By Abia Onyike
The threat by Ebonyi State Governor, Engr David Umahi, through his cohorts to arrest Princess Ann Nwanyibuife Agom Eze seemed like a joke taken too far. It shows that Umahi is yet to grow up. He is always thinking that he must have his way willy nilly. That a man is a state Governor or President does not give him a license to be lawless and ruthless, because a day of reckoning shall come.
Umahi is fond of talking down on people, including his superiors. Princess Agom Eze is not an ordinary fly that the Governor can just crush with his shoes. The woman’s pedigree should give Umahi some concern. She was born into royalty and married into royalty. Her father, late Chief Ukpai Nsi Agwu(U.N. Agwu) was the elected Chairman of Old Afikpo Local Government from 1976-79, after retiring as a Headmaster Special Class. Her paternal grandfather, late Chief Nsi Agwu( Nsi Emau) from Owutu Edda was the richest Edda man of his generation. He built the first brick upstair in Eddaland and the decking was made of special wood imported from Spain in the 1930s. The Princess had the best education money can buy and I am sure she graduated before Umahi and had had a very brilliant career in the civil service and became a Permanent Secretary before Umahi came to power to destroy the civil service because of his ignorance.
Umahi claims to be the only one who merits going to the Senate, but his achievements in the zone are unfounded and questionable.
Princess married into the Agom Eze family. Her husband, a top-flight banker and financial wizard had been a reference point in society for decades. Her father-inlaw, Dr Agom Eze was the first Ebonyian to take a degree in Economics from the University of London(1963), on scholarship after his secondary education at the prestigious Hope Waddel Training Institution in Calabar. He later bagged his PhD in 1966 in Monterey Economics from the University of Lisbon. Dr Agom Eze was the first man from old Afikpo Division to be appointed a Commissioner of Cabinet rank (1976-79) by the military government of old Imo state headed by late Ndubuisi Kanu. Other Commissioners in that era from old Afikpo Division in their order of sequence were Engr Eze O.Eze(1979-83), Dr Emmanuel Oko Isu(1984-86), Dr Chigozie Ogbu(1986-1988). Then in 1984, Chief Francis Oji, who graduated as an Economist in 1961 retired from the public service in 1984 as a Permanent Secretary and was appointed Deputy Governor in the old Imo state in 1988 before he was made a Minister of Police Affairs in 1991.
I have gone down memory lane to let Gov Umahi and his cohorts to understand that the old Afikpo Division which he thinks he can confiscate and pocket is a very complex terrain with a rich history of its own. The people I have mentioned in this write-up and others too numerous to mention laid the foundation for the development of Old Afikpo Division. They attracted jobs for the younger generation, provided social amenities and gave the zone a headstart in education and manpower development which Gov Umahi came to destroy because of his recklessness. He is just an upstart and an opportunist who only came to limelight because of former Governor Martin Elechi who granted him unmerited favours. The Senatorial zone in question had gone through very rapid political metamorphosis which the likes of Umahi are unaware of. The Agom Ezes were responsible for the creation of Ohaozara Local Government in 1976, based on the Dasuki Panel Report on Local Government Reforms in Nigeria. He also spearheaded the creation of Onicha Local Government in 1989 and worked closely with Sen Anyim Ude to have Ivo LGA created in 1996. They played lead roles in the struggle for the creation of Ebonyi State.
What are Gov Umahi’s antecedents and achievements in old Afikpo Division that he should hold people hostage because of his selfish ambition to go to the Senate. The point is that the fight is not even between him and Princess Agom Eze alone. That is their internal party matter but Umahi must be careful about his moves because the Senatorial zone is not his personal property. Princess Agom Eze is a jewel of that district and must not be scratched one bit.
Abia Onyike is a former Deputy National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and a former Commissioner for Information, Ebonyi State.