Category Archives: Opinions

Sen. Kalu: Gift of Democracy to Abia North – by Benjamin Kalu

Best thing that happened to Abia North Senatorial Zone was electing Dr Orji Uzor Kalu to the Senate . No senator would have been able to accomplish what he has achieved in these few months despite the six months of incarceration. Thank God the Senate leadership did not listen to wailers who wanted his seat declared vacant.

A seat many had occupied for longer period with next to nothing to show for it in the lives of our people. I am glad for boldly defending the Senate’s decision on the famous TVC interview , where I publicly told Nigerians that fair hearing was yet to be given to Dr Kalu and until he is heard at the Supreme Court , his right of appeal cannot be said to have been fully exhausted. This was when many were reluctant to speak up on this issue because they considered it sensitive .

What was more sensitive to me was the needs of the zone which he had assured me he wanted to take care of having missed a few of them as a Governor owing to the fight with the President that was in charge then . Today Dr Orji Kalu is impressively living up those promises he made to me in private and to Abia North in the public . Those in doubt should draw up the comparative analysis between him and the previous ones in their 17 months in office . You will be shocked at how well he has represented the Senatorial zone .

Ask around though we are very close and he raised me in politics but am one of his worst critics and would have told him if he was not accomplishing much as promised . Therefore, on behalf of Bende Federal constituency of Abia State who have mandated
me during the last town hall meeting and have asked me to publicly commend him for a job so well done so far and to pledge my support for future accomplishments considering his marks all around the Bende federal constituency, I hereby officially commend the Senator representing Abia North senatorial zone , Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu for changing the face of the zone within a short space of time in office despite initial challenges .

Truth be told it is not about the position as a Senator but the web of contacts he has built over the years , his wealth of good wills and his desire to bring dividends of democracy to the people of Abia North. Instead of influencing the projects out of our zone on selfish grounds he is insisting the electorates must experience the dividends of democracy from the present Government of APC. He is doing well and we are following his foot steps . No wonder the APC as a party is the most beautiful bride in Abia State today .

While we leave the big projects for him to handle we partner with him to cover the small ones . Because we are in it together ; The beauty of synergy , political cohesion and dedication to one goal under loyalty . Thanks for setting a good example for those of us that you are leading .

Abia North has not seen any thing yet , watch out for more in the coming years. We came to sincerely serve our deprived people , it is not about us it is about you the people . The people irrespective of political affiliation should encourage and support good governance, isn’t that what democracy preaches ?

I have been seen severally supporting any good works of the government of the state , where they score higher . Politics should not blindfold us away from truth and reality . Yes constructively criticise but to condemn where you ought to commend is not necessary. Does my political weight go down because I said well done to an opposition party who has scored a good point for the electorates ? The answer is no . If actually, we are in politics for the people , it should not be about self .

Often, others complain not because they are not seeing but because political blackmail is a strategic tool for them to attract a biased attention to their self centred needs over and above that of others . It is not effective once discovered, effective lobbying of the office holder is more strategic than blackmail and unfounded criticisms. There is still honour and truth in political governance remember as I have always said “ we were first brothers before we became politicians and will still be family after politics “. Therefore, let’s not destroy what holds us together first as a people .

There is no smartness in seeing the truth and politically or diplomatically speaking against it . See that Dr Orji Kalu is working and encourage him to do more for the zone rather than play to the gallery of pettiness against truth that stares in the face.

Welcome to a brief summary of the catalog of some of his numerous interventions spread across the zone in the last 17 months ( even while he was incarcerated he worked for Abia North);

1. Rehabilitation of Three (3) Primary School Blocks in
a) Ndi Agwu Abam primary school
b) Okweji memorial school Ozu-Abam
c) Agbagwu primary school Aro-Town in Arochukwu L. G. A Abia North Senatorial District, Abia State.

2. Rehabilitation of 2Primary School Blocks in
a) Ugwuafia Primary School
b) Kpoke Primary school in Ohafia L. G. A Abia North Senatorial District, Abia State.

3. Rehabilitation of 2 Primary School Blocks at
a) Otamkpa Community School
b) Ahaba IMENYI Community School in Isiukwuato L. G. A, Abia North Senatorial District, Abia State.

4. Rehabilitation of Two Primary School Blocks at
a) Umuelem Central School, Isuochi
b) Eziama Community School, Nneato in Umunneochi L. G. A, Abia North Senatorial District, Abia State.

5. Rehabilitation of 3 Blocks at
A) OZUITEM CENTRAL SCHOOL
B) OKAFIA Primary school
C) ITEM CENTRAL SCHOOL, OKOKO
in Bende L. G. A Abia North Senatorial District, Abia State.

PROJECTS FOR ABIA NORTH SENATORIAL DISTRICT TO BE ACCOMMODATED IN 2021 BUDGET.
Agency: FEDERAL COOPERATIVE COLLEGE, OJI RIVER(FEDERAL MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE).

1. Construction of 1km rural road with drainage and asphalt from Ututu to Isu in Arochukwu LGA, Abia North Senatorial District, N90m.

2. Construction of 2km rural road with drainage and asphalt in Itumbuzo, Bende LGA, Abia North Senatorial District N180m.

3. Construction of 1km rural road with drainage and asphalt from Apanu to Akanu in Item, Bende LGA, Abia North Senatorial District, N90m.

4. Construction of 1km rural road with drainage and asphalt in Uzo Rubber in Amaokwe Item in Bende LGA, Abia North Senatorial District, N90m.

5. Construction of 2km rural road with drainage and asphalt in Amankalu Alayi to Akoli Imenyi in Bende LGA, Abia North Senatorial District, N180m.

6. Construction of 1km rural road with drainage and asphalt in Amaoku Alayi in Bende LGA, Abia North Senatorial District, N90m.

7. Construction of 2km rural road with drainage and asphalt from Abia to Akanu Ukwu in Ohafia LGA, Abia North Senatorial District, N180m.

8. Construction of 1km rural road with drainage and asphalt Isiugwu, Ohafia LGA, Abia North Senatorial District, N90m.

9. Construction of 2km rural road with drainage and asphalt in Uturu Township in Isuikwuato LGA, Abia North Senatorial District, N180m.

10. Construction of 1km rural road with drainage and asphalt from Ozara junction to Umuasu in Isuikwuato LGA (junction of university road), Abia North Senatorial District, N90m.

11. Construction of 1km rural road with drainage and asphalt from Ndi Uduma Awaoke(Chief Awa Kalu SAN road) in Ohafia LGA, Abia North Senatorial District, N90m.

12. Construction of students hostel in Holy Rosary Secondary school, Umuahia, N50m.

13. Supply of motorcycles, sewing machines and generating sets for Bende LGA, Abia North Senatorial District, N100m.

14. Supply of motorcycles, sewing machines and generating sets for Ohafia LGA, Abia North Senatorial District, N100m.

15. Supply of motorcycles, sewing machines and generating sets for Arochukwu LGA, Abia North Senatorial District, N100m.

16. Supply of wound gel and gynaecological (cervical cancer gel) for Abia North Senatorial District, N100m.

17. Supply of rice and fertilizers for rural women in the 5 LGAs of Abia North Senatorial District, N200m.

GRAND TOTAL=N2BN (TWO BILLION NAIRA)

Benjamin Kalu (MHR) is the spokesperson for the Federal House of Representatives

BALANCING THE POWER EQUATION IN ABIA STATE COME 2023

The creation of Abia state out of the old Imo state in 1991 was greeted with much excitement and euphoria. Abia was born and predicated on the idea that creating a new state called Abia would be a tool for rapid even socio-economic and infrastructural development across the nook and cranny of the area without any section or zone feeling marginalised, discriminated against or even neglected.

It was also aimed at bringing government closer to the people and give all component parts and people a due sense of belonging without any group left behind in the development architecture of the state.

The entity was anchored on the principle and philosophy of equity, justice and fairness as enunciated in the Abia Charter of Equity as envisioned by the founding fathers of the state who were drawn from the various
parts of the state.

The name, ‘ABIA’ itself is a.coinage derived from the first alphabets of the former divisions that were to become part and parcel of the yet to be created state, namely, ‘A’ for Old Afikpo Division, ‘B’ for the Old Bende Division, ‘I’ for the Old Isuikwuato Division, and the last ‘A’ for the Old Aba Division to complete the arrangement.

