This state was once called God’s own state. I state “was once called” because I have a strong feeling of it becoming an offence against God to associate Him with this State because of how much it has been bastardized by its government in the last decade. Like the cemetery Eastside High School was built upon, the school was called GHOSTS. Like the people who have misruled Abia State in the last decade or so, Abia state represents the modern day “A Town Called Bastard”. Everything in Abia connotes bastardry. The roads that are purportedly built are a shouting broad daylight robbery and immorality. The same time construction is going on, it is the same time pot holes are everywhere. City roads in Aba, where the government claims to be spending 60 per cent of Abia State revenue, are built with wheelbarrows as the most sophisticated construction equipment. The others are brooms, trowels, hoes and head pans. Laterite is poured on major roads and spread with brooms and head pans and shovels and trowels and foot. The laterite is later sprayed with black substances using insecticide-like sprayers which the public are expected to call coal tar and the road is done. When okada was in use in Aba, it takes only one okada ride to peel off the layers and reopen the potholes. Major urban roads in dare need of being a dual carriageway are demarcated in the middle with concrete works while there are potholes on both sides deep enough to swallow a saloon car when it rains.
Abians are now officially known as highest ranking kidnappers in Nigeria. Abia State is the most dangerous state to live or do business in right now. All those who have money have fled the cities in Abia State to other neighbouring states or abroad for safety. Interestingly, Abians now move to Port Harcourt where the militancy and kidnapping incidents began in this country a few years ago. People are kidnapped for as little as N10, 000 these days in Abia State. Bullion van robbery was a daily affair in Abia State until the banks started ferrying their money by helicopters.
In the Western movie with the title, “A Town Called Bastard”, everybody in that city including their reverend fathers, other city based or traveling clergy, the landowners, slaves, the rich and poor, all became fraudulent. Everyone one got involved in one or more illicit activity or the other. Everybody stole from everybody. Police and the ATS units are angry because when they arrest kidnappers, the get phone calls from highly placed officials of Abia State asking them to release the people they have arrested. As the Major of the Third Reich in “Casablanca” said, life is cheap in Casablanca as in Abia State and people are killed at the slightest annoyance.
There is nothing like public utility that is functioning in Abia State. I was surprised to see public water supply in a place like Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Rivers States and in Enugu where you cannot even dig a borehole because of coal in the ground.
In Abia State, teachers are owed 8 months’ salary and this has been continuously so in the last four years. In fact, in the last ten years, there has not been anytime teachers were not owed salaries and allowances. There is no public schooling in Abia State. What you have is that the few who have nowhere else to go have class examinations conducted for them as soon as one month salary can be arranged for the teachers after three to four months of non-payment of any salary at all. The government, instead of promoting the education of its people, is currently levying every child in the private daycare, nursery, primary and secondary schools. I expect that those in private tertiary schools are also paying. School fees in Abia State Government owned tertiary schools are increased every year 100 per cent.
Other civil servants in the State are owed more than four months salary and have been owed salaries and allowances continuously in the last ten years.
Local government council staff is owed more than nine months salary and has been continuously owed their salaries and allowances in the last ten years without any single year when they have been able to receive their pay in full.
State and local governments in Abia State are so heavily indebted to banks and other financial institutions. The state government is still making frantic efforts to raise money from the Stock Exchange by the sale of bonds. It has presently hired a team of experts to work out how the government can increase the taxes on the people of the state. If things are left the way they are, there would be no development in Abia State for the next 20 years as all future governments would be saddled with unbearable debt repayment responsibilities.
Several years ago, an acquaintance noted that State Governments in Nigeria were now putting hands into people’s pockets to remove their money in the name of internally generated revenue. In Abia State today, the government is carrying out daylight armed robbery and kidnapping of people in the name of internally generated revenue. The government send fierce looking men with armed men some times in police uniform and other times without police uniform, they invade people’s homes and kidnap their children or security guards and other people they see on sight including visitors for such an indeterminable revenue profile including sanitation, borehole license, borehole dues, smoke emission from vehicles, and as many idiotic things as they can imagine. They browbeat, harass, embarrass and detained people and extort money from them in the name of revenue.
On both Federal and State highways, fierce and criminal looking people waylay people, block them, jump into their vehicles and extort money from them in the name of revenue drive. The manner of their attack is exactly in the same way that highway robbers would attack. There are a thousand one sub-heads you would be made to pay once they succeeded in stopping you. By the time all that you have to pay is laid before you, they would start negotiating for a shortcut which is to give them bribe so that they would let you go. Their bribe range from N10, 000.00 to N500.00 depending on their assessment of the victim and or the ability of the victim to call their bluff.
