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Isi-Uzo: Who Will Be Her Advocate? Time To Stop The Emotional Blackmail
Opinion

Isi-Uzo: Who Will Be Her Advocate? Time To Stop The Emotional Blackmail 

Isi-Uzo: Who Will Be Her Advocate? Time To Stop The Emotional Blackmail

By Prince Ejeh Josh 

The weeks of January 2022 appeared to have been inundated with socio-political intrigues not only in Nigeria but also across the globe. There have been interesting topics unfolding at the global stage. The Ukraine’s political entanglement with some world powers under the military alliance of North Atlantic Organization (NATO) and Russia’s attempt to contain the excesses of the West at its “backyard” by threatening consequences. The pressure on the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson to resign for hosting a party in the midst of the raging coronavirus’ variant tsunami—Omicron. New Zealand’s deadly volcanic eruption and the World Health Organisation’s reluctance to supply relief for fear of moving down coronavirus to them. Perhaps, the relief materials could be infected. The interesting United States’ hostages at a Synagogue and the terrorist family’s fruitless effort to blame it on mental health breakdown. The deliberate human rights violation by the military junta in Sudan and bandits and terrorists field days in some states in Nigeria. Of course the ongoing three days sit-at-home frustration in the Southeast, Mr. President’s rice pyramids which the PDP had described as fake and an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of Nigerians, to politicians turning the Aso Rock to a political Mecca to seek the blessing and anointing of ‘almighty’ President Muhammadu Buhari for the 2023 presidential election. As spectators, while we were inquisitively forecasting the ever strategically dynamic and almost elusive political system, our local political atmosphere was interrupted by the chortle of a fictionally fashioned emotion by one Josephat Omeke, perhaps, acclaimed to be a legal practitioner.

In the ordinary course of events, I had exercised a lackluster gleam of interest on the piece for obvious reasons. However, a struggle through the article; although riddled with illusion, fiction and inconsistency, exposed the writer’s weak foundation in a sponsored move to create apprehension, inspire conflict and rivalry where there’s none. Aside that, I would have been restrained by logical compass and treat the work with outright ignominy. This article, therefore, is not intended to serve as a riposte or a rejoinder, but to redirect Mr. Josephat on his preposterous voyage of wiping up sentiments to blackmail and incite hatred against a peace-loving people that had not transgressed him through his incendiary piece, rather than presenting an objective intellectual discourse for engagement.

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Josephat had intentionally presented aslant version of what would trigger sympathy in the minds of gullible readers for him and his sponsors. The clever attempt was obviously wrapped in misrepresentation of fact and perversion of historical records to paint a gloomy imagery of a people allegedly under the excruciating wheel of oppression when, in actual fact, the people have been treated like the spoiled brat who now folds his arms and expect manna to cascade without working for it, or engages in a phony tears to blackmail his siblings into conceding to him, on a platter, what belongs to all of them. This caveat should sink; Enugu East Senatorial Zone has never and will never be bifurcated into two equal entities with a laid down mode of sharing value as presented by Josephat. The constitution, being the grundnorm that spelt out the federal structure of Nigeria, is unambiguous as to the balkanization of Enugu East Senatorial Zone into six equal local government areas; Enugu South, Nkanu East, Enugu East, Isi Uzo, Nkanu West and Enugu North. Any other attempt to pervert this is clearly a self-serving adventure and a frolic of white tale (Akuko Mama Ngozi na ndi yard) that is bound to fail.

To reiterate the above, there’s only one Enugu East Senatorial Zone otherwise known as Nkanu Land. The people of Isi Uzo, like other council areas, against Josephat’s false historical rendition, are clearly Nkanu by nature whether as a result of cultural affinity, agnate, political expediency, or any other relationship. With this conscious historical flashpoint in mind, Isi Uzo has enjoyed the largesse that other council areas within the political establishment are also entitled to. There have been deliberate ceding of juicy positions to Isi Uzo local government area by other council areas in line with equity, fairness, justice and brotherhood. In the course of this interrogation, a chunk of these considerations will be cataloged. It remains, unarguably, a factual statement that the people of Isi Uzo have enjoyed, as much as other local government areas, positions ceded to the senatorial district.

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It’ll also be pertinent, however, to lay this long fallacy being deliberately but dubiously propagated by Isi Uzo’s apologists to rest by settling it with both clinical and forensic evidence obtained from verifiable sources. Writers from Isi Uzo’s enclave have tended to raise this fallacy of Isi Uzo’s frightening “voting strength” to a religious creed and this, they have weaponised as bait to draw sympathies even from a disinterested bystander. Available records have impugned this false creed and demolished any effect it could have mustered in the face of brazen evidence. Where did they obtain the data on which their argument drew strength? A question I will leave for them to answer. There’s no doubt that falsehood always have an expiry date. How does one place something on nothing and anticipate it to stand? Such a delusional contemplation could only be borne out of clairvoyance.