The belief and understanding.was that the chief executives of the state would emerge alphabetically as anticipated in the letters and spirit of the Abia Charter of Equity. Following the creation of Abia state in 1991, the first governor of the new state in the person of Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu came from the erstwhile Afikpo division as contemplated in the document. Though that administration was shortlived following a military coup d’etat that toppled the democratic government at that time, the fact remains that Ogbonnaya Onu had kick-started the process by taking the turn of the Old Afikpo division. As fate would have it too, Old Afikpo Division is now in the present day Ebonyi state.

When full democratic government was restored in Nigeria in 1999, the Old Bende Division produced the governor of the state in the person of Dr.Orji Uzor Kalu. He was at the helm of affairs as the chief executive of the state for eight years,1999 to 2007. Orji Uzor Kalu was succeeded by Chief Theodore Orji from Umuahia, also of Bende stock, 2007-2015.

Today, the incumbent governor, Dr.Okezie Victor Ikpeazu from the Old Aba Division is the governor. Hē is rightly christened ‘Nwa Aba’ in absolute reference to the Old Aba Division.Today the question that is agitating the minds of well-meaning Abians is, where is the place of Isuikwuato/Umunneochi axis in view of the other zones having successfully taking their turn on the basis of the alphabetical order of things?

Come the year 2023, Dr.Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, the incumbent governor would have completed his tenure of eight years.

The year 2023 is another national election year. Whether justice, equity and fairness to all will be brought to the fore without any individual, group or section attempting to outsmart or shortchange Isuikwuato/Umunneochi remains to be seen. It is therefore expedient and imperative that the political parties, especially the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA and the All Progressives Congress the major political parties while fielding their different candidates should give thought to this time tested agreement as enshrined in the Charter of Equity which is the pillar of equity and justice in the state.

Balancing the political power equation in Abia State on the basis of ’emenyere Nwogwugwu,emenyere Nwa Anosike'(( Live let’s live) philosophy becomes a truism that should not to be treated with levity. It is sine quo non in power equilibrium and stability of Abia state, the underlying principle behind its creation.

Equity, justice and fairness are ingredients of democratic ideals and tenets the world over. Its absence therefore creates the precondition for feeling of marginalisation, discrimination, exclusion, underdevelopment and sectionalism.

Such state of affairs obviously has the potential to create the scenario for lawlessness, anarchy, recklessness, and ultimately bad governance and poor performance.

The issue of fairness , growth and development would have been sacrificed on the altar of ‘dog eat dog and winner takes it all mentality if the principle of justice and equity are trampled upon in the sharing of political positions even at the highest levels.

As the clamour for the Nigeria president of Igbo extraction gathers momentum because that is the right thing to do, we need to also direct attention to the popular adage, ‘as above, so below’ , and that ‘charity begins at home’, but should not end there.

Isuikwuato and Umunneochi people deserve a fair deal in the Abia question. They have contributed immensely to the sustenance of socio-economic and infrastructural development of Abia state.

The landscape of the area is a gory sight in terms of provision of social amenities and infrastructure,to say the very least. The issue of neglect and marginalisation facing the people is an open secret that needs to be radically and sustainably addressed.

Governor Okezie’s giant strides in all facets of socio-economic and infrastructural develpoment across the entire gamut of the Old Aba Division amply highlights the truth that, ‘manu akara di uto, onye ratu ibeya aratu’ axiom. The philosophy and brand of development practice is a legacy bequeathed to him by his predecessors.

During the buildup to the governorship election of Okezie Victor Ikpeazu in 2015, the slogans, ‘Nwa Aba ga emezi Aba’ , and ’emenyere Nwogwugwu, emenyere Nwanosike’ were rife and dominated the political space at the time and even now.

In fact, the emergence of the first governor of Abia State from the Ukwa Ngwa at this time in the annal of the history of Abia state has proved that justice and equity will always prevail no matter how long it is delayed. And once achieved guarantees a sense of security, accomplishment and fulfilment.

Today, the quantum of development projects and programmes dotting the entire landscape of the Old Aba Division clearly pinpoints to the place of equity, justice and fairness in the distribution of democratic dividends and benefits.

Equity and justice liberates the people free from all forms of feelings of subjugation and second class citizenship.

To really factor Isuikwuato/Umunneochi into the highest political architecture of Abia state, it becomes incumbent on all and sundry, especially the key political parties in the state to support any agitation, intention, ambition, aspiration, action, strategy, and undertaking that seek to zone the next governorship slot of Abia state to Isuikwuato Division for power to be truly balanced in Abia state.

This is the only recipe that will guarantee even and rapid socio-economic and Infrastructural development of Abia state and ultimately leading to.equitable distribution of power and resources.

The year 2023 is fast approaching and offers immense opportunity to squarely address the issue.

The Old Isuikwuato Division parades a galaxy of well-experienced technocrats, academicians, entrepreneurs, businessmen and women, seasoned administrators, politicians, entrepreneurs and professionals,etc who have national and global acclaim with the capacity and competence to transform Abia state to a glorious and eminent heights among the comity of states in Nigeria.

It is a new dawn in Abia State and the need to catapult Abia State to a new height of growth and development cannot be over emphasized.

Abia State is endowed with abundance of human, material and natural resources which are yet to be fully tapped and translated into economic growth and development for the overall good of the people of Abia State.

There is no gain saying the fact that Abia State is populated by highly creative, resourceful, visionary, patriotic, resilient, innovative and entrepreneurial men and women not found any where in Nigeria. Effective and efficient management of these wonderful human capital is a rarity that should always be leveraged upon.

Specifically, one outstanding and remarkable achiever and leader who has the capability, capacity and competence to become the next governor of Abia state is Prof.Greg Ibeh, 57 who is good to go for the exalted office come 2023.

The Uturu-born entrepreneur, businessman, academician, philanthropist and who is also the founder and chancellor of Gregory University, Uturu, Abia state, a foremost private university is excellence in Abia State has all it takes to offer humble and impacful service to the people of Abia state.

As a world -class iconic development consultant, he will bring his wealth of experience in the national and international development systems to bear on the overall development of Abia state by leveraging his extensive contacts and connections both in the business world and development to his state.

His relationship with multilateral, bilateral and international development organisations will be translated into practical actions and activities to jumpstart the development process of Abia state to a new height.

His familiarity with procedures and processes available in the national and international development community is a major ingredient that marks the governorship aspirant above his peers in their aspiration to govern Abia state.

Given the opportunity to serve as governor of Abia state, innovative and entrepreneurial approaches and strategies will be deployed to transform the entire Abia state.

In all honesty, God has endowed Prof.Greg Ibeh, Enyi Abia with resilience, resourcefulness, creativity, humanity and passion for development.
Enyi Abia is a man of destiny whose time has come to salvage the people from grinding poverty, excruciating unemployment, inequality, disempowerment, and infrastructure deficit. He is a man of selfless service whose zeal to serve others is unquestionable.

It is on record that the philanthropist par excellence as a change agent is the highest employer of labour in Abia State aside from the state government.Yet he remains humble and cool-headed in line with his christian principle of humility and service to the people without making much fuss about it.

Currently many students at all educational levels, local and overseas are on his scholarship programmes.

At the peak of the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic that threatened and is still threatening humanity globally, the governorship hopeful lavishly provided palliatives of food, cash and other needful items to help cushion the effect, especially at the peak of the lockdown occasioned by the ravaging disease.

This gesture was also extended to even residents of Abia who are indigenes of Abia state.

The pan Igbo stance of Prof.Greg Ibeh is legendary. He has consistently and constantly hosted and sponsored the annual Igbo Rennainsance Project which is domiciled in the Gregory University of Excellence,Uturu.The Igbo Rennainsance Project is an annual summit that brings together all the eminent Igbo sons and daughters all over the world.

As a pragmatic leader and advocate of equity and justice, Prof. Greg Ibeh will carry all component parts of Abia state along in realising the vision and dreams of the founding fathers of Abia state who midwifed and envisioned the state to be the fastest growing economy in the country on the basis of participatory, bottom up approach to sustainable development and democracy.

The time to ponder and consider is now!

