Ka Isi-Uzo Jee: A Call For Equity, Justice And Fairness – By Justice Chidi

February 3, 2021
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Isi Uzo Local Government, housing the  suave, urbane and hospitable communities of Eha-Amufu, Ikem, Neke, Umualor and Mbu, has long history of production of rare species of human capital and contribution to societal advancement.

It’s no news that after the creation of Ebonyi state in 1996, Isi Uzo was carved out from the old Nska zone to Enugu East zone to aid what looked like self-serving gerrymandering. What is news, however, is that Isi Uzo people  accepted to be gerrymandered on the basis of fraternal innocence, not knowing that she had just embarked on a journey that would make her politically amphibious – a neither-here-nor-there kind of political status.

Having been divorced  from Nska zone, the good people of Isi Uzo lost the rights to political offices accruing to the zone with the hope of a compensation in the new zone. However, they were to realise, in a rather disturbing manner, that the new geopolitical alignment demands that they should have their baths at River Niger but pick their clothes at River Jordan. Isi Uzo thenceforth became Nkanu when it is time to fight for slots but Nska when it is time to share the slots.

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Ndi Isi-uzo had obviously conceded to the new order given the cultural affinities they shared with Nkanu, but little did they  know that the symphonic sound of bitter kola while in the mouth is not a true reflection of its taste.

As a bonafide member of  Enugu East zone, in the wake of her new geography, one had expected that the interest of Isi Uzo will be factored into the zonal equation and stake distribution, but here we are:

We have had 25 years of marriage where Isi Uzo has been standing on the fringes of leadership and marginally husbanded by Enugu East. It has been 25 years of political trajectories, widespread panic  and horrifying experiences. 25 years of socio-political engagement where Isi  Uzo only occupies the strategic headlines of Enugu East politics just for the votes but never for the posts.

It’s been 25 years of darkness in the political firmament of Enugu East characterised by identity crisis. 25 years of shifting the goal post in the middle of the match  to shortchange Isi-Uzo. This quickly calls to mind the ebbs and tides of exclusionary images; the images of despondency, gloom and hopelessness. The images that constantly remind us that Prof. Denchrist Onah was denied a well deserved Vice-chancellorship position where his only crime was that he was born an Isi-uzo man. And his name crawled into the pages of history as one of the modern casualties of identity politics. It’s been 25 years of political sterilization where no Isi Uzo man has been considered ripe for gubernatorial, senatorial, ministerial or any other juicy positions on the chess board of Enugu East politics.

The good people of Isi Uzo have crucified no Jesus. They have paid their dues without grudges in the progress- register of Enugu politics. For instance, when the Igbo needed to integrate nationally in NPN from the defunct NPP, in the second republic, Isi-Uzo produced the block votes that won election for C.C. Onoh. Fresh on our minds is the 2015 National Assembly election that took the block, unpilfered votes from Isi-Uzo to return the PDP candidate to the Senate for Enugu East zone. Isi-Uzo’s  votes had always moved in torrents  to the benefit of whomever the swing of Enugu political pendulum rested on. She doesn’t deserve her present political orphanage on the basis of her geopolitical membership.

For those who think that this political alienation is as a result of short supply of human capital from Isi-Uzo, they need to pause and travel along  memory lane:

In the old Nska zone where she belonged, Isi-Uzo asserted herself very well and was considered the proverbial goose that laid the golden egg. History would be starved of depth if we neglected the invaluable contributions of late senator Isaiah Ani, a London trained electrical engineer who was among the few intelligentsias that manufactured the popular Ogbunigwe during the civil war; Chief Samuel Nwaro, a representative of the old  Anambra North (Nsukka) in the then unicameral legislature in Lagos;  Chief O.J. Edeoga, a foremost educationist and community leader of great repute; Prof. Brown Enyi, a foundation professor and first Dean of the faculty of Agriculture at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology; Dr. Anthony MBA (Onyimonyi Neke); the late Prof. Thomas Nwodo and a host of others all of whom were Isi-Uzo, flesh and blood.

To argue that a people that produced these rare sages in the past is presently starved of seasoned, experienced and eminently deserving individuals to serve at any level of governance is akin to arguing that the sun orbits the earth.

As 2023 draws near, Ndi Enugu should speak with one voice in righting the wrongs. While respecting the zoning arrangement, an Isi-Uzo person should be handed the gubernatorial flag. In doing that, Ndi Enugu would have canonized equity and institutionalized justice on the altar of fairness.

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