By Jude Ndukwe
When few days ago, precisely on November 4, 2021, one of Abia’s foremost media outfits, All Facts Newspaper, released the results of the poll it conducted online for “Abia’s Senator Of The Year 2021”, the outcome didn’t come to many, especially those who follow events at the National Assembly closely, as a surprise. Senator T.A. Orji who won the contest has not only represented his people of Abia Central Senatorial District well in the Red Chanbers, he has regularly kept in touch with them through interactions, empowerment programmes, and impactful projects.
The result of that poll by All Facts Newspaper is only a confirmation of that of the Senate itself which was released in late 2020.
In that report by the Senate of The Federal Republic of Nigeria tagged “Report Card of the 9th Senate, Volume One, Number One (June 2019 – May 2020)” and captioned “How Former Governors Stand in Bills Chart of the 9th Senate”, Senator T.A. Orji was adjudged the Best Perrforming Senator among nine others having sponsored 7 Bills compared to his peers who sponsored less for the period covered.
Senator T.A. Orji may not be the loud type but his performances surely speak for him where and when it matters most.
To help create employment and empower the youths, Senator T. A. Orji recently sponsored over 100 Abia youths on training in modern agriculture at the renowned National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM), Ilorin, Kwara State. This is as the world moves away from Oil and Nigeria struggles to extricate itself from a perilous mono-economy powered by dwindling fortunes from equally diminishing resources. It, therefore, became more urgent now than ever to embrace agriculture by empowering the youths through training and retraining and other incentives in order to make agriculture attractive to them even as they grow to become employers of labour, feed the nation and effectively help diversify the economy.
After the training, the over 100 participants were issued with Certificates and starter packs as incentives to establish their own farms. They were also mandated to cascade down the knowledge gained at the training to other youths in their respective communities.
As part of his government’s (2007 – 2015) direct intervention to lift Abia youths from poverty, the then Governor of Abia State, Senator T.A. Orji, gave out brand new cars and buses to youths of the State free of charge to help them earn a living. The vehicles, coated in yellow with black stripes, since their distribution to the beneficiaries in 2013, have become a household empowerment tool in the hands of Abia youths, and they are seen plying the roads up till today 8 years after.
202 of the vehicles in the 4th batch of the distribution exercise to the benefitting youths were given out on November 8, 2013. By December 2013, 6 batches of such vehicles had been distributed to other benefitting youths. Many of the beneficiaries have since gone ahead to purchase more vehicles of their own and engaged other drivers thereby creating multiple streams of income for themselves and more employment opportunities for others in the process.
Similarly, micro, small and medium-scale entrepreneurs have benefitted substantially from the free distribution of items and start-up capital needed for the sustenance and promotion of their businesses. Thanks to Ochendo Global!
The Senator T.A. Orji Annual Scholarship to indigent students of Abia origin in higher institutions enters its sixth unbroken edition this year. This scholarship scheme has helped to keep students in school while relieving their parents of some financial burdens associated with the cost of higher learning. This is in addition to the several classrooms he has built in both primary and secondary schools for students to have conducive learning environments.
As if these were not enough, Senator T.A. Orji sponsors a Free Eye Surgery Initiative through which blindness in benefitting Abians are reversed and their sights restored. Since its inception, hundreds of Abians have benefitted from Ochendo’s Free Eye Surgery Initiative and the society is better for it as this results in greater productivity for the beneficiaries and a great relief for family members who are usually burdened with leading and guiding the blind thereby limiting or even eliminating economic opportunities for both the blind and their guide! But with Ochendo’s intervention, the relief is huge!
It is for these reasons and many more that Papa Ukwu, as he is also fondly called, will continue to be considered by Abians and even those beyond as the Best Performing Senator in the State and among the most effective lawmakers in the entire nation, based on verifiable indices!
So as he marks his 71st birthday today, we pray God to continue to bless him and endow him with even greater wisdom to guide the younger ones, especially as he has reiterated his commitment to quit politics in 2023 in order to give the youths for whom he has lived a greater part of his life, and give them the chance to step in and continue from where he will stop.
Happy birthday Sir!