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Enugu 2023: Between power, politics and equity

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Nothing aptly describes politics like the name given to it by Ndigbo – ndoro-ndoro ochichi. Though it literally translates to struggle for power, but the full import and implications may not truly register to those who don’t understand the Igbo language.

It is this deeper meaning that has now become evident in the current political climate in Enugu State, one of the states in the South East, with fairly-evident and demonstrable dividends of democracy, as political gladiators unsheathe their swords from the scabbards.

All eyes are virtually on the 2023 governorship election. By the morning of May 29 of that year, the incumbent, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi would be completing the circle of 24 straight years of unbroken government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). But that would not be all. On that day, he would have completed the full circle of seamless adherence to a deed of equity, which would have seen the three senatorial zones occupying the Lion Building, the seat of power in the state without let or hindrance.

Ugwuanyi would be the last to be handed the baton and is expected to breast the tape in the last lap of what had been a tripartite race, begun by the inimitable Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, the doyen of the Ebeano family, who put together structure housing the current political warriors. Nnamani, who represented Enugu East, was the first to maintain the philosophy of equity, by handing over to Sullivan Chime from Enugu West, who made sure that the baton went to Ugwuanyi, from Enugu North.

But with that feat comes the snag. Where else would it go? Naturally, many had expected that the circle would return to where it started. But that seems not to be the case. Instead, all manner of permutations are being created and launched into the arena, some of them, somewhat compelling, others highly inchoate, and yet others totally outlandish.

For instance, elements from the Nsukka axis, representing Enugu North, where the incumbent is from, are putting up the argument that Instead of the three senatorial zones, the sharing formula should revert to the original bipolar structure of Enugu and Nsukka divisions. What this means, in their calculation, is that Nsukka, still has eight more years to go to catch up with the Enugu division, which had taken the first two slots between Enugu East and Enugu West – Nnamani and Chime.

This was the crux of the argument of Senator Chukwuka Utazi, the Senator representing the zone, during a strategic meeting a few weeks ago. Utazi, who cut his political teeth as the Deputy Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly in the ill-fated Military President Ibrahim Babangida regime that was terminated by the June 12, 1993 political saga, was seen in the meeting urging the people to brace up for another go at the office after Ugwuanyi.

Besides, the lawmaker also emphasised that the period of 16 years when the Enugu Division was in power, was used to enhance massive development and creation of infrastructures in their area to the detriment of Nsukka and therefore it deserved to similarly serve for another eight years to do a catch-up in the spirit of fairness and equity.

However, Utazi’s argument, forceful as it appears, is being seen as a smokescreen for a larger but nebulous political calculation. There is the insinuation that he is a front for Senator Ike Ekweremadu, former Deputy Senate President. Ekweremadu, is said to have played a major role in his emerging as a Senator and that Utazi wanted to pay him back by throwing a spanner in the works for the emergence of an Nkanu (Enugu East) governorship. Though he denied the allegation flatly, saying he was not open to manipulation by anybody, the tag continues to trail him.

For elements from the Enugu West, the argument is that since the position had gone round amongst the senatorial zones, the fresh circle could begin from anywhere. This is the loophole Ekweremadu, believed to be a strong contender for the office, is said to be exploring. Unlike Utazi, who has held an open meeting to advance his argument, that of the former DSP, has remained nocturnal in the main, even though he is said to be putting up a formidable force to make his ambition come to fruition.

Some political watchers find it strange that the five-time Senator, who entered into the upper legislative chambers of the National Assembly in 2003, is not having his eyes in Abuja, either for outright presidency or at worst vice presidency position, which is sure to come to the South East instead of returning to the state. But compelling as it might be, the Ekweremadu camp, appears to believe that the governorship might be an easier pick, especially as Ugwuanyi is believed to be eying an executive office at the national level.

Enter Enugu East. This zone posits what seems the most compelling argument. It believes that there should be no contest over the issue as it clearly settles itself. Water must return to its source in line with what has worked for the state and saved it from the rancour and bitterness that had resulted from the winner takes all mentality that has become the bane of politics elsewhere. It is all about the equity behind the logic in three pieces of meat in a plate with three people, which has clearly shared itself.

