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OPINION: Abia Council Of Elders & The Oddity Of Placing Rotation Ahead Of Development – By Uche Aguoru

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Reading through the communiqué released by Abia council of elders where they were making reference to the Abia charter of equity and advising that Abia south senatorial zone should be allowed to complete a second term.

While I appreciate the efforts of the Prof J. O. Irukwu SAN, led group, supposedly aimed at ensuring a peaceful and violent free polls come 2019, but it has become very expedient to correct the impression being created based on equity and power distribution in Abia state, I am not against Abia south doing a second term and I am sure nobody is against it or has in anyway tried to stop anybody from Abia south from contesting the governorship of the state, but their hypothesis of 5th of November, 2018, in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, and signed by its President-General, which is being interpreted as trying to impress on people from other zones not to contest the 2019 election had exposed them as a people with limited knowledge of the politics of Abia state starting from 1999 till present day.

Let me take the council of elders down memory lane starting from 1999, every zone in Abia state had always contested the governorship of Abia state in every electioneering year with such elections producing a winner from a particular zone and at every point such winners have never been chosen as a result of where they hail from, but because they sold their agenda and programs to people, and Abians either bought into it and elected them or they politically played their way into the seat of power.

In 1999, Dr. Orji Uzor kalu from Abia North (PDP) contested the governorship of the state with Dr. Dan Nwankwo (Dangov) from Abia South (PDP), Dr. Max Nduaguibe, Abia central (AD), Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, Abia Central (APP) etc. were all in the contest, and I wondered why the council of elders did not come out to invoke the powers of Abia charter of equity then.

In 2003 Dr. Enyinnaya Abaribe, from Abia South (ANPP) almost succeeded in stopping Dr. Orji Kālu’s second term bid with his Out Onu concept, the question is, was the charter of equity suspended to give way for Dr. Abaribe to contest the election then?

In 2007, Chief Reagan Ufomba, Abia Central (APGA), Dr. Paul Ikonne Abia South (ACN) Chief Onyema Ugochukwu Abia Central (PDP) Chief T.A Orji Abia Central (PPA) Chief Uzodinma Okpara Abia Central (APGA) Ikechi Emenike Abia Central (ANPP) all slogged it out at the polls in a fierce battle for who will control the affairs of the state before Chief T. A Orji (Ochendo) emerged as the governor of the state.

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2011 presented another opportunity for the Council of elders to once again come up with the equity theory and stop the likes of Rt. Hon. Stanley Ohajiriuka, Abia Central (Labour Party) Dr. Chris Akomas Abia South (PPA) from attempting to stop Chief T. A.Orji who was holding the mandate of Abia Central (PDP) but alas that almighty commandment once again went on break and allowed Chief T.A Orji to battle it out with people from other zones.

Then comes 2015, another transitional period that saw Abia breathing for change with the likes of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia South (PDP), Dr. Alex Otti, Abia Central (APGA), Chief Chikwe Udensi, Abia North (PPA) etc. all in the fray for the leadership of the state with the outcome of that election dividing the state much more than it brought us together.

With this historical background, is it not glaring enough to note that the credo of charter of equity have not worked at any point and its therefore trite, I had expected the council of elders to demand for inclusive development of the state, to place their demands on keeping the youths off the streets through aggressive industrialization of the state, I would have been pleased to hear H.E. Ike Nwachukwu ask questions on why there are no effective transportation systems in Abia state, it would have been pleasant to listen to Prof. Uche Ikonne plead that whoever wins the election should please endeavour that salaries of teachers and other civil servants are paid as and when due, why didn’t Prof. plead with the government to look into the AbiaPoly case and find out why they are being owed 11 months, I had expected the senior citizens to dig into the reasons as to why pensioners are not receiving their pensions, please our elders tell us why Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital will be more developed than Umuahia, please enquire why Ariaria market one of the largest markets in west Africa will remain in a state of infrastructural decay despite the multiplicity of taxes being imposed on the traders.

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Why haven’t they bothered to ask why there is no functional pipe borne water any way in Abia, I am yet to see them demand for an improvement in the state’s housing policy if any?

Please our elders, what we demand from you is to request for the agenda and programs of all of those contesting for the governorship of the state scrutinize it and give us your judgment on whose program will develop Abia faster and hand us the Abia we all will be proud of, please be reminded that the argument of Equity and rotation has never helped development in Abia and at the point we are today in Abia,
what is needed is development, what is needed is healthy competition, what is needed is who will help the state regain its pride in the comity of states, what is needed is who will turn around the economy of the state and revitalize the industrial and entrepreneurial spirits of the state.

While I am aware that most of you even upon retirement are still living in Abuja and Lagos because of the absence of adequate infrastructure and security, you should be honest enough to demand and extract commitment from all those contesting to govern the state on how they intend to realize their campaign promises if elected, in that way, it will be seen that our elders have carried out their elderly duties and we will have the boldness to confront the politicians and demand for the implementation of their campaign promises once we give them our mandates.

Aguoru 
Writes from Umuahia

 

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