Ukoha Njoku Ukoha
Ndi Abiriba have paid their dues right from the era of Eastern Nigeria, East Central State, Imo State and now Abia State. The great Chief M. I. Okpara became the Premier of Eastern on the selfless sacrifice of an Abiriba son, Chief E. Emole. The contribution of Abiriba business community on Chief Onunaka Sam Mbakwe emergence as the Executive Governor of Imo State was a mirror in the sun. Ndi Abiriba will continue to hold their heads high on the sacrifice and integrity of Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (Ochiagha Ochimba, Eze Igbo of Nri) in defence of Ndi Igbo and her Christian faith in Nigeria. Ndi Abiriba were in the forefront in the struggle for and creation of our dear Abia State.
The Abiriba business community and over 50 functional industries owned by Ndi Abiriba provided the economic viability argument and consideration for the creation of Abia State. Abiriba business and political class like Chief Nnanna Kalu, Ezeogo Anagha Ezikpe, Chief John Inyiri Okam, Chief Obewu Ukaegbu Onwuka, Chief Onwuka Kalu, Chief Nwojo Omokorie etc. worked harmoniously and selflessly with Chief Emmanuel Adaelu, Chief B.B. Apugo, Chief Ugorji Eke to honor and reward Ezeogo Akanu Ibiam for his sacrifices for the Igbo nation and his struggle for the creation of Abia State by ceding the first slot of the Executive Governor of Abia State using the equity parameter. The Abiriba political class jettisoned the parochial temptation of supporting their brothers Dr. Eme Uche now a Professor Emeritus and Engr. Egwuonwu Kalu who were eminently qualified and parade the political muscles more than Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu. The event of that era was political selflessness in display.
The Abiriba political heavy weights and money bags lived above parochial consideration. In 1999, it was Ezeogo Anagha Ezikpe that had the PDP structure in Abia State. He was also politically selfless and supported Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu to become governor of Abia State. Dr. T. A. Orji was not left out in Ndi Abiriba’s belief in equity. In the last election, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu won in all the polling units in Abiriba. Ndi Abiriba do not only believe in equity, they practice and exhibit equity.
We cannot talk about Abia State development without Ndi Abiriba. Ndi Abiriba believe in Abia State and invested so much to realise the dream of an Abia State and keep the State afloat with the investment of her sons and daughters. It is on record that the first 3-storey building in Aba was built by Chief Ukuku Ebe, the first 5-storey building in Aba was built by Chief Nwojo Omokorie. In the 80’s, out of the 55 functional privately-owned industries in Aba, 50 was built by Ndi Abiriba (Dubic industries, Onwuka Hi-tech, Rosies Garment, Falcon Bottling Company, Interland Resources, Kan Biscuits, Monofoam, Kunex industries, Bourdex Group, Palmers, O’Mang Int’l and Home Charm Paints, Chicoco West Africa, etc).
Ironically, Ndi Abiriba are not getting a fair share in the Abia State scheme of things. Right from independence, Ndi Abiriba have invested so much on all major political parties; NCNC, NPP, NPN, SDP, NRC, PDP, APGA and APC and have exhibited political selflessness in the support of candidates in all elections. They have been political manures to major political parties and candidates since independence. This is a time to support them.
The permutation for 2023 zoning of the Governorship of Abia State have started. Ohafia LGA stands out as the destination given the Abia structure. In Ohafia LGA, Abiriba is the most marginalised politically: No Governor, no Deputy Governor, no Senator, no House of Representatives, no Minister, no Speaker, no major party chairman, no major party exco member both in the state and LGA, no Executive Chairman since the creation of Ohafia LGA. Ndi Abiriba are completely marginalised in the zoning and distribution of political offices since the creation of Abia State. They deserve better position in Abia State, Abia North, Arochukwu-Ohafia and Ohafia LGA. Ndi Abiriba must not continue to be Ndi Igbo of Abia State politics. The ruling party PDP and other political parties need to give Ndi Abiriba a sense of belonging especially considering the sacrifices and investment of Nde Abiriba before, during and after the creation of Abia State.
