By Lazarus Ogbonna
HALIDON is a shepherd boy who lost his identity. When he discovered himself, he fought the battle of his life. Even though he lost some battles, he won the war. We the people of Nsukka have to wake up and the time is now.
The Nsukka man has always been taken advantage of not because of our naivety or poor education but because of our culture/nonviolent ways of doing things.
Give an Nsukka man an envelope full of money to keep for you, you will come back if you like after 10 years and find that envelope intact. That is the story of an Nsukka that I know. No wonder they are being taken advantage of.
Let me cast my mind back to the mid-nineties when we were in our prime. There was an attempt to convert almost the whole of Uzo-Uwani to shooting range, an adventure from 82 Mechanised Division, Enugu.
One of us, Enem Simon(who is now a professor), visited me and raised an alarm. He mentioned other persons like Matthew Okoro, Matthew Idu (now a commissioner), Peter Okolo (Peck), Vincent Chienyeneme, Dan Akogwu, Barth Ezea, to mention a few.
Most of them are all in this group. I asked: what are we going to do? He answered, form a pressure group and sensitise our people and the whole world. We did exactly that and our land was left alone.
The truth then was that people from the other side had wanted to use that ploy for land grab but our solidarity stopped it. They came back later and bribed some of our traditional rulers and a referendum was conducted for some parts of Uzo-Uwani to belong to Anambra State.
They succeeded as the present day Ayamelum LGA in Anambra was formerly in Uzo-Uwani. I am talking of Omor, Ifite Ogwari and co. We lost. Yet again they came for Isi Uzo and succeeded but their success is partial. While we don’t have any relationship with Ayamelum politically except in presidential elections, we have so much in common with Isi Uzo for we are still in Enugu State.
When I went with Ogbuja Ogbu, our secretary, to form ward exco in Isi Uzo, I saw massive land both left and right after Obollo Etiti until Ikem. I asked myself: isn’t this another annexation in the name of politics? It is time we rekindled our Lagos spirit in the fight to emancipate our people, both in thought and action. The time is now. Isi Uzo is the answer.
Solidarity is the answer. Like our Strategy and Planning Director, Dr/Sir Hippolytus Onah, said: “If they have financial war chest, we have numerical strength war chest”. Let us wake up. There is no better time than now.
When Anambra was created out of Enugu State, we had Enugu, Abakaliki and Nsukka senatorial zones. When Ebonyi was created out of Enugu State, we had only Enugu and Nsukka senatorial zones left. In an overnight political machination done by Chief Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo, Enugu senatorial zone split themselves into two parts, namely: Enugu East and Enugu West senatorial zones.
Above all, they took Isi Uzo away from Nsukka in order to reduce Nsukka’s numerical strength and permanently marginalise Ndi Nsukka. Numerical strength that they couldn’t actually dilute for statistics has shown that even with their attempt, Nsukka senatorial zone still has numerical edge. The population of Nsukka is put to about 48 per cent in the state.
We have also over 30 per cent of our people living in all over the other side of the divide, in particular Enugu North LGA. If numerical strength is power in democratic step up such as ours, then it becomes only fair for our brothers on the other side of the aisle to reason with us.
This trend worked so well for them so that Enugu East produced the governor in 1999 in the person of Dr. Chimaraoke Nnamani. It should be noted that in 2007 the same Enugu zone produced yet a governor in the person of Sullivan Chime. One old senatorial zone with 16 years of unencumbered governance. Yes, 16 years of holding forth to the chagrin of the others.
Our position, therefore, is that since an Nsukka people have endured 16 years of not leading in a state where they are the majority, it’s only fair that they should be allowed to restart in all this unwritten law of zoning.
We are strongly asking Ndi Enugu to look into this point and grant us the fairness of equitable coexistence. Make no mistake to know that we, as law abiding citizens of the state, will always reciprocate without any doubt this gesture if given the deserved attention.
In event that zoning formula goes to Enugu East, we shall simply abide by it, provided equity is applied. What is equity in this situation is that in Enugu East, we have Isi Uzo which, for once, hadn’t held such a position.
We, as a people, are saying with high level of steadfastness that it has to be Isi Uzo; for what is good for the gander is also good for the geese. It’s time we addressed the injustice for our overall mutual coexistence.
We appeal to all indigenes of Enugu to see this view as we continue to live peacefully under God. Isi Uzo is a local government area in Enugu State with just about 11 wards. They were in Nsukka Senatorial Zone, now Enugu North Senatorial zone, until the exit of Abakaliki to Ebonyi State.
At that time, the political reality was in favour of Nkanu people who decided to split their Enugu senatorial zone into Enugu West/East Senatorial zones. To worsen the matter, they took Isi Uzo to join them for three reasons:
To reduce the voting strength of Nsukka and reduce our solidarity too; to increase their voting strength and permanently keep Nsukka in the minority; to add to their kitty large expanse of land to their advantage Isi Uzo must be annexed.
It seems to me that their game has backfired. An Isi Uzo people who before now have been unduly subjugated in their new found political brothers are poised to become the cornerstone of 2023 fight to the Lion Building.
*This is simply because an Nsukka people who were hurt by the pull away of their brother are gearing to support their own. Why not? The Nkanu people got to this level of advancement using state resources as a secret that we as Nsukka people have discovered.
Don’t go far in the past, even now, the Nkanu has a senator, House of Representatives, Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, vice-chancellor, to mention a few, in the present Enugu East Senatorial zone, while Isi Uzo is being told that he is Ndi Nsukka. Are they now not part of Enugu East because of offices? These and more are the things and issues in the mind of Ndi Nsukka that prompted our support for Isi Uzo.
Everyone knows how disadvantaged Bayelsa State was in South-South political zone, yet Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan emerged and led this country as president for six years through providence and, of course, massive support from Igboland.
I see the same history repeating itself with Isi Uzo who undoubtedly must get support of Ndi Nsukka. Rise up everyone, let us do the needful. Beyond this, the orchestrated attack on our son and the governor of Enugu State unduly is unbecoming. Yes, there has to be criticisms but let it be a guided one. He has so far done well, and that’s there for everyone to see.
If in any event that there are areas of weakness found, let it be said constructively. No man can be all things to all men at the same time; therefore, he can be excused while we point out those areas that deserve attention. Enugu is in the hand of God.