By Chukwudi Nweje The Nigerian Third Force Movement has rolled out its action plan for the 2019 general elections. Prominent members of the group include former Cross River State governor, Donald Duke, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Charles Soludo, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Olisa Agbakoba, Tafawa Balewa, and Prof. Pat Utomi….
SINCE the creation of Abia State in 1991, the greatest socio-political tragedy is the formation of an association called “Ukwa-Ngwa”, which also has a famished elders’ council whose members are largely mercenaries. This is a union between the oil-producing Ukwa (Ndoki) and Ngwa communities in the state. Initially, most people did not take the existence of this duplicitous body seriously because it merely hallmarked dubiety.
The fraudulent nomenclature has now become a determining and decisive factor in the political engineering of people from this extraction of the state. In line with this absurdity, if you were not from this part of the state you were not expected to have contested the 2015 governorship competition no matter how eminently qualified and better than the person surrogated currently.
To compound matters amid circumscription of individual electoral fortunes, if you did not belong to the PDP that has not done anything for the South East since its establishment, your eventual victory became a pyrrhic one.
How did the governor of the state, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, emerge? The immediate-past governor, Mr. Theodore Orji, and some so-called elders of the state and the leadership of the PDP in Abia exclusively agreed that Dr. Ikpeazu must be the governor at all costs. In furtherance of this obsession, phantom selection of delegates and sham primaries were organized. The result did not surprise anyone, as it was quite predictable! This same antithesis to profound democratic ideals was, of course, perpetrated and perpetuated at the governorship election that threw up the currency of a political godson and the inevitable and indisputable continuation of the last administration.
As Dr. Ikpeazu was being unstoppably foisted on Abians, most people thought that would be the end of a reign of arbitrariness. Alas, it was not! The same domineering forces went ahead to ensure that Chief Enyinnaya Abaribe continued as one of the three senators dismally representing the state for the third consecutive time against all odds. This grand deceit and disregard for other people from the district went on unabated despite representations from the endangered members of this constituency. What is the issue here? Both Dr. Ikpeazu and Senator Abaribe are from the same community known as Obingwa. Having unilaterally procured the disputed candidacy of Dr. Ikpeazu, shouldn’t the senatorial ticket handed on a platter to Senator Abaribe have gone to Mr. Chris Nkwonta from Ukwa in fairness to the people from his area and in demonstration of equity, balance and justice?
There is this cacophony over the population of Ngwa as they claim that just one of their three constituents is more populous than Ukwa East and West LGs put together! They also go ahead to flaunt their purported numerical strength by derisively declaring that they can do without the Ukwa territory. I ask myself, when did the Ngwa people become so many in number that they could boast of almost 300, 000 eligible voters in the last general election? Were the goats that inhabit the large expanses of land in the Ngwa triad registered ahead of electoral utility? Are the villages and towns that I have known for more than 30 years with sparse human habitation in-between the same ones reeling out massive figures of humanity? It will be apposite to have the National Population Commission intervene with the past and latest census figures of the areas that make up Ngwa as finality to this flourishing self-deception and pulling of wool over the eyes of other Abians.
If the unofficial population figure of the three Ngwa LGs comprising Obingwa, Osisioma Ngwa, Isiala Ngwa North and Isiala Ngwa South are as exaggerated as they are, then we should not be disclaiming the figures from the northern part of the country because both have the same massive land mass with minimal humanity. I say this with a sense of responsibility and from a standpoint of knowledge.
For a long time now, there is this misconception called “Aba-Ngwa”, which loosely suggests that Aba belongs to Ngwa. Of course, this is sheer historical fallacy. Aba is a cosmopolitan mega-city with a hotchpotch of multifarious and almost innumerable ethnic nationalities that subsume the tangential Ngwa statistical profile. In informal environments, it will be classified as a “no-man’s land”. It has the same evolutionary record with Lagos, which until the current administration had mostly non-Lagosians controlling its political affairs. If there are 10 houses in Aba today, non-Ngwa residents own at least eight. The same thing applies to land on the fast-developing outskirts: almost every parcel has been sold! What then is the rancorous fuss about city ownership?