It is incumbent on power brokers in Abia State and a moral burden for Ndi Abia to honor and reward the sacrifices of the late Chief Nnanna Kalu, Late Chief John Okam, Late Chief Obewu Ukaegbu Onwuka, Late Chief Nwojo Omokorie and Late Chief Onwuka Kalu just like these great patriots of Abiriba extraction dropped parochial sentiment and ceded the Governorship to Afikpo for the sake of Ezeogo Akanu Ibiam when they were in a position to corner the position to Abiriba with left hand. Even when we cannot see these great patriots weep and regret in their graves, we still have Ezeogo Anagha Ezikpe and Commodore Ebitu Ukiwo (Rtd) to honor and reward for their sacrifices and investment. These great patriots and living legends should be made to know that their sacrifices was not in vain. They should be done the honour of taking the message of reciprocation to Ezeogo Akanu Ibiam and other Abia State and Igbo patriots who are no longer with us when they are called back by God for other services.
Ndi Abiriba, through the Abiriba Political Initiative, Abiriba Communal Improvement Union and Enachioken-In-Council, are extending the hands of brotherhood, friendship and alliance and will in the coming months begin state-wide consultation in Ohafia to appeal to Ndi Ohafia Udumeze, Nkporo Okwe, Our historical Arochukwu cousins, Nde Abam, Ndi Ihechiowa, Ndi Ututu, Our Bende brothers and neighbours of Ndi Igbere, Ndi Item, Ndi Alayi, Ndi Ugwueke, Ndi Bende, Ndi Uzuakoli, Ndi Ozu Item, Ndi Imenyi, our brothers in Isiukuato, Ndi Uturu, our brothers in Umunneochi, Ndi Isuochi, Ndi Lokpanta and Lokpaukwu. To our brothers in Umuahia, Ndi Ibeku, Ndi Ohuhu, Ndi Olokoro, Ndi Ubakala, Ndi Nsirimo, Ndi Umuokpara, our brothers in Ikwuano, and Ndi Oboro. To our Isialangwa brothers, Ndi Ngwa, our Osisioma Ngwa brothers, Ndi Ngwa, our Ugwunagbo brothers, Ndi Ngwa, our Obingwa brothers, Ndi Ngwa, Our Ukwa brothers, Ndi Ohambele, Ndi Asa, Ndi Azumini, Ndi Ohuru, our own dear Enyimba city, Ndi Abia, ‘Nde Ohuhu’; Nde Imo, Nde Anambra, Ndi Ebonyi, Ndi Enugu, Ndi Akwa Ibom, Ndi Rivers, Ndi Bayelsa, Ndi Delta, Ndi Hausa, Nde Yoruba and Ndi Nigeria resident in Abia State. Ndi Abiriba cannot do this alone without your support. Ndi Abiriba is asking you to support the aspiration of Ndi Abiriba to produce an Abia State Governor of Abiriba extraction.
Our appeal is hinged on the obvious reality that Ndi Abiriba have not gotten a fair share of Abia equation considering their investment, sacrifices and political friendship with people of other communities and states. A look at the history of your community will reveal a selfless support and sacrifice by Ndi Abiriba to a political aspiration of your sons or daughters at one point or the other. They say one good turn deserves another. This is pay back time and Ndi Abiriba solicit your support and friendship.
Ndi Abiriba are not going to offer you a mediocre. They parade seasoned technocrats in the private and public sector, they parade seasoned politicians; politicians that they can vouch for as a community on performance, they parade seasoned globalist who have excelled and made marks outside the shores of Nigeria. At the right and appointed time, Ndi Abiriba shall offer and open a pool of their willing tools to drive Abia State to greater heights in the next political dispensation. Ndi Abiriba have a date with 2023 and counts on you to see that date becomes a reality.
Ndi Abiriba is counting on your support, friendship and alliance for a better and equitable Abia State where everyone will get his/her due.
•Ukoha Njoku Ukoha (Omeifeukwu), wrote from Aba.