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Chinyeaka Ohaa’s Christmas Visit to Enugu East Zone’s Royal Fathers and the Attempt to Distort Fact
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Opinion

Chinyeaka Ohaa’s Christmas Visit to Enugu East Zone’s Royal Fathers and the Attempt to Distort Fact 

Chinyeaka Ohaa’s Christmas Visit to Enugu East Zone’s Royal Fathers and the Attempt to Distort Fact

By Prince Ejeh Josh

When the 20th century Nazi politician and chief propagandist of the German’s Third Reich, Paul Joseph Goebbels, was dishonestly creating an aura of falsehood around the defeated and war devastated nazist dictator, Adolf Hitler, through his deliberate media design, little did he know that the innocent people of Germany and the world at large would soon realise the truth, which has always been universally immutable. The Gauleiter of Berlin was notoriously known for skewing facts, perverting realities and creating the “illusion of truth effect” in his attempt to misinform his people to score cheap political points.

However, like Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian nationalist and rights lawyer, tersely stated; an error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it, the continued atmosphere of silhouette being created by Goebbels came to an end, when in 1945, Hitler and his cult of conspirators went missing into the rubble of history. Like the famous Guardian editor, C.P. Scott, once wrote in 1921, in what has become a journalistic, social and literary maxim; comment is free, facts are sacred, and fact-based comment most precious of them all. This should serve as a guiding principle to all our activities regardless ideological leanings, interests, platforms and lenses.

Sadly, this has not always cast the projected reality by competing interests, often displaying their brawny strength in a struggle to outsmart their perceived political and socio-economic adversaries. Whether by hook or by crook, individuals have repeatedly presented storylines that would place them at a vantage point over the common good of the public. Despite the clear defeat suffered by the German forces during the World War II, Hitler played a smart card through Goebbels by presenting a different narrative and worldview to the public. We’ve seen this antics unproductively replicating itself in Iran, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and recently, in Palestinian territory. This, however, did not remove the fact that a lethal punch had been landed.

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In a recent report by an online newspaper, Everydaynewsngr, titled; “Enugu East Zone traditional rulers pray for Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa’s ambition” and circulated in different social media platforms on the 26th of December, 2021, there was fruitless attempt to distort the fact of what actually transpired at the said gathering by the report. Available evidence convincingly pointed to the fact that the report was at variant with the discussion that ensued, and could have been hastily written as damage-control-design to save faces.

Everydaynewsngr had reported, in a rather hysteric manner, that a former Accountant General to Enugu state government and retired federal permanent secretary, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, had organised a politically motivated Christmas visit to the 199 traditional rulers of Enugu East Senatorial District at the palace of Igwe Julius Nnaji, Odezuligbo III of Nike kingdom, who, according to the report, was the “Second Deputy Chairman of Enugu State Traditional Rulers Council and Chairman of Enugu East Senatorial District Council of Traditional Rulers.” The report went further to paint the mental picture of a political campaign rather than that of paying an “homage” to the Igwes as alleged by the newspaper.

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To be sure of my position, I’m candidly not against anybody paying a Christmas or political homage to the said traditional rulers. The royal fathers are our fathers, and they deserve the respect they have earned by reason of their sacred stools. However, it’s quite mortifying that a purported “Christmas visit” could be whimsically manipulated into a political arena to achieve personal ends or score political gains. Such display of character, in the eye of the public, could be defined as playing stunts with our royal fathers, and indeed, the people they rrepresen. It’s an egregious violation of the revered customs of our land. Under no guise should a political visit be shrouded and wrapped in religious and cultural rite in a move to maneuver the political terrain. It isn’t telling well of our Christian communion recently celebrated.

Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa is a man I respect in no little measure. His rendition of his career before the royal fathers, and his exploits cumulating to his retirement in Abuja shows we’ve got the resilient spirit of Nkanu in him. For this, I will continue my respect for him no matter where I find myself. This does not, however, imply that I will not be blunt where and when truths and facts are threatened. In this case, the report perverted the glaring reality on ground and had justice asphyxiated.

