READ: Reason why Orji Uzor Kalu remains best Governor Nigeria ever produced


Opinion… This article you are about to read showcased the real reasons why the Abia State former Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu remains the best Governor Nigeria has ever produced (He governed Abia State from 1999-2007)

Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu

Orji Uzor Kalu has many shortcomings but he also has done some good for the people of Abia. After all, he is human prone to mistakes; but let’s look more at how much good he did for the state.

Looking back at what the administration of Kalu achieved, I realised that the administration was the first in the country that started the monthly publishing of state account in the newspapers, which was highly commended by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, who went further to direct Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, minister of finance, to ask the other states to do same. So, the whole money that came into the state was in public domain and how it was spent was also made public. That is accountability.

I remember the first time I saw the publication and some commentator said the administration would not sustain this by the time they started stealing money. But the monthly publication of the accounts of Abia State was sustained till the last month of May 2007 when the administration left office.

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Let me quickly take you through memory lane to briefly enumerate some of the policy achievements of the Orji Kalu administration, sector by sector, as I could remember.

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I will only touch on education

Orji Uzor Kalu realised that education is the most powerful weapon with which the world can be changed, so he made it one of the major policy missions of his administration.

There was free education in both the primary and secondary schools. During this period, people from neighbouring Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo and other states brought their wards and they were admitted without discrimination in Abia. Student enrollment within Abia kept going up each year throughout the administration.

The government’s payment of both junior and senior West African School Certificate (WASC) exams. Most parents never knew how expensive those examinations were until the exit of the administration.

Abia State’s prompt payment of her matching fund to the Universal Basic Education Programme brought about many new school buildings in communities that were almost forgotten. In fact, it was during the administration that school buildings started wearing aluminum roofing.

Teachers’ salaries were promptly paid on or before the 25th of every month, which motivated them to give their best.
Many graduates were employed into the state school system and since 2001 till date, Abia State has been among the best five performing states when it comes to WAEC. The record is there to be verified. The Orji Kalu administration is the foundation for that excellence in education today.

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In Abia State University, apart from the usual monthly subvention from the state, which rose to about N200 million by the time the administration ended, Governor Kalu was paying N93,000, as subsidy per student admitted into the school while the students paid the balance of N7, 000. This was what was believed to be the cost of a good education, according to international standard and Kalu insisted he wanted the best for Abians, thereby, opting to subsidise each student to that tune. The result is that ABSU was able to attract the best brains in the academic world. From 2000 until the end of the administration, ABSU maintained the best results in Law and in Medicine.

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In order to get accreditation for the School of Medicine in ABSU, the Orji Kalu administration took up the big task of providing a University Teaching Hospital for the medical students. The Aba General Hospital was transformed within a few months to ABSU University Teaching Hospital and equipped to world standard. That hospital recently was an eye sour due to negligence by the subsequent administration and management. I hope the present administration is paying attention to it. Indeed, that ABSU medical school got accreditation was due to Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu.

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Bursary was paid regularly to Abia State students in various institutions across the country on a regular basis. This was sustained till the end of the administration. In some cases, there was confusion, as students from other states were registering as Abians in the various institutions but they were usually resolved and bursary released.

The Abia State Polytechnic came into existence under the administration and given a class of its own. The siting of that institution in the metropolitan city of Aba became a great motivation among the youths towards education.

One of the things so many have against him is that he prematurely swore in Theodore Orji to the outcry of many who termed the act unconstitutional, thus securing for himself ample time to make his ‘great escape’ from Nigeria, far away from Nuhu Ribadu and his EFCC who had earlier placed him and some other governors on their ‘most wanted’ list.


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