By Ogbonnaya Ndukwe, Aba
Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Works Commissioner in Abia State, Chief George Nnanna Kalu, has said that Abia North Senatorial District, will produce the next governor of the state in 2023, in line with the charter of equity signed while agitating for its creation. He cautioned the Ukwa/Ngwa axis of the state, on dangers of ‘removing the ladder through which they rode to power in 2015 and 2019’.
How do you look at the current security situation in the country and the government’s handling of this critical challenge?
The fundamental foundation of Nigeria is fast eroding in terms of unity, so, there is need for our leaders to introduce new measures that will give every component a sense of belonging. It has to be in such a way that there would not be any sacred cows, whether in the North or in the South. The problems in the North are becoming very unbearable, in terms of abductions, killings, armed banditry as well as heightening activities of Boko Haram terrorists. Insecurity has reached its highest peak at present, and this is what I call internal terrorism, no matter whatever name anyone would call it. There are criminal acts that are being perpetrated and the purpose of governance is to secure lives and properties of the citizens. A situation where one cannot go to his farm, send his children to school or live freely in his community without paying ransom to someone, does not augur well for our country. Government should try to bring these acts to their barest minimum, instead of giving them tribal names. You don’t use such to address security issues. If the Federal Government is consistent in its handling of all issues of insecurity in the country, without having those that are treated as sacred cows, one would not complain or see any opportunity to tribalise the issue.
Many Nigerians are no longer able to feed themselves and their families. Do you think government is doing enough in handling the economy to boost food supply?
Every part of the world has been drastically affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, and Nigeria is not exempted. People here, are suffering economically, notwithstanding the position of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which is claiming that we have come out of recession. It is not being felt at the local level. There’s still hunger in the land coupled with inflation associated with high prices of food brought about by the devaluation of the Naira. Nigeria is not yet out of its economic woes, no matter what the NBS is saying. The reality on ground is that people are going through difficult times.
How do you assess Abia State at 30 and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s six years in office?
Abia has not felt better, though last time, I condemned the kind of governance we have. People are not being told the truth. A lot of lies are being spread everywhere. Yes, there have been efforts to construct roads but they will not last. If one looks at the recently completed Eziukwu Road in Aba, he or she will discover bumps while driving. We are being told they are using cement technology to build the roads, so why the bumps? The reason is that, the road had cracks which the contractors used chips to cover before asphalting, that it why the bumps are there. Milverton Avenue, also built by the same contractor, is better and smoother. My worry, as an engineer, is that the state’s Ministry of Works, has civil engineers that should supervise the building of roads, but are not doing the things they ought to do. Heavy duty trucks carrying cement or other heavy loads will crack the roads especially the Aba/Owerri Road. Look at the Aba Road in Umuahia and compare it with Faulks (now Sam Mbakwe) Road, in Aba. Something, I tell you, is not working well with the road works they are celebrating. I think they should be consistent in handling the jobs. We are now seeing what is happening when in Eziukwu, Port Harcourt, Uratta, Ngwa and the Ama Mong/Ohanku Roads, this rainy season. Everywhere is being flooded. What happens at the end will show whether the money they borrowed or were given to build the roads were judiciously spent or not.
There are claims by a portion of Ngwa clan claiming it is their turn to produce the next governor of Abia State in 2023. What is your take on this?
It is our turn in Abia North Senatorial District to produce the next governor of the state in the coming dispensation. We have done the charter of equity. It started from the North in 1999, went to the Central zone and now the South. We cannot come to the middle of the game and pull down the ladder through which the Ukwa/Ngwa zone climbed into power. In 2015, their leaders and traditional rulers came to meet our traditional rulers, prominent sons and daughters for support to enable one of their own become governor which we did. They came again in 2019, and promised to vacate at the end of their eight-year tenure in office by 2023. We, again accepted their pleas, and it will be absurd for anyone from that end, to begin to create problems by instigating ‘a war’ on who becomes the next governor of the state. Now, they want to change the rules in favour of those they call, ‘Umunnato’, comprising of Osisioma Ngwa, Isiala Ngwa North and Isiala Ngwa South council areas. It will not work. We vehemently do not agree with this development, and are now calling on all sons and daughters of Abia North origin and our friends from neighbouring states resident in Abia, to join us to reclaim the mandate in 2023. We will resist further attempts to militarise Abia politics, using the so called indigenes and non-indigenes threats on our people as were seen in 2015 and 2019. This time, we are not talking about party, whether APC, PDP, APGA or others; we want our people to come together to fight for our rights which is the return of power to Abia North.