Written by Ugochukwu Ugwuanyi
I’m tempted to, like some of my kinsmen, put on the nepotism garb and try to collapse the roof with yells for an Nsukka man to occupy the Lion Building(Enugu Government House) from May 29, 2015. Moreso, when fairness, equity and even the power-that-be demand it to be so. But I remain hesitant because of the objectivity training I received in Journalism where I was also tutored to respect the sanctity of public interest.
I have habitually preached the gospel of allowing he who the cap fit to wear it not minding whether the one who just wore the same cap was his brother. In plain language, I have customarily associated myself with the view that we should not allow zoning rob us of better leaders who would have bettered our lot.
In as much as the entreaty, trappings, entanglement and rewards of zoning whet our appetite for it, my gospel has always been that we shouldn’t let it to lead us into sacrificing a Joshua for a another who becomes our Ahab. This disposition of mine is being put to test in my native Enugu State but I’m glad to announce to you that I am sticking to my principle, albeit as human, prejudice wouldn’t always want to stay out. As such, it may try to rear its leaning head in this writing, but, I’ll try to remain on guard.
In all honesty, I’m always circumspect about writing on developments in my home state. When the issue of the health of our fruitful but taciturn governor was on the lips of every public affairs commentator, I deferred in writing on it till the governor returned to his grind. There were calls for me to do a piece on that but I was reluctant because I wanted to be sure I had all the controls.
However, on the issue of the now, I’m incensed to write courtesy of how people are manipulating facts, playing to the gallery, whipping up sentiments and in all surrendering the most cogent for the trivial. I read with concern the post and riposte of Max Ogbonna and Ngwuoke Chukwuma Muoneke with both providing shades of opinion on the vexed topic of: 2015 and the Enugu political equation.
As intelligent as the two sounded in their disquisitions, I could see a layer of narrow-mindedness in the way they channelled their arguments. In fact, the later was as guilty as the former because they both played down some facts that would have undone them and drummed those that serve their cause. I blame them not, since they aren’t thoroughbred journalists.
For instance, Ngwuoke accused Max of not going pre-1999 in his talk about zoning because he knew Nsukka at a point in that aeon produced a governor in Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, but he cleverly omitted the fact that his deceased brother- Christian C. Onoh and Rear Admiral Allison Madueke from Oji River, were governors of old Anambra State which then included today Enugu State.
If we were to go prior to 1999, then should we be told that all the three senatorial zones in today Enugu State have had their share in governing the state at one point or the other and in one form or the other. It is even the Nsukka people who had the raw end of the deal as the tenure of their son was the shortest lasting about 18 months. It will be recalled that Jim Nwobodo from Enugu East had a tenure of four good years as governor(October 1979 to October 1983) while Enugu West had two of theirs as governors. So what is Ngwuoke and his ilk yapping about?
One of the things Ngwuoke sought to wish away was the uniform idea where every state across the country has just three senatorial zones each. He would rather that Enugu State have four as he tried to elevate Greater Awgu zone into a senatorial zone. I wonder how he figured that to be possible when the said Greater Awgu has just three local councils of Awgu, Aninri and Oji River.
What Ngwuoke was pushing for is tantamount to the people of Igede in Benue South senatorial zone claiming to be on the same pedestal with Benue North West senatorial zone. Every knowledgeable and sensible person should see the fallacy and unfeasible nature of such a claim. If democracy was a game of numbers, then should a people with three council areas not claim to be at par with those who have six council areas in their kitty. Their doing so would amount to sheer foolhardiness.
Actually, zoning is there to assist minority groups like Greater Awgu zone to actualise their dream of again tasting the governorship of Enugu State. This is because an understanding with their Agbaja brothers from the same Enugu West will allowed them produce the governor when next it’s the turn of that senatorial zone. Since Agbaja people have had their fair share in Sullivan Chime- the incumbent governor, they should have no qualms in letting a Greater Awgu aspirant to be the governor when that time comes.
Can’t you see how puerile and infantile it is when we talk about zoning? Some body from a more civilised clime who reads this and other blabs about zoning will get to understand why we are still referred to as a third-world country(even though they call us developing country to make us happy). For no nation serious about having high-quality leaders pay heed to such triflings as where the leader comes from.
This informs why you see Africans and nationals from other countries heading strategic U.S. establishments. Once the antecedents of an aspirant is stellar, he or she should be elected on that merit and nothing more.
That is why I would rather vote for Senator Ike Ekweremadu who is from the same zone as Sullivan Chime to become the next governor of Enugu State than vote for the person parading himself as my representative at the Senate who is just representing his immediate family. In more functional societies, he wouldn’t even be voted in as mayor of a city because he has no achievements with which to convince voters.
But this remains Nigeria where anything and everything goes. I wouldn’t even be surprised if at the end of the day he carries the ‘ballot’.
Deputy Senate President- Ike Ekweremadu a.k.a. Ikeoha has been described as the most outstanding politician in the South East and I am so subscribing to that. He has done much for his constituency and beyond. Work at the youth development centres in the five council areas that make up his constituency have reached an advanced stage and he has promised to have the centres functioning before his present tenure elapses by 2015.
Recently, he brought President Goodluck Jonathan to commission a magnificent church singlehandedly built and furnished by Ikeoha for All Saints’ Anglican Church in Aninri Local Government Council of Enugu State. There are rural electrification projects and road projects to his credit. His Ikeoha Foundation gives scholarships that span first to final year to students in tertiary institutions. Tell me, are all these what I’ll see and still cast my vote for an under-performing senator to become the next governor simply because he is my ‘brother’?
Should I did that, Enugu State will never forgive me, my conscience will never forgive me, my progeny will never forgive me and journalism will not forgive me!
The only person, interested in the race from the zone zoning supports to produce the next Enugu governor, who I will cue behind is Evangelist Sam Maduka Onyeishi- owner of Peace Mass Transit. I have observed him from close quarters. His charitable acts and philanthropy are towering. His ability to grow Peace Mass Transit to what it is today makes him all the more qualified to become the next Chief Executive Officer of Enugu State.
I’m settling for this ‘outsider’ not minding the fact that somebody from the same clan and village as me is interested in the gubernatorial race. I’m talking of none other than Mr Chuks Ugwuoke- the present information commissioner. But like I said, all that matters to me and should matter to all of us is antecedents and ability to deliver, not primordial sentiments.
For me as regards Enugu 2015, let the same cap be tested on all, not some, interested aspirants but let him who that cap fits wear it. It is only those whose head are too small for the cap that are so vociferous to have those with a fitting head for the cap to be disqualified from testing it on.
We should not allow such lazy elements afraid of competition, to beguile us in the name of fighting for our agenda. No, it’s their ulterior motive they are after and once they achieve that, they wouldn’t remember our supposed agenda. Thus, we shouldn’t in ignorance avail ourselves to them as accomplices!