Mr. Josephat, like his bandwagonry bedfellows, had written thus: “From then on, Isi Uzo became the beautiful bride sought after by all gubernatorial, senatorial and House of Representatives aspirants from other parts of the senatorial district most of whom had no reason to visit the local government prior to 1996. The patronage and romance became even more intense and compelling when it was revealed that Isi-Uzo people, aside from having the much needed voting population, enjoyed one of the highest level of political awareness in the state as an average indigene treated voting in an election as a sacred duty and one of utmost priority. For this very reason, it’s on record that no Enugu East senatorial candidate has ever won election without the support of Isi Uzo people. Fully aware of this very important fact, a senatorial candidate despite the amount of votes he had secured from other local government areas, only starts celebrating after that of Isi-Uzo had been collated and declared.” In spite of this dominant voting might and which naturally confers on Isi-Uzo, the king making status in the senatorial district, the people for a very long time appeared content with delivering huge electoral votes to candidates from other parts of the district.” The above was the feeble straw employed as foundation by the writer to sell his message. Sadly for him, his argument was sharply at variant with reality and statistical figures from independent bodies such as the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), National Population Commission (NPC), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), etc, on the state of affairs in the senatorial zone under review. Josephat and his co-travelers should adduce the public with the verifiable sources of information on how they had arrived at the Isi Uzo local government taking a lead in terms of voting strength, population and a “high level of political awareness.”

Verifiable data from the NBS and the NPC gave a vivid graph of the population of each local government area in Enugu East Senatorial Zone. Interestingly, Isi Uzo local government area stands gallantry on the 5th position of the six local governments on the rung of the graph, polling a total population of 200,600 (two hundred thousand, 600 hundred) per capita. For the avoidance of doubt, the figures are given as follows: 1. Enugu East: 374,100 per capita. 2. Enugu North: 326,900 per capita. 3. Enugu South: 267,300 per capita. 4. Nkanu East: 207,300 per capita. 5. Isi Uzo: 200,600 per capita. 6. Nkanu West: 198,900 per capita (in a descending order respectively). The figures, however, had a contrasting outlook from the above in terms of voting pattern and political strength. It’s worthy of note that the level of political awareness is primarily determined by the prevailing level of political culture which further impacts political behavior. It’s a three-way process with a systemic relations of symbiosis. Curiously, this has not played out in the voting trajectory of Isi Uzo local government area.

To be sure of this scientific analysis, a glimpse at the voting pattern of each local government area in Enugu East Senatorial Zone, obtained from INEC portal, shows that the purported Isi Uzo’s “political awareness” could not translate to enough votes that could reflect their wild claims. In the last gubernatorial election held in 2019, votes from Isi Uzo could only form a miniature of the large fractions obtained from other sisters’ local government areas. For example, Isi Uzo held unto the 4th position of the six local governments despite the fantasy that Isi Uzo was laying the golden eggs. According to the INEC, the following were the results of the 2019 gubernatorial poll. Conscious attempt to limit the results to that cast for the PDP was for obvious reason as the party won flatly with over 95% votes of the total votes cast in the state. Again, the figures will be in a descending order. 1. Nkanu West: 30,698 votes. 2. Nkanu East: 23,118 votes. 3. Enugu East: 22,300 votes. 4. Isi Uzo: 19,698 votes. 5. Enugu South: 17,513 votes. 6. Enugu North: 15,120 votes. Going by the above, one would begin to wonder what Mr. Josephat and his sponsors could have understood, perhaps erroneously, as “political awareness” when the local government is treadmilling on the lowest rung of the electoral ladder. This should now put a stop to all the rhetorics of Isi Uzo this, Isi Uzo that.

The piece leapfrogged to allege that the people of Isi Uzo were being schemed out of power distribution in the senatorial district. That position is absolutely misleading. Politics, as rightly defined by scholars from different disciplines as Political Science, Sociology, Psychology, International Relations, etc, is the struggle for power. The nucleus of politics is power, and power is not given on a platter anywhere in the world. It must be decently fought for. It must be negotiated. It must be lobbied. It must be toiled for. Expecting a slumbering mind to be awoken with the offer of power is clearly illusory with a need for urgent psycho-political counseling. The simple summary of how to capture power is; go and fetch it! On the intrigues that played out in the alleged speakership and vice chancellor’s positions, nobody oppressed anybody. Those competitive seats were jostled for, and the best took them. It’s a deliberate falsehood to write that a certain aspirant was more qualified than another aspirant. In 2015, the Buhari’s presidency and Bola Tinubu’s All Progressive Congress’s national leadership had wanted Senator Ahmed Lawal and Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila as Senate President and Speaker of the National Assembly respectively. However, Senator Bukola Saraki and Alhaji Yakubu Dogara won against all odds. They won the seats not by folding their arms. They went for their dreams, canvassing logical arguments, wooing their fellows, strategically positioning themselves to take over, and they did.

