AN ADDRESS PRESENTED TO THE SENATE PRESIDENT, CHIEF ANYIM
PIUS ANYIM BY A DELEGATION OF THE PEOPLE OF ISU-OKOMA,
ONICHA LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF EBONYI STATE ON
19TH SEPTEMBER 2001, AT ABUJA.
Your Excellency Sir,
The entire people of Isu-Okoma community, Onicha Local Govt. Area of Ebony South Senatorial zone, send you their sincere love and greetings.
They rejoice with you over your divine elevation from Senator of their little known geographical entity of old Afikpo Division to the national center-stage of President of Nigeria Senate and third citizen of the Federal Republic. If it wasn’t God’s ordained will, there is no gain-saying such exalted office would never have been apportioned to us, a people permanently consigned to the lowest rung of the ladder in the Federal equation. For his grace therefore, we give God all the glory, for your meteoric rise, and phenomenal achievement. We shall not fail to mention to your Excellency, that we spiritually shared with you the anguish and anxiety, that marked the early beginning of your presidency, just as we felicitate with you, over today’s calm and stability that pervade the National Legislature.
Your Excellency, circumstance has forced us to undertake this urgent mission to see you at Abuja. Earlier in the year, Isu-Okoma Council of Chiefs attempted through their Secretary, Chief Dennis O. Onu to meet you at Abuja; you promised to schedule the Chiefs closer home at Ishiagu or Isu, but that came to naught. Having waited patiently, for an opportunity of heart to heart discussion with your Excellency to no avail, and figuring it would amount to folly of an entire community, folding our hands, and watching in stony silence while obvious signs of strange relationship between your Excellency and your people of Isu-koma abound, we had no choice but thrust ourselves to your doorsteps unannounced; convinced you will let us in, and give us audience. Please bear with us Sir, for whatever protocols we may have breached.
We thank you immensely your Excellency, for appointing Chief Dennis O. Onu, one of our sons, to the board of the Federal School of Aviation. Zaria. We are grateful Sir.
Please permit us mention your Excellency, that in your Senatorial zone of Ebonyi South, Isu-Okoma is ranked second to Edda in population and landmass. When you ran as Senator, needless recalling that our overwhelming population in Onicha Local Govt. Area, gave you fifty percent of the total votes cast for you, while the rest four communities in the Local Govt. collectively accounted for the balance fifty percent. Sir, that was those dark and unpredictable days. Not minding where the pendulum would swing, Isu-Okoma stood resolutely behind you, they gave you their unqualified support, they gave you their word and honoured it to the letter.
There were no strings to it; no horse-trading. But we ensured you clinched the Local Govt. by landslide. Today therefore, our people can proudly claim that we are no fair-weather friends of our Senator, His Excellency, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim.
Together, we jointly began the journey to the unknown, but as light has shone at the end of the tunnel apparently, Isu-Okoma appears to have been placed at the back burner. We appear to be no longer relevant in the scheme of things vis-à-vis Federal democracy dividends accruing to the Local Govt.
We have noted with considerable disquiet your Excellency, the cold relationship that seem to have developed between you and your people of Isu-Okoma. It may not be written or spoken, but paradoxically it is obvious.
That is why we have come with open hands and minds to your Excellency, for frank and open discussion over our not-too-warm relationship. Of course, Isu shall not be happy with diplomatic niceties like, “Gentlemen nothing is wrong”. So, speak loudly and unequivocally to your people, so we can resolve and put behind us, whatever points of difference that may exist.
Would your Excellency pretend all is well and expect Isu to agree, when your liaison office for Onicha Local Govt is situated outside the Local Govt. Headquarters? Certainly your turning a blind eye to such anomaly speaks volume. Sir, a community as large as Isu-Okoma with fifteen primary schools, has only two benefiting from UBE school block scheme; and none of the contracts awarded to an indigene. The same for INEC office renovation in the Local Govt. Headquarters. Neither were we considered for the office of Liaison Officer, Poverty Eradication Programme, for Onicha Local Govt.
For us your Excellency, we are inclined to believe that the concerted campaign of blackmail and calumny waged against Isu by our age-long adversary and key rival community, has seemingly done severe damage in your perception of us as a community, and consequently our relationship.
Currently making the rounds in Ebony state, is the allegation that Isu community in its entirety is against your Excellency. We know exactly the source of such vicious campaign of falsehood, the community responsible and their agents. We wouldn’t have cared less, but for the fact that from observations and inferences, your Excellency tend to be accepting without reservation that Isu-Okoma is no longer with you. That we don’t communicate at same wavelengths anymore. We therefore wish to categorically and unambiguously state here before your Excellency, that Isu has never and will never contemplate for any reason being against you, nor working as a community against you or your interest, directly or indirectly.
We are not unaware your Excellency of the different malicious devices and methodology employed by our sworn detractors, to poison your mind against the entire people of Isu. We have come therefore with a compilation of key political and career civil service appointments dating from Mr. Ukpabi sika’s East Central State of 1970, to the inception of Ebony State couple of years back, for your perusal and information. Some of our adversaries, their wives (including their dogs, we hope not), have been Commissioners over and over and over again, to qualify for the appellation “Commissioner for Life”. Yet, despite a preponderance of University graduates, no single son of Isu-Okoma has ever held that political office pre-dating Nigeria independence.
Talk of marginalization, we refuse to use that bastardized word, now turned to mere cliché in Nigeria-speak. But simply put your Excellency, Isu has been relegated to the background in the scheme of things in your Senatorial zone. We certainly do not constitute part of the center. We are clearly on the periphery. Isu therefore craves for your urgent indulgence and plead for your special favour in Onicha Local Govt. for obvious reasons. Whatever may have gone wrong, only no-holds-barred discussion with your people your Excellency here and now, would pave the way forward.
May we respectfully remind your Excellency, of the promise you made to Isu-Okoma at the inception of your presidency, to avail us of rural electrification. We still look forward to it.
Currently your Excellency, your people of Onicha Local Govt. Area are totally cut off from adjoining states, due principally to the collapse of the Isi-Ogbor Nara bridge, (of the F113 road) which virtually links the entire Ohaozara to Enugu state. The Isu-Ntezi road is equally impassable, due to abandonment of the road by the contractors. We have therefore been subjected to unspeakable difficulties since the advent of the rainy season. We plead for your urgent assistance.
Sir, it is of extreme necessity that we rejuvenate our traditional alliance, renew our mutual trust and confidence and be properly focused for the enormous challenges ahead of our one family. That, precisely is our motive for embarking on this journey.
May the Almighty God guard and guide your Excellency through a successful tenure, as President of Nigeria Senate. May God bless you and your family abundantly. Thank you.