Hectares should not be mistaken for head-count symbols. Most of the acres are bushes not occupied yet. Those who want to disenfranchise non-Ngwa in the governorship of the state forget that most of the landed properties and undeveloped plots belong to these “non-natives”.
All through my years in Aba as a child, the pun was that Ngwa people were reputed for beheading non-Ngwa at the slightest provocation. My peers and I grew up with this impression internalized. I equally found out that the average Ngwa person is usually short and irrepressible. A few people uncharitably believe that Ngwa people are timid, spineless and until recently slavish Homo sapiens! You must give it to them: most Ngwa people that I know are exceptionally brilliant, very accommodative, friendly and hospitable—all of which made me to marry one of their delectable daughters with high IQ. Her pulchritude is seductive! If Ndi-Ngwa were the ones at the receiving end today, Ukwa people would have been pressurized to behave responsibly.
From 1991 to-date, no Ukwa person has headed the legislature or the judiciary or other vital arms and organs of government or held critical positions in the state’s bureaucracy let alone being governor! The Ukwa-Ngwa illogic should stop henceforth. I beg of all of us! We cannot be perpetually marginalized, subjugated, dehumanized, demonized, calumniated and our bruises salted now and again in our bondage with one of our own as the only renegade and beggarly leader, regrettably and irredeemably.
Unemployment: APC clueless… (2)
ONE of the main reasons unemployment keeps spiraling endlessly is our import penchant. We import all manner of things: toothpicks, under-wears, bottled water, chewing-sticks, tissue papers, brooms, fruits, et al. This mania pits a strain on the naira and ultimately leads to our underdevelopment. The vexatious point is that we have better and cheaper home-made counterparts of these items.
No serious nation can be so wasteful, thoughtless and backward. When we come to automobiles and Italian furniture, it is another matter entirely. Take a trip to Kano or Banana Island in Lagos and you will marvel at the level of moneybags’ extravagant mentality. How will jobs be created when local industries lack patronage and are compelled to fold up ultimately?
For employment creation, there must be a revival of productive capacities of our people so that some of our country’s jobless hands could be absorbed in meaningful engagements. There is a synergy between productivity and employment. Where even cottage outfits and small-scale enterprises cannot flourish, a foundation for a pool of unemployed citizens is laid. The offices via white-collar jobs can only employ a fraction of graduates of tertiary institutions.
It is astounding that each year our citadels turn out about four million graduates without any deliberate, planned and sustainable mechanism for employment by government. Reports have also shown that only about 200,000 of this yearly graduate population manage to secure employment. The disequilibrium and policy debility are responsible for criminalities and exponential insurgency in the land. Nobody asks questions as to what happens to millions of unemployed graduates every year. The unemployment quagmire is definitely a time-bomb waiting to explode. And to compound issues, even those in regular employment are continually under the spell of right-sizing, retrenchment, downsizing, dismissal, sack or other terminologies used for job loss in virtually all the sectors.
The federal government should embark on mechanized farming in the vast and uncultivated hectares of land in the north and other parts of the country with such expanse and mobilize the unemployed youth to manage the investment.
With adequate agricultural input and optimal motivation from the authorities at different layers, everyone will be amazed by the level of resourcefulness and productivity that will characterize this resolution.
After this first step, we then move to addressing the sore point of social infrastructure: energy, roads, health, education, sports facilities, value reorientation, patriotism, nationalism, federalism, revenue formula, state police, party system (structure), punishment for graft of any dimension, et al. Armed robbery, insecurity (Boko Haram and other similar offshoots) and insurgency will enjoy unlimited and unrestrained solution concurrence with the aforementioned basics.
Until we strategically and structurally tackle the foregoing, our unemployment mark may transcend the double-digit threshold. That will be the final descent into disintegration and disbandment of this country. May we never get to that cataclysmic point of no return! As an eschatologist, there is no repentance in death. God mandated us to conquer our environment—part of that includes reducing unemployment to a sane level at all costs. This indifferent culture of official banditry, docility and wastage as a national philosophy must stop.