…At 70 you must retire, you get your passport to Heaven, 80, you get your visa, 90, you get your ticket, 100, you get your boarding pass, 120, you fly
…Who will replace Zik, Ojukwu, Ekwueme?
…Bishop’s video goes viral again after Southeast govs launched Ebube-Agu
…2023 politics blindfolded Igbo governors
By Prisca Sam-Duru
Considering the rising insecurity, resulting in the loss of lives and properties of South Easterners in Nigeria, especially in Ebonyi, Imo and Enugu states by Killer herdsmen, the floating of a joint security outfit by the governors should call for celebration in the area.
The five South-East governors on Monday, launched a security outfit code named ‘Ebube Agu’. Skeptics say although it has taken the five governors of Imo, Anambra, Enugu, Abia and Ebonyi states, quite an age to come up with ‘Ebube Agu, it was hastily put together and also, lacks the structure or backbone to succeed. Who floats an abstract security network to fight physical battles? And who launches a security force without first equipping the personnel? Besides, some of the governors critics say are unable to pay salary of workers wonder how the outfit will be funded.
Also, many are still wondering why it took these governors this long to come out with a supposed solution to security challenges in their states after a long period of foot-dragging. Could their belated response to insecurity mean they just bowed to pressure from the people who accused them of betrayal and also, condemned them for not taking a resolute stand against the terrorists, for fear of entering the black book of their political masters? Or maybe, they’ve just been woken up by the mayhem unleashed on their people by the same killer herders they protected in their communities. A good number of people on social media however, believe their pussyfooting was not unconnected with politics ahead of 2023.
In addition to comments that flooded the social media in reaction to the launching of ‘Ebube Agu’, the resurfacing of a viral video showing the bombshell by the Bishop of Anglican Diocese of Enugu, Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma, is a reflection of the people’s opinion on the matter. Rev Chukwuma had during an Interdenominational Commendation Service held for late Dr Alex Ekwueme in Enugu, advised the South East governors to put their houses in order. Referencing a portion he read from the Holy Bible, he said, “…If I come to you, your Excellencies and tell you, set your house or set your state in order, or you will die, you will send the SSS after me but if they come, the Angels of God will defend me.” That was about three years ago and these governors failed to take action until the killer herders began leaving their trade mark on the people right in their farmlands and homes.
Not a single one of the five governors heeded the instruction from the man of God. Instead, amidst the fast deteriorating security condition of the region, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi state was quoted as saying in a national daily on the 25th February, 2020, that “I swore an oath to protect the constitution of Nigeria, and not the will of the people. I still insist on community policing. Like I said, regional security outfit is against the laws of Nigeria. We cannot set it up in the South-East”. Why the sudden change of mind? Sadly, that period of indecision has created room for the importation of more deadly terrorists such as bandits, to Igboland. “Of late, we have bandits that are now doing a lot of evil and saying that they are Eastern Security Network (ESN). They commit a lot of crimes and say they are IPOB and most of the time, IPOB will come and say, ‘We have no hands in this, we have no hands in that”, the same Dave Umahi said last Wednesday, on Channels ‘Sunrise Daily’.
Aware of the grave danger the idea of donating lands for cattle colonies in the region could pose, Rev Chukwuma declared that “South-East will not tolerate any colony. No colony for any Fulani herdsmen. Any governor that does it will be resisted. We in CAN will resist any of you governors that will bring any colony here. We don’t want any colonisation. Herdsmen should stay away, it’s a private business. Audu Ogbe(then minister of Agriculture) should take them to Daura, Sambisa forest, we don’t want them here, the ‘Python dance’ we have here is enough and they must go”.
Still speaking to the five South-East governors, Rev. Chukwuma said, “How are you using your position? Governors, make yourself accessible to your people. All the governors, Ebonyi State, Abia State, make yourself available to your people. Make sure you eradicate poverty in your states. Also Imo and Anambra States….Time is coming if you don’t take care of us, we block you and your siren and you’ll go nowhere because we elected you there…”
Just as Rev Chukwuma admonished governors Ugwuanyi, Umahi, Uzodinma, Ikpeazu and Obiano who have been widely described as antithesis of the founding fathers of Igbo people, to be united to fight a common enemy, some Igbo people have also advised them not to give in to intimidation from the federal government, rather, they should jettison party interest, political ambition and personal ego and work together to secure their people and region against invasion.
“We also want to say that as far as we are concerned as Igbo people, we are very hard working people, we must be recognised and not be marginalised, our governors must be united, Igbo people must be united. Let us stand as one voice. As Ekwueme stood for us, who again will stand as our unifying figure? Ekwueme has gone, Ojukwu has gone, Zik of Africa has gone, who among you will replace them? This is the question because the politics you are playing now, is the politics of selfishness, materialistic tendencies and aggrandisement. And it is time you must begin to think selflessly on how to eradicate poverty in our land. There’s hunger in our land. Unemployment is dealing with our youths…If you have money, create employment for the youth and there will be no agitation. Recycling yourself into politics with the money is a big disgrace”.
Advising politicians to emulate the virtue of the late former Vice President of Nigeria, he said, ”Politicians listen to this, this man (referring to the body of Ekwueme) had something doing before he got into politics, because many of you into politics do not have something doing, hence, you are recycling yourself daily,…Ekwueme did not believe in bribery or rigging. Today, when conventions are made in any of the parties, people carry Ghana-Must-Go around to campaign to get them elected and that is why Nigeria is still corrupt. Even the present government came by corruption so it is difficult to fight corruption. I once confronted the Head of State, about those who stole their state money to campaign for the president of Nigeria; that’s corruption. He (Ekwueme) entered politics and left it poorer. Some of you had nothing; even there are Local Government Chairmen, who had nothing but built houses before they left”.
2023, a year for a new government is around the corner and Rev Chukwuma believes it’s time for a fresh beginning. “…I don’t believe in 70 years, although 70 years set by David in the Psalm we read, is not the age for one to die, 70 years is the age of retirement. Politicians can you hear me? 70 is the age of retirement. At 70 you get your passport to Heaven, 80, you get your visa, 90, you get your ticket, 100, you get your boarding pass, 120, you fly”.
Enough of recycling of great-grand fathers in political offices in a jet age! And enough of capital flight through medical tourism!! “…And the federal government said, fly him to London for overseas treatment, which is a good idea but a shame to Nigeria that your big men cannot be treated in Nigeria. It’s a disgrace to our health sector. We must do something about that, we cannot continue to carry our President abroad when there’s no common panadol in government/State house clinic. I hope there’s Panadol and that the X-Ray machine is working well. That’s the best way to start fighting corruption”, he intoned.
Nevertheless, in the video, the Arch Bishop who spoke in the manner of the Biblical Elijah the Tishbite, is optimistic that a new country will birth eventually.
“May God help us all to be ready for a new Nigeria. A new Nigeria needs people who are new in brain, not expired and analogue brains. Let all those who are 70 years retire. Anybody above 65 years should not be president of Nigeria. Let them become consultants and advisers. The people who are very hot in brain are waiting to become leaders and do Nigeria well not all these analogue and cabals… let them go and rest because Nigeria needs a new brain and spirit. We cannot put a new wine into an old wine skin. May God help us in Jesus name”.
Hopefully, the voice of Rev. Chukwuma and all other fearless spiritual leaders and patriotic citizens will be heeded for the emergence of a better South-East region and the Nigeria of our dream.