Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

Theodore Orji’s War against Abia People

Theodore Orji’s War against Abia People

By Chinedu Agbebire

The suffering and brutal exploitation of people of Abia state, particularly the Aba populace, has reached a worrisome stage. Since the return of democracy to Nigeria in 1999, the people have been victims of callous and anti-poor capitalist government. It would be recalled that Dr. Orji Uzo Kalu ruled the state from 1999 to 2007. After his two term tenure, he passed the baton to Theodore Orji who was the Chief of Staff under his administration.

The eight years of Orji Uzo Kalu was a huge failure. Like birds of a feather, Theodore Orji – the new executive governor – took over from him in likewise manner. In fact, Theodore Orji’s administration has shown itself worse and more resolved in inflicting sorrow and pains on the people. Abia State, which happens to be one of the oil producing states, with its commercial city of Aba is regarded as one of the richest states in Nigeria. Aside internally generated revenue, monthly allocation from Federation account alone is about N3.2 billion. Unfortunately this state has been rendered poor and miserable. Presently in terms of infrastructure and development which are the essential social responsibilities of a state, Abia state is worse off.

Despite being the commercial capital, Aba has been neglected in terms of public infrastructure. The living standard of the people of Aba is bad. Government of the state has turned the state to an Animal Farm. Going by what is obtainable in Aba, it is evident that the state government is not for the people but against the people. Government has abdicated and unloaded its social responsibilities on the shoulder of the suffering and working masses.

This explains the litany of taxes and levies fraudulently imposed on people of the state which does not even reflect in any improvement in infrastructures. For example sanitation levy is forcefully collected from the people who stay at the remotest part of the state; in the same manner infrastructure levy is wrested from the people while the roads are in a dilapidated condition.

Workers too are under attack by the government thanks to the connivance of labour leadership. Last year November, the government announced it would pay N20, 100 minimum wage instead of the N18, 000 minimum wage. But on May 1st 2012, the same Governor announced that there are ghost workers on the payroll. This is a familiar tactics being used by anti-poor state governments to sack workers under false pretences.

The roads in Aba are in a sorry and pitiable state thereby making people to languish in an ocean of frustration and hopelessness and helplessness. Aba particularly has been practically neglected and abandoned by the draconian leviathans. Even Ariaria international markets are victims of this government’s war against the suffering masses. Flood has taken over many roads in Aba. Ohanku road is totally blocked and impassable. This road is so bad to the extent that it is not accessible by pedestrians let alone by the motorists. Ahia Ohuo, Ama Ogbenna, Cemetry and so many other roads are nothing but death traps!

It is against fine logic to see gutsy and hardworking Abans who contribute nothing less than 80% to the economy of the state in such a mournful and pitiable situation. The major markets in Aba are enough to sustain a state. The social and material implication of this malicious and repugnant treatment of the people is the high speed multiplication of social vices in the state. The malignant activities of kidnappers in Aba as at last year confirms. This of course is a direct reflection of total collapse of political and economic structure which turned the whole city to a state of anarchy, a direct corollary failure in all ramifications.

One of the factors responsible for this high level of mass exploitation in Aba and other parts of the state is the lack of an organized mass struggle to challenge the government. There is also low level of political consciousness which is a product of the lack of mass organizations of struggle and the failure of the trade union leadership to lead a fight back. January historic strike and mass protest is a valid attestation. When the whole Nigeria was boiling against the devilish removal of fuel subsidy, there was little or no protest in Abia State.

The immediate challenge now is to begin to build organizations of struggle like the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) that can begin to intervene among workers and the masses in Abia state in order to build political consciousness and mobilize to challenge government anti-poor policies. People have to organize to take their destiny in their hands. Government must be forced to carry out its social responsibility, which is to make life better for all and not just for a few. No doubt, the workers and people of Abia will eventually learn how to fight and rise against the capitalist government of 1% rich and 99% poor. While doing this, they will also discover the ideas of socialism as the best alternative to the present capitalist misery in Abia State and Nigeria as a whole.