By Steve Oko
The 2023 agitation for power may have sparked a political war in Abia State, pitching stakeholders from Abia North against their Ukwa-la-Ngwa counterparts.
Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Don Ubani, has been lambasted for his critical stance against the quest for power shift to Abia North championed by the immediate-past Secretary to State Government, SSG, Dr Eme Okoro.
Dr Okoro, one of the founding fathers of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State, had last week, descended on the State Chairman of the party, Rt. Hon. Asiforo Okere, for allegedly aborting a planned visit by Abia North PDP elders and stakeholders to the party secretariat to advance their cause, and demanded apologies “for the insult”.
Ubani fired back at Okoro, dismissing the agitation for power shift to Abia North in 2023 as illogical, arguing that Abia has two political divisions (Old Bende Division and Old Aba Division), contrary to three senatorial zones narrative being propagated by Okoro and his group.
The former Information Commissioner insisted that Ukwa-la-Ngwa political bloc (Old Aba Division) will still retain power for another eight years to make up for the 16 years that power resided with the Old Bende Division.
But a concerned Abia North stakeholder, Sir Uchechukwu Okoro, in defence of the former SSG, has taken Ubani to the cleaners, accusing him of “standing truth in the head, and re-drawing the political map of Abia to achieve clanish interest of Ukwa-la-Ngwa bloc”.
The concerned stakeholder in a press statement entitled: ” Don Ubani’s Misadventures: Old Aba and Old Bende History in the Eye of the Storm”, said that the postulation by Ubani that Abia of today consists of only two political blocs instead of the prevailing three senatorial zones arrangement is a distortion of facts.
The statement made available to Vanguard reads in part: “I have read with intense pity Don Ubani’s lamentations and diatribe on one of Abia’s most accomplished sons, Dr. Eme Okoro and I sought Dr Okoro’s liberty to allow me reply to Ubani and teach him a little history he ought to have known at his age.
“This unconscionable effrontery being deployed by Ubani and others not only destroys the very foundations of our unity but also sells destructive history to the younger generation.
“This disingenuous disposition finds expression in the unproductive and profane attempts by our kins at the Southern tip of Abia, the Ukwa La Ngwa people to forcefully use an unfactual and diversionary history whose facts they are not well-grounded with, to create divisions and truncate a process that has served us well for the past 22 years and counting; The Abia Charter of Equity.
“The latest effort in this diversionary vision is the wild goose chase by Don Ubani. For Ubani and his cohorts in the Ukwa La Ngwa group, the Bende division which they mistakenly ascribe to the eight local governments of Abia North namely; Arochukwu, Bende, Isuikwuato, Ohafia, Umunneochi, Umuahia North, Umuahia South and Ikwuano has held power for 16 years against Abia South which has only done an unfinished eight years in Okezie Ikpeazu. Unfortunately, the delimitations which they find solace in, is not only destructive and obstructive but also a historical fallacy.
“For the records, the old divisions used by colonial masters from 1925 -1960 were never static but changed and evolved with the dictates, demands and dynamics of administration and governance. For another record, Bende Zone as it were included Isiala Ngwa and Obi Ngwa at some points and had a court of justice at Isiala Ngwa while Arochukwu and Isuikwuato were never parts of the much talked-about Bende Zone.
“Arochukwu and Obingwa presently in Abia South Senatorial zone where governor Okezie Ikpeazu comes from were also at some points parts of Ikot Ekpene zone while Isuikwuato and Umunneochi were part of Okigwe zone. Moreover some parts of the touted Old Aba zone are presently either in Rivers or Imo States even as parts of the Old Bende zone are now in Ebonyi State.
“In employing such untruths as 16 years purportedly for Old Bende and eight years for Old Aba without factoring in the disequilibrium of such calibrations in our present polity, Ubani and his co-conspirators are unwittingly shooting themselves at the feet.
“Such non-altruistic endeavours only pushes the mischievous calculations of the columnists to the fore, bringing their inordinate intentions to disrepute.
“Under the inaccurate historical survey, where does the Obingwa man that is presently the governor place himself as much as the Arochukwu people who were not part of the Old Bende but Ikot Ekpene administrative zone at some points in the present configuration of Abia politics? Same interrogation applies to the Isuikwuato and Umunneochi people that were part of Okigwe zone and parts of the Old Bende that are now in Ebonyi State?
“By attempting to redraw the map of Abia, Ubani and those in cahoots with him are trying to mischievously include themselves by excluding others.
“Is Ubani telling an Isuikwuato and Umunneochi man that were never part of “Old Bende” never to aspire to govern Abia because he doesn’t fall into the dual partitioning of Abia into Old Aba and Old Bende or should they go and take their chances at Imo State where the manipulative division of old time zoning put them?
“Maybe the present governor that shares a history of Ikot Ekpene zone with Arochukwu has knowingly robbed Old Aba zone of their chance of producing a governor and the man from Arochukwu should never aspire to be governor of Abia because he was once in Ikot Ekpene zone when both Old Aba and Bende zones held sway?
“The Charter of Equity says seamless rotation of power among the three senatorial zones.
This time, the intelligence Ubani concocted is not only laden with error, mischief, unreliability and untruths but clearly fraudulent.
“By upholding the quest by the Igbo nation to produce Nigeria’s next president based on the premise of power rotation by the six geo-political zones while rejecting and trying to truncate the seamless rotation of power in Abia, Ubani ascribes to the unprincipled selective-rejection of values and this effort strips him of any iota of character left with his personality.”
Okoro described Chief Ubani as an ingrate for casting aspersions on Senator Theodore Orji under whose administration he once served as Commissioner all in his quest to justify power retention by Ukwa-la-Ngwa bloc.
“In ascribing the ascendancy of Okezie Ikpeazu to the governorship on the selfish desire of T. A. Orji to go to the Senate, Ubani came across as a very ungrateful fellow by reducing the application of the hallowed charter by T. A. Orji to the pedestrian quest for self-aggrandisement and let me remind Ubani that Ikpeazu’s senatorial ambition would also make him support the emergence of an Abia North governor come 2023.
“Whatever undercurrents that threw up Ikpeazu and achieved the equitable rotation of power among the three senatorial zones of Abia remain undercurrents and are already done and dusted with. They served us well and would continue without distortion.
“Looking at the uncoordinated bifurcation of Abia into two zones, it is clear that Ubani’s mischief and those of his allies to truncate the Charter of Equity for selfish ends would end in opprobrium when subjected to rigorous historical inquest.”
Okoro urged Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to keep his promise to sustain Abia Charter of Equity notwithstanding pressures and distractions from self-seeking elements.
“For the umpteenth time, let me remind Ubani that governor Ikpeazu has at several fora acquiesced to the sacrosanct nature of the Abia Charter of Equity and would not do anything to the contrary.
“Without sounding like a broken record, I have taken the liberty to reproduce verbatim what governor Okezie Ikpeazu told stakeholders on record during his second term bid.
“People like Ubani that are pushing the governor surreptitiously to abandon his words and promises should be mindful of the dangers in making a man recant on his solemn promises. The repercussions and consequences are always grave.
“Nothing more than the present delimitation of states of the federation into three senatorial zones would serve the justice and equity we all deserve and ascribe to. It accommodates everybody, reduces fear of marginalisation and binds us together in a collective will to confront the humongous challenges that stare us glaringly in the face.
“As we strive to build peace, enthrone good governance and solidify the fabrics of what hold Abia together, the best we can do is to admonish those that want to tear us apart to desist from acts capable of destabilizing the peace we take for granted.”