• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Orji and new meaning to governance (1)


By the time Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State runs his full circle on the hot seat, he would not only have left a legacy of a stable state and a stable polity, he would be adding a new lexicon to the political books and a new theory to political philosophy. I call it ‘Ochendoism’. Many years to come, students of the history of ideas and students of political philosophy would marvel at the fact that, quite contrary to the popular norm, Governor Orji did not set out to propound a theory. He did not consciously set out to add to the body of knowledge. Yet, he gave a new meaning to governance. Ochendoism, as a new form of government, is a historical accident.

As a peculiar historical progression, Ochendoism is far more than an academic theory for an intellectual exercise and exploration. The theory is a new norm of governance and a new culture of political administration as demonstrated by Orji in his adventures in Abia. Simply defined, Ochendoism is the government of rebirth, restitution and rebuilding; the government of the three Rs (RRR). It is an ethical imperative that saw a leader healing a traumatized people and rebuilding a polarized and fractured polity. It is the vision of a new rebirth that drove a leader to create a new beginning and a new society out of the wreckages of the past.

Essentially, the theory expands the frontiers of governance to add the agenda of peace and equity as a cardinal mandate of the king. It distills from the time-honoured definitions of power and democracy to prescribe, for the leader, the moral mandate of causing an attitudinal change, creating a new culture and evolving a new state out of an orientation that leaned towards barbarism. In this new Abia, Orji demystified the office of the executive governor and the leader presented himself as an ordinary mortal with feelings, remorse and compassion – with flesh and blood. In this spirit, the governor opened himself to hear and feel the thought and concerns of every citizen. He received every message directly and replied every message directly.

Ochendoism is revolutionary in practice as it breaks all class structures and creates a synergy between idealism in power and pragmatism. Orji demonstrated that the king must be the leader of all men and must appreciate the varieties of our common humanity. He dispersed power and created a rainbow coalition that involved the broad spectrum of the Abia society. Every group had a voice and a good representation.

Indeed, history must note that Ochendoism as a political philosophy emerged out of pragmatic action. Governor Orji’s political birth was into a raging war. He inherited nothing but war. History placed on his laps a society that was visibly at war, a state that was highly polarised and where the parties were at daggers-drawn. Thus, his first major preoccupation was with social reconstruction. He would only succeed if he breaks off from the festering chain of an overbearing predecessor, pull the state and the people out of a cultural captivity and create a new world order. He took the bull by the horns and stamped his feet on the soil of Abia State as a visionary leader.

Having ousted a regime of anarchy with all its bloody vestiges and brought a ray of hope to a speechless people, he ignored the Mosaic code of “an eye for an eye” and set out on the path of truth and reconciliation. He threw out an olive branch and threw the door of government house open and in the frenzy of the new freedom, all Abians, in one collective spirit, began to speak in one voice and enlisted into the new vision of Abia State. Thus, one major hallmark of Ochendoism is the building of bridges of understanding and the rebuilding of relationships. With a united house, he was now able to move on to the higher spiritual ground of restitution.

Apart from servicing debts incurred by the fallen dynasty, he commenced a large-scale programme of making amends and correcting the excesses of the past administration. This saw to the birth of many social-welfarist programmes like the Ochendo Youth Empowerment Programme, which transformed Abia into a yellow state; the Hannah May Foundation, the pet humanitarian programme of the first lady; the student bursary scheme and the student free city buses. There are many more. Borne out of a bitter experience of a generational youth deviance which manifested in the regime of criminality by the Abia youths, with the vice of kidnapping almost grounding the state, the empowerment programme is an effort at social reconstruction and capacity building. The resultant effect is the prevailing social stability in the state.

Significantly, Ochendoism sees the society as one common entity and seeks to resolve the primordial sentiments that have created barriers and divisions in the polity. It seeks to address the issues of inequity, domination and the imbalance of power. This is the background that informs the insistence of Ochendo that power must shift to Abia South of Ukwa Ngwa extraction. He is working very hard to achieve it. By seeking to break this jinx of power exclusion, Governor Orji demonstrated that the role of the leader is not just to manage men and the resources of the state but to assuage the inner resentments and outer sentiments among groups that created deep-seated spirit of disunity and apprehension in the polity.

By driving on the plank of the three Rs, Governor Orji created a new template for political administration and left an invaluable asset and legacy to the study and practice of political power. As the clock gradually ticks and the curtain winds slowly, Orji   will confidently step out to the market square to show himself approved a workman who does not need to be ashamed. Very soon, he would demand for his crown. He would say after Paul of Tarsus: “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”

Godwin Adindu