Posted by Cosmas Asogwa On Friday, March 22, 2013 1 comments

As the long established rotational governance or in a lay man's parlance, turn by turn governance beckons, the politicians are now at it again.
Yes its that time
again when calculated alignments and realignments are shaped and reshaped. Carpet crossings, unions and reunions of strange political bedfellows is fast becoming the order  of the day. But in the interest of our socio-political cum economic well-being, we cannot just afford to stand aloof amidst these raging conflicts of interests masquerading as the contest of principles. Yes, we must objectively scrutinize motives and manifestos of the contending camps so as to enable us chart a better course on the way forward in the conquest to actualise the Nsukka 2015 governorship project. It is against this background that I urge you to read this recent article titled: NSUKKA CULTURAL ZONE AND THE 2015 GOVERNORSHIP PROJECT; THE IMPERATIVE OF UNITY AND STRATEGIES FOR ITS ACHIEVEMENT
The 2015 General Elections are fast approaching and many individuals and groups who have political interest in those elections have begun to make serious preparations. Among parties at national level we can clearly see moves towards open mergers and unannounced working arrangements; within the parties there are alignments and re-alignments, defections and readmission of hitherto estranged groups, while within civil society elements such as tribes, cultural groups and religious affiliations are seriously being factored into the political equation either directly or indirectly by political interest groups who stand to gain or lose by that dynamic. In this flux, influential economic blocks , prominent businessmen and women, professional associations and many other interest groups also play their part, all jostling to nudge the outcome of those elections and the resultant governments to reflect their preferred choices. That is the way democracy was designed to work, and the fact that the process is beginning to take root in Nigeria shows that we are maturing in its practice. That process will continue to deepen and what it should teach is the imperative of deploying every legitimate weapon within their political arsenal- population, propaganda, mass mobilisation, logistics, good choice of candidates, etc for any individual or group to attain a desired political goal in today’s Nigeria.

There is no denying the fact that if an incumbent is standing for re-election, he does so with considerable advantages, and if he is not standing himself but favours a particular candidate, the latter also stands to benefit from hisinfluence. But a major part of that influence is the assumption that the incumbent’s endorsement galvanises his government and party machinery to aggressively canvass the support of the masses for their chosen candidate to ensure victory. Prior to 2007 that support was widely advertised but it was not considered very necessary because the incumbency factor was quite effectively manifested in ways that were never countenanced by INEC or the Electoral Act. Today that is gradually changing and most Nigerians thank God for that. The vote now counts and will continue to count more and more in future. The people’s belief in the power of their vote which was so justifiably tentative in 2011 will only be strengthened in 2015. This optimism is justified by the enthusiastic participation of the masses in elections that held in Edo and Ondo states since 2011. What all this means is that whatever the people of Nsukka cultural zone collectively want in 2015 they must like any other group actively work for it while welcoming any assistance that may come from other sources. So what do we want in 2015 and why?

It is true that the people of Nsukka overwhelmingly desire that one of their sons or daughters become the governor of Enugu State in 2015. That desire is shared by all, irrespective of party affiliation. It is also true that they tend to assume that because of the justice of their aspiration, and because Governors Nnamani and Chime from Nkanu(Enugu East) and Udi (Enugu West) would behave completed eight years each on the supposed slots of their respective senatorial zones, the turn of an Nsukka man is held to be self evident and therefore bound to elicit the automatic support of the people of those zones. That is the hope that we, the Steering Committee of the Nsukka General Assembly who also fervently share that aspiration, would have wished to entertain. But even if we do, we also recognise that it is our duty to do all in our power to rekindle a spirit of oneness in our people, so that we can collectively replicate that unity of purpose which we demonstrated so effectively in 1991, in order to make the work of those from other zones who support us that much easier and effectively challenge those who, in theexercise of their constitutionally guaranteed rights, decide to back candidates who may wish to contest from other zones. But why, one might ask, do we so passionately feel that our zone should produce the Governor of Enugu State in 2015?

