By Igbonekwu Ogazimorah
Equity, like nature, abhors Double Portion.
Double Portion actually means having more than fair share, especially when some have not had any at all. For instance, in power sharing in Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani represented the share of the Nkanu people (Enugu East), on the throne of Lion Building. Sullivan Chime was for the Enugu West Zone, while Gburugburu Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is closing the circle as the holder of the mantle on behalf of the Nsukka Zone (Enugu North). If any of the Senatorial Zones had held the position more than once, whereas one has not held at all, it would have amounted to “double portion”, which is capable of igniting conflicts.
But, so far, it has been such seamless and impressive cycle of sharing.
Testamentary laws, especially in the Commonwealth, frown at Double Portion. “You cannot get more than your fair share…” In most of Igbo societies, “Double Portion” was the reason some wars were fought, villages sacked, territories seized and heads rolled. Hmmmmm, “heads will roll.”
Back then, in the early 1990s, the then Governor Okwy Nwodo of old Enugu State had devised what he called the Triangular Equilibrium. He said that the then old Enugu State should be construed to mean a political tripod made of the Abakaliki Senatorial Zone, the Nsukka Senatorial Zone and the Enugu Senatorial Zone. Although it was an age of innocence, it was curious making out what Nwodo actually planned with his tripod theory. His tenure was cut short, as Sani Abacha kicked out all the governors from office in 1993
On creation of Ebonyi State, which took away Abakaliki, a third of the tripod, Enugu was not going to be left with only two legs if it must have the required number of senators and senatorial zones as provided for, in the Constitution of the Federal Republic.
So, Enugu soon returned to three-zonal structure: Enugu West senatorial zone, Enugu East senatorial zone and Enugu North senatorial zone.
Hard core political strikers of the Enugu North (Nsukka Zone) were not happy. To them, it was unjust to split the old Enugu Zone into two senatorial zones while Enugu North remained one. But the old Enugu zone had 11 local government areas whereas the Enugu North (Nsukka) had six. In any case, Enugu was not offered more than three Senatorial Seats/zones.
The people of Enugu East and Enugu West, aware that this is a matter of federal jurisdiction, it would amount to waste of time to discuss it. So, having been settled in law and fact that Enugu State is made of three geopolitical/senatorial zones, the political leaders of Enugu North (Nsukka) ought to understand. No, they want some amendments, even if it is internal to Enugu State.
An outgoing Senator, Chuka Utazi gave a punching hint last year. “…power sharing in Enugu State should be between Nsukka (Enugu North) and old Enugu (Enugu East and Enugu West).”
One character among men, long on the stage, short on derivable, gave this analysis on the attached video clip. “The governorship of Sullivan Chime, whose deputy was an Nkanu man (Enugu East), meant total exclusion of the Nsukka people from the Lion Building, for eight years… the eight years each of Chimaroke Nnamani and Sullivan Chime must be seen and accepted as 16 years for one zone – the old Enugu Zone.” He argues further, the eight years of Governor Ugwuanyi must be added with another eight years of a fresh governor from the North (Nsukka), to bring it to 16 years, so that Nsukka would have as much as old Enugu has had”.
To him, fairness can only mean, 16-years-of-Nsukka-for-16-years-of-Enugu.
Mid way, he appears to reaslise how unrealistic he is getting.
He continues, “let the governorship go to Isi Uzo. Thank God, our Nsukka brothers in Isi Uzo are in Enugu East Zone…we will use them to get our full share. Governor Ugwuanyi must make an Isi Uzo man the governorship candidate of the PDP. If an Isi Uzo man becomes the governor, with an Enugu North (Nsukka) man as the deputy governor, then we have revenged what Nnamani did to the Nsukka people.”
The crowd roared in approval. I was surprised (Video clip attached).
Of course, many did not think seriously of any of these. The zones are clearly stated in law and in fact, and such ‘atilogu’ dances over what is clear did not interest most.
But they are mistaken. These guys are dead serious. They have even taken it to the Obi-Dient Movement, using Labour Party to pretend to be part of the ongoing socio-political reengineering riding the wave of the Obi-Dient Movement across the globe.
Boom, came the now withdrawn war threat of Senator-Elect, Okey Ezea. “It is war between Nsukka and Nkanu,” he thundered at a rally.
Ordinarily, Ezea is an urbane gentleman, not given to threatening wars. He never really liked to ruffle feathers, much as he had been in pursuit of political office for a long time. A generous and down to earth gentleman, who preferred to power himself to personal fortune through a dint of hard work and long held connections in the maritime industry. He outburst was a surprise to many.
Any way, he has since retracted.
Divide and Rule
Last year, the report started trickling in that there had been sneaky, crawled-by-night moves to excavate some fast fading primordial social boundaries and imaginary cultural lines in Enugu East and Enugu West. The target of the Labour Party was to find a footing in any form of division among the Nkanus, so that their bid for power would hold some water. Most of the elites ignored it, now to their chagrin.
At the same time, every effort was being made to hold on to Isi Uzo as an Nsukka territory which chances at governorship would translate to such as extended to the Enugu North. The rest we know, as they have not yet said, are not yet history. If you know, you know!
I have had causes to investigate the ethno-historical origin of the major community clusters that make up Isi Uzo. My searches always point in one direction: the Nkanu, Nkale, Nkali, Nkere assemblages in history, are all founded on an erstwhile Izzi/Ezza dispersals. Then I saw the Okwoga administrative records and who was included. Nsukka was of the Okwoga Division. Isi Uzo was not. The Abakaliki Divisional records give all you need to know about the Nkali, Nkanu, etc, heritages. But the Enugu records, housing Eha Amufu as part of the Nikes (Like) of Enugu repeatedly in 1912, 1928 and 1939, would have settled it.