In fact, the thinking in the zone is that by the time Nnamani handed power to the other zone, he had the capacity to enthrone another Nkanu man to replace him, because the power dynamics favoured him. Just like in the neighbouring Imo State, where one zone has produced the governor since the turn of democracy at the same period, he could also have found hundreds of reasons to support the decision.

Yet, regardless the immense powers at his disposal as the czar of the moving train, called Ebeano family, he shelved every primordial sentiments in favour of the sacrosanct zoning arrangement.

ENUGU 2023: NKANU-EAST CRIES OUT OVER MARGINALISATION – OBLONG MEDIA  UNLIMITED

Edeh

What other argument could be more compelling? Incidentally, the former governor is at the vanguard of the agitation for his people in the attempt to defeat the arguments of the other zones. Recently, at the palace of the Odenigbo Nike, Nnamani, now the Senator representing Enugu East, put up a powerful show to galvanise his people for this purpose.

But in all these, comes a completely different, but equally compelling position altogether. It is the argument being advanced within the Nkanu people themselves. A loud cry from Nkanu East seems to be drowning other sentiments within the political climate in the state. They claim that the principle of justice, equity and fair-play compels other areas from the Enugu East zone to hands-off the contest for the number one job in the state.

Anayo Edeh, former member of the House of Representatives, gives impetus to the agitation, by encapsulating all the arguments to show how his people had been forced to hold the short end of the stick in both elective and appointive offices in the state since Nkanu East Local Government was carved out by the late General Sani Abacha in 1996.

At a meeting he convened on April 20, the former lawmaker, delivered a powerful message to remind the people of what is at stake and to rouse them to action, towards removing the unenviable tag of the most marginalised area in the zone.

At the meeting attended by leaders of thoughts, political heavyweights and traditional institutions, he presented a chart of the distribution of appointments and elective offices to underscore the fact that the area remains the only one that has never got the position of Senator or Governor.

Hear him: “From inception till date, Nkanu-East has remained the most neglected and marginalised Local Government Area in Enugu State. Nkanu-East is the only Local Government Council in Enugu State, you must pass through four other Local Councils before you can access its Headquarters. A less than two kilometer bridge across the Inyaba River would have made direct access to the headquarters possible and reduced the pain our people are subjected to in order to gain access to their Council Headquarters. But this is not possible because of our exclusion from strategic positions in Government at all levels.

“It is painful to note that till date, Nkanu-East has neither produced a Governor nor a Senator in the history of Enugu State.

“It is incontrovertible that political power is necessary for the creation of wealth. Our inability to acquire political power has caused impoverishment, social alienation, infrastructural decay and loss of esteem among our people.

“While we wallow in deep marginalisation and exclusion, our neighbor, Nkanu-West has attained and leveraged on all major elective and appointive offices in Enugu State.

“The French Philosopher and Scholar, Fanz Fanon, once said that; “the future will have no pity for those men who, possessing the exceptional privilege of being able to speak words of truth to the oppressors, but have taken refuge in an attitude of passivity, of mute indifference and sometimes of cold complicity”. The future will not forgive me and all of us who are the prominent sons and daughters of Nkanu-East, if we keep silent or conspire with those who keep our people down through maginalisation.

“We owe the present and future generations of our people a duty, to ensure that we take our place in the scheme of things. At this juncture, I must pay tribute to our heroes who, while they lived, fought for the progress and development of Nkanu-East. They include: Igwe Emeka Nnaji, Igwe Nathan Ogbu, Igwe Agu and Chief Sunday Edeh. History will be kind to them for their struggles to properly position our people.

“In the words of Late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe: “we must show the light so that people can find the way”. As leaders, we must properly guide our people to change the narratives and rebuild Nkanu-East.

“As the 2023 general elections approach, all hands must be on deck in the struggle to ensure that one of our sons become the next Governor of Enugu State. This is a legitimate aspiration and our right as natives of Enugu State and citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The zoning arrangement in Enugu State must be kept intact. Those who claim that it (the zoning arrangement) is not written, lack a sense of justice and equity. We plead with the great sons and daughters of Enugu State to help Nkanu-East obtain justice. They include: His Excellency, Senator Jim Nwobodo, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, His Excellency, Chief Sullivan Chime, His Excellency, Dr. OkwesilizeNwodo, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi among others. Posterity will be kind to them if they ensure that all parts of Enugu State are treated equally.