Arkin Rock Mba Ahukanna wrote from Aba.
7th January, 2021

Anambra Governorship Election: The Way Forward

By: Emeh Udo

When Democratic governance returned to Anambra State in 1999, the people celebrated. After years spent under repressive military juntas, democracy was a welcome relief. But the succour many thought will be ushered into the state remains: politicians plunder the State’s resources, institute retrogressive policies and borrow copiously from military strongmen’s playbook.

Given decades of neglect of infrastructure and bad governance, the shift in human migration has posed problems for the state. Infrastructure improvements, both physical and social, have lagged behind the growth in population. There are problems in environmental sanitation, erosion control, and provision of social services. Major cities have become characterized by inadequate and deteriorated road networks and walkways, unregulated building patterns, poor sanitation, uncontrolled street trading, mountains of garbage, and chaotic transport systems, creating congestion, noise pollution, and overcrowding.

As the shadow political campaigns continue before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) blows the whistle for the next gubernatorial elections in Anambra, the legion of aspirants are already spending mouth-watering amounts of money to pull voters to their side. But, recent experience has shown that election spending does not determine capacity or reflect the character of the candidate, which are the two crucial legs upon which the race is contested.

It is expected that the governorship poll would be keenly contested between the incumbent All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the major opposition parties in state, including Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC) and Young Progressives Party (YPP). Out of the top gubernatorial aspirants that would emerge from the four political parties the one that could succeed Governor Obiano appears to be a dark horse.

It is evident that true Leadership is more about competence and capacity regardless of how old you are. In a sane society, leadership is inter-relations between the wisdom of the old and the energy of the youth. Although it is applaudable that the #NotTooYoungToRun has enabled that new faces and the youths contest for office, with the projections of the PACT event, one can also question if a person who resides within a corruption enabling society such as Nigeria will efficiently lead a State.
The voters in Anambra must, therefore, understand that advocating for a new face is part of the transition and solution the State needs. To get to that Eldorado we continually yearn for, we must first seek a reorientation of those who become our leaders because the mentality of the bulk of those who lead the current political space has not helped.
Desperate times call for desperate measures and desperate measure begets special men and women who convert themselves into vessels to rescue humanity.

Every generation has a choice to make, they can choose to either be wasteful with opportunities that come with every electoral cycle or they can stand up for what is right. It is not up to the next generation to fix the issues that are fundamentally wrong in Anambra; the youths and people of all ages can make a positive difference by voting for an ideal candidate. The only option we have is to be a great generation, and I like the way Nelson Mandela said it, he said “sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great, you be that great generation, but now the responsibility is upon you to let your greatness blossom…”
Encourage those who you know, who have been doing great things with little or no resources, making a difference, encourage them to run for office, and don’t be the one that tweets ‘let us see what experience he has’, don’t be the one that discourages people, because those who want to steal from you don’t need any encouragement, the money they want to take from the Anambra people serves as their inspiration.

I implore everyone to join hands and press for a new experience as we align with pragmatic and exemplary leaders to lift Anambra out of the doldrums and position it as one of the leading States in Nigeria.

Udo writes from Awka

Claiming exclusive privacy right to Radio Biafra is a sign of madness-Ifeanyi Chijioke

It appears Nnamdi Kanu has forgotten where he came from, whom he is, what extent he can go and his verbal limit. This guy took everything for granted, forgetting he is ordinarily the leader of a locally proscribed group called IPOB.

The support we gave him turned his head; little wonder he said he can play God and decides who lives and who dies. A man without a legitimate power; just because we thought he was capable and cleaned a once dirty guy up, the mad dog turned to bite its owner.

Biafra was born in 1967 and lived until 1970; between the period of birth and death, Nnamdi Kanu was not born, even if he was born before the war, he was an infant during the war. Then; there was a Radio Biafra anchored by Okokondem. Radio Biafra was an exclusive radio that belonged to the people of Biafra and nobody has privacy right over the radio, not even Okokondem.

Biafra was a name suggested by Frank Opigo; as at the time Frank was in his bed, having sleepless nights and stressing his brain to find a suiting name for the new nation, Nnamdi Kanu was not yet born. Nnamdi Kanu’s parents were somewhere making babies while real men were in the field working to get our nation on track. Finally; Frank came up with the name ‘Biafra’ and a product of cowardice at the very time of Frank’s bravery is laying futile privacy right to ‘Radio Biafra’.

After three years of war; Biafra surrendered- although surrender was a negotiated one and not forced upon us. We looked elsewhere and thought about rehabilitation. Many years after; precisely in 1999, Ralph Uwazurike led the resurrection of Biafra. Biafra that was verbally criminalized became common again and we began once more from where we abandoned it.

Uwazurike led MASSOB brought back some of the abandoned strategies and Radio Biafra was one. It is crucial to know that Radio Biafra began off air broadcast since 1999 and in 2000s, Radio Biafra began on air broadcast. Nnamdi Kanu was nowhere to be found during the time of this new beginning for Biafra. Men took the risk; shook off the fear and embraced the battle to give us right to be called Biafrans once more. We might today take the efforts of those men for granted because someone can now rant from anywhere, but it was uneasy feat.

Nnamdi Kanu came into the picture early 2012- even if he was in it before 2012, he was more of an Igbo campaigner than a Biafran activist. Uwazurike released funds when Radio Biafra was being set up and through Steven Ikpa who convinced Emeka Emekesiri and others, major funding was done for the purchase of Radio Biafra equipments. It was to be the media arm of the struggle for Biafra; Nnamdi Kanu was appointed to anchor the radio and the rest became history.

Abnormally; a media coup happened and Radio Biafra was hijacked. The man on the microphone declared himself a leader. Uche Mefor officially registered the radio when he left with Nnamdi Kanu and broadcast began fully. Breakthrough happened; the people of Biafra absorbed lies and we gave the traitor ladder to climb. Now where he wanted to be; not only has he made it clear that he has exclusive nomenclature right to ‘Radio Biafra’ he also announced to us that he is a supreme leader that can decide who lives and who dies. He boasted that he can play ‘God’; he can do whatsoever he wants. This ‘God’ we made what he is today; a ‘God’ that forgot his creator.

There is definitely a trace of madness in the claim that only his company has right to the nomenclature ‘Radio Biafra’. Nnamdi Kanu has become fond of constituting a nuisance because few idiots have given him the opportunity. But it is funny that a man that doesn’t know or have anything to do with the coining of a name can start laying claim to it and threatening people. A man can lay claim to an historic name- an history that was recorded even before his birth? While it is crucial to take Nnamdi Kanu to any nearest psychiatric hospital, people around him should keep an eye on him to avoid going full blast. Madness starts like a joke and turns into something serious.

‘Radio Biafra’ is not the property and can never be the property of Kanu’s family. We all know where we can find the properties belonging to Kanu’s family. One storey building in a plot of land located in Afaraukwu Ibeku is one of the properties of Nnamdi Kanus’. if anyone nears that property; such person is trespassing and should be ready to face the consequences. The SUV Anambra State governor gave Nnamdi Kanu that his younger brother is cruising in the town with is Nnamdi Kanu’s property; if you dare the black SUV, you face the consequences but as for ‘RADIO BIAFRA’ Nnamdi Kanu has gone mad and should be ignored.

Radio Biafra ‘nomenclature’ does not belong to the registered company in UK and whenever you like, as long as you are talking about Biafra and you are a Biafran, you have incontrovertible right to the nomenclature ‘RADIO BIAFRA’. Forget about the threats the traitor issued; he is nobody and he cannot do anything. If anyone threatens you or approaches, make a report in the nearest police station and sue the person. If you are rugged; if anyone threatens you, use bottle or machete and face him. If you have gun; if anyone threatens you, aim a headshot. Nobody is behind the traitor; he has nobody and has no mind. A dog barks because it can’t bite.

Ifeanyi Chijioke, an Independent/Investigative Journalist writes From Enugu.

Ohanaeze: Whos the next Secretary-General we can trust?, By Ernie Onwumere

In every modern society that is not autocratic, elections are a standard pathway to fostering requisite leadership.

When properly elected, the right leaders help promote a progressive society. Elections come and go, but they possess the decisive leverage to steer societal trajectories towards either transformation or deformation. So, as the top unifying Igbo body, Ohanaeze, conducts elections this January to produce its next executive leadership team, Ndigbo cannot afford to fritter the opportunity to elevate our collective competitiveness as a people.

