Ebonyi 2023 : An Open Letter To My Ezza Brothers And Sisters On Purported Endorsement Of Nwifuru

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The purported endorsement of Nwifuru as the preferred Governorship candidate of Ezza Nation and the desecration of our traditional Okpoku Ezekuna ancestral home by the APC Govt. in Ebonyi State: My fears, warnings and firm position!

                                                         By Paschal Oluchukwu

The media reports that some stakeholders of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC from my beloved Ezza Ezekuna tribe defiled the sacredness of our ancestral Orinte, Nchionu, Okpoku Ezekuna ground with its purported endorsement of the Party’s controverted flag-bearer and Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Francis Nwifuru really calls for concern for every descendant of Ezekuna, alive or even dead.

Although the action which was exactly an affair of the ruling APC and its stakeholders alongside some seemingly deceived and compromised elders was meant to give it a colouration of our true customs and tradition, I am particularly disturbed about its wider implications as a true son of Ezekuna. This is because this illicit and selfish action of a few self-serving elders, foolish stakeholders and their equally misguided followers has indeed robbed a charcoal on the true identity and culture of the average Ezza man vis-a-vis our high reverence for our Orinte ancestral home and heritage.

We should take not for granted, the painful truth that the selfish and ungodly conduct of these susceptible few has defiled our age-long customarily traditional and sacred epicenter with the claims of these few rapaciously greedy elites in the media that the endorsement of Nwifuru was made for and on behalf of the entire Ezza nation. I sincerely regret to point out that the political history of our beloved Ezza nation since the 80s has been riddled with such unholy betrayals of the collective interests of our people most of the times by a sectional few and this should truly give every Ezza man and woman a cause for worry especially at this time in our history.

While I condemn in very strong terms the purported gathering that defiled our traditional arena as not only being very wrong but ill-motivated and masterfully schemed by the Umahi-led government through its many pliable agents, I wish to emphasize that Ezza is a tribe- a very large one for that matter and never a political Party. So, any attempt to drag the entire clan into petty Party politics of the stomach that is even against its wider interests against the aspirations cum survival of its many sons and daughters should stand CONDEMNED at all times and I vehemently condemn same!

I believe that any discussions at our sacred Okpoku Ezekuna should never be politically partisan. Political Party rallies, gatherings or any divisive meetings of a particular political Party should NEVER be encouraged or allowed to hold in Orinte. I am baffled and annoyed that the leader of the said APC stakeholders, Chief Innocent Ugo Chima, who also played a crucial role in the State’s creation struggle and understands better how our people have long been given the shortest end of the stick in a State they were part of it’s historic creation, the immediate past Local Government Chairman of Ezza South, Ken Eze who doubles as the Senatorial candidate of the APC for Ebonyi Central, the Secretary to the State Government, Kenneth Ugbala and indeed, all other stakeholders of the Party chose Okpoku Ezekuna instead of a civic centre or even an open venue like the Onueke Township stadium which they had passed on their way to Okpoku Ezekuna.

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For all intent and purposes, these ravenous elders and stakeholders should have left our ancestral home to host only our cultural festivals which it was built to host such as the Okeaku (New yam) festival among other traditionally held customary events and ceremonies. I am therefore beckoning on our ‘umu Ochimkpurus’- the custodians of our revered tradition to summon and sanction all those involved in this unholy desecration of our land and culture and take every necessary step to appease the gods. There should be very disastrous consequences for those who think they can always manipulate and use our people to achieve their selfish ends.

The various Ezza unions home and abroad should follow suit and sanction all those involved in this shameful and sacrilegious act. They can at least suspend them for a period of time and place heavy fines on them to serve as a deterrent to others who may want to tow a similar path now or in the nearest future. As Ezzas, we must set high premium and regards for ourselves, our customs and traditions and not allow people ridicule us before our neighbours in our State or even beyond. We must preserve and promote our identity and place value on ourselves.

I am really befuddled as a full-blooded Ezza man about the fact that despite our great, Senator Offia Nwali- the first African to bag a Ph.D in Computer Science, (may his soul continually rest in peace) being the first to move a motion for the creation of Ebonyi State at the National Assembly in 1979, no Ezza man or woman was ever found worthy to occupy any sensitive leadership position either in the Executive or Legislative arms of government even in the old Anambra and Enugu States- positions that their brothers from Izhi and Ngbo had occupied.

Unfortunately, this continued unabated since the return to democratic governance in 1999. First, was the betrayal of Chief Nwagu Onele who was the most popular contender for the People’s Democratic Party, PDP Governorship ticket. Nwagu, a popular politician then from Ezza South was said to have been ‘betrayed’ by his own brother, Chief G. O. C Chukwu who was the then State’s PDP Chairman. The compromise of the process ostensibly backed by the then outgoing military regime of Walter Feghabor made Dr. Sam Egwu- an ordinary classroom Lecturer of a minority Ezziamgbo extraction in Ohaukwu Local Government Area to pick the PDP Governorship ticket and consequently won the election to become the first civilian Governor of the State.

This awful scenario typified the saying that when two brothers fight to death, a stranger inherits their land. But our people obviously appear notvto have learnt any lesson from that ugly experience over two decades after the return to Nigeria’s democratic governance. Apart from the era of Senator Julius Ucha as Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly between 2003-2007, the Ezza man, despite his obvious advantages of being not only the eldest in the entire Abakaliki clan but also the most popular and dominant tribe has never been rallied around or supported to even occupy any sensitive seat in the State’s House of Assembly. Since then, no Ezza man has ever been elected a Governor, a Deputy or even appointed a Federal Minister or an Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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The deliberate manipulators of our people more often than not prefer to use them to move and second only controversial, anti-masses bills or motions at the detriment of the elected representatives, most times to pit them against the people. The views expressed in certain quarters that they are a disorganized majority seemed nothing but an absurd stereotype which the schemers of the Ezza marginalization agenda uses to feather their own nests.

The recent scandalous endorsement or adoption of a character like Nwifuru by the so-called Ezza APC stakeholders with all the records and antecedents associated with him as against our own brother, Professor Benard Odoh- the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA ticket bearer who is by far more competent, credible and more qualified should trouble the souls of every rational Ezza mind wherever they are. Agreed that we may have varying political interests per time under any circumstances whatsoever, a period of two decades should have been enough for our people to learn their lessons.

Again, it is now manifest that the enemies of Ezza Ezekuna are rewinding our clock albeit on the negative to where we started off from in 1999 like it played out in the G. O. C Chukwu against Nwagu Onele scenario.
Our people, particularly the political class must be made to understand ahead of the 2023 elections that, no matter our political Parties, ideologies or leanings, it is sacrosanct they support a candidate of Ezza Ezekuna who is on the ballot. This is by no means a threat or some sort of clannish assertions. But our people must understand that we are already facing a serious existential threat!

I won’t also forget to mention the fact that the same Professor Benard Odoh had suffered serial betrayal from our brothers and sisters who saw him as a huge threat to the political rise while he was serving as Secretary to the Government of Ebonyi State. It had culminated into a strange protest against him when he resigned from Umahi’s government as SSG on principle grounds. The protest against our academic giant brother was also later followed up by a wicked plot to ostracize him from his Ezza nation led by a certain traditional ruler. This is even his Unwuezeokoha community is the eldest son of Ezza Ezekuna worldwide. Haba! We shouldn’t be crocodiles that eats fish from it’s own pond!

Already, with politically-motivated and man-made wars in practically every place our people live and do their businesses peacefully, including the displacement of our people in Ezza north for an airport project without due compensation, the Ezza nation cannot sit on the fence or compromise their integrity this time around for a morsel of fish. We have seen and suffered enough already in a State our fathers fought for its creation and have been denied the most critical of development infrastructure either in Ukawu in Onicha LGA of Ebonyi South, or in Ezillo in Ishielu LGA, or in now war-ravaged Effium where our people have been killed and displaced in their thousands without any form of justice.

Not even the two mother Local Governments of Ezza South and Ezza North have had any tangible infrastructure projects in the reign of successive administrations in the last two decades in Ebonyi. As a human development enthusiast who loves and stands for equity, social justice and fairness at all times, I sincerely believe that we are not cursed but we are the cause of our own problems and lack of social and developmental progress. I say so because I know the enormity of human and material resources including the obvious population and other advantages which the Ezza nation possess if and only if it harnesses them to its maximal advantage.

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With 22 notable communities dwelling across the entire three geo-political zones in Ebonyi, Ezza as an Igbo sub-group are collectively referred to by the singular name, Ezza/Ezaa or Ezza-Ezzekuna in reference to their progenitor and are also living in their numbers in some parts of Enugu, Benue in the North Central, Cross River State in the South-South and other parts of Nigeria. In Ebonyi, it is worthy to mention that they reside in their large numbers with two fully-carved Local Government Areas of Ezza North and South respectively with a total of 31 Electoral wards and another 8 (Eight) out of the 16 Federal Wards that make up Ishielu Local Government Area in the Central part of the State.

Our people also reside in their large numbers in other communities such as Ezza-Effium in Ohaukwu Local Government Area in Ebonyi North, Ezza-Ezillo in Ishielu Local Government Area in Ebonyi Central and Abaomege and Ukawu in Onicha Local Government Area and some parts of Ishiagu communities in Ivo Local Government Area all in the Southern part of the State. It is also a known fact that the Ezza ethnic nationality constitutes a large percentage of the voting population in the areas they dwell.

Any wonder their Korri neighbours in Effium have reportedly been very desperate to deceitfully carve out some of the political wards belonging to the Ezzas to themselves particularly during the last delineation exercise by the National Population Commission, NPC? The number of registered voters of Ezza descent in Effium according to the 2019 voter registration in INEC) shows that Ezzas had 32, 294 registered voters. But for the man-made war in the area which has forced our people literally out of Effium, this figure would have hit over 50, 000 voters.

I ask again; how come we have grossly under-utilized our quantitative and qualitative human and material resources and blessings socially, economically and ultimately, politically to achieve a common political goal of ascending the leadership throne of Ebonyi State since 1999? We must therefore aim to deepen our love and culture, love and affection towards one another and understand, most importantly that our salvation must only come from one within us.

It is on the ground that I am beckoning on all Ezza sons and daughters all over the world to rally round one of ours; Professor Benard Ifeanyi Odoh for the 2023 Governorship election because he is an Ezza son and we have to show love to our own first and foremost before any other consideration!

  • Oluchukwu, a Political Commentator and President of AESICID, (Worldwide) wrote from Abuja
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