The people of Isi Uzo should face the reality for once and avoid anybody from using them against their brothers from other local governments. Some desperate political leviathans are somewhere outside the zone fomenting trouble in a bid to upset the peaceful political harmony being enjoyed by brothers. It’s time to resist them, tend the love holding us together as brothers and keep on working for the greater good of Nkanu Land. Things shall not fall apart as designed by evil machinations. Our people from Isi Uzo should appreciate how other local government areas unanimously conceded the PDP Chairmanship slot meant for the zone to Isi Uzo. That’s the highest political office holder today in our state as far as party affairs is concerned. The zone gave Isi Uzo through Barr. Chijioke Edeoga the slot meant for it from the presidency. Ambassadorship seat was equally ceded to them. Appointment into the endless juicy position of maritime was equally conceded to the council area. The local government have had a shot at the national assembly without eyebrows from others. Our performing Governor has transformed the local government area with unimaginable legacy projects, and here, they’re, ungrateful. In today’s administration, Isi Uzo enjoys one of the political patronage through appointments, youth empowerment, human capital development, but yet, they’re being sponsored against the interest of the government.

Finally, on the issue of the 2023 gubernatorial race, one thing is indisputable as events keep unfolding, and that’s the fact that our dear Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi will choose his successor for the state. However, the position is open to the Enugu East Senatorial Zone to jostle. In doing this, every local government area that feels equity, fairness and justice is on its side has the political obligation to go about wooing stakeholders, convincing people across divides, reaching out to others to support them and working tirelessly to show their seriousness for the job. That’s exactly what the people of Nkanu East are doing. They are strongly convinced that equity, justice and fairness is, by moral calibration, on their side. They have come up with different interest and pressure groups out of resoluteness to take a shot at the office. But our Isi Uzo brothers are sleeping, gesticulating that it’s their turn when, in all fairness, there are supposed to support Nkanu East to go for the job. Their turn will soon come whenever the seat orbits again, and support will be given to them assuredly. That’s the love we should be sharing. One could see logic and reason working on all fours with the argument advanced by the majority of Enugu people that Isi Uzo has to wait for its turn since it came last in the political formation and permutation of Enugu East Senatorial Zone. It met other local councils, and will be unfair to be laying claim to the seat in 2023. The micro-zoning should be structurally methodical. Nkanu East has waited for over 41 years, while Josephat claimed Isi Uzo had been waiting for the past 26 years. The facts are clear. One day, other local councils will definitely support Isi Uzo for the top job. However, for now, it’s the turn of Nkanu East which is fully prepared for the job.

This piece will remain inchoate without touching on the important issue raised by Josephat and his sponsors. They had accused some critical stakeholders of voicing their support for Nkanu East without mincing words. The argument by this camp was prompted by attempt to call some people a bad name just to justify their self-serving narcissism. For Josephat, the statement credited to Senator Jim Nwobodo and others about their political future was unacceptable. Such thinking pattern is laughable and had a clandestine design to disrespect the highly revered elder statesman. When has holding political opinion become a crime in our clime when the constitution of the country confers an unambiguous freedoms of association, expression and political view on its citizenry? Senator Jim Nwobodo, as well as our reverential Senators Chimaroke Nnamani, Ken Nnamani, among others, did not make their statement in a vacuum. They made it in a good faith when a formidable interest group under the aegis of Nkanu East Consultative Forum visited them to seek their support as well as their solidarity to produce the next governor of the state. The calibre of people in the group shows unity of purpose, love, strength, and mission in Nkanu East. Such political strategy was missing in Isi Uzo since they believed the governor would visit and give them the gubernatorial ticket on a platter. Such arrogance! Politics is not won on social media where my friends and brothers from Isi Uzo are doing their ranting. Whatever gave them that audacity that the governor would spoon-feed them with the governorship ticket must be likened to Macbeth’s deception by the three witches known as the Weird Sisters in Williams Shakespeare’s work.

At the risk of repeating the known here, His Excellency, Senator Jim Nwobodo, in all sincerity, has always advocated for the people of Isi Uzo in the political arrangements of the state. He believes, just like every other Nkanu person, that Isi Uzo people are part and parcel of core Nkanus whether by consanguineous ties, socio-cultural affinity, or by political expediency. The elder statesman man had no business to mention any other local government areas since the local government in focus, which came for the consultation, was Nkanu East. If those ranting about Nkanu East’s visit to the founding father of the state are jealous, let them also organise their own forum and visit him. Perhaps, they could be compelled to send a certain deflected and lifeless body recently advertised on social media with the name; Ka Isi Uzo jee, made up of teenagers and boys, to do the visitation. In all honesty, Isi Uzo is having its fair share more than other local government areas and the remaining five local governments will not hesitate to drum momentous support for the people of Isi Uzo to occupy the Lion Building at the right time. For now, let them support their Nkanu East kinsmen to represent the state in 2023.

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