It is no news that Sir Chinyeaka is harbouring an ambition, perhaps, to run for the position of Governor of the state in 2023. Sponsored billboards and boisterous social media activities are a pointer towards that direction. Of course, every person with the conditions precedent for governor is qualified to run. Interestingly, Sir Chinyeaka is from Enugu East Senatorial Zone where the All Progressive Congress (APC) has zoned the ticket. The body language of decision makers in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is also tilting towards the fact that the ticket will be going to the senatorial zone in view. The reason for this is simple; established zoning trajectory in the state since the return of democracy in Nigeria in 1999. On the strength of the above, one would be compelled to ask whether Sir Chinyeaka is not unqualified to vie for the top job. The question will be answered in our preceding paragraphs bearing the principle of moral rectitude, political compass, micro-zoning and competence in mind.

Back from the necessary deviation, the report from Everydaynewsngr hopped further and added that Sir Chinyeaka who had visited the traditional rulers sought their support for his gubernatorial ambition. But ironically, the visit had the colouration of Christmas celebration and the actuality of political campaign. Appearance, it’s stressed, is different from reality. One could, even without curiosity, observe the voice of Jacob and the protruded hand of Esau in the hurried visit. I still do not have any issue with people trying to manipulate their way by whatever means. I could, as I had wanted, to ignore the report. However, many people had given it the attention and interpretation it never deserved. The report presented a false story of general acceptability and endorsement of the candidates by the traditional rulers, who, in fact, never did. This was where the crux of the matter lies.

Interestingly, reading through the news, one would appreciate that some traditional rulers were singled out as endorsing the candidacy of Chinyeaka while speaking on behalf of others. This is not true. My findings, during my interactions with some of the royal fathers, showed that no endorsement was ever made at the arena or at the said Igwe’s palace. Perhaps, endorsement could have been made elsewhere other than the gathering, but that would still remain imaginary until evidence of the endorsement is adduced.

For the avoidance of doubt in the preposterous report, a first class monarch in Enugu state, Southeast and Patron of Traditional Rulers Council in the state, HRH Igwe Abel Nwobodo, the Awalagu 1 of Umuawalagu, Nara-Unateze, was quoted as saying that the candidacy of Sir Chinyeaka was the most qualified of all the candidates. This is false, and a mischievous attempt to inspire hatred against the reverential traditional ruler. To appreciate this position, an excerpt from the paper would be reproduced below. “He said that, of all the probable contenders for the governorship of Enugu state, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa is the most qualified even though, he added, there are some other considerations that may be factored into, and as Royal fathers they are insulated from making inputs concerning, the considerations on who becomes what in the politics of the state.”

According to the royal fathers I personally contacted, at no time had Igwe Nwobodo made the statement attributed to him. In fact, it is on record that the Igwe had seized the opportunity to appeal to Sir Chinyeaka to shelve his ambition by considering some factors which include, equity, justice, fairness and the fact that between 1999 and 2007, when it was the turn of Enugu East Senatorial Zone to produce governor, his local government area, Nkanu West, was massively supported, and His Excellency, Senator Dr Chimaroke Nnamani, was elected as governor of the state.

Addressing my question, one of the traditional rulers stated as follows: “He (Patron, Traditional Rulers Council) was at that meeting, and I was there too. You know we are traditional rulers, and any politician that comes to us; normally we’ll pray, because our prayer is like igoro mmadu ofor. We can’t wish anybody bad. If you come from PDP, or from APC, or if Okeke comes, we’ll pray for him. If Okafor comes, we’ll pray for him. If Okonkwo comes, we’ll definitely pray for him. It is only God that gives power, and he will choose for us at the right time. God is the giver of life and giver of strength. His (God) decision is final.

