Everyday, we read in the news that the wife of Governor Theodore Ahamefule Orji of Abia State, Lady Mercy Odochi Orji, who is also known as the First Lady of the state, is flagging-off one project or the other and is making donations of all sorts. It is however not a bad thing for somebody to be a humanitarian. But what is bad is the source of funds of such a person who is carrying out the projects. Therefore, there are no thanks for whatever the beneficiaries of these seemingly projects are thinking that lady Orji is doing for them.
In what was said that she flagged-off round of maternal, newborn, and child health week, inflated Lady Orji to look like one who is holding a public position rather than the simple wife of a governor she is. This movement was in May, which tended to contradict and demean the office of the Commissioner of Health of the state. Palpably, it is a misdirection of norms and ethics for a non-public office holder to be informing the state about the health situation of such a state. Do even Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) not have a limit of operation in their different specialties?
While it is not a sugarcoated story about the plight that pregnant women face in the cause of child delivery, who is Lady Mercy Odochi Orji to flag-off the May, 2013 round of maternal, newborn, and child health week? And who funded the project and to the tune of how much money? What is the occupation of the wife of the governor that she is everyday doing one project or the other in the state, according to what we are fed with, in the media? Is she a medical professional? If the news from the ‘Lady’ on this project was merely her opinion or she is a health journalist, it would have been understandable. But she always speaks in the state like a cabinet member of the Abia State Government. Nevertheless, this goes a long way to show how democracy in Abia State has become a government of the T.A Orjis and for the T.A Orjis and by the T.A Orjis. Should we suffice to say that the government in Abia State is one of wastefulness?
Like we know, the so-called office of the First Lady is not recognised in the Constitution; it is purely the creation of the wives of the military personnel that once held the country down for a period of many years, over three decades. If at all that there is anything like a “preventive and health-giving programme” designed by Governor Orji’s administration, was it supposed to be championed by the wife who is today crusading that mother and child should thrive and develop through the existing healthcare system? It is ludicrous when Lady Orji said that the numbers of children that die before the age of 5 years are estimated at over one million. Our “medical doctor and Commissioner for Health” went further to tell us that “5% of these deaths are due to malnutrition, while 26% is as a result of neo-natal deaths”. When did Abia State become a state for unnecessary attention seekers?
It is not about Lady Orji operating behind the scene or joining the sinking bandwagon of her husband’s government to tell us that a “woman’s chance of dying in every pregnancy and child birth is one (1) in every thirteen (13) births; while the rate of child mortality is 88 per every 1000 births”, but about making sure that a befitting healthcare system is fad in the state. But regrettably, all that we have got in the state are distortion of facts by those who feed from the government, just to hoodwink the general public to believing that the Gov. Orji’s administration is committed to good governance, whereas we only know about “good governance” on the pages of the newspapers. Only!
The self-acclaimed First Lady of Abia State did not give us the data of pregnant women delivered of their babies in Abia State since the about six years’ administration of her Ochendo husband and how many survived. This probably is not good for the public, because the shock and shuddering about the number will not be favourable. It was expected of the Abia State Government to make the call which the wife of the governor called on mothers and caregivers, particularly those above 12 months, to profit from whatever healthcare (no one has told us that exists in Abia State), than the Gov. T.A Orjis. She was talking about pregnant women and nursing mother to visit hospitals and improve their children’s vitamin A status and general health. Does she not know that the government of her husband has impoverished the residents of our state and that the il(legal) taxes imposed on the residents are also causing many ill-health, because what her husband has called “legacy projects” are the buying of Keke NAPEP and buses for the youths and, calls same empowerment?
Lady Orji should have known and understood that it is not everybody in our state that has money like her family before she called and tasked on corporate bodies and individuals on philanthropy and support and assist Hannahmay Foundation. It might be a laudable mission programme to those in the government when she was said to have distributed “some empowerment items to 850 beneficiaries at the Umuahia Township stadium”, but to us not in government, we are not seeing and touching this nuisance of empowerment with the kid’s glove.
What is the source of Lady Orji’s funds?
It behooves the good people of our state to tell Lady Orji that our people do not need to be self-reliant through these kinds of make-belief philanthropy of the Orjis; what we need is that our state should be self-reliant. When our state is self-reliant, our people need not be given Keke NAPEP and buses to drive before they could eat. When the government is functional, the people will be self-reliant, not these ruses called empowerment. What was expected of Lady Orji is to utilise her position as a wife and mother and advise the ill-advised husband properly to hear the cries of our people that the dividends of democracy are far from being experienced in our state and, not be playing shamefaced politics with her husband in crassness called empowerments and donations.
Lady Orji should not misconstrued these donations of theirs that do not meet the eyes to mean development or a means of empowering our people, when a place like Aba, people are drinking tears for tea and ashes for bread. Any doubting Thomases should go round Aba and other remote areas of our state and be shocked the perilous times that people have come to endure in the government of Gov. T.A Orji.
Lady Orji should know that individuals do not create limited collar jobs, but the government.
Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author, Media Consultant, contributed this piece from Rivers State. Tel: +2348032552855. E-mail: email@example.com