By Anayo Okolie
A chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State, Chief Henry Ikechukwu Ikoh, has denied reports that water sachets and pebbles were hurled at the senator representing Abia Central senatorial district, Senator Theodore Orji, at a burial ceremony last weekend.
Ikoh, who is a former Commissioner for Industry, Science and Technology in the state, said the report was misleading, as he witnessed the burial rite for the late Dr. Elekwachi Nwaogbo at Ntalakwu, Oboro, where the incident was alleged to have occurred, till the end.
In a statement made available to THISDAY, Ikoh, an indigene of Oboro Clan in Ikwuano Local Government Area, said, “The people of Ikwuano LGA, in particular, and Abians, in general, see the published falsehood as an affront on their sensibilities. The misleading report flies in the face of professionalism and the practice of journalism that demands credibility, fairness and objectivity. And we make bold to refute that blatant lie and to urge the author of the false report and the organisation that went out to deceive the reading public to tender an unreserved apology to the Distinguished Senator, T.A. Orji, who is unarguably the father of modern Abia State.”
Ikoh said contrary to the said report, Orji was held in high esteem in Ikwuano and the whole of Abia because of his outstanding human and infrastructural development efforts during his tenure as governor.
He said, “When Senator T.A. Orji mounted the rostrum to give his own speech, there were cheers from the audience with thunderous shout of ‘Ochendo’. T.A.Orji told Abians that he stopped idolatry and swearing to the deities before anybody would assume a political office in the state.
“Needless to say, the distinguished senator is held in high esteem as a leader of high repute who has considered Ikwuano in all his developmental projects, programmes and empowerments. He exhibited exemplary leadership as a governor and now as a senator.”
Insisting that there is no part of Abia where people would contemplate pelting Orji with water sachets, Ikoh stated, “Before his arrival as governor, Abia State was a mere glorified village without visible infrastructural development, but by the end of his eight years in the saddle, every Abian became proud to be called an Abian. In addition to the massive infrastructural development, provision of social amenities and human capital transformation, Senator T.A. Orji actually brought Abia State back to God when the vestiges of evil worship, demonic manipulations and satanic enclaves were jettisoned as prerequisite to access political appointments.”
The former commissioner said the ex-governor rewrote the history of Abia State, “When he worked tirelessly to ensure that the sacred principles of equity and justice were implemented, which has resulted in Abia South having a shot at the governorship seat of the state.”
Similarly, Media Adviser to Senator Orji, Don Norman Obinna in a statement made available to THISDAY, said the falsehood against his principal was aimed at misinforming the reading public.
“Customarily, we would have ignored this canard but for the obvious reason that Journalists are the people’s trustees saddled with constitutional and social responsibilities to accurately and dispassionately inform the masses hence our response.
“It is out rightly unethical and embarrassing to the public and members of the fourth estate of the realm to say the least that a national newspaper will resort to Yellow Journalism in their self-defeating efforts to reduce the most distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic, Chief T.A. Orji to the pitiable political level of their pay master.
“Contrary to the mendacity reported, Senator Orji was rousingly welcomed to the venue of the ceremony by the people of Ntalakwu and all the dignitaries at the occasion, Col. Akobundu, Hon. Henry Iko, Senator Ben Uwajumogu, Hon. Sam Onuigbo, Spiritual leaders of Assemblies of God’s Church, family members of the deceased, Mr. Mascot Kalu who could not hide his excitement on seeing Senator Orji arrived with trumpet blast.”