The State Government and the Local Government Chairmen has contracted out all the revenue profiles and collected the money upfront and siphoned the funds. It is these contractors, most of whom qualify for ex-convicts and practicing full time criminals that perpetrate the daylight banditry on the hapless citizens and passersby in Abia State. One interesting scenario is that all the major revenue contractors are not indigenes of Abia State. These revenue profiles are given out on highest bidder basis. This is why there is so much impunity on their part.
When it rains in Aba and Umuahia, five to six hours traffic jam envelope these cities almost instantly. The people in the streets both those in vehicles and on foot behave exactly like a horde of pigs and insane people. A road that has less than one lane that is passable by a motorcycle would immediately have five to seven lanes of traffic from one end. Then with the other five to seven from the opposite direction, what you have is a traffic jam that can keep the people on the road for the next five or more hours. Horns blare in a despicable manner. Cursing would rent the air, vehicles would be bashed and scratched front, back and on both sides. The scenes are exactly as if a horde of mad pigs have been let loose.
A town called bastard! This is exactly what Abia State has become. While preparing this write-up I had gone to Microsoft Encarta to research the ward bastard and associated words such as bastardry, bastardy and bastardize. It was intriguing how what I saw clearly and evidently fitted Abia State in the last ten years. Here are some of the definitions I got:
1. Offensive term: an offensive term for somebody regarded as obnoxious and disagreeable (slang insult).
2. Offensive term: an offensive term for something that is extremely difficult, trying or unpleasant.
3. Inferior thing: Something that is inferior debased or of questionable or mixed origin (sometimes considered offensive).
Australia obnoxious behaviour: behaviour considered to be mean-spirited, treacherous, or obnoxious.
1. Debase: to lower the value or quality of something by combining it with something else.
2. Declare somebody illegitimate: to prove or declare somebody to be illegitimate.
Whether you are merely passing through or staying in Abia State for a mere few hours or days, you will be confronted with all the above adjectives that aptly qualify the state. You will immediately be greeted by the meanness and treachery of the people of the land called Abia State. If you spend a few more days, you will easily notice how much the people of Abia State have been debased. You will feel the illegitimacy of its government at all levels including its traditional institutions.
If you spend a few more weeks, you will come face to face with the obnoxious lifestyle of the people. In fact, they have no lifestyle that is acceptable in these modern times.
Abia State is an extremely difficult place to do anything, including passing through to another place.
An assessment of Abia State and its people leaves one with no choice than to conclude that the people has been so debased in the last ten years by their civil and traditional institutions that they and their leaders have become despicable and repugnant to say the least.
Dear readers, you are probably wondering what an itinerant salesman is doing writing about Abia State when he could ignore the state and continue his business in the remaining 35 States plus Abuja. Well the truth is that every right thinking man and woman who is in the world today should be concerned about Abia State. This state has nothing less than 4 million people (forget the last census). It has oil wells. It has some of the best brains this country has produced. With the world becoming a global village, the evil eggs laid by the evil bird that sits astride Abia State at the present is already hatching into several small evil children who would spread very easily like a virus everywhere in Nigeria in particular and the world in general. Abia state is an important land link to the whole of the South-South where majority of Nigeria’s oil is produced.
I don’t even know if there are any people called the people of Abia State who can claim to be proper in the head. I make this assertion given the fact that in spite of the heinous crime committed against the people by their governments in the past decade, nobody has raised a finger to condemn this repulsive rape of a people by those who were supposed to protect them.
Abia state cannot be ignored by Nigeria and the world and still sleep easy. It would be too perilous to do so.
It is strongly recommended that the Federal Government declare a State of Emergency in Abia State. The government in Abia State should be sacked and political activities banned for the next ten years. Those who have ruled in the State from Local Government Chairman, State House of Assembly Members and Commissioners should be processed through a psychiatric hospital to the prison. Those who have held executive powers and all contractors who have received payment for projects in the last ten years should be tried and executed. The state should be handed over to World Bank experts with a mandate to invest 50 per cent of Abia State revenue in the State and use the remaining 50 to cover their charges. This is stated because, in the last ten years, there is no evidence that 5 per cent of Abia State revenue has been invested in the State. If you seek evidence, then check Cross River State. That state has less revenue than Abia State. Abia State is, however, not comparable to anything in the world. It is plain obnoxious. It is in the hand of evil people.
Abia people Arise if you are still alive!!!