By Onoh Chukwuma Richard
Part of the burden of leadership is living with variegated allegations of malfeasance be the truth or not. A tested leader bears these burdens not only with equanimity but a cheerful face to reduce tension within the polity. Indeed, the hallmark of experienced leadership is his ability to navigate through all forms of Interests while remaining focused on offering quality service to the majority of the people.
There is no doubt that the current Speaker of Abia state House of Assembly, Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji is imbued with this kind of leadership attribute which has seen him diligently performing his duties and responsibilities including touching the lives of many positively without losing focus. Daily assailed by all kinds of distraction, he has continued to remain committed to serving Abia state irrespective of brickbats thrown at him and his family. By not engaging in open warfare with his traducers, he has indeed proclaimed in practical terms that he appreciates the burden of leadership.
A few days ago, a former Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Obinna Oriaku was arrested and detained by the EFCC over his role in the management of the Paris Club Refund to the state. Instead of facing his problems and addressing the issues at stake, he went on a wild goose chase of scapegoats. Even a child knew where he was pointing fingers at when he accused falsely the immediate past administration of engagement of multiple consultants to “milk” the state dry. These unsubstantiated allegations did not take into cognizance the fact that the bulk of the Paris Club Refund came in when Oriaku was the finance Commissioner. He also admitted that none of the so-called multiple consultants has been paid a dime.
Interestingly, a law firm in the state, NDUKWE IHEANYI &CO has taken it upon itself to unravel the circumstances surrounding the allegation with a view to Abia people knowing the truth. He petitioned the state House of Assembly to investigate the matter. Remember that Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji is the Speaker. If he was afraid of anything, he would have suppressed the petition. But as one who believes in going to equity with clean hands, Speaker Orji caused the matter to be listed on the order paper on Monday, June 28, 2021.
Another shocker awaited the frustrated and disgruntled elements in the state when after Hon Emeka Okoroafor, member representing Isuikwuato state constituency, the matter was robustly debated and the speaker proceeded to set up an Adhoc committee to treat the petition by investigating the matter.
Anticipating the reaction of the opposition, Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji came out with a masterstroke of a decision by making the five men ad-hoc committee which four is an entire opposition affair except for the Secretary. As a member of the ruling PDP, Orji must have reasoned that a cockroach can never get justice in the gathering of fowls. Hon Barr Emeka Okoroafor (Isuikwuato, APC), was announced as the Chairman while other Members are
Hon Chijioke Chukwu (Bende North, APC), Hon Obinna Ichita (Aba South, APGA), Hon Abraham Oba (Aba Central, APGA). Rev Emeka Otumchere is to serve as Secretary. The transparent way the appointments were made confirmed that the speaker is not afraid of the probe. If he was, he could easily have used his power to appoint loyal PDP members to the committee.
What Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji has done in handling the probe of the Paris Club Refund in respect of the baseless and frivolous allegation of Obinna Oriaku showed that he believes in a thorough and independent inquisition that would not be influenced by either him and the ruling party.
Onoh Chukwuma Richard, A Public Affairs Commentator, Wrote in from UmuahiaUche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.