Ebonyi South Rerun Election: the Real Issues Behind the Scene and the Affront on the Rights of the People
By Moses Idika
In less than 72 hours the people of Ebonyi South Senatorial District comprising Ohaozara, Onicha, Ivo, Afikpo North and Afikpo South (Edda) local government areas will once again file out to elect a new Senator to represent them in the 10th Senate.
Put in proper perspective, it is very dispiriting and painful that while other senatorial districts are savouring the benefits of representation in the 10th Senate, Ebonyi South has been sitting like an orphaned child while all the actions take place at the Red Chamber of the National Assembly.
The above situation has robbed the people of the zone of one whole year or representation at Nigeria’s apex parliament. The zone has lost inclusion in the 2024 national budget, the zone has lost the palliatives dolled out by the federal government through the Senate, the zone has lost out in revenue accruable to staff of the senators, the zone has lost out in employments and a plethora of benefits that should have accrued to the zone.
Most critically, Ebonyi South has lost out in the deserving standing it would have amassed among the standing committees of the Senate if the wishes of the Ebonyi South electorate as freely expressed on February 18, 2023 had been respected.
Also, participation in the making of any assembly is key. Lawmakers who started the assembly with the presiding officers- I mean those lawmakers who took part in the emergence of the leadership are first considered on the table before others in terms of committee allocation and distribution.
In all of these, Ebonyi South lost out big time!
Naturally, the only semblance of remedy for the losses already recorded lies in the election of an experienced man, or woman who can navigate the shark-infested waters of the National Assembly to represent the zone for the remaining three years in the life of the 10th Senate. We shall come back to this soon.
For starters, three firm candidates have emerged viz: Rt. Honourable Linus Abba Okorie of the Labour Party (LP), Chief Ifeanyi Eleje of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Prof. Okorie Ani of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Unfortunately, my dear party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is currently enmeshed in crisis as we await the decision of the Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki to determine if we indeed have a candidate (a situation that has dealt a serious blow to our ability to firmly campaign for this critically important election).
To the discerning mind, the February 3, 2024 election in Ebonyi South Senatorial District is not just a re-run election, but an existential political outing that will go a long way in determining the foreseeable future of political and democratic freedom of the people of Ebonyi South Senatorial District.
The election is not just about the candidates, but more about the byzantine orchestration of one man to emerge as the potentate of Ebonyi State. Ebonyi South seems the last frontier for political pulverization.
The immediate past governor of Ebonyi State and current minister of works, His Excellency, Chief David Umahi is one man who became exposed to power about a decade and half ago and have resolved to acquire emperornic powers rooted in subduing anyone that crosses his way to an elusive jagabanic crown.
What more, like the fabled ritualists who are reputed to first sacrifice their own-the ones closest to them as a way proving that any other person is sacrificeable, Chief Umahi stood firm in ensuring that his baby brother, Chief Austin Umahi was unceremoniously sent off the race to ensure that our amiable and slow-talking Prof. Ani from Onicha Igboeze emerged as the candidate of the APC.
The game plan is very clear, haven been scared off the 10th Senate, Chief Umahi has resolved to make a comeback in 2027, and that time he will be gunning for the Presidency of the Senate, so it is important that a PLACEBO be placed on the Ebonyi South Senate seat for easy removal in 2027.
Ordinarily, one would think that the likes of my good friend and vibrant, progressive and well-loved politician, Engr. Ogbonnaya Igboke who contested the OHANIVO Federal Constituency Seat would have been favoured, or even the cerebral Chief Donatus Njoku, or the goggle-wearing Barr. Valentine Okike, Okibe 1, or the perennial candidate option, Prof. Chigozie Ogbu, or the well-spoken, massively experienced erudite former Deputy Speaker of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Odefa Obasi Odefa would have been penciled down to take the seat for the sake of power –balancing, but no, Chief David Umahi would rather prefer a newbie who would (in his thinking) not pose any challenge relinquishing the seat in 2027.
Coincidentally, Ebonyi South, one of the most sophisticated senatorial zones in Igboland has always stood out in their ability to enforce their democratic rights, assert their freedom, and fervent belief in the pursuit of excellence. The history of what we know today as Ebonyi South definitely predates the great Akanu Ibiam or Onyibe Ajah Nwachukwu and the pantheon of proud sons and daughters of Igboland that spurned from this region, so the spirit remains alive.
To this end, it is a call to duty for the people of Ebonyi State to affirm their dignity, freedom, and democratic right to elect their choice representative into the 10th Senate.
In February 2023, the zone spoke clearly in unison and cast their votes for Rt. Hon. Linus Abba Okorie of the Labour party, with Distinguished Senator Michael Amah Nnachi coming behind gallantly based on INEC results before the violence-induced declaration that saw Chief Umahi spending 40 plus days in the Senate.
Really, I don’t think anything has changed, so the people of Ebonyi South should re-affirm their stand on February 3, 2024.
Governor Ogbonnaya Nwifuru and the Ebonyi South Election
Since May 29, 2023 when Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonnaya Nwifuru took over as the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, even the blind can see significant changes in the life of the people of Ebonyi State. From the health sector, education, civil service and business environment, the story has been that of Halleluiah, people have heaved a sigh of relief.
In real terms, good governance is never forced, people naturally get attracted to it so Governor Nwifuru is already attracting the love of Ebonyi people without violence and without deceit.
There has been a subterfuge plan to blackmail Governor Nwifuru to breath down on the people of Ebonyi South to see the APC candidate emerge as a way of PROVING that he is capable. What a shame! Governor Nwifuru has already proven his capability and humane nature when he employed medical staff to take care of the people of Ebonyi State, Nwifuru has proven that he is a kind man, a leader when he decided to pay Ebonyi workers, in fact, when Governor Nwifuru decided to free the LGAs to function and touch the lives of the people at the grassroots, he has proven that he can do it.
Governor Ogbonnaya Nwifuru will rather reaffirm his democratic credentials IF he will allow the people of Ebonyi South to chose the man who will represent them in the Senate.
For the avoidance of doubt, whoever emerges at the Senator representing Ebonyi South will definitely work with Governor Nwifuru to advance the good cause of Ebonyi State, so there, is nothing to lose, rather, it is TRUST and Comradeship that will be gained and that is what we need as a state to move forward.
The excellent republican nature of the Igboman guarantees peace because everyone counts, we abhor emperors and indeed, the lives of Ebonyians which is currently under rehabilitation is a testimony to adverse effects of the emperornic endeavors of the last eight years, and a free Ebonyi South will just be the icing on the cake for Governor Ogbonnaya Nwifuru.
Let Ebonyi South and Ebonyi State Succeed.