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Marginalization, What Marginalization?

Author: Onyebuchi Ene
Posted to the web: 7/8/2005 4:20:21 AM

The highly talked about year 2007 is a few months from now. And as usual, political gladiators are arranging their cards to bring out the aces. In the business of 2007, all that is foul is fair. It is a war that is meant to be won with a combination of untruth, bravado and illicit sentiments. Morality is, of course, the first casualty, and alongside it, the truth. In the Southeastern part of Nigeria where our fellow countrymen are unfortunately painting the impression that survival of the fittest and elimination of the weakest is as much part of our political credo, the business of untruth is even fiercer and prosecuted with a cold-blooded finish. Enugu State, former capital of the defunct eastern region, is no doubt beginning to reap its own portion of the cadaver-hunt. The manifestation of this self-serving card game, for now, is a supposed cry of marginalisation from some political elite. The target: Paint the picture of a government of hate, pale the massive developmental initiatives unrivalled in the history of the region going on in the state into insignificance and prepare its carcass as ready meat for the pall-bearers and undertakers of 2007! Make no mistake about it: the business of 2007 is no tea party; it is no business of the weakling, a la the gladiators. In Enugu, they started from the sublime and are gradually heading for the crescendo. In year 2004, totally politically saturated aftermath a resounding loss at the appellate court of appeal where they had gone to seek an upturn of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) victory, and seemingly eating a humble pie, the All Progressives Alliance Party (APGA), had granted a press conference where they said, agreed, Chimaroke Nnamani, the governor of the state, was performing –– they themselves listed the projects the government had embarked upon which they tacitly agreed were indeed massive –– but they claimed that but for their quality of opposition, he would not have embarked upon them! February 7 came and Olusegun Obasanjo who, it annoys them on end, had chosen to pay Enugu State a visit, landed in the Coal City and was piloted through all the projects of the government. Shivers ran through their spines as their informants related the marvel of the President at the gigantic nature of the projects. Like a nail rammed in to nail the coffin of a wicked man, the president made that highly projected statement of his which, this writer was told, he had never made about any government of a state in Nigeria, not even his own state, Ogun, to the effect that Nnamani’s colleagues in the other 35 states of the country should come and learn from him and clone his Midas-touches. If you accuse the political permutators of cold-blooded attempt at taking the truth to the smithy for a forge so that it could be stunted, you cannot fault their resilience and commitment to their cause. So when, recently, they reportedly authored a supposed letter to President Obasanjo to railroad him into believing that ‘‘the boy’’ he so much eulogized was a hater of his people, they proceeded one foot forward in their propaganda blitzkrieg but shot themselves on that same foot. To be fair to the petitioners, their grouse is basically on federal appointments, pointing invariably to the fact that all is well at home in Enugu State. First, they claimed that federal political appointments were tilted only to the Enugu East Senatorial Zone where the governor hails from. Is Dr. George Eneh, who served for two years as Director General of the National Maritime Agency (NMA) from Enugu East, or was he an Nkanu man? What about Mr. Ferdinand Agu who succeeded him and served his full four-year term? Were they both not from Udi Local Government? What about Agu’’s replacement, Dr. Festus Ugwu? Is he not from Isi-Uzo Local Government? Talking about federal appointments, is Governor Nnamani’’s nominee for ambassadorial position, who eventually became Nigeria’’s ambassador to Zambia, not from Enugu North Senatorial zone? The political gladiators have, at one time or the other, talked about Senator Ken Nnamani, an Nkanu man, who eventually became the Senate President. But it is on record that an Nsukka man, in the person of Senator Fidelis Okoro, stepped down for Ken, an Nkanu man, which is indeed a symbol that captures the fact that when it comes to excellence, when it comes to getting a thing of benefit to the whole of Enugu State, where the person comes from does not and shouldn’’t matter. Either true or not, the press and indeed these political gladiators, have stoked the fire of the fact that Governor Nnamani, an Nkanu man, did not want his fellow Nkanu man, Ken, to become Senator, and preferred instead Ike Ekweremadu, from