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CRY FOR THE PEOPLE OF UKWA LAND, By ThankGod Ntaku

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ThankGod Ntaku
ThankGod Ntaku

The elections have come and gone. While the winners are busy celebrating and throwing different kinds of parties all over the place, the losers have begun to count their losses.

In this milieu, a people come to my mind and that is the people of Ukwa land. This only oil producing area in Abia State has for a second time lost, sadly, its bid to represent Abia South in the red chamber to its Ngwa brothers. The question that easily agitates the mind of right thinking people is whether an Ukwa man can ever represent Abia South again in the Senate, considering the fact that majority of the Ngwa people of Abia South may have vowed not to vote for any Ukwa son or daughter who aspires for the senatorial seat. After all, with four local government areas against the two in Ukwa land, why should they bother themselves about how Ukwa people feel.

As things stand now, an Ngwa man is the governor-elect of Abia State. We also have an Ngwa son as the Senator-elect for Abia South. The Ukwa man, from whose soil the oil that has kept Abia State alive is being extracted, is left in the cold.

Apart from the abundance of food, the Ukwa people who also share boundaries with some parts of Rivers and Akwa Ibom states respectively is no doubt the fish that lays the golden eggs that Abia State is enjoying today. This is because the Ukwa people like their neighbouring Niger Delta States and communities also have crude oil deposit which was why Abia State is regarded today as an Oil producing State.

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The large oil and gas deposit in Ukwa land which is the largest centre of operation of Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC on land with over 158 oil wells account for the presence of various oil companies in the area.

The case of the Ukwa man, whose kith and kin were merged into Obigbo (Oyigbo) in Rivers State following the Justice Mamman Nasir Boundary adjustment in 1976, thereby depleting its population greatly, is made worse by the fact that the Abia State government, has over the years, neglected it in its allocation of projects and appointments. Throughout the tenure of T.A.Orji, former governor of Abia State and the first tenure of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, the Ukwa man cannot point at any meaningful project in the area. When commissioners are appointed, the Ukwa man is rotated among the ministries of information, petroleum and transport.

It is a fact that the economic viability of Ukwa land has not been fully tapped, as the river confluence town of Obeaku-Ndoki where Imo River joins the Azumini blue river is only about forty nautical miles to the Atlantic Ocean.

In the face of all these, one is tempted to think that the Ukwa man should begin to focus at the centre for help. Throughout history, only one Ukwa man has occupied a ministerial position and he did not last more than three months because of military intervention into politics. To put it very clearly, since 1999 till date, no Ukwa son or daughter has been appointed a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In view of the fact that political issues are sometimes analysed from the standpoint of geo-political and Senatorial districts, this writer wants to state that while an Ngwa man has benefitted from a ministeial appointment, even though he is of the same senatorial district with Ukwa, the Ukwa man has not tasted this position in the last 36 years.

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Nigeria is a country that preaches equity, fairness and justice all the time. It is against this backdrop that I make a call to the federal government to consider an indigene of Ukwa land of Abia South for a ministerial position.

ThankGod Ntaku
Communications Expert based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State is an indigene of Ukwa West LGA, Abia State.

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