This is because the crucial Ohanaeze elections are coming at a very critical time in the journey of Ndigbo within the bumpy space called Nigeria. The stakes are indeed high.

For instance, there is the dismal infrastructure deficit in our homeland, which draws back our regional development. Also, Ndigbo have for long held the short end of the national power stick. Our shrieks of political ostracism have waxed loudest and are yet to be mollified. And now, we are even being caught up in the web of sinister intrigues against an overdue Igbo assumption of Nigerian presidency in 2023.

What is more, the ensuing polarizing partisan politics mixed with inordinate self-seeking individualism among Igbo leaders is also not helping Igbo unity and competitiveness.

Therefore, with the stakes raised so capriciously high for Ndigbo, the leadership quality of our apex rallying front, Ohanaeze, must be raised even higher. One of the key positions that are up for contest in the imminent elections is that of the Secretary-General. It is a fact that the position of the Secretary-General is organically pivotal to the effectiveness of Ohanaeze in prosecuting Ndigbo interests.

That position would normally be the think-tank and, in fact, the action driver of ideas, plans and progammes of an organization like Ohanaeze. It then implies that the right person who should occupy the position, without sentiment, is someone we can trust to provide on-the-ground direction, expression, clarity and dexterity to Ohanaezes strategic agenda.

It is the considered opinions of many well-meaning Igbo leaders of thought that Prince Okechukwu Nwadinobi fits the bill perfectly. He has long been, quietly and steadily, primed for the role of a Secretary-General for extraordinary times like now. It is little wonder that the proven technocrat and staunch Igbo organizer from Abia State has thrown his experienced hat in the ring. Several opinions that were sampled concur that Prince Nwadinobi has all the functional experience and first-grade attributes required of a Secretary-General to propel Ohanaeze to greater effectiveness.

Are those opinions rooted in reality? Let us find out what makes Nwadinobi tick all the right boxes.
Generally, Ndigbo boasts a legion of accomplished sons and daughters who distinguish themselves in diverse fields of human endeavor in Nigeria and the world. But while we have many who excel professionally, few are able to blend private professional excellence with outstanding selfless service to Igbo causes the way Nwadinobi does.

As an accomplished professional, he in 1985 set up Dawn Functions Nigeria Limited, an Advertising and Public Relations Agency that became the biggest and most successful Agency outside Lagos, with offices in Enugu, Port Harcourt and Lagos. His profound experience in running such a big business network made him a shrewd management expert who could get the best out of men and resources to attain set goals. His management acumen also exposed him to serving on a wider range of business, industry and national leadership platforms.

Thus, in the course of time, he became the 10th President of Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture; Chairman, South East Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture Forum; Council Member, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture; Pioneer Chairman, South East Economic Summit Group (2010-2014) during which he successfully organized annual economic summits; Representative of the Private Sector in Nigeria @ 50 Planning Committee; Member, Board of Trustees, Dr. M.I. Okpara Foundation, which sharpens his visioning acuity; and South East Representative in the Code of Conduct Bureau, The Presidency, from 2010 to 2017.

But the humble, cultured Nwadinobi is not one to indulge in the complacency of his outstanding professional feats alone.

As a consummate Igbo professional, he has been playing several selfless roles to project and defend Igbo interests over the years. This is not a surprise as he is already imbued with the blood of royalty running in his veins as a prince. His father, the late HRH Eze Ikechi Nwadinobi was one of the notable traditional rulers in the 1960s and served until he joined his ancestors in 1999. Interestingly, HRH Eze Ikechi Nwdinobi was also himself a foundation member of Ohanaeze. Is it any wonder that a prince would follow in the steps of his father king?

Today, Prince Nwadinobi is a member of the 50-man Alaigbo Stabilization Fund set up by Ohanaeze and the South East Governors.

Also, in 2003 at the commencement of the democratization of Ohanaeze based on its Constitution, he was elected as the first President of Ohanaeze, Abia State. As Chairman of Ohanaeze Abia State, he inaugurated Ohanaeze Executives in 15 out of 17 Local Government Areas in Abia State.

Judging from the Needs Assessment study carried out at the time Nwadinobi was chairman of Ohanaeze in Abia State, education ranked as the number one priority. Arising from this study, he led a team that organized an Education Summit with the theme Revitalizing Education which brought together key stakeholders over a period of 3 days to discuss matters in the past and present, and make recommendations for the future. The presentations have since been collated and printed as a book which is rich in content and makes a good reference material.

Never tired of serving, Nwadinobi was made the Chairman of the Planning Committee for Igbo Day celebrations in 2004 and 2005. He was also Chairman of Ohanaeze World Igbo Summit, held in 2005.

He played an active role in planning and developing materials for the Igbo representatives at the 2006 National Political Reform Conference. Patriotic as ever, he once provided a platform that promoted the candidature of the late Dr. Alex Ekwueme for the presidency, and would later be appointed as the Coordinator for Alex Ekwueme at 70 years celebration book. In celebrating Hon. Justice Iguh retirement from the Supreme Court, he organised a befitting book launch containing essays in his honour.

This man who wants to be Secretary- General also coordinated the publication of scholarly works of over 10 professors at Abia State University, thus promoting their academic works and facilitating more research opportunities.

Indeed, Nwadinobi has been playing several other supportive roles for Ohanaeze as allowed by the constitution.

This space is not enough to tell the full story. Suffice to say that his cosmopolitan finesse and professional accomplishment combined with relentless pro-Igbo engagements easily position him as the best man to serve as Ohanaezes next Secretary-General.

It is also exposed by those who know him that he is an easy-going, listening, patient team player and strategic bridge builder who is the ideal Secretary-General we need. Above all, Prince Okechukwu Nwadinobi is found to have a functional advantage to serve most effectively if elected: he has both his current business and residential bases in central Enugu locations. This means that he is already on ground in Enugu, the official headquarters of Ohanaeze. So, Nwadinobi wont just hit the ground running, as they say. He is solidly already on ground, serving, working, and running tirelessly. He is only waiting to be elected to keep running errands for Ohanaeze and Ndigbo, faster and better than he ever did.

Onwumere, an Igbo public intellectual, writes from Arochukwu.

Anambra 2021: Looking beyond money, name and personality

As the race into the government house, Awka, Anambra State come 2021 gathers momentum, it becomes pertinent for Anambra people to take a cursory look at the journey so far to enable them make an informed decision as to who will be at the helm of affairs as the governor.

There is no gain saying the fact that Anambra State parades the best and the brightest in virtually every sphere of life ranging from commerce, industry, business, academia, entrepreneurship, politics, etc.

Anambra in every aspect you look at it is the leader of the Igbo race. If Anambra gets it right the rest of Igbo race will follow. This is one of the major reasons every Igbo person should pick interest in the upcoming Anambra election. Anambra State is the industrial hub of Nigeria. No wonder the slogan of the state is ”Light of the Nation”.

In the south east geopolitical zone, Anambra State has produced gladiators like the great Zik of Africa, Dr.Alex Ekwueme, former vice president of Nigeria, Sir Nwafor Orizu, former senate President, Sir Louise Odumegwu Ojukwu, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, Ikemba Nnewi, and the likes. In the chequered political history of the state, these names have been prominent as the past governors of the state: they are Dr. Chris Ngige, Mr.Peter Obi, today, it is Chief Willie Obiano of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, a party that was formed by Chekwas Okorie and built around the personality of the late Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Emeka Ojukwu.

It is therefore clear that the battle of who clings any political office, especially the governorship position in the state will never be expected to be a smooth one, but highly prolific and competitive anchored on name, money and personality. But this is a mistake Anambra people must not repeat. Anambra needs a dedicated chief servant, not a money lord, expired politician or a godson that will be controlled by his or her godfathers.

This time, the test for who will be a Governor in the Light of the nation should be a simple and single one: someone who will boldly disregard other ethnic forces like Arewa, Afenifere and any other powers or persons and do what is right for our people.

Someone who can move on with Anambra economic and political development without looking over his shoulders wondering whether anyone is angry at him/her. This was the character Tinubu showed that helped him in building Lagos.

Someone who have the capacity and political sagacity to tackle insecurity, pass anti grazing bill, launch our own Amotekun. If we’re to tell ourselves the truth, most of those glamouring to govern with entrenched deep political links and expansive business interest will be too politically correct to carry out these radical surgeries.

