WE in the Enugu Peoples Assembly, EPA, are at a loss as to why nothing seems to be happening politically and infrastructurally in the South-East geo-political zone, despite the calibre of Ndigbo in President Goodluck Jonathan’s government.
Despite all the promises the President made to Ndigbo prior to his election in 2011, nothing seems to be happening.
The President promised Ndigbo functional seaports at Onitsha in Anambra State and Oguta in Imo State; dry inland port at Aba in Abia State; power plant at Oji River in Enugu State; completion of the Second Niger Bridge at Onitsha; fixing of Enugu–Onitsha express road and Enugu–Port-Harcourt road; functional international airport at Enugu, among others.
All these promises are yet to take off in some instances and there is completely no Federal Government presence in the South-East despite our overwhelming support for the President during the last election and despite the number of persons of South East origin on the corridors of power in the present dispensation. These include the Secretary to the Federal Government, the Deputy Senate President, the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives and a host of others. These personalities have failed woefully to give Ndigbo a dynamic and vibrant representation.
Resuscitation of rail tracks
On the resuscitation of the Nigerian Railway tracks, Enugu Peoples Assembly questions why nothing is ever heard about the Enugu axis, whereas on daily basis, we are inundated with news of test-runs being done on Kaduna, Lagos and Port Harcourt axis of the Nigerian Railways.
On daily basis we hear and see commissioned projects on irrigation plants in the Northern part of the country because of their agricultural potentials. But we wonder why same is not extended to Abakaliki, Aguleri, Ugbawka and other towns within the South-East with same agricultural potentials. Who will bell the cat? The current political class representing Ndigbo are not doing enough to curb the current ill-winds.
They lack dexterity and purposeful leadership traits. We’ve not heard even a word from any of them since the last unfortunate murder of about 59 persons (Ndigbo) by the recalcitrant Boko Haram in Kano last week. Look at their compatriots from the South-West in the face of similar tragedy by the same Boko Haram of 10 Yoruba traders from Ibadan (Oyo State) who were murdered in Maiduguri last month.
There was a vibrant debate on the floor of the National Assembly over the dastard act. Just about one week ago, the Lagos State Government deported Ndigbo resident in Lagos State and dumped them under the bridge at upper Iweka in Onitsha, Anambra State. Have you heard a word from any of these modern day political leaders from the South-East? Ndigbo today are diasporians in their own country and nobody from the political class deems it fit to mention this on the floor of the National-Assembly. This is most uncharitable of them.
Our special recognition and thanks goes to the governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi and the former governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu for their interventions on this disheartening issue. They have done the Igbo nation proud.
On the forthcoming national centenary celebration billed for next year 2014 (1914 – 2014) the Igbo nation will be the only one out of the tripod major ethnic groups that will participate in this important event without having a serving or a former head of state/president sitting as special guest of honour. What a sorrowful scenario? It is going to be a very sober moment for the Igbo nation to reflect and ask both salient and pertinent questions about their status as citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It’s going to be a soul-searching moment for the people of the South-East-the journey so far.
Instead, the Igbo nation in that epoch event (centenary celebration) will celebrate 100 years of killings of their kinsmen and women across the nation, maiming, property abandonment, bombings, disenfranchisements, marginalisation, subservience and most recently, deportations of Ndigbo within the confine of one Nigeria. What a centenary celebration? We therefore exhort Ndigbo both at home and in diaspora not to despair but to rise up to the occasion and take their destiny in their own hands. Enough of second fiddle, Nigeria belongs to all of us and we shall do all within the ambit of the law to ask what rightfully belongs to us.
We believe in one Nigeria. God bless Nigeria, good people, great nation.
Mr. PATRICK MBAa is the Nationak Chairman of EPA.