UBANI DECRIES INSENSITIVITY OF GOV. IKPEAZU IN APPRECIATING LOYALTY.
Former Abia state commissioner for Information, Chief Don Ubani and serving publicity secretary of the People’s Democratic party in the state, Chief Don Ubani, has lamented the governor’s coldness towards his person despite working towards the enthronement of the present administration.
Chief Ubani who took to his Facebook page to x-ray his sojourn into politics and challenges encountered therein, said even though he was not an Ngwa man, he had continuously championed their course.
He however regretted that his efforts so far had not yielded any commensurate recognition and appreciation.
He revealed that despite his unflinching support and alliance with the Ngwa people, the only ones who had given him a sense of belonging were those governors from the old Bende extraction, Orji Uzor Kalu who he had hitherto verbally attacked on social media and Theodore Orji who he said rewarded him without much ado.
The ex commissioner may still be in shock as to why he and his kinsmen threw in everything to elect Ikpeazu believing they share the same entity known as old Aba zone ( Ukwa-Ngwa), but have almost nothing to show for it either as a people or as individuals.
In Ubani’s write up, he however made it clear that he was no more interested in taking up a commissioner position in the state anymore but did not say what he would like to have.
Below is the complete text:
My Yet-To-Be- Appreciated Self-Induced Costly Sacrifice In Protection Of Ngwa Interest:
By Sir Don Ubani; KSC, JP, Okwubunka of Asa.
18th August, 2019.
Nigeria’s political scene is like a theatre of drama. Many things that happen in it would be adjudged not only funny but strange and abnormal in pure democratic climes.
After a critical survey of the plight of my people of Umuiku-Isi-Asa, even Asa in general, I decided to join full time politics to see if I could help alleviate their sufferings. I, therefore, resigned my engagement as a Teacher in Abia State Secondary Schools’ System in 1996.
The period coincided with the reign of late General Sani Abacha. He had, by a Military fiat, floated five Political Parties; (1) Committee for National Consensus (CNC), (2) Democratic Party of Nigeria(DPN), (3) Grassroots Democratic Movement(GDM), (4) National Centre Party of Nigeria(NCPN) and (5) United Nigeria Congress Party(UNCP).
I joined UNCP. Both UNCP and DPN were popular in Abia State. In line with General Abacha’s Transition Programme, local government council elections were scheduled to take place in 1997.
I was State Vice Chairman of UNCP, Abia-South. I was assigned to conduct the Party’s Primary Election in Ikwuano Local Government Area.
It would be necessary to point out that the position I occupied in UNCP was courtesy of a very Influential Female Power Broker who lived at Nweke Street, at Aba.
Take or leave it, we operated according to her dictates at that time. The first person’s plural here refers to those of us who were her loyalists. It may be seen as laughable but the truth was that we took directives from her on major issues. I will, however, not fail to state that as influential as she was then, she would stubbornly succumb to superior argument.
A day before I would leave for the assignment in Ikwuano, it was, by operational circumstances of that time, expedient that I should go for briefing at Nweke. There, the instruction was that I should return one Chief Rowland Osondu as Chairmanship Candidate of the Party. He was the anointed aspirant. I concurred, especially as Osondu was a familiar political actor in Ikwuano.
The following day, call it The D Day, as I left my native home of Umuiku-Isi-Asa, I reported at Nweke to know if the instruction was still as given. Lo and behold, it had changed! I was then directed to return Mr Ibe C Ibelachi. Though I did not know Ibelachi, I was duty-bound to respect the Voice of Authority, even if it would be to my peril.
As I was going to Ikwuano, the Party, then headed by Surveyor Rowland Onyeizu, did not provide me with any logistic support; vehicle, money or security. It did not have any to give.
Coincidentally and equally interestingly, the senior brother of Mr Ibe C Ibelachi; Mr Onyebuchi Ibelachi, who is now late, provided a vehicle for me, as I had to visit majority of the electoral wards in Ikwuano.
There was, however, a serious problem! The aspirant I was asked to return was not popular, as at then. The Man on ground was Barr K C Ugbaja. But I was under instructive obligation to deliver.
I left Ikwuano very late that day. I had no money for hotel accommodation that night so I slept in the house of one Hajia Elizabeth Uzuegbu in Umuahia. She was a modest Igbo moslem and an active politician from Ikwuano. She had a storey building in Umuahia. May her soul rest in peace!
As early as 7 am the following day, I had submitted my result at State Headquarters of UNCP, at Uzuakoli Road, Umuahia. Would you guess who won in that result? Mr Ibe C Ibelachi had been returned winner.
I left Umuahia as quickly as possible. You may not need to ask why. I did not want K C Ugbaja to catch me.
Unknown to me, nemesis was waiting for me. I got back to Ukwa-West that morning only to realize that my own chairmanship aspirant; Elder Emma Nwobia, had also been short-changed. Late Chief Uche Nworu who was the returning officer in the UNCP chairmanship primary election for Ukwa-West, had done like I did in Ikwuano. Elder Nwobia had lost.