To answer that question we make here an overview of how we have fared as a people under succeeding administrations, both military and civilian, since the end of the civil war. As part of the East Central and Anambra States, we were part of the Wawa people whose marginalisation the late Chief CC Onoh fought so vigorously against. During the reign of Governor Robert AkonobiAnyamelu Clan was excised from Enugu State and included in Anambra State because of its crude oil potential, even though that clan had originally been transferred from OnitshaProvince to Nsukka Province by the British colonial administration because of its neglect by the former, and in spite of its rapid development by the latter after that transfer. After Enugu State was created by default in 1990, the civilian regime of HE Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo came in 1991 but only lasted fifteen months and the military returned to power. Thereafter, none of the four Military Administrators who were appointed on the slot of Enugu State by the Abacha regime, which adopted a policy of such appointments on state basis, came from Nsukka Cultural Zone, even though we had eminently qualified senior officers for such appointments. In the Abacha government’s creation of local governments, Enugu Local Government was split into three while Nsukka Local Government, even larger in landmass and comparable in population, remained untouched. In theredelineation of Senatorial Zones, following the exit of Abakaliki on the creation of Ebonyi State in 1996, while the expectation was that the new zones would follow cultural lines which had been the tradition Isi Uzo Local Government area, which had been so entrenched in Nsukka Cultural Zone that it produced Chief Isaiah Ani as our senator in the Second Republic, was excised from Nsukka and merged with Nkanu to form Enugu East Senatorial Zone. That the Isi Uzo people despite that excision still feel like part of Nsukka is amply demonstrated by the fact that they have rejoined the Adada State movement. In fact, since Dr Nwodo’ssojourn into Lion Building, no Nsukka man or woman has been governor, minister, federal permanent secretary or head of any federal parastatal. As a result, our youth have been shut out of meaningful employment, our businessmen and women have been denied government patronage and our zone has been deprived of its fair share of infrastructural projects. Since 1999, the only federal project executed in NsukkaCultural Zone has been the tarring of only 14 kilometers of the federal road linkingNsukka to Abakaliki through OvokoObollo AforIkem and Ehamufu at the rate of one kilometre per year, in spite of the hundreds of billions of Naira announced yearly as the national budget! Work on the reactivation of the Adada River Dam which had irrigated the Uzo Uwani farm settlement during the First Republic andwhich was started by the Federal Government has been stopped for no cogent reason. It is now rare to find Nsukka sons and daughters securing admission at officer level entry points to such strategic institutions as the Army, Navy, Airforce, SSS, NIA, Customs, Prisons, Civil Defence or Federal Road Safety Corps, or even securing state or federal government scholarships for graduate or postgraduate studies. We attach here an updated edition of ‘Nsukka In Chains’ a document which was first produced in 2007 which contains tables showing appointments,postings, privileges and projects with corresponding beneficiary names and senatorial zones. Since the production of that document, no remedial action has been taken; rather things continue to get worse as illustrated by the very recent denial of the chance to produce a minster from our zone when a vacancy occurred with the resignation of Professor Barth Nnaji. Since UNN was founded in 1960, noNsukka man or woman has been VC, Registrar, Chief Librarian or Bursar of that institution located by the grace of the revered Rt Hon. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe in the heart of Nsukka land.
We ask ourselves why this is so and we can find no justifiable reason. It is not as if we lack qualified manpower. According to Nsukka Legends, a compendium of prominent Nsukka sons and daughters, all trailblazers in their chosen fields ranging from the professions and business to politics and academia, the Association ofNsukka Professors now has in its membership 80 names, not counting those teaching in universities overseas. That shows a very deep pool of qualified manpower indeed. Nor can it be because the zone has not been voting for the ruling party as it has consistently done so either freely or under coercion from councillorship to presidential levels since 1999. So we cannot be receiving such treatment because we as a people are in the opposition. Our shabby treatment cannot also be because we lack voting strength because by INEC’S official figures, we command 52% of registered voters in Enugu State. We therefore conclude that all our travails arise because we have no powerful figure to protect our interests, and because of the peculiarities of Nigeria today the surest way to stop our maltreatment is for one of our own to become governor of the state. Since we in the General Assembly are not alone in this conviction, we go on in this paper to survey the prevailing political landscape in Enugu State to justify our urgent call for a refocusing of our people on a project which we all cherish, but which we may well lose by sheer complacency.
Today the PDP is in total control of the Government of Enugu State from councillors to the governor, including all federal electoral seats. Nobody can deny that. The PDP itself is run as a very disciplined line organisation with the governor at the apex implementing his chosen policies through the state and local government machineries. A new introduction is the stakeholders at all levels who now enforce the implementation of the party line as defined by the Governor rather than by the formal party organs. The stakeholders themselves do not initiate any political projects on their own and either follow the Governor’s chosen decision or second-guess him as closely as possible before they are made after reading his body language. Why we make this analysis is to fully understand the dilemma that would face any stakeholder of Nsukka origin should the governor for any reason decide to support a candidate from outside the zone. That is so because one usually becomes a stakeholder by appointment and not through elections but once so appointed, one commands immense influence as a member of that exclusive club. We must therefore do all in our power to woo them as individuals, since they cannot act as a group as we shall show here, to use whatever influence they possess to prevail on the governor to ensure that the PDP endorses an Nsukka candidatebefore the party publicly announces its choice. We make this recommendation because once such an announcement is made, the stakeholders are likely to follow that candidate, wherever he comes from, regardless of our aspirations as a people. It happened once in 2007 and there is no guarantee that it cannot happen again in 2015. While doing so we must also find ways to reach the people directly, as earlier stated not only to make the stakeholders jobs easier but also to prepare a fallback position for the realisation of our common objective.