“This gathering marks a water-shed in our aspiration for de-marginalisation and equitable treatment. I urge all our sons and daughters to take this message home and re-assure our people that the march to their political emancipation has begun.

“Finally, no-one will give us power on a platter of gold. We must take it through collective struggle. All hands must be on deck.”

See the chart:

 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA ELECTIVE AND APPOINTIVE POSITIONS HELD NAME OF OCCUPANT OF POSITION
ISIUZO L.G.A Enugu-East Senatorial Seat.

 

Managing Director

Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

 

National Population Commission (NPC)

Federal Commissioner.

 

Presidential Liaison Officer to National assembly (House of Representatives).

 

Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain and the Vatican.

Late Senator Isaiah Ani

 

 

Late Festus Ugwu

 

 

 

EjikeEze

 

 

 

 

 

Hon. ChijiokeEdeoga

 

 

His Excellency,

Kingsley Ebenyi

 

ENUGU – EAST

 

Enugu–East Senatorial Seat.

 

Senator Gilbert Nnaji

 

ENUGU – NORTH

 

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

 

Governor

 

Nigeria’s Ambassador to Namibia.

 

Hon. DubemOnyia

 

 

C.C Onoh

 

Her Excellency,

Ambassador LilianOnoh

ENUGU – SOUTH

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Governor.

 

Enugu – East Senatorial Zone Seat.

 

Senate Presidency.

Senator Jim Nwobodo

 

 

Senator Ken Nnamani

 

Senator Ken Nnamani

 

NKANU – WEST

 

Senatorial Position.

 

 

 

Minister of Information.

 

 

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Federal Commissioner.

 

Federal Permanent Secretary.

 

Member, Police Service Commission.

 

Member, Public Complaints Commission.

 

National Orientation Agency.

 

 

APC Chairman, Enugu State and Member, Consumer Protection Commission (CPC).

 

Nigeria’s Ambassador to Poland.

 

Senator ChimarokeNnamani (Two-time Senator)

 

Chief Frank Nweke (Two-time Minister)

 

Chief Victor Chukwuani

 

 

 

 

Chief ChiyakaOha (rtd.)

 

 

OnyemaucheNnamani

 

 

AfamNnaji

 

 

Barr. OguguoOruruo

 

 

 

Chief Ben Nwoye

 

 

 

His Excellency,

Ambassador Chris Ugwu

 

NKANU – EAST

 

Minister of Power.

 

Permanent Secretary (rtd.).

 

Governor

 

Senator

 

Dr. Barth Nnaji

 

Raymond Okenwa

 

NIL

 

NIL

 

 

Utazi

To the argument being advanced by his fellow Nkanu compatriots that his quest was akin to jumping the gun and that he must be adhere to the local saying that one must first secure the space before looking for the mat, he has refused to be persuaded, saying that the struggle for the ground must go together with the search for the mat.

Ultimately the arguments must come down to the table of Ugwuanyi, who like most governors in Nigeria, hold the aces. A lot depends on how much he is persuaded by the positions of the contending forces. There is no telling that whichever side he takes, has won more than half of the battle. The question therefore is would he pander to politics or sentiments? Would he toe the line of his predecessors or play the winner takes all? Would he give justice or resort to power politics?

Posted by  Editor |  27 April 2021, 02:07pm

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Osun political battle: Assembly didn’t reverse Adeleke’s executive orders – lawmaker

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There is no truth in the assertion that the Osun State House of Assembly, ever sat on the inaugural speech of the Governor, Ademola Adeleke, let alone reverse his pronouncements he made on Sunday, including reversing the name of the state from State of Osun to Osun State.

This much was confirmed by Adewumi Adeyemi,  representive of Obokun State Constituency, while reacting to the spokesperson for the Assembly, Moshood Akande, who claimed on Monday that the lawmakers took decisions after reviewing the address.

“The State of Osun House of Assembly, having reviewed the inaugural speech of the Governor and the activities of the inauguration, hereby resolves as follows:

“The usage of the State Anthem, Crest and Flag is an enactment of law and as such, its usage is a matter of law and not choice. The enactment, ‘State of Osun Anthem, Crest and Flag Law, 2012’ assented to on the 18th of December, 2012 contained in Schedule I, II, III, IV and V, which carefully details every component of this law, is not in ambiguity.

