February poll: Why Nsukka Should Vote Obi, Ideke, Others 

February poll: Why Nsukka Should Vote Obi, Ideke, Others 

By: Ejiofor Nweze

Foremost Nigerian historian, Prof. Adiele Afigbo,  in his seminal Igbo history: Ropes of Sand, Studies In Igbo History and Culture  stated at page 70  that : “It was as Nsukka Division that this amorphous group of villages came to achieve a distinct identity in recent Nigerian history and politics. And in spite of the vagaries of administrative policies since 1967, they have continued to regard themselves as one people with a unique interest in the context of local and national politics and development”.

Despite our ..”distinct identity” and …unique interest in the context of local and national politics and development” as stated by Afigbo Nsukka Division as it was  called then and cultural zone as we popularly call it today   has not been able to  rise beyond what it was in the 60’s. It has not achieved  anything substantial politcally even economically since then. If the zone has achieved anything, it is through the efforts of ordinary people who have through their  sheer dint  of hardwork,luck and God’s grace risen beyond the crippling poverty in the Senatorial zone. 

Many will ask why has Nsukka zone  or Enugu North remained almost the same since all this years? One will not go far to locate  the lack of credible politcal  leadership at all levels as the major reason.  

Nsukka has been unlucky in the leadership recruitment. The quality of leadership we have been  having are not inspiring and transformstive We maybe until recently  have also  refused to work hard to either produce good leaders or make our leaders to work to   turn around the zone in  area of infrastructural and  hunan resource development. The few opportunistic leaders we have produced were at best self-centered, timid,  naive and some extremely callous.

It is lamentable that the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), set up by the first President of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe has remained the only visible Federal and State  institution in the cultural zone since 1960. Even then, there have been several attempts to  reduce the   stature of the main campus of the university by moving all the professional courses to Enugu Campus.One heard that there is plan to further move nursing, economics and other business courses to Enugu Campus.

But our major setback has  not only been our inability to recruit credible leadership but also the  inability to confront the power structure that has kept us down for years now. Consequently, we have remained with any party in power even when they obviously undermine us.

In 1979 to ’83, the people of Nsukka had solidly supported the then  Governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo,  even though  he worked hard to undermine Nsukka interest even up till today.

It was Nwobodo  as the  Governor  we however made to understand  who influenced the movement of  the UNN  Teaching Hospital permanent site  to the present place  at Ituku, Ozalla,  instead of Obukpa where a land was said to have been  provided.

It is unfortunate that this was happening at a time when our own  D.C.Ugwu, now late  from Obukpa was the Minister of Health under President Shehu Shagari. Both himself and the president were of NPN, while  Nwobodo was not only of opposition  NPP but was  antagostic to Shagari’ s Government. How Nwobodo maunvred   Shagari and D.C. Ugwu to move the permanent site to Ituku Ozalla remains a mystery but that is what we talk of naivety of Nsukka leaders.

Then came PDP. Since 1999 to date the people of Nsukka have followed the party, voted them as Governor, National and State  members but have nothing to show for their support for PDP in the last 24 years or thereabout.The Senators and the House of Representatives we voted in PDP as lawyers would went on frolic of their own at the detriment of the people they were elected to  represent.

But things came to a head when an Nsukka man became the Governor of Enugu State. Our hopes were high that the poor infrastructure in our area especially roads would be worked on. That lack of empowerment of our people would be redressed. 

Eight years down the ladder the Nsukka people  are bitter that their own son has not only failed  to address the infrastructural deficit in their land but  stabbed them  at the back.

Even with this massive unpopularity of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, he like Abacha, the late military dictator  had dribbled everybody in PDP and hijacked all the elective positions to himself and cronies. 

Ugwuanyi who became the Governor for eight years after spending 12 years in the House of Representatives, where he was the Chairman of Marine Committee, cornered for himself the Senatorial ticket of Enugu North Senatorial Zone even when it is not the turn of his area to represent the zone in the red chamber  according to the zoning formula of the Senatorial Zone.

But thank God for the emergence of Peter Obi and Labour Party, who provided rare opportunity  for our politicians, hence the emergence of Chijioke Edeoga as the Governorship candidate of the party in Enugu State, Okey Ezea, popularly called Ideke as the Senatorial candidate for the party in Enugu North Senatorial Zone and other national and State House Assembly candidates.

These politicians  have filled the void and provided alternative platform for Nsukka people to express  their free will in determining those who will represent them in the various elective  positions that would be filled on February 25 and March 11, 2023. It is also pertinent to underscore the facts that these particular election have produced a different hue of Nsukka politcal class who can stand face to face  against the oppressors of their people to interrogate them.

The massive support they are getting  across the length and breadth of Nsukka people is unwholesome and encouraging. The tremendous  support also coming from the  elite, the artisans, traders, farmers, diasporas among others.

  It is expected that as Nigerians troop out this Saturday  to elect their next president and members of National Assembly, the voters of  Nsukka Senatorial zone should come out enmasse to equally massively cast their votes  for the Labour Party candidates as represented by Ideke, Chidi Obetta, the Igbo-Eze South/Nsukka Federal Constituency  candidate in the House of Representatives and others.

Ideke has shown  in the past his commitment and capacity to interrogate the oppressive class in the State  in his bid   to salvage the zone. One is not in doubt that he will  even  be more committed in the struggle  as a distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Senate of the the Federal Republic is very critical and important institution which must be occupied by serious politicians who have  power of advocacy, capacity to speak for and on behalf of their people.

It should be for those who are  tested and found  that they  can fight for the interest of their people. There are people we may consider astute  politicians but have   no capacity to defend their people. Is it even morally right for some politicians to hijack the politcal structure in the zone and put it in their pockets; dispense political positions  to themselves and their cronies at whims and caprices?

We are lamenting the deplorable situation in the country but our plight in Nsukka zone  is even worse. The people of Nsukka Senatorial zone  should this time liberate themselves from the worst politcal slavery that have held them down  in the past 24 years by translating  this their massive support for Labour Party  into  electoral  victory for Ideke and other National Assembly candidates  in the Saturday February 25, 2023  election.

Ejiofor Nweze is a Journalist and Coordinator, Nsukka Collectives.

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