Between candour, eye-servants, lapdogs: Abia deputy governor’s dilemma

If democracy was our communal ideology, then the Pyrrhonism of its primary tenet — accountability — is inexcusable.

Accountability denotes responsibility and supersedes performance. It is the scrutiny of the motive behind an action, its long term benefits and imports. Suffice it to say that the sustainability of our democracy for optimum dividends is dependent on our consistent upholding of its fundamental objective — to hold public office holders accountable. Albeit, some lapdogs see it as a smear campaign.

It brings us to Abia state where we espoused equity as pivotal to sustaining our democracy. Equity, therefore, goes beyond the buzzword “our turn” as we have naively pictured it. It means fairness which symbolises good conscience in this milieu.

On this proposition, my opinionated article, “Abia PDP paradigm, not the touchstone of equity (Part 1),” adumbrated some scenarios where His Excellency, Ude Oko, gave equity the elbow.

The article was not to run roughshod over him or cast aspersions but to reawaken his consciousness to an insidious faux pas menacing his political ascendency. But his aides made him Aunt Sally with a villainous brummagem response.

To nattily hid under electoral wards to make the Etitiama Nkporo community appear silent is more of an indictment than sheathing the lop-sidedness I highlighted in my article.

For the record, Nkporo has three electoral wards, with communities as constituents. According to the INEC list of electoral wards in Abia state, they are:

• Ndi Elu ward: Etitiama and Amurie communities

• Ndi Agbo ward: Agbaja, Okwoko and Ukwa communities

• Ndi Etiti ward: Elughu, Obuofia and Ndi Nko communities

These are the composition of villages in the three federal wards.

It is deluding that they arrogated all political appointments in Nkporo to the deputy governor. Some of the appointees were already serving in different capacities in government long before the deputy governor returned from Lagos to pursue a career in politics.

An example is his chief press secretary, Mr Obasi Okibe Onwuka. He was a councillor and the secretary to the LGA even before the deputy governor joined politics. When the deputy governor emerged as a house member between 2008/10, he forced Obasi Onwuka out and replaced him with Barr. David Iro from Etitiama, his PA at that time.

His action meant that the council leader and a house member were from the same enclave for a position zoned to Ohafia North, and Nkporo/Abiriba to be precise.

The appointments of the former Perm Sec, Education, Dr Juliet Orji, and the ABROMA chairman, Mr Agu Ndukwe Orji, were not the making of the deputy governor. This also applies to the appointment of Mr James Orji Ndukwe (ASEPA, Abia North) and Barr. Onuoha Uka Udeka, commissioner of police (retd). Governor Ikpeazu appointed them.

Conversely, let us appraise those he appointed — youth leader, Ohafia LGA, PDP chairman, Education secretary and the DG, adviser to the governor, legislative matters — and the time frame. The appointments were coeval — 2019 to date.

Even if he did appoint them, it is not still benevolence but a reciprocal gesture because his people collectively empowered him. He owes his political ascendancy to their mandate.

But in this circumstance, the rise of opposition in Nkporo and Abia North coerced him to facilitate these appointments. If the need to survive the 2019 election forced him to dispense with his prebendalism, he did it under duress, not in good conscience. In other words, in the absence of the APC renaissance and density, the deputy governor would not have found the middle ground. That was not a demonstration of equity (fairness).

Ohafia LGA had 128,000 registered voters in 2019. The PDP could only gather less than 20,000 votes in the gubernatorial election. Of the 128,000, Nkporo had 34,000 registered voters. The Etitiama, Ndi Elu ward (deputy governor’s village) with 15 polling units had 11,000 of the 34,000 registered voters. But the PDP got about 10,000 votes out of the 34,000 registered voters in Nkporo.

It portrayed a clear sign of pervasive public discontent with the deputy governor and stood at variance with his associates’ praises. In their harum-scarum rejoinder, his so-called magnanimity was limited to the Nkporo people alone.

Let us assume that it is the true reflection of the reality on the ground. Now, where are the rest of the LGAs that constitute Abia North?

It is embarrassing that the cogency of his aides’ response could not prove that his office is for the entirety of the Abia North. In all honesty, no reasonable man will see the response as a touchstone of an exhibition of good conscience and fair play.

I challenge the deputy governor’s eye-servants and lapdogs to list the appointments from him in other Nkporo villages before 2020.

The list of appointees below and the period of engagement tell the entire story.

• 2008-2010: David Iro (Etitiama Nkporo) Leader Ohafia LG Legislative Council

• 2011-2015: Ude OB ASI Ogbu (Etitiama Nkporo) Adviser Legislative Matters, Abia Governor

• 2012-2016: David Iro (Etitiama Nkporo) Ohafia LGA PDP Youth Leader

• 2013-2019: Chief U. U. Egwu (Etitiama Nkporo) Education Secretary Ohafia LGA Education Authority LGEA

• 2016-2018: Prince Otuu Irukwu (Etitiama Nkporo) Secretary Ohafia LGA SECLOG.

• 2016-2020: David Iro (Etitiama Nkporo) Abia State PDP Youth Leader

• 2016-2020: John Okocha (Etitiama Nkporo) Ohafia LGA PDP Chairman

• 2020- date: David Iro (Etitiama Nkporo) Abia State PDP Secretary

• 2020-date: Agu Kalu Agu (Etitiama Nkporo) Ohafia LGA PDP Deputy Chairman.

• 2019-date: O’brain Iro (Etitiama Nkporo) Adviser Governor Abia State.

• 2020-date: Ndukwe Oju Uka (Etitiama Nkporo) Leader Ohafia LGA Legislative Council

• 2019-date: O’brain Iro (Etitiama Nkporo) DG Ikpeazu Vision Rangers

• 2019-date: Uka Agbai Iro (Etitiama Nkporo, David Iro’s younger brother) Chairman Ikpeazu Vision Rangers Aba South LGA.

Join me on Thursday for “Abia PDP paradigm not touchstone of equity (Part 2)”.

Don Norman Obinna

Don Norman is the acclaimed author of 'Raped & Enslaved: Era of Kleptocracy'.

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