“Schedule I is the State Anthem, Schedule II has to do with the State Crest, Schedule III is the symbolic significance of the elements in the Flag. Lastly, while we are aware of a court judgment in effect recognising ‘Osun State’, the Assembly, pending the determination and exhaustion of all legal means, would not be drawn into this matter. However, the State shall and will continue to be described as the State of the Virtuous (Ipinle Omoluabi),” Akande had said.

But Adeyemi, while insisting that he had been attending plenary regularly, adding that at no time was Adeleke’s address discussed by the lawmakers, however, encouraged the lawmakers to continue working together and support the new government.

“My attention has been drawn to a statement which reportedly emanated from the Osun State House of Assembly and was signed by Hon. Moshood Kunle Akande.

“In the said statement, it was stated that the Assembly reviewed the inaugural speech and activities of the inauguration held on Sunday, November 27.

“As a lawmaker who attends plenary very well, I hereby state unequivocally that the Assembly has not met after the governor’s inauguration. It is also worth noting that there was no place the resolution was passed by the Assembly. The public, especially Osun people, are hereby advised to take note of this,” he said.

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NBC’s MPI index:  Ikpeazu’s vision resonating on Abia SME’s prime rating

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In January 2018, 30 shoemakers left Aba, the industrial capital of Abia State and by extension, the South East for China to acquire the skills and secure the modern machinery in the industry. That did not just happen, but was the result of a well-planned programme of action based on the maximisation of the core competencies and areas of comparative advantage of the people Abia State.

One man was at the head of it. Early enough, Okezie came into government without taking his eyes off the ball. Among the varied programmes and policies, one of his priorities, was the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) as the base of economic development of Abia State – the major industry of the people.

The mantra was on his lips wherever he went. Right from the blast of the whistle in 2015, when he came into power, he began the full mobilisation for the project, which took him to Lagos, Abuja and other places where the people of Abia were domiciled to share his vision with the people.

The result of the combination of the multiple efforts the governor has put in this vision, became evident, when the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), released a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) survey report that measured deprivations related to education, health, and living standard of the people and Abia was among the top states.

This positive result from the highest rating body in the land, not only provides an indication of the future of the Abia economy and how it would look like in the coming years, but proves that the foundation laid and the seeds planted in those years of the beginning by the governor could not have been less visionary by a leader desirous of the economic and social emancipation of the people.

Nobody in Abia State can comfortably say that Dr Okezie Ikpeazu as a Governor has done it all but the NBS publication has shown that after all, Ikpeazu’s promise of delivering a better life for the people of the state is a clear reality.

Abia is a state where people are well known for their industrious lifestyle and hard-working nature. It did not start under Okezie Ikpeazu but the coming of Ikpeazu became a catalyst for rapid growth and development of all those involved in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Aba.

One concrete influence Ikpeazu had on SMEs in Abia State is his becoming their Chief Marketer, changing the narrative about made in Aba products. The Governor completely rewrote the age-long story of Aba shoemakers, and other designers and made them proud to say their products were made in Aba.

He vowed to wear only made-in-Aba products throughout his stay in office. Not only did he do that but he also took their products to important government agencies like the army, police,  National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the Nigerian Railway Cooperation, thereby creating serious and available markets for them.

When he noticed the lack of modern equipment available to Aba shoemakers which will not allow them to compete favourably with the rest of shoemakers over the world, he set up the Enyimba Automated Shoe Company (ENASCO) where individual shoemakers can bring their designs and have them produced by advanced machines.

The government equally went ahead to launch an online business directory for small and medium businesses in the state, a men’s that currently boast E-commerce in the state making it possible for customers all over the world to buy products in Aba.

Ikpeazu exposed SMEs in the state to the world because the Abia SME directory contains business names, addresses, telephone numbers, locations, contact information, the type of service or products the business provides, and the number of employees among other things.

Ikpeazu restored the Abia SME and equally became a pacesetter in human capital development in Aba, the commercial hub of the state, a situation that has given youths impetus to go ahead with production.

Abia under Ikpeazu became the first state to have the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises Development that serves as a clearing house for all SME-related activities. The ministry forms the catalyst for business development, marketing and empowerment. Abia is also the first to establish an SME bank tailored towards helping small businesses thrive. These achievements are among the reasons why the rating of Abia has improved in many ways.

