The contest for Ikwuano /Umuahia federal constituency seat at the National Assembly is already gathering dust, in this latest interview with the Honourable member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia North/South Federal Constituency, Hon. Sam Onuigbo, he talks about the abolishment of the unwritten agreement which stipulates rotation of the seat to each of the three local government areas that makes up the constituency in four years intervals, plus need to create quality political awareness that would liberate Abia people from the T.A Orji (Ochendo) and Ikuku’s bondage.
Please read the full interview:
Since the last election that took you to the National Assembly, can you tell us how you have been able to improve the lives of your constituents?
First, I would want us to discuss the recently heated motion I raised at the floor of the House, concerning the push for life imprisonment for any member of my constituent caught with a torn Nigerian flag. It was a motion I raised for the unity of this country during the IPOB protest in Abia state. It surprises me that till this time, the Honourable House didn’t deem it necessary to approve such bill, but they ended up yanking it off for lack of relevance. Whatever that brought rejection of such bill, I would want it to remain there.
Can we trace back to the history that brought zoning in the very position you occupy at the National Assembly?
That’s if there is any existing written agreement that says we must operate under a zoning arrangement. It’s so easy for people to talk about zoning, like it is what will campaign and sponsor one through the electioneering process. Some of us occupying various positions won our elections without the support of anyone. We directly got our mandate from the people through a voting process. We showed interest, and out of the number of the candidates that vied for the position, the people made their choice. Therefore, when I hear people clamour for zoning, I wonder if that is what would at the end of the day some the problems facing the people, or to even imagine if that is what will fund someone’s election.
How about the agreement that in the past brought power rotation before you?
If you insist, I will go down memory lane with you where Ikwuano/Umuahia federal constituency is made up of three LGAs namely, Umuahia north, Umuahia south and Ikwuano. Since 1999 the three LGAs has had an unwritten agreement on their representative pattern in the national assembly.
It has become politically observed since the coming of the 3rd republic in 1999, with Hon. Iheanacho Obioma, from Umuahia south taking the first shot between 1999-2003, between 2003-2007, it moved to Ikwuano and Emeka Atuma, took their turn followed by Hon. Stanley Ohajiriuka, 2007-2011 who got the privilege of representing Ikwuano/Umuahia federal constituency when it became the turn of Umuahia north.
Upon the completion of the first phase of the rotational cycle which saw the three local governments taking a turn of four years each at the green chambers to represent Ikwuano/Umuahia federal constituency, the new sequence which took off in 2011 had Hon. Udo Oluchi Ibeji, from Umuahia south doing a four year term that terminated in 2015.
Then came myself from Ikwuano, who some people believe was the next to benefit from the pact and that I’m presently manning the Ikwuano/Umuahia federal constituency seat at the national assembly because it was their zoning arrangement that won the election for me. Lies! With the type of support I got from the people during the 2015 election, if I had come from any of the benefitted LGs, I would have won with wide margin.
If the agreement was not followed as agreed by the three LGAs, why then was it enforced by the previous?
When I hear people say agreement, I keep wondering the type of agreement they mean. Is it written or unwritten one? An agreement was made, yes, but it is an outdated one. The world is getting digitalized, and we ought to reciprocate to that. Abia people need to improve on technological revolution that is ongoing. So far that agreement was never written or documented, I describe it as useless.
What is your relationship with the former governor, T.A Orji who many believe made it possible for you to fly under the Party’s ticket?
I have a very smooth relationship with him. His business is at the red chambers, while mine is at the green. We are all in Abuja doing the business of representation, which is to represent the good people of Abia at the National Assembly. I wish to stress this point categorically that T.A Orji didn’t influence the Party’s primary election to my favour. He was in the race to be at the Senate, while I was in mine, and there is no way he would have lobbied anything.
Many believe that since he controls the PDP activities in Abia with his son Ikuku, it means he made it possible for you to be adopted. You don’t think?
That’s absolutely not possible. Days are gone when a family would control the affairs of a Party or State like it is a family business. Though for Ochendo, it used to be like that before his tenure as the governor of our dear State ended. Right now, we are back to the normal. As he stands, he is not even sure of retaining his position, because it is going to be a free and fair primary exercise. It won’t be like the PDP of the old again. The failure experienced in the past is helping the Party to restructure. So, let me make it clear here, Ochendo and Ikuku cannot decide the fate of any candidate. If you are the people’s choice, it is a welcome development for you to contest and win.