The above stand was influenced by the recent event that made me to have a rethink. Just of recent l was rooting for Dr. Godwin Maduka, but the recent revelation coming from no other source than Anambra fearless political amazon, Ekwunife, made me to change my mind.

Senator Uche Ekwunife in a widely covered outing at Awka few days back lampooned Dr Godwin Maduka, a front-runner in the governorship race coming up next year. She bluntly told her audience at GeoGold hotel in Awka that the United States of America based medical doctor believes that he can intimidate other aspirants with his wealth which she promised the audience that he will expose the rotten source of Dr. Maduka’s wealth at the right time. She was adamant that Dr. Maduka is disconnected from the people of Anambra state and therefore not a good material that will fly the governorship flag of PDP come November, 2021. In buttressing her points, she wondered why the show of brutal wealth and outright disrespect to other aspirants by Dr. Maduka during the opening of his campaign office near Aroma, Awka. According to Senator Ekwunife, she knows the source of the ill gotten wealth of Dr. Maduka.

We know what Doctors who majored in pain treatments do. We know how they manage hard drugs obtained for the treatment of their patients. At the right time, Nigerians will know the source of the wealth he flaunts. She vowed that over her dead body will she allow a hard drug dealer to fly the flag of PDP during the governorship election.

No doubt, this might be a political brick stone being thrown at an enemy by a political opponent. But, politics apart, this calls for caution by anyone that loves Anambra. Let’s not be dazzled into Dr. Maduka’s display of wealth, making money and leadership aren’t the same. Most wealthy merchants who ventured into politics have proven that there’s a great wall of difference between the two. Most of them couldn’t separate between running their private enterprise and public business.

In this category also falls Dr. Chidozie Nwankwo, the Chairman/CEO of Wichtech Group, an indigenous company that is into manufacturing and selling of building materials with over 4000 staff and over 200 agent offices across Nigeria. Mr Godwin Chukwunenye Ezeemo, Mr.Valentine Chineto Ozigbo and most importantly Senator Ifeanyi Patrick Uba. Undoubtedly all these great business achivers have the intellectual capacity and leadership quality to govern Anambra State. But because of their vested political and business interest, they will be naturally busy looking across their shoulders not to offend the powers that be. That’s not what Anambra needs now.

The forthcoming governorship election in the state must be a different ball game, different from what has been obtained in the past. The People of Anambra should be wary of these obvious facts l pointed above and look for a candidate that has the potential and capacity to give Anambra people the governor of their dream for posterity and socio-economic legacy. A candidate with rooted political and economic interest that’s rooted on political godfatherism, money and Abuja cannot achieve this.

In the emerging global trends, leadership has gone beyond material acquisition and personality. Leadership now revolves around vision and reality. Yes, money play a role, but should not be the basic standard to determine who picks party ticket. Anambra people should look beyond sentiment and pick the kind of personality that can radically take the state to the level of mini Dubai, which is supposed to be her right place. And only someone with radical ideas can achieve such. As a result, it is time for a paradigm shift as far as the political leadership of Anambra State is concerned. In order to bring out the very best in the state from the array of gifted human resources that abound in the state, the people must take a critical look at the immediate past to see how they have been able to manage their successes and the abundant human resources God has blessed them with. Believe me, with Senator Uche Ekwunife widely covered outing at Awka that lampooned Dr Godwin Maduka, Maduka is out of the equation. Though am not rushing in judgment, but like the saying, “there’s no smoke without fire”, i won’t dismiss what Iyom said in a hurry.

There are some other entrants into Anambra politics that we need to consider, while others are well known people within and outside the shores of Anambra. Big masquerades like: Dr.Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Engr. Chris Azubogu, Chief Chukwunenye Ezeemo, Mr.Valentine Chineto Ozigbo, Dr Ifedi Okwenna, Dr. Chidozie Nwankwo, Nze Akachukwu Nwkpo and other heavyweights will be firing from all cylinders in 2021.

When you take cursory look at the names of these gladiators, you will notice they’re mostly technocrats and full time politicians like Senator Ekwunife and Senator Ubah. But with the fight Senator Ekwunife has started with Dr. Godwin Maduka there’s going be too much mood and dirty politics between both sides. The battle is going to be so fierce that both of them must have been so destroyed before heading to Agu Oka. So the best thing for ndi Anambra is to look beyond them.

The Young Progressive Party (YPP) likely candidate Senator Dr Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah (Ebubechukwuzor Nnewi) could have been a better choice, he is youth friendly and has lots of projects scattered across Anambra, especially, now that majority of people that matters in Anambra State are looking towards South. But, handing over the purse of Anambra State to the control of a business tycoon that has billions of debt hanging over his neck will be very fatal. With his properties at the risk of being taken over by AMCON, Senator Ubah will naturally pay himself first, pay his debt and rebuild with Anambra commonwealth before remembering Anambra people. There’s no secret about this, it’s the natural law of nature.

Still going down to the South, since the All Progressive Grand Alliance(APGA) has zoned its party governorship slot to this particular zone, one could have thought that Soludo will pick it on a platter of gold. Especially, with the rumor going round that he’s the candidate of the governor. But that’s not the case. For reason that has to do with his attitude towards politics, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo has over the years, lost his popularity among Anambra people. His social life is not people oriented, he’s not in touch with his people. He lacks the capacity to reach out, if APGA were he has ran to in order to hide behind Willy Obiano and sneak to the Lion House gives him ticket, even his Isuofia community might desert him. With one Clinic that has one nurse and bad roads, the people have considered his previous position to be of no use. Even, mare looking at the impacts the former Emir of Kano that took over from him made in the northern educational circle, through CBN critical interventions, which Soludo failed woefully to do. Most Igbo politicians are not happy with him. APGA is most likely to lose the general election if the party handover the ticket to him.

But as it stands now, with the right ticket and support of the religious, traditional native political pillars of Anambra to APGA. Firstly, because of the Ojukwu factor, secondly, because it is seen as the Igbo party, with the right candidate, Willy Obiano is most likely to retain the state for APGA.
On this issue of zonning, the deafening silence from the camp of the PDP and APC on their zoning arrangements is not helping the parties. Maybe, because of the party’s constitution and other reasons best known to them. But so far, it appears the odds are much in favor of Anambra South.

With the traditional fathers, the religious leaders in support of power moving South, the notable candidates from Anambra South who the religious leaders are silently glamouring to to succeeded Chief Willie Obiano is from Ihiala local government. Though there are other candidates from Ekwusigo, Nnewi North and South, Aguata, Orumba North and South, the political temperature is increasing everyday and tilting towards a not too popular horse, Nze Akachukwu Sullivan Nwankpo. The reason may not be far fetched from the qualities he showed while serving Jonathan. His prudence in managing public funds and not abusing public trust seems to have won the heart of the religious establishments, in a state were religious leaders to a greater percentage, determine election outcome. It is nice that the power brokers are looking in his direction and undoubtedly, they will see those qualities the religious leaders saw in him.

As the race for Agu Awka gets more interesting by the day. Outside Nze Nwankpo there are other good candidates like Dr. Ifedi and some above listed powerful individuals scattered across Anambra South and Central who have shown keen interest to govern Anambra state come 2021. But, truth be told, it would be unfair for Anambra North to throw up any candidate because the incumbent, Chief Willie Obiano is from this particular zone and he’s enjoying an uninterrupted two tenure which will elapse in 2022. Going further, any candidate from Anambra Central may not be having a smooth sail because the zone has tasted power for an uninterrupted eight years, whilst the South clamour for power shift to its zone for equity sake. This instantly gives Anambra South Senatorial zone an upper hand in the forthcoming polls. Since among the candidates glamouring for ticket from the south, the best option so far with lesser political liability seems to be Nze Akachukwu Sullivan Nwankpo.

To go ahead with the Ojukwu’s political Philosophy, APGA should look for someone like Chief Nwankpo who is not known to be a money bag nor a die-hard politician but a moderate technocrat who knows his onions. His antecedents speak volumes and he readily fits into the mould of a governor who will surpass whatever he meets on ground and take Anambra State to the promised land if given the opportunity.

This is a sponsored article.

