TEXT OF THE STATEMENT ISSUED BY ABIA CIVIL SOCIETY NETWORK ON EQUITY & JUSTICE, ACSNEJ AT ABIA HOTELS ON FRIDAY 11TH FEBRUARY 2022
It is with a warm heart that we, Abia Civil Society Network on Equity and Justice, ACSNEJ welcome you to today’s event.
ACSNEJ, just as the name goes, is a coalition of many civil society groups in Abia State, working towards the realisation of common good in God’s own state, and bound by the spirit and philosophy of equity and justice for all Abians. Our coalition cuts across all the senatorial zones in the state and so could in every sense be considered a statewide movement.
The attention of ACSNEJ has been drawn to a thickening plot to perpetuate injustice and political exclusion in Abia State with an unheard-of arrangement aimed at keeping a Zone in office as governor in what could be described as self-succession at best. From the get-go of Abia, with its 1991 creation, we wish to state, as a coalition, that no part thereof has been marginalised to warrant an unhealthy machination such that alters the existing doctrine of power rotation in the state known as ‘Charter of Equity.’ The confirmation of this machination within the Abia political gaming board had necessitated that as a coalition we raise concerns against what could change a peaceful arrangement to the disadvantage of all Abians, even more so to those revisionists championing this unpopular cause.
From what is evident within the state polity, including from moves and consultations by some gladiators whose senatorial zones have either previously had a stint or are currently doing their tenure, we are sensing the plot to deny the people of Abia North their turn at the governorship in the state, even when it is their turn, legitimately. This, we wish to state as a coalition, does not present Abia government and her people a win-win situation.
To elucidate, may we bring you, ladies and gentlemen, civic actors, journalists and all the good people gathered here to the history of Abia State.
The move for the creation of Abia, as available historical sources show, preceded the 1991 creation itself. The founding fathers of what would later become Abia State agreed in principle and practice that the basis for peace, stability, unity and even development to thrive was on a political and economic arrangement, the plank of which allows power to be rotated among the most densely populated areas of: [A]ba, [I]suikwuato, [B]ende and [A]fikpo, four areas from whose first alphabetical letters ‘ABIA’ was coined as initials. Those who now champion the cause to keep power to Abians of Ngwa extraction or any other groups within Abia Centra or Southl challenge the wisdom of great men like Jaja Wachukwu, Michael Okpara, Akanu Ibaiam and other illustrious sons and even daughters of the state.
The essence of sticking to the Abia article (Equity Charter) which only likens in history to the historic America’s Federalist Papers was to stop people jockeying for power in a Machiavellian way; to end dog eat dog politics, to create a sense of equity and evenness among Abians. Those who today want to truncate the already existing peaceful political landscape in Abia are no wiser than the founding fathers. We wish to sound this as a warning to all aspirants outside of Abia North to shelve their plans and allow governorship of the state to come to the deserving Zone which in all fairness is Abia North.
We call on all political parties within the state as well to ensure that the North-Central-South power sharing formula be followed come 2023, as anything short of that will amount to injustice which we shall legitimately resist. We are disappointed that some persons who enjoyed the support of Abia North to ascend to power are now midwiving the plot to stop the zone from doing its own turn in 2023. They only remind us of the proverbial tortoise who after borrowing feathers from the birds feathered his nest by maneuvring those on whose feathers he reached the sky for a feast. What happened to him at the end? Well, he fell from the sky after the birds at whose expense he maximised all items in the menu plucked their feathers from him. That was a tragic denouement with moral lessons for every Abian today. May we remind these revisionists the words of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, who after his reelection to serve Abians for a second tenure said inter alia:
‘I came in 2015 for Abia South; going by the provision of Abia Charter of Equity, Abia South should be supported by Abia North and Central to complete their term of eight years. No one zone in Abia is more important than the other zone. Abia belongs to Abians, and we from Abia South will not allow anyone to deprive us our right.’
Nothing could be truer than the words of the governor. Those who for parochial interests and sentiments wish to break the Equity of Charter in letter and spirit should have a rethink than plunge a hitherto peaceful state into brinkmanship.
It is our convinction that there is nothing wrong with an Ngwa son or daughter doing the turn of Abia Central come 2031 (when power returns to that zone) so long as such is peacefully worked out within that zone, as the Ngwas of that same zone produced the speaker of the State House of Assembly in 1999 and heavens did not fall. But any plot aimed at denying Abia North its turn come 2023 is tantamount to telling the zone to wait for 24 years instead of sixteen to do its governorship turn. Will those clamouring for this illegality accept same if it were to be served on them?
No single zone, we wish to reaffirm, has been marginalised since the creation of Abia State, and that should not start now. When the state was created in 1991, Group Captain Frank Ajobena became her first military administrator, Milad. Later, following the botched Third Republic, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu was elected in 1992 as the first executive governor of the state. With the overthrow of that Republic by General Sani Abacha on November 17, 1993, Colonels Chinyere Ike Nwosu and Moses Fasanya had their periods. After Navy Captain Temi Ejoor who succeeded Fasanya, Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Obi came to office as Milad in 1998. Obi later handed over power, reigns and instruments of same to Orji Uzor Kalu from Abia North, elected under the platform of PDP, in May 1999 when Nigeria returned to democracy. After Orji Kalu, Theodore Orji, Abia Central was elected as power shifted to Abia South in 2015 under the incumbent governor, His Excellency Dr. Okezie IKpeazu. No zone in Abia should arrogate to itself powers the Equity Charter did not provide for, or use senseless sentiment other than the provisions of the Equity Charter to alter the political landscape.
We call on all the political parties in the state and other well-meaning sons and daughters of the state to resist this move which will only create chaos and enthrone division, hate and mistrust within the Abia body politic. This is the reason our people say the hand of monkey should be removed from the soup pot before it becomes human hand.
The history of Abia is express since 1999 and should be allowed to maintain the North-Central-South rotational course. Anything other than that is a notion of illegality.
Singed. Comrade Diaman Ogudike Convener 09083390920,07062949232.
Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor
Ambassador Darlington Onuoha Kalu
For: Abia civil society network on Equity & Justice (ACSNEJ).