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Why Enugu North Should Produce Labour Party Deputy Governorship Candidate – CLO Boss

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The Executive Director of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Comrade Ibuchukwu Ezike, has vehemently rejected an attempt to rewrite the geopolitical history of Enugu State by using cultural affiliation rather than clearly defined senatorial districts to determine the faith of Enugu North Senatorial District, otherwise known as Nsukka zone, in the 2023 general elections.

He insisted that any attempt to deny Enugu North Senatorial District the deputy governorship slot of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 governorship election in the State will be unjust, ungodly, exploitative and demeaning for the people of the zone.

The CLO boss, who was reacting to a proposal contained in a letter written by Dr. Gabriel Onoh, eldest son of former governor of old Anambra State, late Chief Chukwuma Onoh, to Labour Party governorship candidate in the state, Chief Chijioke Edeoga, maintain that Onoh’s advice to the LP candidate to pick a running mate outside Enugu North for cultural reasons is misplacement of the Nsukka people in the geography and politics of the state since 1999.

Onoh, in the letter, had advised Edeoga against picking his running mate from Enugu North Senatorial District, stressing that such a decision would create polarisation among the cultural divisions in the state.

According Onoh’s letter, he said, “There’s no smoke without fire and rumour has it that you will be picking your fellow Nsukka indigene as your deputy.

“Permit me to disagree with your decision, if true. Those that advised you to even consider such are not politicians but haters.

“First, such a decision will bring an unprecedented polarisation amongst the cultural divisions we have in our state. The future consequences are obvious.

“Second, we can’t on one hand criticise Tinubu for his decision of a Muslim/Muslim ticket, and on the other, do the exact same thing.

“Forget about politicians who never studied Geography but will bring up cardinal points like ‘East by Northwest’ and lead you to believe that those fancy words have any bearing in Enugu political culture. The truth is, your identity as far as the people of Enugu State are concerned, is Nsukka”, he wrote.

But in his response, Comrade Ezike, disagreed with Onoh, insisting that his notion was an attempt to intimidate and exploit Nsukka zone.

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Ezike insisted that Government Area, where Edeoga, the governorship candidate of Labour Party hails from, is in the Enugu East Senatorial District, where the governorship slot has been zoned but shares a similar cultural affinity with Nsukka people.

Comrade Ezike recalled that in the old Anambra State before the creation of Ebony and Enugu states, there were five Senatorial Districts, namely, Abakaliki, Enugu, Nsukka, Awka and Onitsha.

He noted that during the 1979 general elections, Senator Isaiah Ani was elected to represent Nsukka District, while Senator B.C Okwu represented the old Enugu District, not Udi, Greater Awgu, Ezeagu or Nkanu, the entities that constituted the old Enugu Senatorial (cultural zone) just like the old Nsukka cultural zone.

He said that having read the letter by Onoh, “I make haste to say that the letter is fraught with gross injustice and tends to demean the stature, integrity and geography of the Nska people.

“It may sound logical for anyone who does not understand the cultural configurations of Enugu State to believe that what GB (Gabriel Onoh) wrote is great and in line with truth and fairness.

“I totally disagree with such notion and argue that there is no iota of truth in his letter but an attempt to intimidate and exploit Nska people”, he said.

To support his position, Comrade Ezike maintained that in “the old Anambra State, there were five Senatorial Districts namely Abakaliki, Enugwu, Nsukka, Awka and Onitsha.

“During the 1979 general elections, Senator Isaiah Ani was elected to represent Nsukka District while Senator B.C Okwu represented Enugwu District, not Udi or Greater Awgu or Ezeagu or Nkanu – the whole Enugu cultural zone.

“All of these entities formed Enugu Senatorial (cultural zone) just like Nsukka cultural zone.

“In August, 1991, when the new Anambra State was created, we were left with three Senatorial Districts; Abakaliki (the largest population), Nsukka (the second largest population) and Enugwu (the least population).

“This was the anchor upon which HE Okwy Nwodo’s political ideology of Triangular Equilibrium was based.