Before it’s too late: Emeka Kalu reacts to Eastern Security Network

Last week, precisely 12th of December, 2020, we were greeted with surprise (though not unexpected), of the launching of a new security outfit called Eastern Security Network by the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. The display was a full military parade that got me thinking aloud, where are we heading to in Nigeria out of our own lackadaisical attitude towards every sensitive issue?

The part that surprised me most was the staggering truth that this is a result of failed system under the auspices of APC and President Buhari who in their wisdom and inaction had put Nigeria to the option of self defense to keep existing when insecurity of lives and properties have become a certain culture, a norm.

It brought us down to the reality that if the Eastern Governors had acted promptly to set up even a local vigilante to compliment our ever ready police, we wouldn’t have got to this pedestrian, the dilemma of this oversight is that this IPOB outfit has been greeted with much accolade and acceptance that any attempt to quash it will be counter productive, that means we are all sitting on top of a ticking time bomb built by our own hands.

This same cluelessness of the center dominated and controlled by the North in a bid to show strength above other regions as people in total control had equipped and empowered Hisbah Security and legalized it even when the same Government under the care of Northerners were against regional policing. A case of ‘different strokes for different folks’ while hunting down and incarcerating IPOB, pardoning repentant Boko Haram soldiers, they also unleashed the Fulani Herdsmen who brandish sophisticated weapons in a country where arm is not legalized. The said herdsmen maim, kill, rape and attack people at will since 2015 without any condemnation from the Federal Government. They sack villages and move on as if nothing happened.

Irked by this lopsided treatment of other citizens by the Northern folks, Yoruba people of the Western Region who feel threatened, birthed Amoteken, which has come to stay.

The political class of the South East continued to sound politically correct not to offend the Northern region and didn’t act, yet within her ranks lived those who placed lives over political interests and today we have the Eastern Security Network.

That is not even the least of my concern at the time being. My trouble stem from the fact that while Nigeria is battling with Boko Haram in the North whom we are yet to know the source of their sophisticated weapons, the bandits operating in the same North are not less armed.

Yesterday I watched a troubling video where Nigerians were asking questions “How were the ESN suddenly armed with AK47 within days of formation”, even as Amotekun, Hisbah, Niger Delta Avengers, etc are all armed?

It will be foolhardy for the present government to believe that all these issues will just varnish without concrete solution. It will be even worse mistake for the North to think they can continue to hold unto power endlessly in the present condition of Nigeria without consequences. This is time for retrospection.

I believe that the best thing the North can do at this material time is to yield to the call for dialogue and possible restructuring of the system where everyone’s interests can be protected in peaceful manner rather than endlessly living in a false unity that has only retrogressed us.

The fact remains that Nigerians are not giving in their best to build her as a result of the sense of alienation prevalent in the polity where others believe the nation is for the North while the North believe it is their right to lead in perpetuity.

The sanest approach now is for the North to rally support for Nigeria President of Igbo extraction come 2023. I am of strong belief that once this compromise is reached, it will give the Southerners a new sense of belonging that change is possible and this will give room for true dialogue, reconciliation and progress.

I have not given up on hope that most of the daunting challenges being faced in Nigeria will naturally resolve itself when every entity works in favour of Nigeria with the commitment and belief that tribes exist for Nigeria and not the other way round.

Chief Emeka Kalu is the National Coordinator PDPCO and Southeast Director, Reset Nigeria Group.

OSISIOMA FLYOVER, GOVERNOR IKPEAZU & MUCH ADO ABOUT MARKS BEFORE EXAMS

I do not know why Governor Ikpeazu information managers are holding back. Most likely, they want to have the last laugh. Certainly Abia will have the last laugh under Ikpeazu.

Above notwithstanding, it is however absurd to have conclusively marked Governor Ikpeazu papers and produced an undeserving score card while he’s still in the examination hall.
From hindsight, and for the umpteenth time, the government of Okezie Ikpeazu will emerge strong and tops from the ruins that Abia was.

Without equivocation, all the rotten roads in Aba and environ did not just acquire their notoriety under Ikpeazu. When I returned to the PDP (a party I co-built in 1998/9) we appraised, advised, and agreed that the new design of the portharcourt/enugu express way under construction will alter the project design of the Osisioma flyover already under construction. We also looked at its importance, the meddlesomeness of the federal government on the Ekeakpara federal road also earmarked for construction by the Ikpeazu government, and decided to re-order priority. Construction work actually started on the road but was stopped by the federal government.

Based on all of the above, it was decided that work on the Osisioma bridge be slowed down until the design around the area is released by the federal government.

This ultimately affected the speed, the funding, and late delivery of the bridge. At some point, I personally intervened, coordinating a meeting between the Governor, Arab contractors handlers of the Enugu-PH project and the Federal controller of works, Engineer Nwankwo in Umuahia. This attempt was also sabotaged. After several months of dialogue, and back and forth, the design, comprising six lanes, was released, and work has resumed in earnest. I’m really surprised that information managers have not made this public.

Your acclaimed ‘’center table’’ will soon become a master-piece and a beauty to behold worth the wait.

Sometime in 2018, the Governor had embarked on vigorous drive for investment partners. I did write on my Facebook page that upon its fruition, such an endeavor will lead to inflow of cash leading to government ability to meeting her infrastructural and recurrent expenditure obligations, especially payment of salaries, pensions, gratuities and grants.
That is also being achieved with recent bulk payment of salaries, grants and escalation of works on several construction sites including the notorious Ngwa road, Obohia, Ohanku, PH road, Osusu, Omuma, and many others. (Please see attached complete list of road projects to be delivered this dry season).
Governor Ikpeazu has found his rhythm and the beat shall continue till 2023 and thereafter.

As the government of Okezie Ikpeazu continues to slant heavily on the intangibles – especially on human capital development, sponsorship of overseas scholarships for our young lads, skill acquisition for artisans in China, Turkey and other places, and monthly stipend for over 1000 families and aides with it’s multiplier effect on the micro economy, Abia will have the last laugh.

As constantly advocated since returning to the PDP in 2017, I can only call for patience with the Ikpeazu government. I had equally assured that the government is focused on and committed to cleaning the mess he met on ground, including that left behind by irritants and detractors.

Like the noble undertaker he is, Ikpeazu has continued to carry his cross with equanimity, ploughing without looking back, and preferring, instead, to head to the resurrection chapel rather than the cemetery where our collective bones will be interred.

A man who has three years to live has three years to life, and cannot by any imagination be certified dead or written off. It is bestial cruelty at its apogee to award marks while the exam is still on.
Ikpeazu will certainly prove bookmakers very very wrong!

Ochiagha Reagan Ufomba

Abia, 09, 11, 2020

Omobude Agho: The Indisputable ‘Godfather’ of Civil Society Movement in Edo State

By Leftist Osazee Edigin

A lot of persons have given the wrong meaning, interpretation and impression about the word ‘godfather’ in Nigeria probably they have refused to look up the dictionary for it or because they have acquired half education just to follow whatever trend that comes their way.

There are certain persons who will pass through the planet earth and leave behind indelible marks to be remembered for many years to come owing primarily to their selfless contributions to their generations and the ones thereafter. One of such persons is Leftist Omobude Agho, the immediate past Coordinator General of Edo Civil Society Organisations.

It will be important we consult the Oxford English dictionary first to be able to know what the meaning of godfather is.

GODFATHER: Noun

1. A man who presents a child at baptism and promises to take responsibility for their religious education.
“he is godfather to her son”

2. A man who is influential or pioneering in a movement or organization.
“the godfather of alternative comedy”

Leftist Omobude Agho is more than qualified to be called a godfather in the civil rights movement in Edo State. He has over the years maintained consistency and resilience in building a formidable movement that has thrown up thousands of godchildren across the world through his mentorship disposition.

It’s very unfortunate, in Nigeria we have demonized the word godfather and what it depicts due to the type of politics we do here. There are godfathers in every sphere of life including the church where it presupposes the word emanated from, looking through the dictionary meaning of it. Godfathers are enablers to growing enthusiasts who become mentees before they could stand on their own.

What Omobude had succeeded in achieving over the years is to redefine what a godfather stands for, not the type of political godfathers a lot of Nigerians are familiar with.

As a godfather of the movement, he has stood on the front line with his leutenants that he had groomed confronting societal ills that tends to muscle the masses to a state of hopelessness. He has led many battles for and on behalf of the masses without a single compromise on his part.

