…Wants gov, Reps seats in 2023
By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA- The people of Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu state, yesterday, called on Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to use his good office to address what they called the perennial marginalization of the area in the politics of the state.
This is even as they called on the governor to, before leaving office, prevail on neighboring Igbo-Etiti local government council to play by the rules by respect the zoning agreement reached on the advent of democracy in 1999 for the House of Representatives seat to rotate between Uzo-Uwani and Igbo-Etiti.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, President, Uzo-Uwani Professionals Association, UZPA, Ambassador Jonathan Eze said the political domination of his people in fragrant negligence of existing zoning agreement is no longer acceptable, noting that it has become necessary for the people to speak up, with the 2023 general elections some few months away.
According to Amb. Eze, Enugu zone since 1999 has continued to marginalized Nsukka axis, both in the production of governors as well as location of critical infrastructure.
He said: “We ask our governor, whom we know believes and serves God fervently, and who knows that there is a God of justice, to throw his considerable political weight behind Uzo-Uwani to produce the House of Reps member for Uzo-Uwani/Igbo Etiti Federal Constituency.
“Enugu state as it is today was created out of Anambra state in 1991. The old Anambra state had five zones delineated according to their population and considerations of constituency delimitation. The five zones were Onitsha, Awka, Nsukka, Enugu and Abakaliki. It was upon this five-zone configuration that the general elections of 1979 and 1983 were conducted in the then Anambra state. So, when in 1991, Enugu state was created out of Anambra state, Onitsha and Awka zones became the new Anambra state, while Nsukka, Enugu and Abakaliki zones became the new Enugu ztate.
“In 1996, Abakaliki zone of Enugu state was carved out to fuse with Afikpo zone of Abia state to become Ebonyi state. This left, in Enugu state, Nsukka zone and Enugu zone. It is to be noted that Nsukka zone in this configuration, had about 53 per cent of the population and over 60 per cent of the land mass.
“It is to be remembered that a son of Isi-Uzo Local Government, Chief Isaiah Ani was the Senator who represented Nsukka zone in the Senate between 1979 -1983. The logic of dragging Isi-Uzo into Enugu zone was confounding. In effect, Enugu zone became two Senatorial zones with five federal constituencies while Nsukka maintained its sole Senatorial zone with three federal constituencies.
“This subterfuge resulted that since the return of democracy in 1999, Enugu zone has produced two governors in Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani (1999-2007) and Mr. Sullivan Chime (2007-2015), both of whom did an unbroken 16 years at the helm as governors of Enugu state.
“The reality of this is the preponderance of infrastructure and developments concentrated in Enugu zone. Federal and state infrastructure that should have been shared half and half alike is now, if ever, shared, two to one. Since the return of democracy in 1999, Enugu zone has produced all the Ministers from Enugu state. Even what is due to Nsukka zone is still forcibly yanked away and sited in Enugu zone.”
In what appeared an attempt at justifying the people’s call for Ugwuanyi’s intervention, UZPA, argued that “a campus of Enugu state University of Science and Technology, in compliance with the original intendment of a multi-Campus structure of the University at design, that was sited in Adada – Nkpologu, in Uzo-Uwani Local Government was forcefully yanked away and relocated to Agbani, in Nkanu West of Enugu zone. Apart from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, which Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe mercifully sited in Nsukka, no other federal presence of note is in Nsukka. And even at that, all the prime faculties and Departments of the University, Medicine, Medical Lab, Law, Business, Accounting, Estate Management, Architecture are all in Enugu, leaving Nsukka campus with only Arts and Education.
“Nsukka does not have a single tertiary hospital to receive referrals from primary and secondary health facilities, resulting in avoidable deaths witnessed as the patient is being transported to Enugu. Although UNN is in Nsukka, but the university teaching hospital is in Ituku Ozara, in Nkanu, in Enugu zone. Psychiatric hospital, Orthopeadic hospital, Dental School is all in Enugu zone.
“The current governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, from Nsukka zone who started in 2015 will complete eight years as governor in 2023. On the basis that Enugu zone did 16 years, we ask that Nsukka zone be allowed to complete its 16 years as governor. When we agree that Nsukka should have a shot at it for another eight years to balance the equation, we would then micro zone to peripheral local governments who have been grossly shortchanged in the political tapestry of Enugu state, local governments like Uzo-Uwani and Isi-Uzo, in that order. That is our position on that.”
He also justified UZPA’s demand for a shot at the Uzo-Uwani/Igbo-Etiti federal constituency seat saying, “Since 1999, when democracy returned, to 2023 when the term of the current occupant will expire, there are 24 years. Out of these 24 years, Igbo-Etiti has taken the position of member, House of Representatives for Uzo-Uwani/Igbo-Etiti Federal Constituency for 20 years. Uzo-Uwani has gone for a miserable four years. In percentage terms, Igbo-Etiti has done 83% of the time and Uzo Uwani, a mere 17%, for a position the two local governments are supposed to share 50 per cent apiece, despite a signed agreement to rotate the position between the two sisterly local governments.
“Ordinarily, there should be no question as to which Local Government Area between Uzo-Uwani and Igbo-Etiti should be nominated to represent the constituency in the House in 2023. It is so obvious that what Igbo-Etiti is doing to Uzo-Uwani is a political overkill. But we hear that many of our Igbo-Etiti brothers and sisters, including the incumbent, who is from Igbo-Etiti and who has done two terms, are aspiring to return and for Igbo-Etiti to continue. Is that fair?,” he asked.