Nde Abiriba have paid their dues right from the era of Eastern Nigeria, East Central State, Imo State and now Abia State. The great Chief M. I. Okpara became the Premier of Eastern Nigeria on the selfless sacrifice of an Abiriba son, Chief E. Emole. The contribution of Abiriba business community on Chief Onunaka Sam Mbakwe emergence as the Executive Governor of Imo State was a mirror in the sun. Nde Abiriba will continue to hold their heads high on the sacrifice and integrity of Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (Ochiagha Ochimba, Eze Igbo of Nri) in defence of Nde Igbo and her Christian faith in Nigeria. Nde Abiriba were in the forefront in the struggle for and creation of our dear Abia State.
The Abiriba business community and over 50 functional industries owned by Nde Abiriba provided the economic viability argument and consideration for the creation of Abia State. Abiriba business and political class like Chief Nnanna Kalu, Ezeogo Anagha Ezikpe, Chief John Inyiri Okam, Chief Obewu Ukaegbu Onwuka, Chief Onwuka Kalu, Chief Nwojo Omokorie etc worked harmoniously and selflessly with Chief Emmanuel Adaelu, Chief B.B. Apugo, Chief Ugorji Eke to honour and reward Ezeogo Akanu Ibiam for his sacrifices for the Igbo nation and his struggle for the creation of Abia State by ceding the first slot of the Executive Governor of Abia State using the equity parameter.
The Abiriba political class jettisoned the parochial temptation of supporting their brothers Dr. Eme Uche now a Professor Emeritus and Engr. Egwuonwu Kalu who were eminently qualified and paraded political muscles more than Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu. The event of that era was political selflessness in display.
The Abiriba political heavy weights and money bags lived above parochial consideration. In 1999, it was Ezeogo Anagha Ezikpe that had the PDP structure in Abia State. He was also politically selfless and supported Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu to become governor of Abia State. Dr. T. A. Orji was not left out in Nde Abiriba’s belief in equity. In the last election, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu won in all the polling units in Abiriba. Nde Abiriba do not only believe in equity, they practice and exhibit equity.
We cannot talk about Abia State development without Nde Abiriba. Nde Abiriba believe in Abia State and invested so much to realize the dream of an Abia State and keep the state afloat with the investment of her sons and daughters. It is on record that the first 3-storey building in Aba was built by Chief Ukuku Ebe, the first 5-storey building in Aba was built by Chief Nwojo Omokorie. In the 80’s, out of the 55 functional privately-owned industries in Aba, 50 were built by Nde Abiriba (Dubic industries, Onwuka Hi-tech, Rosies Garment, Falcon Bottling Company, Interland Resources, Kan Biscuits, Monofoam, Kunex industries, Bourdex Group, Palmers, O’Mang Int’l and Home Charm Paints, Chicoco West Africa, etc).
Ironically, Nde Abiriba are not getting a fair share in the Abia State scheme of things. Right from independence, Nde Abiriba have invested so much on all major political parties – NCNC, NPP, NPN, SDP, NRC, PDP, APGA and APC – and have exhibited political selflessness in the support of candidates in all elections. They have been political manures to major political parties and candidates since independence. This is time to support them.
The permutation for 2023 zoning of the governorship of Abia State has started. Ohafia LGA stands out as the destination given the Abia structure. In Ohafia LGA, Abiriba is the most marginalised politically: no governor, no deputy governor, no senator, no House of Representatives, no minister, no speaker, no major party chairman, no major party exco member both in the state and LGA, no executive chairman since the creation of Ohafia LGA. Nde Abiriba are completely marginalised in the zoning and distribution of political offices since the creation of Abia State. They deserve better in Abia State, Abia North, Arochukwu-Ohafia and Ohafia LGA. Nde Abiriba must not continue to be Nde Igbo of Abia State politics. The ruling party PDP and other political parties need to give Nde Abiriba a sense of belonging especially considering the sacrifices and investment of Nde Abiriba before, during and after the creation of Abia State.
It is incumbent on power brokers in Abia State and a moral burden for Nde Abia to honour and reward the sacrifices of the late Chief Nnanna Kalu, Late Chief John Okam, Late Chief Obewu Ukaegbu Onwuka, Late Chief Nwojo Omokorie and Late Chief Onwuka Kalu just like these great patriots of Abiriba extraction dropped parochial sentiment and ceded the governorship to Afikpo for the sake of Ezeogo Akanu Ibiam when they were in a position to corner the position to Abiriba. Even when we cannot see these great patriots weep and regret in their graves, we still have Ezeogo Anagha Ezikpe and Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (rtd) to honour and reward for their sacrifices and investment. These great patriots and living legends should be made to know that their sacrifices were not in vain. They should be done the honour of taking the message of reciprocation to Ezeogo Akanu Ibiam and other Abia State and Igbo patriots who are no longer with us when they are called back by God for other services.
Nde Abiriba, through the Abiriba Political Initiative, Abiriba Communal Improvement Union and Enachioken-In-Council, are extending the hands of brotherhood, friendship and alliance and will in the coming months begin state-wide consultation in Ohafia to appeal and ask you to support the aspiration of Nde Abiriba to produce an Abia State Governor of Abiriba extraction.
Our appeal is hinged on the obvious reality that Nde Abiriba have not gotten a fair share of Abia equation considering their investment, sacrifices and political friendship with people of other communities and states. A look at the history of your community will reveal a selfless support and sacrifice by Nde Abiriba to a political aspiration of your sons or daughters at one point or the other. They say one good turn deserves another. This is payback time and Nde Abiriba solicit your support and friendship.
Nde Abiriba are not going to offer you a mediocre. They parade seasoned technocrats in the private and public sectors; they parade seasoned politicians that they can vouch for as a community on performance; they parade seasoned globalists who have excelled and made marks outside the shores of Nigeria. At the right and appointed time, Nde Abiriba shall offer and open a pool of their willing tools to drive Abia State to greater heights in the next political dispensation. Nde Abiriba have a date with 2023 and count on you to see that date becomes a reality.
Nde Abiriba are counting on your support, friendship and alliance for a better and equitable Abia State where everyone will get his/her due.
Ukoha Njoku Ukoha (Omeifeukwu) wrote from Aba