“In 1996, Ebonyi State was created and Abakaliki left to join the Old Afikpo Division to form the new state.

“At this time, the new Enugu State was left with Enugu and Nsukka cultural/Senatorial zones with Nsukka as the larger population.

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“Unfortunately, when Senatorial Districts were carved out in the new state, the larger and more populous zone was left with one Senatorial District while the small populated Enugu zone emerged with two Senatorial Districts with only Isi Uzo secretly carved out to make up Enugu East Senatorial District.

“This is how a people who went out to fight for justice and equity came back to tell the other that we are more Enugu than you.

“And since this period, it has been like this. I am disappinted by GB’s analysis in looking at political configuration as cultural.

“Politically, Isi Uzo is no more Nsukka but Enugu East. For instance, Isi Uzo is paired with Enugu East Local Government as one Federal Constituency and not even Udenu that was carved out of old Isi Uzo.

“If it is the turn of Enugu North to produce the Governorship of Enugu State, Isi Uzo, though Nsukka in culture, cannot contest but they are contesting today because they are from Enugu East Senatorial District.

“GB, where were you in 1999 when no single citizen of Enugu North Senatorial District headed any of the three arms of Government – the Executive, Legislative and Judicial and none was given any juicy positions such as SSG (Secretary to the State Government), COS (Chief of Staff) etc, or even Ministerial position alotted to the state?

“Where have you been since 1999, that no Enugu North citizen has held the position of a Minister for 23 years or you don’t see this as unjust, unfair, exploitative and immensely oppressive?”, Comrade Ezike queried.

He added that “In 2007, the fair thing would have been that Enugu North would have produced the Governor of the state but it went to Enugu West and to Udi your own place.

“Did you rise in solidarity with ndị Nsukka or Enugu North to protest the injustice? Not done.

“H. E. Sullivan Chime appointed H. E. Sunday Onyebuchi as the Deputy Governor, the same Enugu cultural zone, smaller in population than Nsukka and you kept mute.

“Where was justice in an Enugu man handing over to a kinsman as Governor and a governor from Enugu cultural Zone picking another man from Enugu cultural zone as his Deputy?

“Where were you when all these anomalies, injustices and abuses took place? Or what is the difference between what happened in the state between 1999 and 2015 and what is about to happen now?

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“If ndị Nsukka explained to their kinsmen and women that an Enugu man handed over to an Enugu man as Governor and that another Enugu man picked an Enugu man as his Deputy, why can’t you, please, appeal to your own kinsmen and women in Enugu West to do the same in 2023?

“Denying ndị Enugu North the Deputy Governorship in 2023 will not only be unjust but wicked, unGodly, exploitative and demeaning.

“(This is) because what it will look like is that what is good for Enugu cultural Zone is not good for their brothers and sisters of Nsukka cultural origin.

“It also means that rather than rely on political zones to address political issues, we are relying on cultural contiguity which has no place in politics like this.

“Or is it because Nsukka people have this tradition of answering an Nsukka man or woman not minding their communities, local governments or cultural contiguity?

“What the entire Enugu cultural zone is, is exactly what the entire Nsukka zone is.

“Let me remind you, sir, in case you forget, that in few years to come, the first Chief Judge of Enugu State of Nsukka origin will have retired and by this time, Enugu North may not head any Arm of Government in the state in this dispensation and Enugu West will be in charge of the legislative arm and, at the same time, the Deputy Governor of the state? How fair is this sir?”, he further questioned.

In summarising his response to the letter, Comrade Ezike said “sir, I appeal to you and the Enugu West Senatorial District to allow the incoming Governor, Hon. Barr. Chijioke Jonathan Edeoga a free hand to select his Deputy from Enugu North if we are desirous of wanting him to become the next Governor of Enugu State come 2023 because there is no way we can preach to nd Enugu North that their legitimate share or entitlement had been given to another zone or District.

“It will be disastrous for us to lose Nsukka votes in 2023”, Comrade Ezike appealled.

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