Abia group demands equity over ministerial nominees
A PRO-RIGHTS group, the Abia Equity Group (AEG) has urged the Nigerian Senate to “seriously consider” the plight of the Ukwa bloc in Abia State in screening the eight candidates recently nominated by the Federal Government for ministerial appointment.
The group in a statement signed by its chairman, Dr. Chidi Uwalaka, bemoaned the “continued marginalization of Ukwa people,” saying the bloc is coincidentally the oil-bearing area of the state.
Following the nomination of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) National Vice Chairman, South East, Col. Austen Akobundu (rtd) for ministerial appointment by President Goodluck Jonathan, the pressure group pointed accusing fingers at Governor Theodore Orji due to his “trademark lopsidedness” in similar appointments.
Uwalaka said: “While Governor Orji has been paying lip service to the Abia Charter of Equity (ACE), he has continued to act in ways that compel some sections of Abia State to question whether they are second class citizens of the state. The case of the Ukwa Bloc is quite pathetic. Like the much neglected Niger Delta, the Ukwa Bloc is the proverbial goose that lays the golden eggs in Abia State. It is the oil-bearing region of the state; yet, it remains the most marginalized politically, economically and otherwise. The Ukwa Bloc has again been completely left in the lurch.”
Continuing, the group observed: “For example, both Ikpeazu and Chief Enyinnaya Abaribe who has been given the green light to return to the Senate are both of Ngwa Bloc and indeed from Obingwa LGA. The same is true of former Labour Minister Emeka Nwogu who is an Aba man of Ngwa Bloc. On the other hand, both Akobundu, Coordinating Minister for the Economy Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Orji who, by the way, is headed to the Senate, are all from Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency.
“Only Abians from certain blocs are being propped up and serially appointed to choice posts reserved for all Abians. The chorus is, ‘Where is the equity in these appointments?’ This is against the backdrop of the long established PDP policy of rotating political offices, the 1999 Constitution which guarantees equity through ‘federal character’ representation and the Abia Charter of Equity (ACE) aimed to rotate political offices in Abia State between the Ukwa-Ngwa blocs.”
The statement noted that it was the PDP National Chairman Adamu Muazu “who harped on the need to uphold equity and ensure that party loyalists are given a sense of belonging, warning that opposition parties are gaining grounds from the bruising marginalization of PDP members.”
Muazu who spoke at the inauguration of the party’s PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation observed that the ruling party was “full of injustice,” adding: “We say that members of the PDP should not be used and dumped again. People leave the party because of lack of equity or injustice. Monkey dey work, baboon dey chop. That must stop. This time round, monkey must work and monkey must eat. A lot of people who left (our party) did so because of injustice in our party. The party is full of injustice. The membership of the APC, LP, APGA and others are increasing because of this. All these members are from our party. We must find out what is wrong and correct it.”
According to AEG, though Governor Orji had also stressed the need to ensure that all blocs are carried along in the sharing of political offices, he seemed to have “jettisoned” that policy. “It was Governor Orji who said that if there is fairness and equity, there will be no rancour. But if there is no equity and fairness, anarchy may set in.”
“There are ominous signs on the Abia political firmament,” the group warned. “Unless something urgent is done to assuage the pains of some of these long-suffering Abians, the political fortunes of the party in the state is anybody’s guess.”
Orji had while arguing for power shift said: “You all know very well that I am a product of power rotation or power shift and it is against that background that I still insist that the person that will succeed me will come from Ukwa Ngwa. It is also a fact that Abia State is made up of three senatorial zones namely; Abia North, Abia Central and Abia South. As far as the governorship seat is concerned, the North has ruled for eight years, I am from the Central and would soon be completing my tenure; therefore, for the sake of equity, fairness and justice, it will be good for power to shift to Abia South in 2015 in the state.”
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