Posted by From Emeka Osondu in Awka on
Anambra State Association of Town Union (ASATU), an umbrella body for the 177 town development associations in the state....
Onitsha Crisis: Group Summons Uba
Anambra State Association of Town Union (ASATU), an umbrella body for the 177 town development associations in the state, has lamented the huge loss recorded in Onitsha, the state’s commercial nerve-centre, and invited Chief Chris Uba, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart to appear before it and explain his level of involvement.
Uba had earlier appeared before the state council of traditional rulers, which recently invited him over the same matter.
At the Union’s Secretariat in Awka, President of ASATU, Chief Ben Eze-Agbogu, told Uba that the union was not comfortable with the crisis which was fast grinding economic and commercial activities to a halt.
He said apart from making peoples’ lives miserable, the crisis was also eroding the commercial viability for which Onitsha was known.
Eze-Agbogu said it was as a result of such ugly developments that they invited Uba, based on unconfirmed information that he sponsored the crisis to cause confusion and stifle governance.
He said the meeting would help the union to determine his level of involvement and also put it in the right position to assess the situation, punish those found culpable, and proffer solutions on how peace could return to the troubled city.
He urged stakeholders to join hands with progressive forces in the state and quell the crisis for the benefit of humanity and society.
According to Eze-Agbogu, “any problem in Onitsha affects us all. It is the problem of Ndigbo, because Onitsha is one of the basic symbola for which we are known. Any problem there affects our sons and daughters. So, it is our pride and our land that is at stake.
“I am encouraged by Uba’s response. He has shown enough humility by supplying facts that would help solve the problem.”
And from this, I am convinced he is not a trouble-maker,” he declared.
THISDAY recalls that the Anambra state government had of recent, through radio and newspaper advertorials and news commentaries, accused Chief Chris Uba of sponsoring the crisis in Onitsha through the Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), of which he (Uba) was alleged to have interest in so as to up-stage and destabilize the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) -led administration of Governor Peter Obi in the state in a bid to bring credit to PDP, of which Uba is the state leader.
But speaking earlier at the capacity-filled ASATU conference hall in Amawobia, near Awka Uba, who is also a member of the nation’s ruling PDP board of trustees from Anambra state, stiffly refuted the allegations implicating him in the Onitsha crisis, describing it as baseless, malicious and a cheap propaganda by his political opponents to intimidate him into backing out from his pursuits at reposition PDP to re-capture power in the state in 2007.
He said his detractors were merely accusing him of fueling the crisis in Onitsha because they were now uncomfortable and panicky with the in- road his party was making into the grassroots, whereby he said the people have seen the inefficiency of past and present administrations in the state and have decided to vote in the
PDP in the next election to bring in a change in the state.
He denied being involved with NARTO, nor being a member of the body and further urged the ASATU leadership to advise Governor Obi to let him be and concentrate on his job in order to justify his mandate to the electorate, even as he insists that no amount of intimidation would deter him from working for the benefit of the people.
“Obi is using this as an instrument of propaganda to score cheap political point against me. The issue is that there is nothing in Anambra that I have a hand in. I am not involved in NARTO. Based on a petition written by Governor Obi to President Olusegun Obasanjo that I was involved with NARTO, I was invited by the Inspector General of Police to explain my involvement in the matter. But after the police investigation and found that the allegation was untrue, I was cleared.
“My problem is that I am a leader of people. Anybody, even people who may have never met me, can go out and commit an offence and claim to come from my group. That is the fact. So, as far as this matter is concerned, my hands are clean,” Uba declared.
In his vote of thanks at the occasion, Senator Ugochukwu Uba, representing Anambra Central Senatorial zone in the National Assembly noted that the crisis in Onitsha has caused a colossal damage to the state economy as investors are now reluctant to come to the state and invest.
He therefore, called on the various stakeholders to imbibe the spirit of tolerance and brotherhood in order to achieve cohesion and move the state forward.
“We need to be together and build. Let us forget the past and work together and build. We have the human and material potentials that can change the tide if properly harnessed. Crisis causes a lot of damage, and without peace we can never make meaningful progress,” the senator maintained.
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