By Emeka Ahaneku
For those at home with Okigwe politics, the recent endorsements of Rt. Hon Benjamin Uwajumogu, by the entire Okigwe zonal Traditional Rulers Council, youths and women groups, market women and artisans, leaders and political stakeholders across political party linen, for Okigwe Senate seat, was never a hot piece of news. This is because long before the pronouncement by these groups, it has been a serious topic of debate that has been at every nook and cranny of the Zone.
On one side of the debate were those who believed that he has the political party advantage to link the zone and Ndi Igbo to the mainstream affairs of the country and should be elected for Igbo interest. For them, he has the best chance to naturally belong to the National executive committee of the ruling All Progressive Congress APC, which is the highest decision making body of the ruling party, as well as other caucuses of the ruling party, if he emerges victorious.
For this group of people, they believe that in the present harsh economic realities facing the entire nation , what the people of Okigwe zone needs is an experienced senator with the political party advantage to address the backwardness of Okigwe zone and the Igbo Question of marginalization, by attracting for Ndi Igbo, their own share of political appointments and necessary amenities, as well as insure that never again will the people of Okigwe zone and indeed Ndi Igbo, be taken for granted in the sharing of the National cake. They also believe that having an Igbo eye on the affairs of the country is most apt and commonsensical for the zone at this time.
No doubt, some members of the opposition kicked against the endorsements. They argued that Ndi Igbo already has a strong voice and presence in the Senate which by their reckoning the incumbent Deputy Senate President is providing very well. For them, the People’s Democratic Party PDP’s, candidate must be voted to represent Okigwe zone, in order to stop the APC candidate who is a ranking member, having presided over a legislative House as Speaker, from emerging the Deputy Senate President.
But the question is, can their arguments be sustained or justified in the present turn of events in the country? The answer is no, because quite frankly, in consideration of the fact that the current Deputy Senate President due to his political party affiliation is not a member of the National Executive Committee of ruling APC or any of the caucuses of the ruling party and as such, do not participate or wield direct influence on decisions taking by this committees and caucuses of the ruling party.
Evidently, aside producing the current Deputy Senate President, the need for an APC senator of the southeast descent who will automatically become a member of the National Executive Committee of the ruling APC and other APC caucuses in the interest of Okigwe zonal people and by extension the entire Igbo race cannot be traded for political tittles or acronyms, unless Ndi Okigwe wants to continue in the pattern of retrogression and backwardness with no cogent or seriously thought out plan to bring the zone out of the hole, where it was pursed into for over 7 months, by saboteurs and enemies of progress .
Let us face it, must Okigwe zone slumber in political inertia and salivate with crumbs dropping from the opposition’s Enugu godfathers table, while in other climes, indigenes can even go to war to assert their people’s place in the Nigerian nation. In my opinion, I think some of these leaders who shortchanges their people for crumbs should be made to answer for their beggarly disposition.
Clearly, one question that should be agitating the mind of every Okigwe zonal indigene today, should be, in the light of the declining oil revenues and the attendant severe consequences for government at both the National and state levels, isn’t it commonsensical and viable for Okigwe people to take advantage of their God giving opportunity and connect directly to the mainstream affairs of the Nation, were the stakes are higher, by voting in their son, Rt. Hon Benjamin Uwajumogu, as the only APC Senator of southeast extraction and allow God to do his part.
Though in a pluralistic society like ours, bad belle people, political never-do-wells and miscreants will always site political party sentiments as their reason or excuse to enthrone inexperienced representatives in leadership positions, only to turn back to challenge and blame the authorities for non-performance.
GOOD CONVERSATION ALL THE WAY
To me this is natural and in keeping with the tenets of democracy as a government of the people for the people and by the people it should always be expected that the people would always make input into every issue that comes up. However, the fact that in every argument the voice or decision of the majority always wins the argument is enough inbuilt mechanism for conflict resolution.
Against this backdrop, one is indeed, happy to note that in the on-going process the electorates of Okigwe Zone are tending towards Uwajumogu, so far the collation and analysis of contribution from across board seem to suggest that he is in the good book of Okigwe people.
If you ask me, I would say that the good people of Okigwe zone seem set and determined to throw the light in 2016 by this laudable action. First, as all of us know, legislative representation is so unique and elevated that experience is always the key unlocking doors of opportunities in that arm of government.
What this translates to, is that every zone or constituency that sends an experienced legislator to the Chambers automatically stands shoulder and heads above those not being represented by similar caliber of person.
To start with in the distribution and sharing of offices like principal position and committee chairmanship. The Senate house compulsorily stipulated in their rules to allocate such offices to ranking members. The good thing about this policy is that, legislative business is seen as one and the same thing across the three ties of governance in the country, the logical consequence of this feat is, a local government legislator in the state house of Assembly automatically becomes a ranking member. Ditto a state lawmaker at the national Assembly.
From the foregoing it is Crystal clear that Rt Hon Benjamin Uwajumogu is automatically a ranking lawmaker in both chambers of National Assembly once he is elected. Based on this he is sure of securing a principal position or in the least assigned headship of a committee, of course every Okigwe son or daughter can be sure that in his usual think-home style of leadership which he has been demonstrating since 2011 more dividends of democracy would come their way.
As a politician, the fact that your people unanimously endorsed and are fighting to put you in office makes stewardship in politics a very serious business. At every point in the journey you are always pre-occupied with thought of how to prove to your people that your choice was one well made. It is always the electorate first in whatever action you want to undertake. Under this atmosphere the electorate enjoys, the dividends of democracy and other accruements due to them and people oriented leadership.
In the same vein where leadership is instituted by the people, transparency, accountability and prudence would always be given the front seat so that all times the mandate givers would be on top of the game, like the Chinese would say; ’’when the people in the trust sense of representative democracy elect their leaders what follows is a win-win Situation’’.
In coming out openly to endorse Rt Hon Uwajumogu, the traditional rulers and his kinsmen must have done some serious homework. Without doubt they must have put him on a scale alongside others nursing similar ambitions and weighed them objectively. They must have as well critically x-rayed his contribution to the growth and development of the Zone in general and Ihitte Uboma in particular, not only in the four years that he was Speaker of the State Assembly but since he started politics. Surely a lot of issues and questions were tabled and asked with very satisfactory returns before they took such a critical and sensitive decision.