By Sir Don Ubani; KSC, JP
Okwubunka of Asa.
No matter how immoral and complex human society now appears to have become, one good turn still deserves another.
One virtue that lifts a man in human enterprise is gratitude. Gratitude is, however, double-barreled.
Today, many persons who had benefitted from individuals who had thrown in the much they could muster just to make sure their beneficiaries succeeded, turn around to stab them at the back.
Instances abound where some persons who were suffocating in penury and hunger in their remote villages as a result of unemployment were helped out of such a situation, only to ‘reward’ their benefactors with ingratitude and disrespect. This is even when it is evident that the benefactors did not, at any time, take undue advantage of their beneficiaries.
The people of Ukwa/Ngwa, before 2015, had long been in the struggle for one of their own to be elected as Governor of the State. The likes of Dr Gershon Amuta, late Chief Lambert Nmecha, Engr Augustine Alaribe, Chief Chuku Wachuku and most recently Senator Enyi Abaribe, had put in their best to become, at one time or another, the Governor of their state.
A person like Chief Lambert Nmecha; Agbawodike Izu, Action Man Achiever, who started the struggle right from the time of old Imo State, came into the contest with a lot of determination, money and contact.
But for asserting his personality in the course of his political relationship with B B, who had wanted to rip him off financially, B B decided to frustrate him by turning the table against him.
In the governorship primary election of the defunct National Republican Convention held at Umuahia Township Stadium in 1992, B B used security agents to wreck havoc and confusion.
The whole stadium was thrown into pandemonium. Canisters of teargas were fired and delegates to the Congress scampered for safety.
In the midst of the insecurity and confusion, B B was able to hijack the election materials to his house where he wrote result of his choice.
The Aspirant he had miscalculated would be a stooge; Dr Ogbonnaya Onu who would later become the first civilian Governor of the new state but who would rather deal with him mercilessly, to the extent of rendering him completely irrelevant in the political equation of the State, he allotted the highest number of votes.
B B gave the second position to Dr Gershon Amuta while he placed Chief Lambert Nmecha third. The reason was simple. If he had placed Chief Nmecha second and taking into consideration his network of connections, Nmecha would have proceeded to Court. In that case, any thing could have happened. May the deprived and likely troubled soul of Chief Lambert Nmecha; The Action Man Achiever, rest in peace!
Until 2015, ranging from 1979, the geo-political area known as Old Aba Division or Ukwa/Ngwa was considered only fit to serve as a mere ‘spare tyre’. The highest position it was seen to be qualified for was that of a Deputy Governor.
The second democratically elected Governor of the State; Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, though out of a combination of illiteracy, ignorance and crudeness resulting from lack of a decent parental background, had boasted that no person of Ukwa/Ngwa extraction would be Governor of the State. He had arrogated the powers of God to himself!
Orji Uzor Kalu even made it as a condition to his successor, Chief T A Orji, that under no condition should he allow any man from Ukwa/Ngwa to become a Governor in the State.
Unknown to Orji Uzor Kalu; a young man whose mother, Eunice, managed to bring up through her engagement in petty trade at Aba, especially in locally brewed gin known as kaikai, ogogoro, kinkana or akpuruachia which she displayed on a small table by Aba Waterside, because of the friendly and accommodating nature of the Ngwa man, the T A Orji he mistook for an instrument for the realization of his marginalization agenda against the innocent-minded people of Ukwa/Ngwa had already been formed, shaped and sharpened for the liberation of the Ukwa/Ngwa people.
Chief T A Orji was unequivocal in his belief in equity as enunciated in the Abia Charter of Equity. In a rally at Ngwa High School, at Aba in 2011, he publicly pledged to work relentlessly to guarantee that someone from Ukwa/Ngwa would succeed him in 2015 if the people give him maximum support. For sure, he got the best from the people.
As a man whose word is his bond, unlike his predecessor; Orji Uzor Kalu, T A Orji; The Ochendo Global, proved systematic and consistent in his resolve to keep and fulfill his promise to the good people of Ukwa/Ngwa.
To cut a long story short, an indigene of Ukwa/Ngwa; a very humble, urbane, energetic, altruistic, assiduous, transparent, visionary and God-fearing son of Ukwa/Ngwa in the person of Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, Ph.d, was sworn-in as Governor of Abia State on 29th May, 2015. Ochendo was the instrument that God used to break the jinx.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, apart from his exceptional performances as Governor, has done one thing that is uncommon in contemporary Nigerian politics. While many gubernatorial successors have been at daggers drawn with their predecessors, Governor Ikpeazu has maintained a very cordial relationship with not just his predecessor but also the family members of his predecessor and friends of the immediate past Governor. This is a big plus for Governor Ikpeazu.
Ofcourse, whoever that knows Ochendo should not wonder why there has not been any love lost between the two. Apart from the fact that Ikpeazu had a very good family upbringing, Ochendo, on his own, is a very experienced astute Administrator. He knows how not to mar a relationship.
The people of Ukwa/Ngwa, in thoughtful appreciation of the magnitude of what Ochendo, purely out of his own volition, did for them, congregated at Ngwa High School, Aba today to say, in unanimity, a Big Thank You to Ochendo.
They did not fail to use the opportunity of the occasion which was exceptionally colourful to pass a vote of confidence on Ochendo and also assured him of massive support in 2019 for his re-election as the Senator representing the good people of Abia-Central.
As would be expected, the people of Ukwa/Ngwa took good advantage of the occasion to also call on the people of Old Bende to continue to give their support to their Son; Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, especially in his re-election next year.
Ochendo, who was accompanied by his wife; Mrs Mercy Odochi Orji, his Son and Majority Leader in Abia State House of Assembly; Engr Chinedu Orji and many other personalities too numerous to be counted, including Senators Enyi Abaribe, Mao Ohuabunwa, Godswill Akpabio, Jonah Jang, Abdulahi Adamu, Samuel Anyanwu and a former President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Rt Hon Adolf Wabara, was filled with visible radiation of a sense of fulfilment.
On his part, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, whose entourage included his Deputy; Rt Hon(Sir) Ude Oko Chukwu, the Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly; Rt Hon Chikwendu Kanu, the Deputy Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly; Rt Hon Cosmos Ndukwe, Ph.d, the State Chairman of PDP in Abia State; Sir Johnson Onuigbo, the Chief Whip of Abia State House of Assembly; Hon Tony Mezie Nwubani, the Chairman of ASOPADEC; Chief Sam Nwogu, the founding State Chairman of PDP in the State; Chief Tony Ukasoanya, the Chairman of Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers; Eze Eberechi Dick and many others, thanked the people of Ukwa/Ngwa for deeming it proper to appreciate Senator T A Orji for standing for them. He made it clear that his administration will not relent in offering the best to the good people of the State.
The Chairman of the occasion was a renowned industrialist; Elder Emma Adaelu.
Okwubunka of Asa.