By Godwin Adindu
These are precarious times for the Ngwa nation of Abia State! Perhaps, no period may have been so critical in the political history of the people than the current time. It is a time of a very delicate decision, a decision that will shape or mar the destiny of the entity for many decades to come. No time will the Ngwa be as careful, cautious and as altruistic as this time. The reason is simple: there are many weapons fashioned by adversaries.
The Ngwa Nation is currently standing at a crossroad. After a long journey, with all the vicissitudes and ordeals, it has come to that thin borderline where one wise step takes us over the cliff and a miscalculation pushes us down the slope from where the journey began. Yet, I must commend the Ngwa political stakeholders at home for the caution and the wisdom they have exercised so far. They understood very clearly the political temperament of the state and have trod carefully in tandem with the political mood. There have been many struggles in the past and many mistakes made and history has opened our eyes to the absurdity and foolishness of always swimming against the tide.
The Ngwa nation must note that, except for the firm and unwavering decision of Governor Theodore Orji who, against all pressure and odds, has stood his ground on power rotation and has kept his word as his bond on handing over to an Ngwa, there could not have been this present silver lining in the skyline of the Ngwa nation. We must recall that in 2001, at Okpuala Ngwa, the traditional cradle of the Ngwa nation, the former governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, told the people, face-to-face, eye-ball-to-eyeball, that his daughter who was three years then, would grow to rule the Ngwa if they do not support him for a second term. That was the height of insult against the collective sensibilities of a people.
Indeed, it was there and then that the Ngwa decided to run a parrarell line with Kalu. They immediately routed for the Otuonu Struggle, a great mass movement for which I gave my career and my life. The movement raised the momentum of the Ngwa agenda and brought many issues about the people to the front burner of national discourse. Yet, as in all history of wars and liberation struggles, the people have over time sat back to review the struggle and gained some valuable insight and wisdom and also saw the need for a change of strategy. The lesson is pertinent that political victory can only be gained by playing with the status quo. It is an unnecessary dissipation of energy to run at cross purposes with an incumbent power. This is a suicidal mistake the Ngwa will not make again.
Luckily for us, the incumbent power in Umuahia and Abuja is determined on power shift to the Abia South and precisely to the Ngwa. This is one great milestone that Ochendo has helped us to cross. And, I repeat, save for this political magnanimity of Ochendo, save for this divine uprightness of a leader, this dream will still be too far-fetched for the Ngwa and the reasons are very obvious. There is a deep-seated conspiracy nurtured by an unfounded stereotype against the Ngwa by the other sections of our polity. But, today, Ochendo has raised the bar of equity by treating all Abians as one people and insisting that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.
The Ngwa must show gratitude to Ochendo for setting this standard of equity. If we could realise the intense pressure that has been mounted on the governor forhim to renege on his words then, the Ngwa will forever say prayers of gratitude to a great man of justice and firmness of character. The governor is the only leader of Abia who has demonstrated that balance of power is critical and crucial for our common existence as one common humanity of Abia State and he is honestly committed to achieving this template of togetherness and harmony. As every intelligent and wise father does when time is drawing nigh, Ochendo has also been deeply worried about who, among his children (here gubernatorial aspirants), could keep the house in order. The decision is not about his personal relationship with people, not about the people’s clout and pedigree but about the future and destiny of the over fifteen million Abians. It is about the peace and progress of Abia.
Today, Ochendo has done his part for the Ngwa, the rest lies in the hand of the people. Lamentably, the current monster standing between the Ngwa and their time-honoured aspiration is the personal selfishness of the aspirants. It is no more the war of ideology but the war of personal ego. Like Mobutu Sese Seko said of himself and Congo, some of the aspirants hold the view that there cannot be Ngwa governor without them. Yet, at the nick of time, Congo existed without Mobutu. At the nick of time, there will be only one Abia governor of Ngwa extraction that God will ordain. No one is more Ngwa than the other. No one is more qualified than the other. It is only God that gives power.
I feel very worried to see that the Ngwa cannot come together even at this perilous time when we are just at the foot of the bridge. After the rain and the sun have beaten us for years, we are now standing at the foot of the bridge, ready to cross. Yet, our albatross is no more our adversaries but ourselves. Individual ego of aspirants is the current albatross of the Ngwa. People are so self-conceited that they cannot come to terms with the fact that it cannot be them. Why must it be you at all times? What is critical now is the destiny of the Ngwa nation and Abia State and not you. If the tide is not flowing to your favour, why must you be the stumbling block? Why not collapse your ambition to the current tide and think of Ngwa first? This is where the Yorubas have always been wiser.
I am speaking to the conscience of the Ngwa people, my people.