By Ugochukwu Uwaeke.
On July 30, 2022, the people of Umunneochi and travellers along Enugu-Port Hacourt expressway, within the Leru-Ihube axis, stood aghast at the barbarous audacity of the Fulani bandits who blocked the road and reportedly engaged the military in a gun duel and set one of the Arny vehicles ablaze. The media were awash with the news of the sad incident.
On Thursday, August 4, 2022, the terrorists struck again along leru-lomara-Nneato road as they attempted to kidnap a family, but for the bravery of the driver who outmanoeuvred them. Although they family escaped by the whiskers, their vehicle was riddled with bullets. The video clip is all over the social media.
In all these, it is very sad to note that the traumatizing plight of our people has not gained National attention. And I ask; what is the essence of having a Senator if he cannot stand firm and speak for his constituents? Is the reason for having a Senator not primarily for the purpose of articulating, aggregating, projecting, defending and bringing to the attention of the Federal Government, the needs and issuess that are germane to the security, development and well-being of the people of his zone?
I ask again, where is our Senator? Is he waiting for our towns and people to be completely surrounded, overtaken, displaced and annexed before he could raise his voice?
It’s very embarrassing and irritating to note that while ‘Rome’ (Abia North) is burning, our Senator was spotted somewhere in the US dancing “Buga ooo”!
It beats any logical explanation that our Senator has not deemed it necessary to, in any conceivable way, leverage on any of the avenues at his disposal to draw the attention of the Federal Government to the carnage going on in Umunneochi/Isuikwuato areas of Abia North. Not even a Press Release or Conference! Here is a man who quickly got the attention of the President when it was rumoured that some APC senators were about decamping from the party. Why can’t he use same energy and contact to call on the Federal Government to rejig the security arrangement in his zone?
What manner of a Senator is he? What will he tell us when he comes for re-election campaign? Our people are fleeing. Our LGA has been deserted. So, who is he hoping to campaign to? Maybe, there is a deliberate design to have the indigenous people desert their land in order for the RUGA Emirate he created in Lokpanta to be the only standing community in Umunneochi?
After the first part of this piece, lots of people called and sought to know the reason I chose to call out Senator Kalu instead of directing the energy on the Governor of Abia State. To assuage their curiosity, it’s apposite I make it clear , once again, that this has nothing to do with Abia Politics. I am doing this because I’m involved.
It’s also important for people to realize that security is everybody’s business, and situations like this require concerted efforts and synergy by all critical stakeholders. It shouldnt be an opportunity for building Political capital.
In our case, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is the closest route we have to Aso Rock. His total lack of concern and empathy calls for concern. Besides, we haven’t seen or heard of any collaborative effort with the State Government. He’s simply unconcerned.
Dr Orji Uzor Kalu is inextricably involved in the whole imbroglio. He brought the cattle market to Umunneochi. He boasted and defended it as RUGA on the TV. And to worsen the situation, he equally defended, very forcefully, the twin evil agenda that propel the violent activities of the Fulani herdsmen – Muslim/Muslim ticket and Power retention in the North after the eight years of Buhari’s miserable reign, coupled with his silence over the deadly activities of the foot soldiers of “Fulanization and Islamization”. So, his inexplicable, albeit criminal silence, makes him absolutely culpable.
Therefore, implicit from the imbroglio is that Dr Uzor kalu’s mission is at variance with the expectation of our people. His re-emergence on the political firmament of Abia North and Igbo Land in general is a grave mistake as it has nothing to do with rendering services to our people in Abia North and protection of Igbo interest in the context of Nigeria’s highly conflicting and competitive ethno-religious based Politics. Rather, he has all the trappings of a man on a mission and assignment to systematically disarticulate, disorientate and outrightly destroy any sense of unity and purpose among Igbo leadership and the weakening of Igbo Land for his selfish aim of hanging close to power and enlarging the frontiers of his personal business empire.
His senatorship since 2019 is reminiscent of the criminal irresponsibility and total abandonment of the security and infrastructural development of Abia North which characterized his Governorship tenure, quite contrary to what we saw and seeing in his predecessors, who showed devotion to the development of their zones.