But of course, people become who they chose to become. It hardly matters here.
What matters at moment is the carefully designed program to turn the agenda of these crawled-by-night seekers into an Obi-Dient program. It could not have been an Odi-Dient thing. It is even incapable of disguising as a Labour Party agenda.
It is an agenda of the Crawled-by-night 16-for-16 seekers.
Ugwuanyi must fall
They are seasoned politicians, with the knack for smart electioneering strategies. This strategy is simple. “Make the 16-for-16 agenda one of the desires to rupture the political system, feed this to the rest of Enugu youths, and create a movement which shall ride the crest of the Obi-Dient Movement.
“And, for not supporting this 16-for-16 Agenda, Governor Ugwuanyi must fall. His elective political career must be momentarily brought to a halt.”(Not their exact words).
It was astonishing, listening to the carefree lawyer who rattled, on the premises of the High Court. He could scarcely mask his rage.
First of all, let us understand why the Nsukka people appear to be so resentful of Governor Ugwuanyi, to the extent that they started with an armed struggle which lasted over six months, then followed it with this inexplicable embarrassment at the polls.
Did Governor Ugwuanyi actually fail his people of Enugu North (Nsukka)? Are his in-house media handlers to blame? Did he apply the wrong media strategy?
One Lagos based editor said that his media handlers are to blame. “They are as guilty as charged. They think that executive office media management is limited to handing over fat brown envelopes and turning back the journalists.”
When reminded that Ugwuanyi never really liked live media interactions, as was revealed, he quipped, “So, his projects also disliked media exposure?”
An analytical young friend, Ugochukwu Mba, argues, “Ugwuanyi was not pounded by his Nsukka brothers for not performing. Gburugburu performed, and greatly too, in favour of Nsukka people. He gave them everything. Just take a look at his appointments in almost every office in Enugu State. Gburugburu gave it all to his people. In most of the ministries, his people are lined up from Commissioner down to the clerks. 90 percent of the parastatals are headed by Nsukka people. The same goes for academic institutions. Look at the newly created Housing Estates and the allocation of lands that came with them. The NTA Estate, WTC Estate, Diamond Estate, Greater Enugu, etc. Nsukka people took over 80 per cent of the allocations. Some of the structures were personally erected by the governor and given to his Nsukka people. Look at the brand new university at Igbo Ano. When the Federal Government established a Federal Polytechnic, it was at Nsukka. Go to Nsukka and see the renewal of Nsukka Urban, among other edifying projects.”
So, why the hatred and eventual rejection?
“My Oga, the problem is that Gburugburu is not part of the sit-tight agenda of those Nsukka irredentists.”
But how would a governor perform so well for his people, but got so rudely unrequited? “His people want all for now, and since he is not part of that agenda, he must be cut down.”
I was speechless. Indeed, the three new giant structures the governor erected in the headquarters of the Ministry of Justice, he named after three Nsukka jurists. So, how else can the man appease his people? Are they such ingrates?
According to the young man, what irritates most was that whereas the young Nsukka are playing the 16-for-16 Agenda, using the now fiery Obi-Dient activism, the youths of Enugu East and Enugu West (the actual Odi-Dients), are playing woke (political correctness) with the same Obi-dient Movement.” So, they are being duped.
I have been thinking long and hard about the power possibilities of an emergent crawl by night irredentists and Flight-by-day Obi-Dients. Whereas the genuine Obi-Dients are genuine, the others, schooled in masking their intensions, are garbed of the present political tour de force, just as had been the case in history of revolutions. During the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, there were persons captured by writers as “Monarchists at night, Bolsheviks in the day.” Of course, many Monarchists escaped the massacre and became parts of the new Communist Bolsheviks Order. Deep State actors are usually trained to function that way.
My friend had initially planned to work with the Labour Party as these contests unfolded. Like yours truly, he is an ardent supporter of the national Obi-Dient Movement. But having studied the regimes of opportunism of so called political “niche carvers,” I warned him and invited him to seek further clarifications with older players.
The attempt to resurrect the dying primordial sentiment in Nkanu, as the Labour Party desperately sought a foothold in Enugu East zone was quite nauseating to me. The ongoing offers, deals and percolations, all in the attempt to split the West, are crass opportunism. I told him, too.
These were also pointed out to us soon after we met a retired old war horse. He shook his head as he laughed at my friend: “So, you want to be a part of those who are exploiting the old anger and division in Nkanu land? You will be finished. You want to be part of those trying to bring back what everybody is working hard to forget? Try it. My dear, flee from those people. Flee from any man who capitalises on your disagreement with your wife to try to ‘do it’ with her”
We know. Backdoor channels are always possible in pursuit of most objectives in life. Many who have no understanding of the mechanics of spontaneous social changes may not even appreciate the national political current beating the shores. It is like a powerful storm, and it offers room for opportunism.
In the present case, in Enugu State, it already seems hijacked by this 16-for-16 Movement. They swear that they have never heard of Ebeano; they have all been angels; they are whiter than snows; and they are not of the old order. But in truth, they are the “crawled-by-night” as 16-for16 irredentists and Flight-by-day as Obi-Dients.
They have adorned the fashion in town – Obi-Dient Movement. The rest are clapping!
Shine your eyes!
Ogazimorah, one time Commissioner for Information Strategies, Culture and Tourism in Enugu State, is a Public Affairs Analyst and an Attorney at Law.