Comrade Akpa Francis, a public affairs commentator revisits the current succession controversy in Enugu State ahead of 2023 and questions zoning that excludes people of old Awgu Division.
In my previous writeup with the title, “The Deceitful Zoning Propaganda in Enugu State”, I tried to show how Greater Awgu (cultural zone) people, comprising Awgu, Aninri and Oji River local government areas of Enugu have been reduced to the political weeping child of the state. This is due to the worst form of political marginalisation foisted on the people before, during and after the creation of Enugu State.
Expectedly, the writeup attracted mixed reactions. In that writeup, many pertinent questions were raised challenging proponents of zoning in the state to provide evidence as to when and who sat together to draw the agreement on zoning (written or unwritten).
While many hailed the logicality of the argument, some people with opposing views made feeble attempts to counter the argument even as they were lacking in facts and failed woefully to provide answers to the basic questions raised. Their best attempt was to say that zoning was conventional and that it has come to stay! We shall return to that later.
In this second intervention, I basically want to present further historical evidence to buttress the point that in 2023, by reason of equity, justice and fairness, Ndi Awgu, whether by “cultural zone” or old divisional structure (or even affirmation), should be supported to produce the next governor of Enugu State. Power can still shift to Nkanu cultural zone (still part of old Udi Division) afterwards. By so doing, equity is still served.
The old Awgu Division was created by the British colonial authorities in 1919 and later gave birth to Oji River Local Government during the Nationwide Local Government Reform of 1976 while Aninri LGA was later carved out of Awgu in 1996.
From the introduction of a Federal Constitution in Nigeria in 1954, until the end of the Nigerian Civil war in 1970, our dear Enugu State of today that was officially created in August 27, 1991, made up of three old administrative divisions, old Awgu Division, old Nsukka and old Udi Division, the old Udi Division, covers both Agbaja and Nkanu clans.
This unique and constitutional position of the three defunct divisions in Enugu State has long been recognised by successive governments pre and post-Independence.
In the 1957-1959, the cabinet of Eastern Region, led by the then Premier of Eastern Region, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, historically, three ministers were selected to represent the three divisions that were to later constitute Enugu State.
The ministers, Chief Basil Okwu from Achi (old Awgu Division) then Minister for Information; Chief John Nwodo from Ukehe (old Nsukka Division) then Minister for Commerce; and Chief. Elias Aneke Chime from Udi town (old Udi Division) then Minister for Welfare.
Also, under the post-Independence government of Eastern Region, led by Dr. Michael Okpara as then Premier of Eastern Region (1960-1963), we had: Chief B.C. Okwu (old Awgu Division) as Minister for Health, Chief J.U. Nwodo (old Nsukka Division) as Minister for Local Government, and Chief E.A. Chime (old Udi Division) as then Provincial Commissioner, Enugu.
The above is equity and fairness. What then happened later?
Governorship: verifiably, the old Udi Division has produced the following elected governors of Enugu State, they are: Chief Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo from Amechi Awkunanaw (old Udi Division), Governor, old Anambra State, 1979-1983; Chief Christian Chukwuma Onoh from Ngwo (old Udi Division), Governor old Anambra State, October 1983 till December, 1983; Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani from Agbani Nkanu (old Udi Division), Governor Enugu State, 1999-2007; and Barr. Sullivan Iheanacho Chime from Udi town (old Udi Division), Governor Enugu State, 2007-2015.
Old Nsukka Division has also produced the following elected governors of Enugu State: Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo.