BY IFEANYI MADUAKO
The recent gruesome murder of the chairman of Ideato North LGA, Mr Christopher Ohizu, was despicable. The video was the most heartrending spectacle for God-fearing human beings all over the world. The terrorists who beheaded the man were heard warning the governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma and other politicians in the state and igbo land in general to take an unpalatable lesson from the satanic killing of the man as same fate will be meted to all of them-one by- one.
They claimed that they were neither members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) nor its militant arm, the Eastern Security Network (ESN). The slain chairman did not deserve to die in that manner. Was he the one blocking the actualization of Biafra? What power does a mere appointed chairman of a local council have to influence any serious agenda in Nigeria let alone the realization of Biafra? Was he killed for associating with Governor Uzodimma or belonging to the All Progressives Congress?
This writer dislikes the APC as a political party, primarily because it has destroyed this country in every ramification since 2015, but that does not mean that I hate the human beings in that political party. If that man was killed to instill fears in the minds of Igbo politicians and make the realization of Biafra easier from their own perspective, did the killers consider the immortal pains they have inflicted on the hearts of the wife, children, parents and relatives of the slain chairman? Did they forget that his relatives are equally Igbo? Even if Biafra is actualized tomorrow, how would all the relatives of slain Igbo people feel about the new country knowing full well that their beloved ones were gruesomely slaughtered by fellow Igbo for ostensible Biafra cause?
Does it mean that every politician in Igbo land must be killed for Biafra to come? Are the politicians blocking the actualization of Biafra? It’s very difficult for me to comprehend the rationale of Igbo killing fellow Igbo to enforce sit-at-home or actualize Biafra. How does that affect President Buhari and other regions of Nigeria? There’s no difference between Boko Haram terrorists and those slaughtering people in the South-east. Their modus operandi are the same.
Biafra agitation is a product of marginalization against the Igbo which majority of Igbo are supporting but we can never get it by killing fellow Igbo or even other human beings from other ethnic groups. I shudder to think about how the Biafra Republic would be if these terrorists were in charge. Does it mean that any form of dissenting voice would be meted with instant death? May those who have taken to the worst criminality of shedding innocent blood of fellow Igbo never live to see the actualization of Biafra. If Biafra is actually the reason for their actions.
In a related development, the recent attack on the country home of Ikenga Ugochinyere who is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is condemnable, uncalled for and disheartening. Reports said that a couple of innocent people including his uncle were shot dead during the invasion. The carnage recorded in the aftermath of the attack is befuddling. The young man did not deserve that attack.
However, Ikenga has drawn a lot of controversy to the Ideato Nation since he indicated interest to represent the people of Ideato Nation at the House of Representatives. Before Ikenga, Ideato Nation had produced a lot of representatives in the past without this deafening noise and hullabaloo all over the place. From this Fourth Republic democratic dispensation for instance, there were Hons. ThankGod Ezeani, Ethelbert Okwaraonyia, Patricia Udeogu, Rufus Omeire, Eddie Mbadiwe, Austin Nwachinemere and now Honourable Paschal Obi. None of these past representatives generated a quarter of controversy Ikenga has currently generated for Ideato Nation.
Even as an aspirant before he became the candidate, the first time I saw the convoy of Ikenga Ugochinyere, I had erroneously thought that a governor or a deputy governor of another state was passing through Imo State. My doubt was cleared by one of the buses in the convoy that had his poster conspicuously emblazoned which made me realize that Ikenga Ugochinyere was actually the one passing-by. Well, there shouldn’t be any beef by anyone about his long convoy after all it’s his money and he can use it as he wishes. The convoy was so intimidating that I concluded that Ikenga would emerge as the PDP candidate for the federal constituency. He apparently had the financial muscle and influence to subdue other aspirants in the party.
When he finally emerged as the candidate, I had expected him to concentrate on his federal constituency by cross-crossing all the 27 wards and communities to canvas for votes. Curiously, he dabbled into other People’s constituencies, especially in his so- called Omuma magic discovery where he allegedly discovered fictitious votes on the voter register in the Omuma ward, in Oru East LGA where Governor Uzodimma comes from. Assuming without conceding that his discovery was authentic, is Omuma ward one of the wards in Ideato Nation? How does that concern Ikenga Ugochinyere if not for the meddlesome interloping role he decided to play? Is Ikenga contesting for the senate of Orlu zone or the governorship of Imo State as to warrant such meddlesomeness? Why shouldn’t he concentrate on his federal constituency and leave those contesting for any election that would involve Omuma ward to sort it out themselves? As a candidate I had expected that he should have resigned as the spokesman of the Conference of United Political Parties (CUPP) because he cannot combine activism with being a PDP candidate for the general election.
No matter how Governor Uzodimma became a governor, the major headache or opposition he has been getting are people from his own senatorial zone. When one hears about insecurity in the state, it’s mainly from the Orlu Zone. Even if Uzodimma wins another term, the most he can stay in power is January 2028. After that another person will take over, that is if there’s still any state left to govern. I do not know how hatred for one man would be giving few people the impetus to kill innocent people and burn down their state in order to paint the governor black and make the state ungovernable for him.
The attack on Ikenga was wrong before man and God and I condemn it in strongest terms especially when lives were reportedly lost. However, I think that he’s too controversial to represent Ideato Nation at the Green Chambers. He may go there and forget why he’s there and revels in one controversy or the other which may fetch him a long suspension from the leadership of the House. Ideato Nation would be the loser if that happens.
Now to the most recent controversy surrounding the candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the federal constituency, Dr Chika Abazu. Reports said that the federal government which is controlled by his own party had appealed a judgment which was in his favour. The issue borders alleged fraud or corruption. Even before this latest controversy, the APC candidate has never been my favorite for the election. Between him and Ikenga, I would choose the latter. With his possible conviction by the court of appeal, the Ideato Nation cannot afford a representative like him. What if he loses the appeal and goes to jail? The federal constituency would be without representation until perhaps the Supreme Court acquits him or upholds the judgment of the Appeal Court. Both Ikenga and Abazu have become too controversial for the Ideato Nation.
Therefore, the incumbent, Hon (Dr) Paschal Obi should be allowed to go for a second term. Hon. Obi has been a silent and humble achiever. There’s no ward among the 27 wards in Ideato Nation that does not have his imprimatur in the areas of projects executed and employment opportunities that he has attracted for the teeming unemployed graduates in the constituency. Hon Obi, who’s the candidate of the Labour Party (LP) does not court controversy but he has been about the best legislator that federal constituency had ever produced. The soft-spoken legislator has been going about his legislative duties through lobbying ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to attract projects and employment to his people. He does not make noise about it unlike others. Moreover, as the candidate of the Labour Party (LP) the presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, needs people like him in the National Assembly from Igbo land to stand strong behind him to pilot the affairs of Nigeria.