BY PRINCELY ONYENWE,IMO
OZIZZA PORT IN AFIKPO WAS FUNCTIONAL IN 18TH CENTURY- IGBOAYAKA
The Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC), apex youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo have called Governor David Nweze Umahi to order following his recent poor outing on Channels TV wherein he supported the marginalization of Ndigbo by saying that Igbos are not being marginalized in the current skewed structure and political settings of Nigeria, particularly in the incumbent regime of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a release signed by Mr Chukwuemeka Chimerue, the Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to OYC National President on June 28, 2021, the national president Comrade Igboayaka O. Igboayaka asked Gov. Umahi to apologize to Ndigbo for making such undermining statement against the economic development of Ndigbo.
Comrade Igboayaka reiterated this stance while reacting to an unreasonable response from one Engr. Damian Okafor who assumed the position of the media aide to Gov. Umahi. The said Okafor stated that “For record purposes, Gov. David Nweze Umahi was the first Igbo leader to stage a protest abandonment of his former Political Party PDP to the ruling party APC due to the age-long marginalization of Ndigbo by the party. He did not leave the party at the point of election but left when the negotiation of zoning the apex office in the land to the people of Ndigbo failed woefully and deceitfully.”
It is clear from the above that the so-called Engr. Damian Okafor did not only indict his principal but also contradicted Umahi in his quick and unarticulated response when he accepted that Gov. Umahi left PDP due to his perception of an age-long marginalization of Ndigbo. Why then is Engr. Damian Okafor defending Gov. Umahi on his poor outing on Channels TV, instead of telling him to apologize to Ndigbo for coming in the public to make such costly blunders against Ndigbo and betray our outcry of over 50 years marginalization by the Nigeria government?
Obviously, Gov. Umahi failed to prepare well for that outing; his composition and articulation was very poor and his mentioning of Gen. Irabor, Chief of Defense Staff as a yardstick to conclude that Igbos are not marginalized in Nigeria was not just an act of betrayal but a demonstration of slavish and sycophantic moves to upgrade his selfish political desire before the political cabals in Aso Rock. Those who climb to political positions with craftiness, insincerity and sycophancy are the worst people to trust with any public office. Indeed, in many dispositions, Gov. Umahi has proven himself to fall under such category.
If since coming into public or political arena Gov. Umahi has never taken a sightseeing at Ozizza River(Port) in Afikpo to see how the economic destiny and potentials of Ebonyi people and Ndigbo at large was buried by the Nigeria government then it is unfortunate that he is toeing the path to join our failed political leaders. Obviously, such potential seaport was abandoned because it is located in Igbo land and our political representatives has either refused to talk or ignored it completely. If Ozizza River was located at Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna or Katsina it would have been dredged and commissioned to function as a standard Seaport long ago.
Unfortunately, Kano state was given a status of Dry Port, while Ndigbo that have seven(7) potential seaports which include, Azumini and Obuaku 25-30 nautical miles to Atlantic Ocean in Abia state, Ulasi Oseakwa/ Osemoto River with 18 nautical miles to Atlantic Ocean in Anambra/Imo Bonny and Onne with 45-50 nautical miles to Atlantic Ocean in Rivers State, Ibaka River with 30 nautical miles to Atlantic Ocean in Akwa Ibom state and Ozizza River in Ebonyi State – all was abandoned by Nigeria.
From Ozizza river in Afikpo to the Atlantic Ocean is about 113km and Ozizza to Abakaliki is about 55km, the proximity of Ozizza Port to any community in Ebonyi is not more than 1:30 hours drive, meaning that Ozizza Port, if developed, will extend massive development to not only Ebonyi but Enugu and other areas in Abia State.
It is on history that the materials used to build all the police stations, prisons and other public utilities in the present Southeast by colonial masters in the 18th century did not come or was not shipped through Lagos Port, but through Ozizza River Port. Again, Sir Louis Ojukwu also used this Ozizza river port to export his palm oil and palm kernels which contributed to him being revered as the richest man in Nigeria.
This is an opportunity Gov. David Umahi have denied the teeming unemployed youths in Ebonyi. The youths in Ebonyi are scattered over many states in the South-south and Southeast looking for menial jobs, while the dredging of Ozizza Port to a functional Seaport can lift over one million Ebonyi youths out of poverty.
Comrade Igboayaka urged Gov. Umahi to use the remaining two years in office to prove his capacity and sincere leadership by setting up a special technical committee for the commencement of the dredging of Ozizza Port like his counterpart in Akwa Ibom, Gov. Emmanuel Udom who had set up technical committee to dredge Ibaka Port.
Likewise, Damian Okafor should advise his principal to do and say the right things at all times rather than accusing OYC of being sponsored by opposition figures. It is no longer news that whenever anyone points out the wrongdoings of our political office holders, they quickly conclude it to be an issue of being a ‘willing destructive tool’ in the hands of the opposition, thinking that because they are being sponsored, others are also doing the same.
9News Nigeria (Owerri)
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