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Abia 2023: Remembering the written voice of founding fathers ~ by Ndubuisi Etugo Ogah

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Ahead of the 2023 governorship in Abia State, there are two negative things that are fondly associated with the Igbo nation that are playing out in our State Christened God’s Own State. These are issues emanated from some kinds of frivolous disposition and poor attitude normally identified in the Igbo system of life that attract bad name to Ndigbo from the outside world. First is the negative impression that Igbo have no king (Igbo enwe Eze).

Second is that it is not good for elders to be around in the house and watch a goat deliver her babies while tied with rope on her leg. (Okenye adigh ano n’uno, ewu amua n’ogbu). As far as the governorship election in Abia State is concerned, these two negative scenarios are playing out to the detriment of our founding fathers on one hand. And on the other hand, to the detriment of deepening and strengthening credible democracy and good governance in Abia State.

What am I saying in essence? We all as Ndi Abia State know that, the founding fathers of our State led by late Governor of old Eastern Region Dr MI Okpara issued a written agreement known as Abia Charter of Equity with specific mandate that the governorship seat should be rotating across the three Senatorial zones in the State and not across the clans in the State.

What I am saying is that the move by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in particular under Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to deny Abia North Senatorial zone the chance to produce the next governor of the State in 2023 at a time when it is the turn of Abia North to do so amounts to the negative impression that Igbo have no King because PDP under Ikpeazu blatantly ignored the written voice of the founding fathers who are our kings.

Envisaging what the political leadership entails for the succeeding generations, the founding fathers in their wisdom drafted and signed the Charter of Equity agreement with a view to ensure political stability embedded in equity, justice and fair play. The Charter of Equity agreement is of course the legacy of our fathers or kings that should be tightly upheld by succeeding generations including the present one we find ourselves.

In other parts of Nigeria people like Okpara are regarded as fathers and kings with their legacies being uphold on a tight note by succeeding generations. The ignorant of the Charter of Equity by Governor Ikpeazu and his cohorts in PDP by denying Abia North the governorship ticket for 2023 election amount to a frivolous disposition and poor attitude to democracy and governance that will impact negatively on the present and future of Abia State.

What example and legacy is Ikpeazu laying by ignoring the legacies of the founding fathers? Does he want to move Abia forward or backward by ignoring what the fathers laid down for a peaceful and progressive Abia State?

For me Ikpeazu wants to move Abia backward by turning a deaf ear to the right thing he supposed to do. More worrisome is that he is a beneficiary of rotation. If Theodore Orji as Governor in 2015 did not support rotation of the governorship seat to Abia South, Ikpeazu couldn’t have become governor in the first place. In 2015 some stakeholders didn’t want rotation but Theodore Orji as governor stood his ground and ensured that the governorship went to Abia South after the North and Central served out their tenures respectively.

Most worrisome to the situation of things in Abia State however is the silent mood of the relevant stakeholders such as traditional rulers, religious leaders, business tycoon, past and present political office holders in various parties and others including elders on the issue of rotation.

The stakeholders and elders are sitting down in the house while a tied goat is on course for delivery. It is only one of the former Governor of the State Senator Theodore Orji who stood up to root for PDP to concede the governorship ticket to Abia North in 2023 in line with the Charter of Equity.

Senator Orji in a meeting of stakeholders from the 17 Local Government Areas in State hosted in his resident at Umuahia in March last year precisely made it clear that after Orji Uzor Kalu served as Governor from North 1999 – 2007, himself from Central 2007 – 2015 and Okezie Ikpeazu from South 2015 -2023, the next governor should come from the North.

Senator Orji made a good effort but others are keeping silent. What is happening in Abia State is quite unlike what happened in Enugu State and Anambra State on rotation of power to be precise.

The stakeholders in Enugu and Anambra stood up to resist attempts to tamper with zoning arrangement by disgruntled elements and ensured that zoning stands. We all know the story. At the last incident, stakeholders in Enugu were able to convince Senator Ike Ekweremadu to quash his 2023 governorship ambition on the ground that it is the turn of Enugu East not the turn of Enugu West to produce the next governor of the State. Ekweremadu is from Enugu West and on that note, he quashed his governorship ambition to pave the way for Enugu East to take it.

All over Nigeria zoning is thriving in good light as far as our democracy is concerned. Today former Governor of Anambra State Mr Peter Obi is on the threshold of emerging the President of Nigeria because relevant stakeholders and genuine hearted Nigerians including elders, religious leaders and the youth deem it right enough that it is the turn of the Southeast geopolitical zone to produce the next President.

Everybody can agree with the fact that one of the reasons why big names like former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Afenifere leader Ayo Adebanjo, Niger Delta leader Edwin Clark, former Chief of Army Staff General TY Danjuma and many others endorsed Peter Obi for President is because they deem it right enough that it is the turn of the Southeast zone to produce the next President of Nigeria in 2023.

For me zoning is a political bandwagon that the good people of Abia State should totally identify with and that is why I have gone to Court to seek redress.

I am praying the Court to stop PDP from fielding Professor Uche Ikonne who is from Abia Central as the governorship candidate of the party for 2023 election because it is the turn of Abia North and not Abia Central to produce the governor.

I took the case to the Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia as the first port of call but Justice Evelyn Anyadike in a kangaroo judgement ruled against my prayer.

I have filed appeal at the Appeal Court sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital. In a case file No AC/Owerri/472/2022, I am praying the Appeal Court to quash the judgement of the High Court to stop PDP from fielding Professor Uche Ikonne as the governorship candidate of PDP because it is the turn of Abia North and not Abia Central to produce the governor.

I look at the fight as the fight of the good people of Abia State and not my personal fight. I am fervently praying to God that the judgement of Appeal will be in my favor. I am therefore calling on the relevant stakeholders to join hands with me in praying to God for judgement of Appeal Court to work out in my favor.

I am of the position that it is wrong for us to fold our hands and watch Governor Ikpeazu who is a beneficiary of rotation truncate rotation for no just cause except his Ngwa clannish interest. Allowing Ikpeazu to truncate rotation in Abia State amounts to betrayal of the legacies of our founding fathers and destroying the foundation they laid for political stability in Abia State.

Our children won’t forgive us if we fail to uphold what their great grandfathers laid down for their interest and the earliest, we realize this the better for us. Read more.

Ndubuisi Etugo Ogah, a businessman and PDP Governorship Aspirant in Abia writes from Umuahia

 

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