Abia 2015: Crisis Between Ngwa and Ukwa Gets Messier

IF threats by Ukwa indigenes of Abia State to disrupt crude oil production from their land and write to the National Assembly to withdraw its support for the creation of Aba State are anything to go by, then the Peoples Democratic Party’s National Working Committee and, in fact, the Federal Government must do everything possible to intervene and settle the cause of the threats before they are carried out.

This is because the Federal Government cannot afford further cut down in oil production as a result of political crises in host communities.

Ukwa, the only oil producing area of Abia State, is one of the two political blocs of the people that constitute Abia South senatorial district; the other being the Ngwa bloc.

Ukwa people, who made the threats at a press conference in Abuja, are upset by the Abia State Government and the PDP NWC’s attempt to cede both the senatorial seat for the district and governorship of the state to the Ngwa bloc, contrary to the natural order of things that when two things are given to two people, they should take one each.

The bone of contention is firstly, the decision of the National Working Committee of the PDP to grant automatic return ticket to two senators per state, which prompted Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (a former governorship aspirant) to go back and buy the senatorial form of the party, in preparation to return to the Senate in 2015.

Secondly, is the continuous rumour, deliberately sponsored by the state government, that Okezie Ikpeazu is the adopted governorship candidate of the government.

Indeed, with respect to Ikpeazu and the governorship position, what was thought of as a rumour and most often clandestinely and surreptitiously done, came into the open when two Saturdays ago, Senator Adolphus Wabara called a meeting in his house at Ohambele, where he purportedly adopted Ikpeazu as the governorship aspirant for the senatorial district without bidding an eye lid about the interest of his Ukwa people.

As usual with such transactions, it was alleged that the state government influenced the adoption with heavy movements of cash.

The questions that people are asking are: Why won’t Ukwa people be allowed to produce the governor of the state since the Ngwas are to retain the senatorial seat? Why will the state government be pushing and sponsoring the adoption of Okezie Ikpeazu as the governorship candidate of the party against supporting Ukwa to produce the governor? Is this arrangement fair and equitable? Are Ukwa people slaves to the Ngwas, as being propagated by the Abia State government?

Ukwa people recall that the Ngwas have consistently monopolised state and federal positions allocated to the two blocs in the state, to the exclusion of Ukwa people.

For example, the Ngwas have monopolised the deputy governorship position, since the days of Chief Sam Mbakwe as governor of the old Imo State when Prince Isaac Uzoigwe was the deputy governor till now that Sir Emeka Ananaba is the deputy to Governor Theodore Orji.

For the senatorial position, it has been the same — from Jaja Wachukwu in 1979 to Enyinnaya Abaribe in 2015, and to continue till 2019.

Within this period — 1979-2015, there have been 13 positions allocated to the two blocs out of which the Ngwas have taken 11 of the positions: eight deputy governorship slots, namely, Prince Isaac Uzoigwe, 1979-1983; Dr. Chima Nwafor, 1992-1993; Enyinnaya Abaribe, 1999-2003; Dr. Chima Nwafor, 2003-2005; Hon. Acho Nwakanma, 2005-2007; Comrade Chris Akomas, 2007-2010; Hon. Acho Nwakanma, 2010-2011; Sir. Emeka Anamaba, 2011 till date.

For the two senatorial periods, 1979-1983 and 1999-2015, the Ngwas have also dominated, namely, Dr. Jaja Wachukwu 1979-1983 and Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe 2007-2015 (now to continue till 2019).

For ministerial appointments, it has been the same thing. Barr. Emeka Wogu from the Ngwa bloc is the immediate past Minister of Labour and Productivity. The Ukwas have only occupied the senatorial position for the two blocs through Senator Adolphus Wabara 1999-2007. Sir Emmanuel Adiele, also from Ukwa, was a Second Republic Minister of Communications for just three months (October to December, 1983).

With these lopsided statistics in favour of the Ngwas in mind, members of Ukwa Progressive Union, Ndoki Chapter in Abuja, were understandably livid and seething with anger at their last Wednesday’s press conference, to call attention of the Federal Government and the PDP’s NWC to their plight in Abia State.

While waiting for their chairman to commence the press conference, they highlighted their misfortunes in their relationship with the Ngwa bloc.

They lamented how they have often been used during elections and dumped thereafter; and how their land has been desecrated and despoiled by international oil.

They bemoaned their fate in the hands of current state and federal government representatives, especially the alleged mismanagement of the senatorial position by the incumbent senator.

They said they heard of constituency projects but there was nothing in Ukwa to indicate their existence, and that their people lack the most common and basic infrastructural facilities and social amenities.

They said the Azumini-Obehie road is the worst road network in the whole of Nigeria.

“Yet, people claimed to be representing us at various levels of government in the last eight years,” they said.

As the press conference was about to start, one of the people, a lawyer, arrived with the information that Mr. Olisa Metuh, the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, told him that governors were never elected but anointed by incumbents and that this was the situation in Abia State where Chief Theodore Orji was about to anoint Okezie Ikpeazu.

This incensed the gathering the more. “So, PDP is no more interested in elections; the PDP is now a military government?” they chorused.

And the clincher; they vowed to join their youths at home to stop all crude oil productions in their areas if the PDP’s NWC, and the Federal and Abia State Governments continue to facilitate the political and consequential economic deprivation and enslavement of their people by the Ngwas.

Simply put, the Ukwa people are on the verge of joining their Ogoni neighbours, on the other side of Imo River, to stop crude oil production on their land.

They would also withdraw their support for the creation of Aba State “if this is how the Ngwas will manipulate and monopolise positions in the new state,” to their exclusion.

The questions are: Can the Federal Government afford this at this time? Is it not better for the PDP’s NWC to intervene and redress these genuine grievances of Ukwa People?

Source: Abia Facts Newspaper