The 2007 gubernatorial election in Abia State was mainly a fight between the PDP led by Chief Onyema Ugochukwu and the PPA, which had Chief T.A. Orji. While the PPA won the governorship elections, the PDP claimed majority of the National Assembly and some state Assembly seats. The situation however remained such that the Kalu family dictatorship was still in full ascent in the state. The power of dictatorship was exercised in a manner that gave them unlimited control over several organs of government and the party thus leaving Governor Orji very limited to exercise the mandate given to him by the Abia electorate.
The situation was made worse by a burgeoning security challenge that was threatening to collapse civic life especially in the urban centers of Aba and Umuahia. As if history was repeating itself, these contradictions were to generate a major crisis within the PPA, which saw the incumbent governor Chief T.A. Orji seeking for another platform to contest the 2011 general elections.Such contradictions equally brought the merging of the Chief T.A. Orji’s faction of the PPA with the opposition PDP, which led to the PDP sweeping all the seats in the 2011 general elections. It has to be noted too that Governor T. A. Orji’s level headedness and candour played a major role in unifying the mainstream Abia political elite behind the new PDP
The most significant of all the 2011 electoral events was the round rejection of the Kalu family dictatorship as symbolized by not only the rejection of all PPA candidates but also the eventual rejection of Chief Orji Uzor Kalu’s senatorial bid for the Abia North senatorial seat.
Over the past two years, this has guaranteed a quantum leap in governance in both quantitative and qualitative terms. At least democracy has finally been restored back to the people under the leadership of the current governor, Chief T.A. Orji and his PDP, which has a tested and self-effacing politician, Chief Emma Nwaka as its chairman. The evidence of such flourishing can be seen from an incident that happened some few months ago in the Arochukwu Local government area chapter of the party where the local government chairmanship position became vacant and another successor in the person of Hon. Obinna Nwankwo was freely elected by a properly convened chapter of the party. There was no interference either from the state governor or the state leadership of the party.Such a situation was impossible to imagine during the Kalu family dictatorship era. In the same way the fleecing of prospective candidates and office seekersduring the Kalu family dictatorship era is now also regarded as a thing of the past.
One other evidence of such quantum leap in governance is that the elite consensus ensured by the leadership of Chief T.A. Orji has guaranteed a synergy between the state officials and federal representatives, which has ensured the attraction of all federal projects meant for Abia State. Some of such projects include, the Abriba-Nkporo-ossoedda federal highway; the rehabilitation of Ohafia-Arochukwu Federal high way; the re-opening of Osisioma NNPC Depot; the various FERMA reconstruction works in the state, the Labour Institute at Umuahia etc. This situation is in contrast to the past during the Orji Kalu family era when the bickering between the state governor and the federal representatives meant that Abia State suffered from lack of federal projects.
Again, the achievement of elite consensus has enabled the state government to concentrate efforts at pursuing its development agenda undisturbed by unnecessary political bickering and partisanship. The most notable example of such effort at development by the state administration is the execution of its legacy projects which is currently been symbolized by the numerous construction efforts that are on-going in the state.
After the defeat of the Kalu family dictatorship and their disappearance from the Abia scene, they went underground. Some said, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu has been quietly investing his billion all over the globe while also answering to EFFC charges over acts of impropriety as the then Governor of Abia State. However, those who know Orji Kalu too well will agree that his re-appearance in the Abia scene after two years of absence to make an entry into PDP while re-organizing his PPA will only have one agenda in mind and that is, to cause confusion in Abia PDP while positioning his party the PPA to achieve power in 2015.It is for this reason that such agenda will continue to be resisted not only by the leadership of the party but by all progressive minded Abians.
— Ike is a former executive chairman, Arochukwu Local Government Council