Now we come to the Nsukka masses. The desire for an Nsukka Governor is fervent in them but unfortunately while some of them still retain their pre-2011 apathy towards voting and political participation, the greater majority have been conditioned by our sad political history to directly link casting their votes to receiving monetary or other material gratification in the belief that whoever they are voting for is doing his own personal business. They have thus become so cynical that they coined the proverb ‘onye vu igu b’ewu naeso’; literally translated to mean that it is he who carries the palm fronds that the goats follow. The psychological self abasement embodied into that proverb which effectivelyclassifies the people as goats and the politicians as men eludes them totally. They are also strengthened in that mistaken credo by the political slogan of a very well known politician from Udenu who always describes his campaigns as ‘ashua’ or ‘market’ in the literal buy-and-sell sense. This attitude would have been funny except that if money continues to be the bottom line in Nsukka in 2015 we fear that candidates from other zones will certainly use their superior wealth to buy our people while keeping their own people who know that power is infinitely more important than money, and who have a better understanding of the benefits derivable from that power, united.
Next, we come to our political office-holding representatives themselves. They are ultra loyal to the Governor and to the party and they demand the same absolute loyalty from their subordinates in the party. None of them after the reported bitter experience of one of their leaders in 2007, who reportedly lost his senatorial ticket because he dared to present the demand of the Nsukka Caucus that the then governor endorse another Nsukka man as his successor, will ever dare to convene another such caucus to canvass something as sensitive today. That does not mean that they do not consider that it will be Nsukka’s turn then but they will fight for that nomination only individually. On the surface the odds should favour them because they went as far as publicly announcing during campaign rallies in 2011 that the PDP’s candidate for governor in 2015 would be an Nsukka man. It is therefore evident that even though one of them could be the ultimate beneficiary ofmasses-oriented campaign for the fulfilment of such a pledge, their overt participation in such a campaign cannot be taken for granted because they may feel that the sitting governor could take it as an affront to his exclusive right to determine his successor.
Next we come to other actors in the PDP. An instructive lesson we learn from that party’s recent history is its endorsement of Goodluck Jonathan as its presidential candidate in spite of all zoning permutations in 2007, and its consistent choice ofgovernorship candidates from particular ethnic groups so far in Benue, Kogi, and Delta States to name a few. This shows that what borders the party is not zoning but the potential to win elections we must therefore be prepared for candidates from other zones to contest that party’s primaries and also the subsequent general elections, especially since Nsukka indigenes did likewise both within the PDP andin other parties in past elections.
Finally, we come to our politicians in other parties. We appreciate their doggedness and we say to them and to Nsukka in general that we have no favoured candidate. What we are interested in is any party that will produce a good candidate of Nsukka origin for election as Governor of Enugu State. We need a humble, honest, compassionate, courageous, marketable and capable candidate who commands a followership not only in Nsukka but also in other zones, and who possesses the resources that we sympathisers can contribute to in the struggle. We only exhaustively analysed the dynamics in the PDP because of the party’s present dominant position in the state. In doing so, we cannot rule out the possibility of changes in the cohesion and composition of that party as the tenure of the present governor comes to its constitutional limit and various interests begin to surface in the supposed monolith. Such a development will also have potential consequences for the opposition parties as they know so well.  We also realise and we state here our awareness of the announced merger of the major opposition parties at national level under the All Progressives Congress and we urge our politicians in such parties to at their own level internalise the admonitions pouring in from across the nation that only by placing the interest of that mega-party over that of its constituent elements can they succeed in wresting power from the ruling party. So how then do we mobilise our people?
From the foregoing, it is evident that at the start, only the civil society of Nsukkacan kick-start the process of mass sensitization and awareness that is necessary for the realisation of our dream. Critical elements of that society include prominentNsukka sons and daughters both within and outside the zone, representatives of influential institutions and organizations within the zone such as churches andmarket associations, lecturers and students in tertiary institutions, NGO’s, town unions, traditional rulers etc. The Steering Committee of Nsukka General Assembly intends to invite such persons to a meeting to critically brainstorm on this topic and fashion out the most effective way to mobilise Nsukka masses for the 2015 elections and how to reach out to other zones to lend us their support. To demonstrate our total non-partisanship in this noble quest, we are ready not only to stand down for fresh elections into the executive of such an expanded body but even for a change of its name should the majority desire it. After that body convenes, deliberates and draws up a working plan we propose that it shall then invite our politicians in all the parties, present the plan to them, make amendments in the light of their inputs and then start implementation. If we do it in that order, we hope to kill any suspicion of a hidden agenda from any quarters so that we the people of Nsukka Cultural Zone can unite, stand up for our rights for our sake and the sake of our children’s future. If we do not stand up now, and if by commission or omission we fail to elect an Nsukka man as governor in 2015, the other senatorial zones in Enugu State will conclude that we have voluntarily accepted the state of perpetual second-class citizens. They will then reach an understanding to rule us in turn, further impoverish us, and finally extinguish whatever remains of our self esteem, cohesiveness and capacity to act in concert to protect our interest.We present here highlights of our recommended action plan for consideration by the expanded body when it meets.