He doesn’t enjoy a monthly salary or allocation to stay afloat, neither does he place demands on any of his numerous godchildren like the political godfathers do. He has maintained a fair family size from residue and passive incomes from his private ventures unknown to many. He hasn’t touched the organisation’s kobo as a leader.

He is a man largely loved by his numerous godchildren and distanct admirers. His presence is a threat to the oppressors in the society. He has over the years built what is called Study Centres across Edo state. These are community based educational classes where locals are equipped with the requisite information to be able to stand and defend their rights even without formal education.

Omobude Agho has faced several challenges in life by denying himself opportunities before him. Not to mention several accidents that has threatened his life. He is currently bedridden from a ghastly motor accident he had on his way back from Edo Central Senatorial Zone, where he went to set up four study centres at a go. In one of the accidents he had, a commercial bus driver rammed into his old Mercedes Benz V-boot and destroyed it beyond repairs, due to his compassionate life, he forgave the driver.

Much love was to be shown to him thereafter by members of EDOCSO who realised how he has used his personal car to do interventions in pushing the interested of the masses passionately and with fierce commitment, reasoned amongst themselves and collectively bought and donated a vehicle to him. While that was ongoing, another person from nowhere donated a Toyota Hilux to him which he had the recent accident with. He only drove the vehicle donated to him by members of EDOCSO for a while and gifted it away to someone who he felt needed it.

A major internal battle he has always had is the attempt by the political class to hijack EDOCSO which he led to an enviable height. This they have made attempts to do over the years by themselves or through their sponsored proxies. Even while still bedridden and no longer a Coordinator General of EDOCSO, there have been attacks on his pedigree. Thank God for the godchildren he has imparted on, who have stood firmly to repel any of such demonic attacks adequately.

Omobude Agho is a great motivator and he is bold. Many of his godchildren refer to him as the ‘oduma’ of civil society. ‘Oduma’ means lion in Edo language. I think the proper qualification should be the ‘godfather’ of civil society in Edo state. Who in his right senses wouldn’t want to have a selfless, committed, passionate and altruistic godfather like Omobude Agho. He is getting up soon to join his godchildren in energizing the struggle. The love and support thus far from the people have adequately been responsible for his medical expenses. They are well appreciated.

OMOBUDE AGHO, YOU ARE THE INDISPUTABLE ‘GODFATHER’ OF THE LEFT MOVEMENT. WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU!

John Okiyi Kalu replies man who said Abia is under blind leadership

RE: ABIA OF BLIND LEADERSHIP

-John Okiyi Kalu

I watched the widely circulating video made by one Dr Kenneth who goes with the alias of “Liborous Oshoma Gcfr” and my initial thought was that the child who did not attend his father’s burial will always exhume him from the legs.

Since then I’ve called and discussed with the maker of the video on the issues raised, lack of balance and perspective in his material. We agreed to do a joint physical review on the state of road infrastructure in the State before and during the Ikpeazu-led administration as well as the administration’s going forward plan to do more in the midst of obvious financial challenges.

While we wait for the joint physical review, it is important that I respond to some of the issues raised, especially for the sake of those who may have been sucked in by the seemingly persuasive presentation of Liborous without due consideration for sacred facts.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu rightly complained about the poor state of federal roads in the state which unfortunately threatens to asphyxiate and cut off the commercial hub of the state, Aba, as well as cut off inter-LGA access within the state. The painful part is that most visitors to the state, including Liborous, form their opinions on the state of infrastructure in the state along with the performance of the Governor from their ugly experiences at those federal roads, and consequently, close their eyes to the extensive works done with state roads by the administration.

To date, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has completed 97 verifiable State road projects and I dare inform that it is a record number within the state and region. In addition, he has worked on several federal roads to ensure palliative maintenance of those roads without refund of even a Kobo from the federal government. He constructed alternative state roads to bypass terribly bad federal roads in the state, including Ekwerazu-Nto Edina Road which is the only motorable link between Abia, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States today.

For the purpose of clarity, permit me to take up the issues raised in the video in itemized manner:

1. I do not know the Abia State Government official who called Liborous “unprintable names” but certainly not from my office which is the information clearing house of the state. As democrats, we see constructive criticism as an integral part of democracy and have since 2015 encouraged citizens’ participation in governance through feedback. Suffice it to state that the first contact Liborous had with my office was when I reached out to him on Saturday after watching his current video.

2. While Liborous is right to state that Abia is an oil producing state and receives 13% derivation payments, he obviously does not know that as at today, Abia has only 4 active wells from where she has never earned up to a billion naira in any particular month. In fact, in one particular month the state received Twenty Nine million naira (N29,000,000.00) only as derivation payment and the records are there for all to see. It is therefore obtuse to compare Abia with states that receive billions monthly from derivation with a straight face and boldness. Indeed, the Monthly derivation payment to one of the states he mentioned is higher than the total allocation of at least 3 South East states put together.

3. Obviously, the road leading to Ukwa West that Liporous referenced is the Aba-Port Harcourt segment of Enugu-Port Harcourt Federal Highway. That particular road is among the terribly bad federal roads mentioned by Governor Ikpeazu as requiring urgent intervention. The same segment of road was awarded by the federal government to a Chinese company since 2014 with absolutely nothing done at the Abia end to date. The contractors have abandoned the project to work on another segment in a neighboring state since then with untold hardship to our people.

On our part, we have done more than 4km of a new State road link for our people from that axis through the Uratta-Ugwati Road in Ukwa area. We have also executed the following road projects in the area from our meager 13% derivation payments, in addition to other key development projects:

A. Rehabilitation/Asphalt overlay of failed portions of Umungede rtoad in Owaza.
B. Rehabilitation/Asphalt overlay of failed portions of Ezeogwu Road in Owaza
C. Rehabilitation/Asphalt overlay of failed portions of WELL 9 Road (Palm Groove) Phase 1 & 2 in Owaza.
D. Rehabilitation/Asphalt Overlay of failed portions of WELL 9 Road (Umuegwusi/Umuagalaba Road junction in Owaza.
E. Rehabilitation/ Asphalt overlay of failed portions of WELL 9 Road (Uzoururu Umuokeudu junction) in Owaza
F. Rehabilitation/ Asphalt Overlay of failed portions of Obehie/Owaza Road in Owaza
G. Rehabilitation/Asphalt Overlay of failed portions of Ahia Orie Umuokpara Road in Owaza
H. Rehabilitation / Asphalt Overlay of failed portions of Umuagalaba Road (Owaza) in Owaza.

It is important to note that following the critical appeal of Governor Ikpeazu, the contractors handling the Osisioma segment of the Enugu-PH Highway (Arab Contractors) and Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene Federal Road (Hartland) have remobilized to site this week. The Federal Controller of works in the state has also visited the Governor to detail out planned intervention with other federal roads.

4. On “AMA-Mmogh“ area of Aba, it is on record that our administration is the first to construct 3 key roads in the area using rigid pavement technology: Agharandu, Onyebuchi and Ibadan Roads, all connected with the garment cluster in the area. Ibere Street has partially been reconstructed, too.

In addition to the above, I make bold to state that since the creation of the earth no other administration has put in place a more profound plan to recover that area that is famous for Ndiegoro flood disaster of the 80s that made late Governor Sam Mbakwe weep. The Ikpeazu administration has commenced work on a N27.4b watershed management project that includes total reconstruction of Ngwa and Obohia Roads as well as the proper channeling of storm water in that particular area that is at the sump of Eastern Aba city through a massive underground tunnel that is expected to end frequent road failures in the area. The internationally vetted and approved contractors, Hartland and Tunnel End, are currently implementing palliative works along Obohia and Umuagbai Roads to create alternatives to the busy Ngwa Road before full reconstruction of the ever busy road that leads to Ahia Ohuru market and our garment cluster. In addition to that, the State Government has awarded Ohanku Road for reconstruction after years of unconscionable tying of that road to a non performing NDDC contract. Just in case Liborous missed this and needs reminding, NDDC is a federal agency.

5. ABSUTH road is under construction with more than 95% of the drains completed along Club 25 Road in Aba. With the onset of dry season construction window, we have mobilized the contractor to return to site and complete the project within this window. Before now, this administration rehabilitated the Udeagbala end of the road which takes very heavy tonnage as a result of the activities of the manufacturing concern located there. In due course, we shall link up Udeagbala and Club 25 Road to provide another smooth entry/exit road from Aba.

