By Prince Ejeh Josh
The coming together of the good, great, loving and peaceful people of Enugu East Senatorial Zone, yesterday, 17th June, 2021, at the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu, was a milestone in the history of Enugu State.
The event might have come and gone, however, the impact and positive impression created by the rally will continue to linger in human memories, and the colourful relish that decorated the rally will always resonate in the minds of Ndi Enugu, Nigerians and the world regardless of time and space. The reason is simple: the rally flagged of both spiritual, socio-cultural, political, religious and economic cooperation of the people. It was a skillful and mastery display of love, oneness, unity, peace and progress among the Nkanu people, comprising the six Local Government Areas in Enugu East Senatorial District.
As the name implies; Oganiru Ndi Nkanu, which translated as the progress of the people of Nkanu land, the search for a true progress borne out of devotion and selfless service for the people of Enugu State in particular and the Southeast in general was birthed at the rally. It was a rally that showed unity in diversity, being that the event attracted people from other zones and outside the state. It re-echoed the existing brotherly love among the Nkanu people. It was a signal to the whole world that “Nkanu Ebuka”, and that Nkanu is unbreakable! No amount of extraneous infiltration will sunder people that are already blessed by God. Yesterday was a credible testimony to that.
Most important to appreciate is the phrasal noun of “Nkanu Ebuka” which denotation spanned to the great empires that made up the great kingdom of Nkanu land and how it played out yesterday. We saw the people of Enugu East, Isi-Uzo, Enugu North, Nkanu East, Enugu South and Nkanu West municipalities thronged out en masse, displaying their rich heritage and dexterously marketing their awe-inspiring cultural tourism to the world. It was an opportunity to show the world that Ndi Nkanu have got what it takes to take the global stage. The announcement was timely. Fortunately, we had with us at the event, a Nigerian Ambassador-designate to Poland who is also a proud son of Nkanu land. His voice at the podium was so reassuring that better days when the people of Nkanu will be invited to Poland to teach the rich history, intricacies and intrigues of the Nkanu heritage are coming.
Like the theme of the event rightly depicted, the great people of Nkanu land had converged irrespective of political affiliations, religious beliefs, ideologies, interests, etc, to chart a better future for the people, and front a common cause for Nkanu land and demonstrate the spirit of impeccable brotherhood often touted in principle. The Oganiru Enugu East Senatorial Zone afforded friends, well wishers, fans and foes the opportunity to attend the event and see how united a people could be. With the magnificent ordering of events yesterday, the unanswered questions by “strangers” about Nkanu were answered at the event. It was, “Yes, we’re together! We’re brothers! We’re one!” The great people of Enugu East Senatorial District will never shy away from their rights, and yet, they’ll always be accommodating. They’ll never be intimidated on their God given land, yet, they’ll remain peaceful, hospitable and magnanimous in victory. They’ll never live on their knees for anyone or group of people, yet, they’re not known for violence or war. But they’ll not hesitate to stand up to the task when circumstances necessitate that. They’ll keep supporting and ensuring that peace is prioritized over individual and personal interests.
The solidarity march from the people of Nsukka, Enugu North senatorial axis, and the people of Enugu West senatorial zone will never be taken for granted by the peace-loving people of Enugu East Senatorial zone. The sentiment is appreciated. Thousands of people from the other two zones had come to show their affection and unalloyed solidarity with Ndi Nkanu. It was awesome. Such appreciation and affection will always be reciprocated. For the few disgruntled elements seething with anger and inordinate ambition and sleeplessly working as anti-democratic agents and anti-peace enshrined in zoning, they are understood. Let it be reiterated that the people of Nkanu land are a loving and peaceful people. We believe in dialogue, diplomacy and compromise rather than war or anomic rampages. We’ll soon reach out to them and bring them into the fold with our warmth caring arms. For the avoidance of doubt, however, the people of Nkanu land are like the Israelites. God has always given us victory. No man can curse who God has already blessed. No man and no kingdom can prevail over God’s chosen people. No storm, tsunami or hurricane, however mighty or tempestuous it would present itself will pull down a house built on the rock—Christ. To be sure, ask Prophet Balaam!
