The Governor And His Kinsmen By Moses Ayodele Orji.

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“No man is ever too careful in the choice of his enemies”
​​​….. Oscar Wilde.

On Tuesday 21st, March 2023, a radio commentator in one of the newly established radio stations at Aba called on the Governor of Abia state, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu to approach the altar of God and render a sacrifice of thanksgiving for his life that was spared. For him, it was not time to brood over the magnitude of betrayal, the ingratitude in men, or the barefaced subterfuge. It was not time to rue. In his words, “he could as well have lost his life”.

And I can’t agree less. Was it not the governor’s kinsmen, the chosen ones in whom he confided, the stakeholders who had unrestricted access to him and his inner recesses that featured as the main dramatis personae in the well co-ordinated, well choreographed drama in which all the guns were raised and pointed in the direction of the Central Figure? What a betrayal! What an unsavory conspiracy?

In the mind of the governor, he had done so much for each and every one of them. As a group, they had insisted (in their interpretation of equity) on having one of them succeed him. He had obliged, and in doing so, fractured his relationship with his allies from Old Bende. For the battle ahead, he would rely mainly on his kinsmen to whom he had deferred. There would be unanimity. There would be solidarity. There would be no suspicions, no fifth columnists. So he thought!

Then came the party primaries when loyalty to a common cause will be put to test. To be, or not to be. Shall we unite, or shall we throw the common vision into the trash can in pursuit of our individual fame and fortune? The die was cast.

From Ugwunagbo…..Munachim Alozie, a ranking member of the Abia State House of Assembly was leading the onslaught. Moving from PDP to APGA and finally berthing with Labour Party. Today he is giving God all the glory for using him to “liberate Abia State”. He succeeded from that warfront.

From Isiala Ngwa North….. Ginger Onwusoibe (also a ranking member of the House of Assembly). Ginger is perhaps the most vitriolic and most vociferous. He came to limelight through his Otawaike Foundation which gained large followership and patronage during the Ochendo era. He and his henchmen had dug their trenches at Isiala Ngwa form where they were “pushing attack”. They succeeded from that front.

From Isiala-Ngwa South……. Darlington Nwokocha, a federal lawmaker who had earlier progressed from the state House of Assembly. He had fallen out of favour with the PDP and was prosecuting his ambition to go to the senate with the Labour party Logo. Of course this meant “Abia must be liberated”. Liberated from who….. You may ask? Bottom line is Hon. Darlington succeeded. He will be going to the senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Abia is liberated, Glory to God.

From Osisioma-Ngwa……..the youthful Nana Nwafor, a major beneficiary of Okezuo Abia, and the Governor’s major Local Contractor became the arrow-head of opposition. In his uncompromising stance, he became the net receptacle of the aggrieved members of the divided house, long before Alex Otti. He shared in the vision for succession, but with a proviso: It must be me.

And finally from Obingwa came the big masquerade…… Enyinnaya Abaribe. Abaribe, erstwhile minority leader of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, hails from the same Local Government with the Governor. He had been re-elected to the Senate on three previous occasions spanning a period of sixteen (16) years. He had earlier served as Dep. Governor. He was gunning to succeed the Governor in 2023.

When we sidestep the crux of a matter and join the bandwagon, we are no better than the gullible, madding crowd. If Gov. Ikpeazu had given in to the demands of Senator Abaribe, would there have been any crack in their wall? Was Senator Abaribe morally justified to seek to succeed his younger brother, the governor in view of their geo-political proximity, and the demands of equity?

In 2003, I witnessed John Nwamgborogwu and other leaders from Isiala Ngwa carry a coffin on their shoulders to NTA Aba for the sake of Abaribe and his Otuonu. Twenty years later Abaribe could not find anybody from Isiala Ngwa to support for governor. It has to be him, or we rock the boat. Where is the unity and the bond of brotherhood?

The same question should go to Abu Dhabi. With Solomon Adaelu, and Eziuche Ubani taking up the space and time of Osisioma and Obingwa, was it morally sustainable to continue to preclude Ugwunagbo?

I have chosen to avoid a roll call. My reason is simple: we are all alike. There is something peculiar with our Ngwa mentality which heightens our sense of jealousy and strife once the object of envy is one of us. Elsewhere, we show decorum, we admire with subservience, we don’t envy. A good number of those who clinched the PDP ticket would have rebelled, and transformed overnight as soldiers for the “liberation of Abia State”, had they not been favored.

While the actors from Old Bende were united across party lines in their efforts to deliver Dr. Alex Otti, our own brothers had turned all parts of Ngwa land into a battle field against ourselves. Just to settle scores against their own brother.

I have had cause to sit back on several occasions to brood over our character and political behaviour as Ndi Ngwa. In my study of Ngwa politics over the years, I have come to certain conclusions:

1. The history of Ngwa political struggle can simply be summed up as the collective effort to successfully sponsor an Ngwa man as governor.
2. Every leadership effort to achieve this goal must bear the imprint of sacrifice, self-denial and fortitude, or else we fail (a major factor why the governorship had eluded us).

A cursory look at the few cases highlighted above will reveal one unifying thread-link to them all: personal ambition. And we must brace up for the challenges that lie ahead: the reality of the choice we have made. Meanwhile, we shall begin once again to admire Government House from the fence, with all of its implications.

It is no longer about Ikpeazu.

Moses Ayodele Orji
27th March, 2023.

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