basics of humanity and to remind those whose palm kernel has been cracked by a benevolent spirit, the need to remain humble.
Nor do I jump on the band wagon of political jobbers and sycophants who will rather blow noisy trumpets for crumbs than tell truth to power for the sake of their children’ future.
I have seen in Abia state and maybe throughout much of Igbo land, a tendency for parents to aspire to bequeath money and properties to their children but not prosperity.
That maybe explains why the so called elders are much more interested in perpetuating themselves in greedy ignorance than pursuing for development and good governance initiatives for a better tomorrow.
Among the five south eastern states, Abia state lags behind terrible in all indices of good governance. I used to excuse the state as unlucky in choosing governors but the drama of the last election makes it abundantly clear that is not the case.
There has been a grand plan by some powerful fellows in the political scene of the state to keep the state as it is, to pillage the common wealth of Abia state and to appropriate state resources to cater for the needs of a very few privileged people.
At first, it was from a career politician cum business man, to another career politician governor, then to a career civil servant governor. All of whom left a tale of maladministration, greed, cluelessness in administration and gross incompetence. In 2020, Abia state has the least and lowest frequency FM stations in southern Nigeria.
Abia state government hasn’t completed one flyover in over 13 years while Ebonyi state did more or less 4 quality flyovers in a little less than 3 years. What is to say of the state capital Umuahia?
It beats my imagination to even think that the state has a state capital development commission where staff sit daily and are expectedly paid monthly to do nothing year in, year out. Umuahia would pass as the only state capital without a flyover or by pass in southern Nigeria.
So much has been said and written about the commercial city of Aba and its economic and strategic role in the GDP of Abia state and in the south east in general, I really do not wish to talk more as it might amount to repeating a broken record, but I often wonder, and I know I am not alone; what exactly do the retinue of SAs and SSAs, advisers and committee chairmen do in the state?
Why does it look like in Abia state, governance has suddenly become rocket science? Don’t talk to me about dwindling state allocations, Abia state IGR even at its underreported worst is better than most of the south east states. Why then do we see meaningful development in other states than the one with more IGR?
Granted, roads and flyover construction maybe a capital intensive project but are renovations of community schools also so capital intensive?
Is infant and maternal health care also viewed as such? How about public-private partnerships that can create jobs for her teeming youth population and enabling ease of business or promoting business friendly environment to attract direct local or foreign investments to boost job creation?
Are they all also capital intensive programs? Even though many state governments in Nigeria seems to have benchmarked all the indices of good governance on the barest minimum – ability to pay public servants salaries as at when due, Abia state government somehow cannot meet up with that basic minimum. Of what criteria do we still employ the slogan, ”God’s own state”? Is it any wonder that within the 5 southeast states, Abia state recorded the highest in the scale of destructions during the riots that trailed the ENDSARS protests? The youths are tired, nowhere has the failure of government been so pronounced than in God’s own state.
Teachers are not being paid, infrastructure is derelict, hospitals and maternities are like shanties and yet money is been frittered away by a few men who desires to put a satanic yoke over the destinies of millions of people in an oil producing state.
I write this so that men and women of goodwill who desire genuine change for posterity sake will read it and not only speak up but will look to join forces with the green horn political actors in Abia state, to create a new order and give this present generation of old, cult-like and clueless political actors a run for their money and rescue Abia state and the destiny of her future generation from a system of economic subjugation in their own land.
The likes of Uche Sampson Ogah with the great works he’s done with his Masters Enegry Group and the marvelous job he’s overseeing at the ministry of mines and steel development; the sound mind of Dr. Alex Otti [by the way you should read his column (outside the Box) on Thisday newspaper] are a few of accomplished technocrats with more than enough political experience to be a rallying point for the future of Abia state.
Enough with career politicians who have sold their souls to the devil and lost every modicum of humanity whatsoever; enough with career civil servants whose only motivation is greed and are only skilled in retiring billions with banners and signposts.
Enough with men who think that being a leader is occupying high offices regardless what dirty skeletons lurks in their cupboards. It’s a known truth that “the suit does not make the man”, isn’t it time we start looking towards the content of men’s character than that of their body and pockets? Because from every indication, just like God’s own country, God’s own state should be a city upon the hills.