Orji Kalu, is again, being suffused with obsession for National grandstanding and infantile pandering to the whims and caprices of Northern Political establishment, much to the detriment of the Interest of his people. He carries himself in the manner of a man Intoxicated by nectar of power, which drags him into reckless and thoughtless Political permutations, and evidencing strong deficiency of emotional intelligence in all his recent political permutations vis-a-vis Igbo interest.
Senator Kalu promised to give us a Senatorial representation that would surpass the vigor and vibrancy of his predecessors but quite different from the unimpeachable and superlative records of the Senatorship of his predecessors, Dr Kalu is largely a disappointment and misfit for the seat once occupied by intellectual gaints like inimitable Chukwumerije. A star. The leading light of his era and the highly cherished Political jewel of Igbo Land. A one man squad whose voice sent cold shivers down the spines of anti people principalities. Were he to be alive today, he alone, would have engaged the principalities head-on and stopped at nothing until normalcy is returned.
Equally, the diplomatic dexterity, oratory, imposing and ambassadorial carriage of Senator Ike Nwachukwu would have come into full gear in ensuring the restoration of peace and security in the zone.
The Political sagacity, vibrancy, high mental acuity, eloquence and the usual convivial disposition of Senator Mao Ohuabunwa would have combined to get us a better deal and timely restoration of peace in our zone. But in the case of OUK, instead of identifying with his constituents being destroyed by external forces imported into our land, he has veered off track and entered into the path of meddlesome interloping and loquacious posturing on issues that are unfavorable and antithetical to interest of his people.
Regardless of his shortcomings just like every other mortal, Senator Mao, with the benefit of hindsight, has been proven far better, selfless, deeply concerned with the aspirations of our people and connected better with the people of Abia North Senatorial zone. Not minding the fact that he’s not the Senator currently, he’s daily reaching out to our people and feels our pulses and pains in a manner characteristic of a people’s leader.
Mao Ohuabunwa’s voice is the loudest among elites calling for Federal Government attention to the plight of Umunneochi and Isuikwuato areas. This is reminiscence of the untiring assiduity with which he stoutly projected the Interest of the zone when he stood on our behalf in the Red Chamber.
Without mincing words, his replacement by Dr Uzor Kalu is the greatest tragedy that befall us, especially in a time as perilous and trying as we are currently. And this ugly experience has proven to be a monumental miscalculation by political bigwigs from Abia North, principally from among the PDP, who engineered the massively and recklessly rigged election which removed Senator Mao Ohuabunwa and exhumed our RUGA MAN from the abyss of Political oblivion.
Despite Dr Uzor Kalu’s claims of being an active player in the mainstream of the current Nigeria’s ruling Government, there’s no Federal Government project concretely tangible standing to his credit in the zone he represents or the state he once held sway as Governor. Rather, his association with the ruling gang has brought us loads of misery, agony, dispiritness, disillusionment, tragedy and disaster whilst he continues to show unenthusiastic and peripheral interest in security and well-being of our people.
Arguments made for him, especially as concern projects are purile, baseless, factually incorrect and in most cases fat lies. In my LGA, there are no verifiable projects except the Exercise books my friend, Mados, shares to some pupils on his behalf. If he attracted any road, certainly it’s located within the vicinity of the cattle market, ostensibly designed to facilitate cattle trading and their movement.
The water schemes they said he brought may not be unconnected with the needs of Fulani bandits disguising as cattle rearers, and the street lights for the illumination of norctunal movement of herdsmen. If however, there are truly projects he attracted, they’re of no meaning to us, because more than anything else, the security of our lives and property are of paramount importance to us. Only the living can enjoy them.
The complications occassioned by his obviously perfidious manner of representation has given rise to the need, very urgent one for that matter, to terminate the contract we have with him as it’s not serving out interest any longer. There must be parting of ways between the people of Abia North and the self-appointed master strategist come 2023.
This time, no amount of pressure and shenanigans from anyone, no matter how highly placed, will be enough to inveigle our people into voting for him again. As he is shamelessly disgracing us, we are resolutely determined to discontinue with his insipid representation. Therefore, those who are hell-bent on bringing his campaign to us are advised, to think twice because the people will use their PVCs to disgrace him.
Hon. Ugochukwu Uwaeke, a Political and Public Affairs Analyst wrote in from Umuahia.