The publication of this paper, or an edited version of it, in a national newspaper such as The Sun, an Nsukka focused magazine such as The Starlight, and a church publication such as The Shepherd, and on the internet blog like NSUKKA INSIDE OUT.

The mass production of the paper in pamphlet form for distribution throughout Nsukka cultural zone in schools, markets, churches and at social occasions such as weddings and funerals.

A formal endorsement of such publications by the Steering or Caretaker Committee, and a call to Nsukka people to form branches of Nsukka General Assembly in their localities, for the sole aim of mobilizing to produce a governor of Nsukka origin in 2015.

A formal presentation of a request to the major political parties to endorse a candidate of Nsukka origin for governor in 2015.

The setting up of a website to be devoted exclusively to the struggle. We suggest that the website be titled www.nskgovproject2015.ng.org.

A vote of confidence in the Steering Committee or in the alternative its dissolution and the election of a Caretaker Committee to coordinate the struggle.

The opening of a bank account with an appeal to our people to send donations for the struggle, particularly to defray the cost of publicity, into that account, along with the publicised appointment of reputable signatories and auditors for that account.

A formal appeal to religious bodies within the zone to support the struggle as a moral imperative.

An invitation to our politicians active in all the parties to consider this action plan, suggest modifications where necessary and endorse it for implementation



F.C. Mamah said...

I stand out to thank RtD Gen Chris Eze and his group for this master piece of information and I hope that youths can begin to read the hand writting on the walls.

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