The Abia SME bank on its own is Microfinance Bank meant to meet the needs of Abia Small and Medium-sized Enterprises owners that are currently not being met by numerous commercial banks.

The bank is specifically providing micro-credit to SMEs to enhance economic growth in line with the Ikpeazu-led administration macroeconomic policy of empowerment and wealth creation for Abia people and others doing business in Abia State.

What makes the Abia SME Microfinance Bank located at No 17 Ngwa Road, Aba very unique is that despite providing micro-credit to Abia State SMEs, it equally offers efficient and innovative financial services and products to the economically viable SMEs segment.

Today, many areas of businesses in Aba in particular are having specialized clusters where their businesses are meant to thrive without restrictions, as the government equally says it will construct more roads with economic importance to ease trade and commerce in the state.

Perhaps, the efforts of the current administration in Abia State in SMEs will be appreciated more when one visits the Cameroun Park through the Powerline axis of Ariaria International Market to see how people from Central and West African cities like Bangui, Libreville, Bamako, Malabo, N’Djamena, Bioko and Kumba come to buy made in Aba goods for their numerous customers back at home in their countries.

Undoubtedly a rich nation by every standard, one third of over 200million population size of Nigeria citizens are terminally poor confronted with existential challenges, which to ameliorate, the Federal Government introduced a poverty reduction template, targeted at lifting 100 million Nigerians from poverty belt zone by 2030.

Though the government says is attainable, if stakeholders play their expected roles effectively, poverty continues to balloon in the country rather than receding, with a poverty report released last week by the NBS – Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), underscoring the stark realities.

According to the NBS’  MPI, 63 per cent of persons  living within, Nigeria ( about 133 million people) are multidimensionally poor, meaning that poor people in Nigeria experience over one-quarter of all possible deprivations.

It is against this backdrop that the feat achieved in Abia, through the deliberate policy of Ikpeazu to focus on the core areas of the Abia economy by lifting the small businesses and maximising the opportunities therefrom, must be situated and the reason he deserves a lot of accolades. Certainly, things will never be the same again. Abia is now on the move.

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Pomp, as Ihiala community celebrates New Yam, sets up education programme

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Determined to improve the educational standard, the Ihiala community in Ihiala local government of Anambra State has instituted a special Award for Excellence for first class graduates.

 

The traditional ruler of the town, Igwe Thomas Obidiegwu, who announced this during the annual Iri ji (New Yam Festival) of the community, also announced the introduction of scholarship for exceptionally brilliant indigent students.

The monarch who bemoaned the worrisome level of cultism as well as drugs and substance abuse in the community said measure would be put in place to curtail the unwholesome behaviours which he said were totally strange to the community.

“This year’s celebration is unique as it will mark the beginning of some innovative programmes aimed at behavioral change in the attitudes of youths and the young ones.  We are launching today a serious campaign against drugs and substance abuse as well as cultism

“We believe that unless a decisive step is taken to curtail this dangerous trend, we will lose our young ones to drugs and substance abuse. Also worrisome is cultism and its ugly consequences.”

He said he will soon announce a committee to midwife and develop a blueprint for the implementation of the programme.

Chief Ody Chukwube, the Chairman of the Planning Committee, enjoined Ihiala people to join hands with the Oluoha in eradicating drugs and substance abuse as well as cultism.

He announced the plans of the community to construct a permanent Central Palace for the Oluoha soon, which he said would among other things, have a museum for the protection of relics in the monarchy which has lasted over 700 years.

The Deputy Speaker of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Mr Paschal Agbodike in his speech noted that the Igbo of the South East should embrace agriculture, adding that over-dependency in crude oil had made the country a monolithic economy.

Agbodike, urged other communities to borrow a leaf from the Ihiala Community in exemplary celebration of Iri ji festivals. He urged them to access soft loans from Agricultural banks to improve food production in the country.

Those present at the occasion include the governorship candidate of Zenith Labour Party ( ZLP), Chief Obiora Okonkwo, Chief Akachukwu Nwankp  of African Democratic Congress and the running mate to Prof. Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressive Grand Alliance ( APGA), Dr Onyeka Ibezim.

 

 

Posted by  Editor |  15 September 2021, 01:34am

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