Abia gets a fresh beginning with Orji
By Anayo Okoli
GOVERNOR Theodore Orji of Abia state was sworn-in on Sunday for a second term of four having been declared the winner of the governorship election held on April 26, 2011. The ceremony was held at the at the Umuahia Township Stadium.
The ceremony was held under tight security. In fact, as early as Saturday afternoon, security was beefed up in and around the stadium, venue of the inauguration. Vehicles were diverted out the stadium area. School Road, where the stadium was located and all the adjoining streets of Azikiwe, Macaulay, Ikot Ekpene and Finbarrs streets were all cordoned off and manned by fierce looking armed policemen and soldiers. Some major streets of Umuahia, the state capital were also decorated with green-white-green materials.
On Sunday morning, the inauguration day proper, more streets were cordoned off. The Akanu Ibiam Road that links Umuahia capital city to Government House was cordoned off and no vehicles were allowed to ply it as it was the road the Governor and his family would go to the stadium. Church worshipers who have their place worship around the area were made to park their vehicles at a popular eatery along the road. Military armoured cars were stationed in strategic locations as well as pick-up van military, police, FRSC and NCDSC which were also parked at strategic junctions to ensure security.
A detachment of soldiers, navy, police, men of road safety, men of NCDSC held parade which heralded the opening of the ceremony which began with an open air interdenominational church service. In his sermon at the service, the chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria [CAN], Bishop Goddy Okafor called on the new government not to fail the people. He said that God has given Abia satte yet another chance and prayed that the opportunity would not be wasted away.
According to him, Abia state is tremendously blessed and charged the Governor and those he would assembly to work with him have the vision and sense of direction to harness the resources to the benefit of the people. Who voted them for them.
Governor Theodore Orji took oath for his second term as Governor of Abia state at exactly 1.35pm, with a pledge to lead the people with frankness and honesty. He promised to set honest and realistic policies. The oath was administered on him by the Acting Chief Judge of the state, Justice Nnena Oti.
“Today, we celebrate not the victor of one party over the other, instead, we celebrate freedom- freedom of Abians from those who would rather continue in the old ways by privatizing this, and keeping us perpetually at war with each other, while our common patrimony is either hoarded or frittered away for personal aggrandizement.
Today is the beginning of the days when Abian’s resources will begin to work for all Abians.
“I will recall that in our term in office, we labored under the oppression and impunity of a godfather and a very rapacious family empire. It was God’s grace and the support of well meaning Abians, that we freed ourselves from such impositions, and thereafter, had opportunity to secure the lives and property of Abians, especially from kidnappers.
“I see my re-election into office for this second term as a call to finish that truncated assignment from our first term. I also see my re-election for this second term as an affirmation by Abians, that no person or group, should ever again attempt to pocket this state, or act in assumption that he/or they, have the right to do so. Even if anyone is foolish enough to entertain such an idea, am sure that none will act on it, because Abians will resist it. The ghost of godfatherism will never rise again to disturb the peace, development, and security of Abia state. It is now time to freely develop Abians.
“For me, this is the beginning of a new dawn, a new healing, signifying the renewal, that Abians have been yearning for. Abia state should be ready to experience a different leadership that comes with dedication and commitments to excel in all fronts. Our resolve to develop Abia will be use matched with equal action in the days ahead. The new government of Abia which we inaugurate today under Ochendo, has been disciplined through experience and fortitude of office, and will therefore do everything to restore its pride of place, and give our people a sense of beginning, so that they can once more be proud as Abians, Orji pledged while addressing the people shortly after being sworn-in.
The ceremony which was attended by many dignitaries, including Governor Peter Obi of Anambra state, serving and past members of the National Assembly from the state, went without any ugly story and the Governor treated his guests to launch at his Banquet Hall.