Aninri in Enugu West. But when it occurred to the gladiators that emphasizing Chimaroke’’s preference for excellence at the expense of geography was not in the best interest of their orchestration, they changed the tune of their song. Why are they shying away from making reference to the balance that is the hallmark of governance in the state? Being very studious students of the 48 Laws of Power, it is not in their interest to focus on the state government appointments. It would indeed take the wind off their sail to discuss the fact that the Deputy Governor, the Secretary to the State Government, the Commissioners for Lands and Housing, Poverty Reduction, Special Duties, Agriculture, Public Utilities and sundry others are from the Nsukka Senatorial zone. Tried as they did, getting the argument past the boundary of logic and reasoning to the effect that other senatorial zones except the governor’’s are lacking government touch has been falling face flat. How do you argue that the multi-million naira Opi-Nsukka road, awarded to cronies by their own son, Nwodo, as governor, but which remained unexecuted but rather became a public nuisance, necessitating the tag Nwodo Pancake, even by the people themselves, which the Nnamani government began and completed is not part of his push for the esteemed Nsukka people? How do you stand where cries of marginalization are being sung when the multi-million naira Obollo-Afor –– Ogrutte road, embarked upon by the Nnamani administration, is almost completed? Where is the polemicist’’s manhood if he argues with his own mouth that someone who has almost completed the Nsukka––Ibagwa-Aka––Ogrutte––Ette road is marginalizing his people? Of what hue of marginalization would you classify the Ozalla-Ezimo water scheme which has been a lifesaver for the people of Nsukka Senatorial zone, and which was Nnamani’’s brainchild? How can anyone say that the completed N4.2 million water reservoir built by the state government at Okpatu in Udi Local Government Council, the N2.7 million rural electrification project at Ezalli Amala in Udenu Local Government and the N3 million rural electrification project at Ezema Oma in Ezeagu, through the Community Development County Council of the state government are non-existent? From what this writer gathered, proposed projects of the CDCC also include (for areas outside Enugu) a N13m concrete bridge over Atavu river at Ogbozinre Akpugo, a N3.5m rural electrification at Inyi Enugu Ezike in Igbo- Eze, N3. 5m rural electrification at Alo Uno in Nsukka West, N2. 5m Cottage hospital at Agbudu, Mbanabo North, 30,000 gallons of steel water tank at Umuavulu Abor in Ojebeogene in Udi local Government of N2. 6m, the N3. 5m Umuada rural electrification which is also in Udi Local Government, among others. Space would fail this writer to actually put a lie to the symphony of hate that is the preoccupation of those whose brief is to make the corpse walk by waking the ghost of an issue of marginalization that has long been interred with the exit of military rule. Once again, to be fair to this crop of people, none of them has sought to disprove or belittle the massive developmental initiatives currently going on in the state. But what some of them, in their moment of extreme hate, a moment that logic and reasoning take a flight from the human person, do is that they take their pseudo cries of marginalization down to the doorsteps of some of the projects, asking why they could not be cited in their localities. Fine argument. But the fact also remains that Enugu had suffered very serious quarantine by past military and civilian leaders, one of whom is an Nsukka person. There is thus the need to recover the glory of the state capital from where the M. I. Okparas left it, ensconced in cobwebs. This is why some of the projects are located in the state capital. Come to think of it, isn’’t it natural all over the world that state capitals always get preferential treatments because they house the largest bulk of the state inhabitants? In any case, don’t Nsukka people and other areas inhabit Enugu or is it only Nkanu children that would school at the permanent site of the Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT) which is located on 600 hectares of land? Are Nsukka indigenes not part of the students that school at the ESUT Teaching Hospital? Is the International Conference Centre for a particular senatorial zone people? Is it Nkanu people alone who would ply the double carriageway underground tunnel? Is the judiciary headquarters exclude Nsukka people or would the 324 Loma Linda housing estate house indigenes of one geographical zone, to the exclusion of others? The gladiators need to restrategize. These lies have failed. *Onyebuchi Ene is of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

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