Manufacturing Confusion in Abia

Posted by Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu | 10 years ago | 3,087 times

One of late Sunny Okosun’s hit tracks was one he sang in 1984 and titled Which Way Nigeria. A line in that hit song said “the ambition of the millionaire is ruining the country now”. This line, which also comes as a meditated truth on the Nigerian situation, is now being openly expressed in God’s Own State of Abia.

Let me emphasise, I am an Imolite. But I have some attachment to Abia because first, I am Igbo man, and like I wrote in an earlier article, Aba (Abia’s most visible town) represents the true spirit of the Igbo man’s entrepreneurial ingenuity. For this, I will like to see a re-built Aba which can comfortably compete on the global index of best cities to live in.

Interestingly, as Nigeria steadily progresses into the next round of general elections, almost all aspirants to the governorship of Abia have used Aba as a focal campaign point. Everyone points to Aba just so as to attract attention of everyone. That is encouraging. It is also welcome in so far as mouthing Aba is not an alibi. In this wise, no aspirant, across party lines, should see Aba as a metaphor. Every plan to reclaim Aba must be as serious as seriousness itself.

But again, this is era of politics. A lot of these are expected to happen, including trading obvious lies couched as truths. Lies are often traded in politics in exchange for seriousness. Elsewhere, politicians who trade, or campaign with deceit and lies, soon withdraw from the race. But here, such persons still hold their grounds in the hope that somehow, the electorate would be blinded by their devotion to an individual’s pocket.

For instance, one aspect of our developmental politics is the wisdom of zoning. Though people tend to deride it as unhealthy, it has however proved to be developmental and accommodating. It has shown itself to be the best tool that could help in integrating a multi-ethnic, multi cultural, multi-religious society like Nigeria. For the wisdom in it, those who worked out the operations of the defunct NPN adopted it as a tool for stronger and firmer national integration and unity. PDP also adopted that philosophy and even re-emphasised it in the sharing of political offices across the country. Today, Nigerians are more at peace with the way and manner the federal government had used the zoning wisdom to push for a stronger and more cohesive nation.

This is not limited to the PDP. Though unpronounced, almost all political parties have adopted the wisdom in their quest to remain relevant to the political system. One of the biggest image headaches that APC is confronting today is the allegation that it plans to present a Muslim-Muslim pair for the presidential election. This presents it as insensitive to the religious configuration of Nigeria. Even in the states, appointment of Commissioners and other top political offices are made on the background of zoning just so as to accommodate every senatorial district and local government.

Besides, zoning was re-energised at the 2014 National Conference where it was made to become a constitutional matter and therefore justiciable. Delegates, who worked out this out at the National Conference, before it was overwhelmingly adopted and passed, insist that it was the best political tool for greater integration. Therefore, an amendment of the constitution has been proposed to ensure it becomes a constitutional matter. In the mind of the Confab, governorship office must rotate among the senatorial districts while office of local government chairman rotates among communities in the council area. The presidency is in effect, to rotate among the geo-political zones.

Within this context, Governor TA Orji’s disposition to having the governorship pendulum in Abia rotate to Abia South is understandably welcome. Abia people appreciate the fact that Abia North and Abia Central have had their turns. Therefore, if justice and peace should ever become necessary ingredients for social cohesion and unity, there is no how Abia South, and integral member of the tripod, should, or would, be denied the benefit of the wisdom in zoning. It is as simple as that.

To deny such, as aspirant Uche Ogah had done in a published interview, and also drag President Goodluck Jonathan and Gov. Orji into such denial, is to be uncharitable to the course of natural justice, equity and fairness. Indeed, it is arguable that any person who denies, so publicly, an acclaimed decision of the stakeholders of a state, in his quest to become its leader, would, upon election, if ever it happens, not deny his own very essence and promises made to the people on the electoral podium. If it is very easy to deny the reality of zoning in Abia or any state for that matter, it will as well be easy to deny campaign promises as that made to a prostitute.

Somehow however, one is encouraged by the rising tide of electoral consciousness of the people. Somehow, Nigerians are beginning to reject deep pockets as candidates. If governorships or presidency is about deep pockets, TA Orji would not have been there in the first place neither would his predecessor. The wisdom in governance is not about comfortable management of private business. Indeed, there is no school of political science which says that success in private enterprise automatically translates to private in governance. Private enterprise is about profit making. Public office is about rendering service in satisfaction of the welfare and aspirations of the people. It is also about providing environment for private enterprise to flourish. Countries that had chosen leaders based on their success in private enterprise did not wait too long to see their mistakes. Abia must learn from the mistakes of others and not wait to make same mistakes before learning. That is wisdom.

Therefore, in denying the reality of zoning, aspirants are in effect denying the existence of Abia South and their right to enjoy the same benefits that had been enjoyed by Abia North and Abia Central. They are also deliberately manufacturing unwanted confusion for the state. If that be the situation, where then lies justice, fairness and equity?

Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu wrote from Abuja

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