By Jude Ndukwe
I have read with amusement the infantile narratives being woven by the ill-informed or deliberate mischief makers around the deserving emergence of Rt Hon Engr Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji as Speaker of the 7th Abia State House of Assembly. No sooner had the news of his emergence broken than some self appointed commentators, a majority of whom are not even Abians nor have shown any genuine interest in Abia except to join a usually misled bandwagon to denigrate the State whether it rains or shines, went about on social media to create the warped impression that Orji should not have emerged Speaker being the son of a former Governor of the State and a current Senator representing Abia Central at the Senate. Some of them even took their mischief so far that they also insinuated that Senator T.A. Orji could have influenced the emergence of his son as Speaker of Abia House of Assembly.
Nothing can be farther from the truth!
To these fellows, it satisfies them that the political progress of anyone should be stalled by the political success of their father. To them, as long as one’s father is a president, none of his children should ever dream of being a governor or a legislator, or even a local government chairman or a councilor, yet, these same people in their hypocrisy will always pray that their own children should do better and achieve greater things than them. What a world!
Such people should be reminded that the status of a legislator is not appointed by anyone but contested by those who desire it. It is the people and not anybody’s father that elect the person they want in the Abia House of Assembly, thus, Rt Hon Chinedum Orji exercised his inalienable right to be there, fulfilled all the constitutional requirements including standing for and winning the concerned election. While he was campaigning, his father did not go with him, and that is because at 48, he is man enough to decide for himself what he wants and go about achieving it the way he can without relying on his father. Chinedum Orji is a man of his own. Those who are trying hard, albeit futilely, to link his new role as Speaker to his father should be reminded that Speakers are not appointed by anyone so that one might say his father exerted pressure on the appointing officer to appoint his son. No! In sane climes like we have in Abia, it is the legislators who are people of great means, influence and clout, that decide among themselves who they want as their Speaker, and they settle for one of their own as always, only this time the lot fell on Chinedum Orji.
While the inauguration of principal officers of Abia Assembly was going on, the senior Orji himself, Ochendo, as he is fondly called, was very busy in Abuja, neck-deep into the complex and intricate electioneering processes of the national assembly that took place only a day after that of Abia State. The man had his own burden of inauguration, and the events that precede and follow after, to carry and could not have distracted himself with the business of Abia Assembly.
Rt Hon Chinedum Orji as a qualified engineer and a Member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (MNSE), is not one to be spoon-fed by anyone. He has his legitimate ambitions to pursue as an adult and the success of his father should not be whipped up as a reason why his own success should be stalled. After all, in the US, George H. W. Bush Snr was America’s 41st President. His son, George W. Bush Jnr took over from Bill Clinton as America’s 43rd President. Another son of Bush Snr, Jeb Bush also served as Florida’s 43rd Governor from 1999 – 2007. It is instructive to note that George Bush Jnr became President while his brother, Jeb, was still Governor of Florida. George Bush Jnr was also Governor of Texas (1995 – 2000). Even a grandson of George Bush Snr (Representative from Texas, 1967 – 1971, became Vice President, 1981 – 1989, before becoming President, 1989 – 1993), George P. Bush, is currently the Texas Land Commissioner since 2015. Should we then say because Bush Snr was America’s President then the ambitions of his children and grandchildren should be stalled? What about Bill Clinton that was America’s 42nd President, yet, his wife, Hilary, was the presidential candidate of the Democrats at the last election in 2016? Should Americans have said because her husband was a president therefore she should not nurse her own ambitions as an adult?
Orji’s philanthropic gestures to his constituents and his Direct Touch Initiative through which he continues to empower many Abia youths and women made him popular not only among his colleagues in the House but also among Abians generally. His sterling leadership qualities are not in doubt as he has also carved a niche for himself as a mentor to the younger generation who look up to him for guidance.
Enough of the mischief of trying to tie his towering political strides to his father who has and has been discharging his own duties as Senator representing the good people of Abia Central creditably well. Such mischief belong only to those who do not wish to see their own children do better than themselves in life. Ikuku, as he is fondly called, has the capacity to speak for himself and speak for the people of Abia State as Speaker!