On the demand of the people of Nkanu land; it’s timely. Let the right thing be done. Let the democratic principle of zoning continue. Let the best hands in Enugu State, which thousands of them can be found in Enugu East Senatorial zone; both in the public service and in private sector, have their way. Restating the time-tested zoning principle which has ensured equity, fairness, competence, peace, development, growth and progress in Enugu state at the rally captured the tune and tempo of our time. Whether written or unwritten, the convention has come to stay. The tradition has entrenched itself in the hearts of the good people of Enugu state. Notwithstanding the tradition, there must always be a form of sub-cultural group even in the most civilized nation of the world. It’s understandable!
Like His Excellency, Senator Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo, the former Governor of old Anambra State aptly submitted in his address to the teeming people, the Enugu State Governor of Nkanu extraction, as was before now, will always be the Governor of Enugu state. A Governor for the people of Enugu State. A Governor that will never discriminate. A Governor that will see all the senatorial zones as his constituencies and treat them with equality. That’s the hallmark of our mission. The message is clear for the blind to read and loud for the deaf to hear. That’s a message from an elder with uncommon wisdom.
I’m particularly thrilled by the masterful eloquence of Hon. Dr. Ben Nwoye, the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Enugu State. The Amurri born lawyer and political idol who has weathered many storms to emerge victorious didn’t prevaricate or mince his words. He was firm and resolute in his sermons. He spoke like a true son of Nkanu man. Baring his mind and of course, the minds of Enugu people, Hon. Nwoye reeled with deference, the names of the great men and women that have made us proud in Nigeria and the world at large who are from Nkanu clan. The progress records called for academic papers and more research to interrogate reasons behind the successes of Ndi Nkanu in all spheres of life.
Flourishingly regaled in his traditional attire, adorned with blasting objects of cultural enrichment, the Chairman wasted no time in restating the position of the national ruling party in Nigeria. It’s zoning. And in Enugu State, the party faithfully believed in zoning principle. He charged the people of Nkanu to get ready to take over leadership from his Excellency, the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyichukwu Ugwuanyi, in 2023 when he could have completed his tenure based on zoning arrangements in the state. Being a man who has lived close to three decades in the United States, he understands the intricacies of democracy and the blend of modern governance. This spurred him to call on all the parties to give nod to this laudable principle of democracy without rancour. Whether the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, or the APC, let there be fairness. Let there be justice. Let there be equity. Let there be competence, accountability and transparency. And in Enugu East Senatorial zone, all these are intact!
I was equally impressed with the way the Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly and Chairman, Central Planning Committee, Enugu East Senatorial District Rally 2021, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi, audaciously spoke. Whether some people had called Ndi Nkanu “butchers” or not, his message was unambiguous: Ndi Nkanu are taking over the seat of power in 2023. It’s not negotiable! Nkanu man from any of the six local government areas is occupying Lion Building after Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s tenure. That agenda is unstoppable. It’s a matter of right within the context and content of zoning. It’s a matter of right within the scientific definition of democracy. It’s matter of right within the mantra and context of competence, progress and fairness.
The cascading voice of the giant, hidden in God, towered far, and signalled a rebirth of a new dawn for the people of Enugu State. A dawn of peace. A dawn of progress. A dawn of growth. A dawn of equity. A dawn of development. A dawn of justice. And indeed, a dawn of continuity. The Speaker’s speech rekindled our hope in the Enugu Project. It’s a flame of expectations for the people of Enugu state. It’s a reassurance that Ndi Nkanu stand for peace.
Yes, I’m most especially awed by the display of uncommon solidarity shown to Enugu East Senatorial zone by the Special Guest of Honour, the man garbed and wrapped with the beat of peace, His Excellency, the performing Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. In his usual simple nature, flowing with unblemished regalia and smiling with untainted innocence, to the podium, his alluring majesty perched boldly like the Lion and strengthened like the Eagle. He roared! But that was a roar of peace. Like the gentle breeze that whistled passed Elijah. Enugu State is peaceful because of a man of peace like him.
