By Muhammad Ajah
I, like thousands of other Ebonyians, was moved by the positive reactions to a piece in a regional newspaper, Citizens’ Advocate. The article entitled: “The Bridger Ebonyians Want in 2015”, was by one of the strongest political pressure groups in Ebonyi known as Social Justice Advocacy (SJA). Since its publication,it has been a source of discussion among Ebonyi people including the Catholic Bishops, youth groups and politicians in the state. In the said article, spokesman of SJA, Ekuma Elija Igwe, made a very valid case for equity, justice and fairness in the governance of the state. In his analytical approach, he posited that after the creation of Ebonyi, a political slogan and arrangement appeared on the political timetable of the state. The arrangement, he said, was in a document known as Ebonyi charter of equity which primarily harped on the rotation of the state governorship position amongst the three senatorial districts of Ebonyi North, South and Central, but without being specific on which district to produce the first Governor and so on.
Igwe maintained that Ebonyi South had occupied the position of deputy governor for five consecutive times i.e. Dr. Emmanuel Isu from 1999 to 2001, Dr. Chigozie Ogbu from 2001 to 2003, then from 2003 to 2007, then from 2007 to 2011 and Engr. Dave Umahi from 2011 till date. Accordingly, he averred, only Dr. Isu was from the Afikpo block while the others were from Ohaozara axis. He recalled how late Dr. Francis Akanu Ibiam supported the election of the first Executive Governor of the Old Abia State, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu who is an Ohaozara man now in Ebonyi state. Added to this, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim is also from the Ohaozara block. “The Afikpo block should be supported to produce the next Governor of Ebonyi state in line with the charter of equity and mutual brotherly understanding,” he opined.
In his search for a capable and detribalized Ebonyian who “can save the state from collapsing into the river with the present unity bridge”, Igwe identified an Afikpo born social crusader, an established academia, a public manager and administrator of both national and international repute, a human right activist and a politician of integrity, Dr. Haroun Ogbonnia Ajah (Ocho Udo 1 and Nze Nna Nyeri Ugo 1 of Afikpo), as the man who will lead Ebonyians to the Promised Land from 2015.
Dr, Ajah was appointed by the then Executive Governor of Abia State, Dr. Christopher Ogbonnaya Onu as a Director, Abia Health Foods Limited under the Chairmanship of Dr. Gensha Amuta. He was appointed by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo as a member Board of Trustees of Abuja National Mosque to represent the Southeast geopolitical zone. He was once the Chairman of Itim Ward, State delegate and national delegate of the National Republican Convention (NRC) between 1990 and 1993. He was also a hard working founding father of Ebonyi state creation movement and donated his office and facilities for the use of the Movement in the old Abia state.
He has contested the seat of the Federal House of Representatives four times in an effort to bring genuine development and effective representation to the Afikpo North/South Federal Constituency in the defunct Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN), All Peoples Party (APP) and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He equally served as the Ebonyi State Secretary of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2002 and 2003 and was a member in the State PDP campaign committee which delivered power to the current Governor Chief Martin Elechi.
The first democratically elected governor of the state, Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu, was from the Ebonyi North Senatorial District. It was quite clear that power will either shift to Ebonyi Central or Ebonyi South. Gov. Martin Elechi is from the Central. And the Abuja political bloc then, saw it that way and backed him for the position. Remember that he came from outside the Ebonyi White House. That is to say, he was not a state government functionary. This means that the rotational system of the governorship position has been in order. The greatest implication of this assertion is that after his second tenure, he should work to hand over to a successor from the Ebonyi South Senatorial District.
The distribution of other positions to the senatorial districts should be equal and should be based on merits, not merely on party considerations and chameleonic loyalty. Ebonyi should enjoy unity in diversity, thus every political, religious and development-driven school of thought must be accommodated and carried along. Elechi’s victory since 2007, apart from being divinely supported was from the sweat of many political groups and individuals. Groups like Afikpo Divisional Solidarity Movement (ADSM), Solidarity Network of Nigeria (SNN), Ebonyi Youths for Democracy (EYD), amongst others disposed both human and financial capacities for the Elechi-Umahi victory.
Ebonyians believe in power rotation amongst the three senatorial districts of the state. The North and Central have had their turns respectively. It is now the turn of the South. So any attempt to hand over power to the Ezza minority of the Ebonyi South senatorial zone, as presumed by some insiders within the government circle, will mean an orchestrated ploy to undermine the effort of late elder statesman and founding father of Ebonyi State, late Ezeogo, Dr. Francis Akanu Ibiam. Afikpo people deserve it and Dr. Ajah is the PDP stalwart and chieftain who the cap fits.
Muhammad Ajah is on email@example.com