By Chijioke Ngobili
One of the foremost Igbo intellectuals and a great historian fiercely told me after asking me a few questions about Abia State:
“Chijioke, something is definitely wrong with ndị Abia State. And whatever that’s wrong with them can be traced historically. I guess a certain curse is following some of their groups, and that’s why you have them comfortably silent in that decrepit condition of their State. We must try to know a people, and when we know that, we can know why they behave like they do and why they have a particular problem”.
I’m not going deeper into the import of that statement, but no doubt, something is definitely wrong with ndị Abia State and of course, things can’t be alright with Abia State when something is most certainly wrong with its people.
It baffles me the most that nobody is talking about it. Or, may I ask; has anybody forbidden anyone to talk about it?
Heck, nobody is talking about the decrepit, most woeful, most shameful, most raped, most debasing, most back-ridden and highly mangled state of Abia State; yet, ndị Abia and other Igbo persons are busy talking about Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi and Enugu politics.
From Ngwa road – Ehi road – Port-Harcourt road – Cameroun road – Milverton – Eziukwu road – Asa road – Ohanku road – to any of the most plied roads, one sees a dead Aba in the peace of a graveyard. From Osisioma park to Main Park to other parks, one sees a dead Aba contaminating its dwellers with huge doses of sicknesses like hepatitis B. If you’re in doubt, go and ask doctors and nurses who managed to be practising there the commonest illness they treat. You can imagine a very deadly illness like hepatitis being common in that failed City! What else could be the cause if not that Aba is the dirtiest of all Nigerian cities as at the moment?! Don’t shake your head like you don’t know; it’s not a new development. We all know it and everyone is aware that the present government there is just numb and dumb. But is that the main matter? Wait, I’m coming back to that!
Now, take it beyond Aba. In Umuahia, the State Capital, there seems to be virtually nothing going on there. Umuahia, a former seat of the Biafran government, has always been known as a small peaceful city with its signatorial cleanliness, but that was in the past. Everyone is equally aware that there’s virtually nothing people-oriented the government can be said to have done there. Is that the main matter? Wait, I’m coming back to that!
Take it to other places beyond Umuahia and Aba. Ngwa – one of the most powerful forces to reckon with in that State and whose land mass seems to be bigger than others – has nothing but only a sign of the government’s most woeful non-performance there. Igbere town seems to be visibly alienated from the woe, probably because it’s the dear town of the former governor Orji Uzo Kalu who stopped at nothing to make his kinsmen proud of him.
In Abiriba areas – where you have a greater population of very wealthy individuals – there seems to be efforts by their people to better their environment and its people. And Abiriba people are always interested in going home and participating actively in the age-grade activities and other traditions more than others. They’re great people and a force to reckon with in Igboland. No doubt!
And then from Arochukwu (one of the oldest Igbo town) to Bende to Ohafia (one of the greatest Igbo warriors) and other towns and communities, the only thing one’s eyes can be served with is the full and happy presence of Abia State government’s most woeful non-performance. Is that the main matter? Wait, I’m coming back to that!
In all these, one is forced to ask if Abia State receives any allocation from the Federal Allocation aside the largely innumerable levies business men and women there are over-taxed and over-tasked to pay. Yes, the State does. And besides, it’s one of the Niger-Delta States in Nigeria that have extra money accruing to it because of oil deposits in it. Again, one who doesn’t know may ask; is there a governor there?
Yes, there is a diminutive man from Umuahia who has been governing Abia State for 6 years now and still has 2 more years to govern it, making it 8 years in all. His name is Theodore Ahamefule Orji. What does he do and how has he been doing? Posing in his superimposing billboards throughout the State – on the refuse vehicles, on the roads and on poorly-built few structures – answering and calling himself “Ochendo” while smiling to the hungry-onlookers with a red cap on his annoying head. But is that the main matter? No, it is not!
The MAIN MATTER is that ndị Abia State have lived as if there’s nothing wrong with their State, yet they complain in their quarters and in their business places. And when you ask them why a great people like them allowed one man to make a mess of them, they will serve you these lazy clichés: “There’s no opposition. Onye kwanụ ga-ekwu?” “T. A Orji is from Umuahia, and nobody from Umuahia will ever smell that governorship seat again”. “It’s just remaining 2 more years and T. A Orji will go, and we will elect some other person who will surely be better”. “We’ve made that mistake and we’ll never make it again. Even Orji Uzo kalu regretted his benevolence to T. A Orji”.
Gosh! I can’t believe those lazy, dumb and cowing reasons are coming from such a conglomerate of strong men and women.
Heck! Have we quickly forgotten that one of the greatest resistances to colonial masters was done by Aba women as far back as 1929? Has anyone forgotten how fierce and fearful the Ohafia warriors have been known to be in Igbo history till this day? Has anyone forgotten that Arochukwu is one of the oldest Igbo – if not the oldest – where it took the Whitemen a great deal to destroy our greatest Igbo Deity there? Has anyone forgotten the many scary stories about Ngwa people and even their courageous ‘ọnyili ọnwụ’ way of life? Has anyone forgotten the economic strength of Abiriba and Igbere people – ndị nwelụ mmadu very well? All the mentioned areas are parts and parcel of Abia State, and I can go on and on to mention.
Abia State has a lot of educated people in large numbers. In UNN, a greater population of ndị Abia are professors and PhD holders as well as in other universities. When I think of all these, my mind is boggled and troubled as to why a people with such great strides and antecedents would be taken for a ride – more than a ride – by one man. Is it that they are apolitical? Perish the thought! All the kalus, Nwachukwus, Okparas, etc (no particular name in mind) have been discussing Anambra, Imo, Enugu and Ebonyi politics, but pay no attention to their own Abia State politics. And you tell me that something is not wrong? Hell, no!
No, no, no! I believe the Igbo Intellectual. Something has really and definitely gone wrong with ndị Abia State. All hands must be on deck.
Ndi-Igbo, I ask; BIKONU, WHAT IS WRONG WITH NDI ABIA STATE? IS IT REALLY HISTORICAL AS SAID BY THE INTELLECTUAL?