The Governor, with a humane sense of gratitude, was ever reassuring in his words. He showered encomiums on his teeming voters. His dexterous dance steps, artful wave of hands and body language showered he is always at home with the people of Nkanu land. He gave the people his words. He left no one in doubt as to where the pendulum will swing come 2023. He is just a good man with understandable sense of justice to all.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Governor, after pausing for a while, in a literary suspense, arrested the attention of the people. When the applause had fainted, and calm returned like a still water, he asked whether his message was clearly understood. No doubt about it. The question was a reinvention of hope in the peaceful formula in the state. His promise to bequeath to all a “just, equitable, peaceful, united and prosperous Enugu” at the end of his tenure in 2023 left even the Thomas in no doubt that anyi ejebe Nkanu 2023!
Let me quickly accord special recognition and respect to my colleagues who deemed it fit to work with me within the media sphere. Engr. Buchi Nnaji, the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Nkanu West Local Government Area, and Prince Onochie Igwesi, CEO and Publisher, Pacesetter Frontiers Magazine. It was an amazing experience working together over the past few years in the media space.
My experience at the venue early yesterday humbled me. I saw Rt. Hon. USA Igwesi, Rt. Hon. Paul Nnajiofor and Hon. Steve Oruruo, all walking the talk. They were there making sure there was absolute coherence and coordination of the media and publicity. The sight of the dedicated and assiduous men of substance spurred me into the lane of discipline and sense of responsibility. They really made us proud. Such vigour! Such selfless service to the people.
Within the works, venue and protocol committee, I will be guilty of omission if I don’t commend Hon. Uchenna Nwobodo, Nkanu East Local Government Chairman. He was unassuming in his works. He didn’t dish orders, but was simply leading by example. It’s inspiring. Hon. Engr. Mike Ogbuekwe Special Adviser, Agriculture to Enugu State Government also showed unimaginable sense of duty and commitment. It was a golden opportunity for me to learn to execute my duty even when nobody is watching. The entertainment went around. People even left with extra. This is a tip of an iceberg of what to expect in 2023. Continuity of good governance in all ramifications.
On the assured peace, serenity and fanfares of yesterday, commendation goes to Hon. Patrick Okoh, Dr. GOC Ajah, and others. With simplicity and dedication, they gave their all. It was indeed, job well done. Thanks to GOC Ajah who seemed to be everywhere.
The faces of the dignitaries and stakeholders that came were beaming with smile, hope and fresh breath. I saw Captain Everest Nnaji Odengene whose arrival was announced. He came into the event as a simple man. Simplicity is the beauty of life. Even while trying to shy away from the media, he nevertheless knew that media and the pressmen had already laid an ambush for him. They would not allow him to rest. Interestingly, many were expecting to see one hefty, giant and intimidating Odengene. I smiled when some people were struggling to see the man whose acts of philanthropy have been ringing like bell. The exclamation was that he looked simple. Such is life. Odengene walked into the venue as a simple man and walked out as a hero. Thousands of people pressing themselves on him. It’s good to be good.
Of course, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, a former super federal Permanent Secretary, was also there. He came with some of his supporters. Also conspicuously flashing was the presence of Chief Peter Mbah, the former Chief of Staff to the State Government and an oil magnate. Royal fathers and clergy men were all there. Women and men in colourful regalia were there to make the event a millennium.
Former Senator Gil Nnaji, former Minister of Information, a renowned orator, Chief Frank Nweke Junior, Ambassador Ebenyi, Hon. Chief Anayo Edeh, members of the House of Representatives, among others, all stole the show.
It was an eventful outing. It’s pertinent to note that the deed is not done yet, but there’s nothing left to be done!
Prince Ejeh Josh writes from Independence Layout, Enugu