In order to see if I could remedy the situation, I had to go back to Umuahia, in the company of Elder Nwobia.
Poor me! I was caught by K C and his boys. It was only God that saved me, I would have badly been brutalized. I was, however, forced into his car and quickly whisked away to headquarters of Ikwuano, where I was compelled to rewrite the result in favour of K C.
K C and his friend, Henry, were kind to me that night. After issuing them with the result, they took the pains of taking me home through Ikot-Ekpene via Aba.
K C did all he could for the situation to change in his favour but the Powers that be had made up their mind on Ibelachi.
In the reality of the situation that confronted him, what K C did was what a grassroots’ politician was expected to do. Both Chief Rowland Osondu and him mobilized their followers in support of the chairmanship candidate of NCPN, Chief Uche Mpama. That was a major reason why Uche Mpama became Chairman of Ikwuano Local Government Council in 1997.
The psychological trauma that I passed through, as a result of my experience in Ikwuano, made me resolve not to be involved again in any party primary election.
By the time Abacha died and we formed Peoples Democratic Party in 1998, I was confronted with a big moral challenge that would unsettle my Ikwuano resolve.
Under the Transition Programme of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, another round of local government council elections were to be held in 1998.
I was still a core loyalist to the woman of power at Nweke. I was not just a peripheral member of her cabal. I was an insider. Infact, I was Chairman of her Canopy. Many good decisions were taken in that Canopy.
In the run-up to PDP primary election for the year’s local council elections, Mama, as we called the Woman of Influence, had decided that my friend, Eme Abali of Okagwe- Ohafia would be the Chairmanship Candidate of PDP in Aba-North local government area. She also had penciled the name of a charismatic School Proprietor in Aba; popularly known as Prizemate Academy, who hails from her native Igbere in Bende local government area, as the Party’s Chairmanship Candidate for Aba-South.
In my mind, I thought she was being unfair to Ngwa people. I told myself that since Aba had two local government councils, if a non-indigene is assisted to be Chairman in one, an indigene should be allowed to be Chairman in the other.
Emboldened by the frankness of my conviction, I took up the matter with Mama. I made her realize that her son, being a governorship hopeful, needed the confidence of Ngwa people to be victorious. She succumbed to my superior argument. But she gave a condition, that I should be at the head of those to conduct the primary election in Aba-South. I agreed!
On the day of the Primary Election in Aba-South, it was clear Prizemate was the choice of majority of members of PDP in Aba-South. But that trend was contrary to the Spirit of Equity that was driving me.
My Team to Aba-South was made up of myself as Leader, Sir Ik Daniel of blessed memory from Ntigha in Isialangwa-North and Mr Ezinwa Abiri from Mgboko in Obingwa. Two of them were Ngwa. I was the only non-Ngwa.
We got to Aba-South and went straight to the LGA Party office at Eziukwu Road, opposite Over Rail. We were there waiting for ward electoral officers to return their results.
When it became clear that the environment had become unsuitable for the accomplishment of my mission, I told my team mates that we should relocate. I whispered to them that they should meet me at Terminus Hotel, by East Road, Aba. I left first and, one by one, the two joined me at Terminus. It was there that I perfected the deal.
One interesting thing happened before we left Terminus Hotel. Prizemate, only God knew how he learnt we were at Terminus, visited us there.
He said he was convinced he had won the Primary Election and wished nothing contrary to it would be declared. I assured him that the needful would be done. He gave us One Hundred Thousand Naira and promised me N50,000 for my personal upkeep every month if he won the Council Election. I expressed my gratitude to him.
Meanwhile, the Man I had in mind; The Ngwa Man, Dr C C Nwogu, later visited us and gave us Two Thousand Naira. Even though members of my Team felt it was too small, it was the one I accepted wholeheartedly.
For the purpose of that election, Binez Hotel, Aba was our Operational Base. Late Chief Lambert Nmecha; Agbawo, was inchage of the Primary Elections in Abia-South. He was in the Hotel waiting for results from the six local government areas of the District.
By virtue of being the Leader of the Team for Aba-South, I was unquestionably free to take Forty Thousand Naira out of Prizemate’s N100,000. Neither Ik Daniel nor Ezinwa Abiri would have raised an objection, while each of them would take N30,000.
However, I told them that Prizemate’s N100,000 was not for sharing. They were surprised. I told them we would return his money, which I had only accepted to collect in order to distract him. I knew he came to Terminus with many Thugs who could easily have unleached mayhem on us if we had given him a different impression. So collecting that money was tactical.
It was already about 7 p m when we got to Azikiwe by East and there we picked three commercial motor-cycles and went straight to Chief Izuka’s flat by Aba-Owerri Road. Chief Izuka was an illustrious personality from Igbere and a strong supporter of Prizemate. He had a lot of likeness for me.