“He (Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa) really did tell us he wanted to be the governor of Enugu state, but I do not think Nwobodo gave him any endorsement when he spoke because from Nwobodo’s statement, he told him that the people of Nkanu East were clamouring that it’s their turn to take a shot at the governorship sit. This means that he spoke the wish and mind of the people of Nkanu East local government council that day. As a leader, he bared his mind on the aspiration of his people. Well, in my own case, I told Chinyeaka that I have not expected him to come to the arena and told them of his gubernatorial ambition because the primary problem bedeviling Nigeria today is, injustice. We need justice and fair play because the Nkanu West have had their share through Chimaroke Nnamani. So, I said it’s Nkanu East that’s the most underdeveloped local government in the state, and many people have been saying it. How can someone who’s craving for peace insist on skewing some local government areas out when his local government has had its fair share. If not for equity and justice, the Enugu North could have avowed to continue for another term, or even the Enugu West could have also come out.

“But here we are pleading that Nkanu East should be given the equal opportunity in Enugu East Senatorial District to produce the next governor of the state. With this zoning formula in place, and the sit having gone around, and now that it’s the turn of Enugu East Senatorial District, it will make no sense for a local government area that had earlier produced the governor to indicate interest when others have not had their share. So we go by rotation for every local government for peace to continue to reign. That was my speech and plea that day. Eventually, many of the royal fathers supported me that there’s no how we could have given him mandate for the West to go again. I was overwhelmingly supported. So, whosoever said that we gave him our mandate was lying. It’s Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state that will eventually tell the people we to go, and we’ll follow him.”

How would one explain the fact that out of the six local government areas in Enugu State zone, three local governments of Enugu North, Enugu South, and Nkanu West had produced governors in one time or the other, leaving Nkanu East, Enugu East and Isi Uzo local government council out of the permutation? Now that the chick is coming home to roost after a long wait, another person from Nkanu West local government area is jumping at it from all sides, not minding that Nkanu West local government council is presently wielding the positions of the Senate and House of Representatives. Where is the justice, equity, fairness, political compass and moral rectitude in the brotherhood we’re preaching? Our Patron and other royal fathers, even though apolitical because of their positions as custodian of culture and traditions, were right not to have endorsed him. Such endorsement will collapse in the face of any comprehensive assessment as political and moral beings. We must learn how to strike a balance between our aspiration and the greater good of the society.

It is pertinent to underscore the fact that our Patron and even Igwe Julius Nnaji could have been quoted out of context or their speeches perverted by those desperate to hold the political atmosphere at the jugular. Conscience and morality enshrined in natural law demand that those parts that have not benefited from the political benevolence of zoning or equity be allowed. In this regard, people have bemoaned the underdevelopment curve the vast area of Nkanu East local government area has suffered over the past years. The authority in the state has often penciled down Nkanu East local government has treadmilling in the lowest rung of the ladder of development. Other local government areas in this observatory have attracted the greater chunk of government’s value allocation. Nkanu East local government cannot afford to continue in the periphery while other local governments are migrating to the centre of centre. It’s as a result of this that the people have been craving the indulgence of their kinsmen from other local governments to support them. The state of Nkanu East local government becomes of more particular concern when one considers a work once made by Chinenye Ugwu of the “Ike is coming” ruse where she bemoaned the agony of the local government with a derogatory remark, and went out of her way in making a strong case for the people of Nkanu East council area when she metaphysically wrote of Nkanu East local government area as the, “…backwaters of the ‘Core Nkanuland’ that have suffered perennial political and developmental marginalisation.”

Instead of orbiting around a fruitless political voyage, it’s time for all of us to work together and support a candidate from Nkanu East area bearing in mind that, one day, candidates from Enugu East and Isi Uzo areas will be supported too. Nkanu East council area has got people with the experience; garnered both from public and private sectors. There are more competent hands with technologically driven ideological orientation who are doing well in diverse areas as science, technology, business, education, management and entrepreneurship from Nkanu East. Power should be distributed fairly among the people. While Nkanu West is currently holding the positions of the Senate and House of Representatives, equity, justice, fairness, and competence entail that the position of governorship seat be zoned to Nkanu East local government. It’s hoped that the state governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who has been toeing the path of honour, justice and fairness, and who has given the people of Enugu state enviable environment of peace for business to thrive, will do justice in Enugu East Senatorial Zone by considering the readiness of Nkanu East to go for the job.

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