6. On Port Harcourt Road, Aba, it is important to state that when we came on board in 2015, that road which was in a very bad condition was tied to a federal contract and we had a running battle with the contractor before we forcefully vacated the contract two years ago and commenced work there with massive double drains already completed end to end for the first time in known history. We suspended work along that road because of the need to link up the new drains with the watershed management project of the Ndiegoro area. This administration will not execute a road project without proper channeling of storm water to avoid early failure. We also learned from our experience elsewhere in the city and decided to integrate the project with the greater watershed management project that includes Uratta through Port Harcourt to Umuagbai and Ngwa Roads to Waterside River. We hope to complete the work, along with full reconstruction of Ngwa Road, Ohanku and Obohia before the end of our tenure in office. We care too much for the sustainable wellbeing of our people to execute “Ozigbo Ozigbo” road projects to impress the likes of Liborous and the do-nothing political opposition in the state who lack the courage to call out the federal government on the parlous state of federal roads in our state.

After the reconstruction of proximal Osusu Road using rigid pavement (cement) technology, we have awarded Omuma Road for full reconstruction with a defined path for storm water management through Osusu and Eziukwu to Waterside. We are applying the principles of integrated road construction to ensure total recovery of Enyimba City within the pendency of our administration and will NEVER sacrifice quality for speed, or waste the limited resources of our state on hasty unplanned interventions.

7. According to Liborous, “Most of the roads at the Local Government Areas of the state, like Aba North, Aba South, Osisioma, Ugwunagbo and Obingwa LGAs have all been taken over by water and frog” but a visit to the mentioned LGAs will show otherwise. The Ikpeazu administration is the first state government in history to construct an asphalted road in Ugwunagbo LGA (Umunka-Ugwunagbo Road) since the earth was created. Likewise, we have completed at least six (6) road projects in Osisioma LGA including MCC-Samek, Umuode, Omnee, Adaelu, Chima Nwafor, Umuojima, Osokwa Umuejie, Kamalu etc with other ongoing road peojects in the area. I dare any living Abian to contradict me that no other administration In the state has done more roads in the LGA than the Ikpeazu administration. In Obingwa, we have completed Ekwereazu, Agalaba Phase 1, Ukaegbu, Ehere, Umuola, Obikabia, Ebenma Egege, Umuobiakwa roads etc with many others such as Ururuka ongoing.

8. “The Umuahia, Bende, Ututu to Ohafia and Arochukwu Roads is a nightmare“ assertion of Liborous is true. What he obviously missed is the fact that it is a federal road under a failed subsisting federal contract. One would have expected Liborous to know this simple fact and at best call for urgent federal intervention as Governor Ikpeazu did. I personally wish to join Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in calling out the federal government to end the sufferings of our people living in that axis. It is “criminal” to ignore the long suffering of the people of the area by abandoning that project for so long.

Furthermore, I call on federal legislators representing the area to courageously stand up at the National Assembly and call for the full funding of the already awarded but poor performing contracts for the reconstruction of that federal road.

9. According to Liborous, “Osisioma flyover, Obohia Road, Ohanku Road, and Eziukwu Road have won awards as the roads that has taken the longest time to build”. Interestingly, Osisioma Flyover is the first of such structures to be built in Abia since the earth was created and it is at about 90% completion level. While the project was started in 2017 with a planned 2 years completion duration, it suffered delivery set backs due to funding constraints and the fact that we have only 5 months construction window. The good news is that the administration is determined to deliver the project before the end of this year and work is ongoing as I write this response.

While we launched the reconstruction of Obohia Road in April of this year, it is a fact that we have long completed work at Eziukwu Road and adjoining Ojike Lane. I challenge Liborous to visit the state and stand in the middle of those roads to make live videos, if he cares for truthful advocacy. We are also working on the famous Milverton Road that is linked to Eziukwu and Ojike roads and will open the area to full traffic only after the completion of the Milverton project within this dry season window. Those with elementary knowledge of construction and the area in question will not disagree with the decision of the government. If we open Eziukwu and Ojike without completing Milverton the already done work will certainly be negatively impacted.

10. I don’t know the unnamed government source that gave Liborous his information that former Governors of the state travel at the expense of the state. I leave those involved to defend themselves but suffice it to state that state sponsored local and international travels is at the lowest ever under Ikpeazu. Since 2015, Governor Ikpeazu also cut his salary and that of his appointees by more than 50% to save money for other areas of need. He not only wears Made in Abia clothes but also eats only Made in Abia rice in Government House Umuahia. It will be strange and malicious for anyone with rudimentary knowledge of Abia’s political leadership history to accuse Governor Ikpeazu of financial recklessness.

11. While we have challenges with payment of workers in our state parastatals who are statutorily not paid by the state government; the fact that all workers directly paid by the state government are up to date with their salaries should not be ignored. Also, the fact that the new minimum wage has since applied should not be glossed over. Abia currently pays better than any state in the region, per salary level, and has the highest wage bill in the region.We have long moved to support ailing parastatals to pay workers regularly and ultimately clear their outstanding wages. In the same Nigeria where Liborous lives, states are experiencing challenges with revenue inflow with some already cutting wages as a result of the economic challenges associated with the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating EndSARS protests across the nation. For instance, while in June 2020, total allocation to the state amounted to N1.9bn, the state government still managed to pay wages of over N2.3bn in same month and executed other projects during the pandemic.

12. According to Liborous, the state government approached AfDB for some facilities including the N27bn for watershed management. The fact is that the World Bank availed the state the N27.4bn for the watershed management project in the Ndiegoro area of Aba and the project is ongoing as I write this response after we fully paid our counterpart funding. It was AfDB management that invited the Governor to their headquarters and he seized the opportunity to discuss critical support to the government and people of Abia State. The automated shoe factory in Aba (ENASCO) which was funded directly by the state government is currently at test production stage and we have gone ahead to start exploratory work on a new automated garment factory that will be located within the same area. Our team is currently in Bangladesh and Turkey thereafter to review available equipment, and in due course, we hope to launch this as further boost to our SME development agenda that has seen Aba being rated as the SME capital of Nigeria. The launch of our SME Microfinance Bank is a further testament to the determination of Governor Ikpeazu to boost MSMEs in the state and create jobs. It is this same agenda that gave rise to Governor Ikpeazu’s envisioning of the already licensed Enyimba Economic City which is expected to create more than 600,000 jobs within a period of 10 years. Only a transgenerational leader like Governor Ikpeazu will seek to solve the challenges of today and tomorrow in his state.

13. That Liborous affirmed that the administration has embarked on many road projects in urban and rural Abia speaks to our desire to solve as many road nfrastructure challenges as possible. Our major limitation remains funding and the short construction window available to our state which receives the second highest annual rainfall In Nigeria.

14. We will not fall into the temptation of comparing ourselves with other Igbo states that are obviously at different development stage with us. Suffice it to say that properly schooled development analysts understand that in a Federal Republic, different states pursue different development paradigms based on the leader’s understanding of the current state of development, needs of the people and vision for the future. We correctly analysed the development stage of our state, her challenges and future outlook before arriving at the 5 pillars of development that emphasize human capital development through appropriate engagements in Education, Agriculture, Industry, Trade and Commerce as well as Oil and Gas development. We also identified factors that wiii enable the development of these pillars to include (i) Security (ii) Education (iii) Health (iv) Infrastructure (v) Ease-of-Doing Business and Tax Reforms. We are religiously pursuing these pillars and the enablers in the hope that we will leave Abia much more better than we met it. Other states are free to pursue the development of their state via another route.

Finally, I dare agree with Chimamanda Adichie that “The risk of the single story, the one perspective, is that it can lead us to default assumptions, conclusions and decisions that may be incomplete, and may lead to misunderstanding…” Adichie also makes a connection between single stories and the impact of power in our lives. Hear her: “Operating from the context of a single story can prevent us from a more complex, nuanced view of a situation.”

It is on the above note that I wait for the agreed date of engagement for Liborous to visit Abia and review all that I have stated in this response and hopefully make another video that is reflective of the true situation without the usual suspects accusing him of being compromised by the state.

Thank you.

Chief John Okiyi Kalu is the Honorable Commissioner for Information, Abia State