Briefly, I told him that we brought the N100,000 his kinsman; Prizemate, had given us that night. I explained to him that it was not acceptable to me that out of the two Councils in Aba, no Ngwa Man would be Chairman of either. He received the money and thanked us.
We went straight to submit our Results to Chief Lambert Nmecha at Binez Hotel. As at that time, the Mobile Phone Revolution that we witness today had not come into being. I, therefore, could not have imagined that as late as it was when we handed over that money to Chief Izuka that Prizemate would know of it.
Surprisingly to my shock, thugs invaded Binez Hotel. Chief Mrs Nikky who contested against Eme Abali in Aba-North came with her thugs while many others belonged to Prizemate.
There were too many knocks on the door of the hotel suit where we were with Chief Lambert Nmecha. Initially, he refused to open the door. He later changed his mind when Nikky consistently called him to open the door.
No sooner had the door been opened than hell was let loose on me. I was not only beaten black and blue but had my dresses completely torn. It was the worst Terror and Humiliation I had gone through in my life. When we got to Umuahia that morning, the Chairman of PDP; Chief Tony Ukasoanya, personally took me to a hospital. He also paid the hospital bill.
I have continued to thank God who provided me with a saviour that night, even as Chief Nmecha cried ceaselessly. A young man called Escapee was the man God used to rescue me. He fought gallantly to make sure I was not killed that night. I had nearly died that night because of my unsolicited resolve to protect Ngwa interest, not minding that I am not Ngwa.
Lest I forget, when we left Chief Izuka’s flat that night, Sir Ik Daniel said that an average Ngwa man does not reward good with good. He was not happy with my action but he could not alter the situation.
True to what Sir Ik Daniel said about the Ngwa, Dr C C Nwogu never appreciated me. It took confrontation from me in a public gathering at Umuahia for him to reluctantly bring a bag of rice and N50,000 to me one Christmas. But Eme Abali who only heard what happened to me at Binez, invited me to his office and gave me N100,000. Periodically, Eme gave me money.
Even though Aba is cosmopolitan, it basically belongs to the Ngwa. As an indigene of Asa, I will not pour libation on the land of Aba. But I have exhibited deep concern for the welfare of Aba, which many Ngwa indigenes could not attempt. As a Commissioner in the Executive Council of Governor T A Orji, after driving from Opinion Junction to Asa by Cemetery by Ngwa Roads in Aba, I sent a text message to the Governor that I had counted about twenty putrid heaps of refuse in various stages of infectious decomposition. I told him that the environmental situation of Aba had become an embarrassment to the State.
No matter Ochendo’s natural imperfection, as Governor, he was a good communicator. There was hardly any text sent to him that he would not either acknowledge with his famous Tks or implement.
In less than seven days after that my text on the state of environment in Aba, Ochendo appointed Dr Okezie Ikpeazu as Deputy General Manager of Abia State Environmental Protection Agency, Aba.
When Dr Ikpeazu assumed his position as D-G ASEPA, I was relentless in drawing his attention to areas that were in dire need of his attention.
Still as a Commissioner under Ochendo, I was the only person that formally drew the attention of the Governor-in-Council to the deplorable state of roads in Aba. I spoke so clearly and vehemently on Infrastructural Decay in Aba, that Ochendo was visibly worried. Abruptly, the Executive Council Meeting came to an end, as he spontaneously set up an Executive Council Task Force on Infrastructure in Aba. Chief Chinwe Nwanganga was a Member of that Task Force.
That day, when we came out from the Executive Council Meeting, Engr Solomon Adaelu called me and said, ‘Dee, I know you to a bold man but I did not know you were as bold as this’.
In 2014 when PDP conducted its Governorship Primary Election, before Chief Sam Nwogu, Engr Chinedu Orji and Chief Tony Mezie Nwaubani at the Old Presidential Lodge, Umuahia, I turned down the Four Hundred Thousand Naira that was being given to each Delegate. I told them that I would not collect any dime to for Dr Okezie Ikpeazu from my own Senatorial Zone. As at that day, I would not remember if I had up to N20,000 in my account.
I am convinced that I have done a lot in furtherance of Ngwa interest. Regrettably, I have never received any appreciation from the Ngwa.
So far, in my Political Career, it is Political Leaders from Old Bende that have given me a Sense of Belonging. I worked for Dr Orji Uzor Kalu and I did not go with caps in hand begging for reward. He did it out of his own volution. The same with Chief T A Orji. After working for him, in reward for my services, he appointed me a Commissioner in his Cabinet.
I have told myself that for no reason would I accept being a Commissioner in this State again.
All the same, it appears there is a Convulsing Feeling in me that I should not have taken the risks I had taken protecting the Ngwa, that only sees me as A Minority.
There is no cause for alarm! There Could Still Be Alignment & Realignment.
Sir Don Ubani is a former Commissioner for Information, Abia State.