A Dangerous Trend is Creeping into Abia State; Politics of Hate, Desperation, Deceit and Elimination of the Sanctity of Human Life . Two days ago, an elected local government chairman in Abia State and the chairman of the state chapter of Association of Local Government Chairmen of Nigeria (ALGON) issued a press release informing the World of a threat to his life. He said his residence in Aba, and his house in the village were being monitored by “unknown persons”. The reason for the threat to his life according to the press release was because he questioned the procurement process of the vehicles for council chairmen . In other words, he questioned how public money was being spent (or planned to be spent ). The council chairman must be so scared for his life that he went into hiding because he said he was issuing the press release “ from an undisclosed location”. The terrified chairman is Hon. Ibe Nwoko ( popularly known as Abuh’ Dhabi for reasons I do not know; some say he used to live in the Middle East ).The man is the elected chairman of Obingwa local government area in Abia state. He is a close associate (of) and a brother to the governor of Abia state. The Governor of Abia State is from Obingwa local government area. In nigerian parlance , they are five and six( meaning they are close, very close… ). A local government chairman is the head of the security committee of his local government area . This committee is made up of all the Divisional Police Officers ( DPOs) in the local government area, the Officer in charge of the State Security Service in the local government, the head of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp ( NSCDC) and others. These are all arms-bearing security agencies, yet the Local Government chairman went into hiding, because of the threat to his life. To query the veracity or otherwise of the issues that gave rise to this security situation of threat to life is not the intention of this piece. The author is disturbed that we seem to have lowered the sanctity of human life in Abia State. Surprisingly, Abia State government has kept mute over this serious security situation. As if the silence of the state government wasn’t shocking enough, the deputy chairmen of all the local government areas in Abia State issued a release. They deputy chairmen distanced themselves from the chairman of their chairmen and berated him for “attacking the state government”. Maybe to the deputy chairmen, the Chairman of Obingwa local government “attacked the state government” because he questioned the use of public fund ( if the press release by the chairman is anything to go by). Does it mean some of us didn’t get the memo when any question relating to accountability in the use of public fund was elevated to the status of a mortal sin punishable by threat to life, threat of suspension and actual attack to kill ?! In Aba South, we are questioning the use of the 56 Million US dollars loan received by Abia State government from the World Bank for the Uratta flood mitigation project and some road construction projects in our constituency. The whereabouts of the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) for which billions of naira had been paid is not known to us or anyone. Instead of providing answers to these and other questions that relate to money received by the state government on our behalf as citizens of Abia State, my life as the representative of the people of Aba South was threatened too. On the 29th July, 2021, we issued a press release informing the public and the security agencies, the heads of diplomatic Corp of the EU countries, the UK High Commission and the US Embassy of this threat to my life . We forwarded the details to appropriate superior authorities. Almost immediately the press statement was released, Abia State government issued a counter release trying to politicize an issue as serious as threat to life. The state government claimed to have set up a committee to investigate the threat to the life of of a state lawmaker. Many persons didn’t believe the content of the government press release because we are used to their promise and fail. Remember the government press release on 26th May 2021 that promised to complete the works on Ahia Ohuru new marker in six weeks. This is September, 2021.On 25th August, 2021, while holding a Town Hall Meeting with my constituents, where we were discussing the bad state of our roads and the inhuman condition that we have been subjected to as a result of the refusal of Abia State government to comply with the resolutions of Abia State House of Assembly as it relates to the dirty state of our environment and the way forward, I was attacked by those who were sent to kill. The intention of these terrorists and their sponsors was to stop us from asking further questions about public fund through these barbaric acts of intimidation and terror. Interestingly, just the same way Abia State government has remained silent in the face of this threat to the life of a local government chairman, they kept quiet when a state lawmaker was attacked in front of his constituency office while holding a peaceful meeting with his constituents. No one has heard from the phantom Committee set up by Abia State government to investigate the threat to the life of a state legislator. The state government and all her officials have suddenly gone mute. If I was killed on the 25th August 2021, these persons and authorities would have released series of powerfully and nicely worded yet empty press release. Not a few persons believe that the silence of Abia State government and its officials in the face of threats to( and actual attack on ) the life of public officers who question the use of public fund is not just very loud but suggestive .Does it mean that once you talk of accountability in public office, they will threaten your life, threaten to suspend you from office and even attempt to kill you?! Could it be the reason the deputy chairmen hurriedly put together a watery press release in a bid to show their “loyalty” ?! I had earlier cautioned in one one of my posts that there exists a marked difference between loyalty and stupidity. I have also argued elsewhere, that no smart leader would take any sycophant seriously. This conscious effort to consecrate sycophancy in our dear state and thus, deepen the Stockholm syndrome that seems to have pervaded our political space must be arrested. We all have a duty to put an end to our state being made a laughing stock everywhere and every time as a result of bad governance and administrative ineptitude. Go outside Abia and see how those who should emulate us, now humiliate us. The time has come for all of us to resist this ugly trend that is creeping into our state. Obviously, some persons through their action and inaction, want this state to fail.It is our collective duty to resist this drift towards failure. No person is more abian than another. And no public office is the exclusive preserve of any abian. Hence, Abia Money is our money ! It’s not a private money neither is the state a private enterprise. Why should Abia State government and her officials be upset when the use of public money is questioned?Has this government forgotten that Abia money doesn’t belong to the government? Abia money belongs to Abia People ! Finally, it needs not be said that the deadline given to Abia state government by the people of Aba South constituency as part of our resolution during our Town Hall Meeting held on the 25th August 2021, has elapsed. As usual, the state government didn’t bother because they don’t seem to care. Part of our resolution was that, if Abia state government failed to do anything to alleviate our sufferings by working on our roads and removing the heaps of rubbish in our environment within seven days from the date of that resolution, that we shall embark on a peaceful protest to demonstrate our feeling of being treated as slaves in a state we call our own. That resolution stands. Please be on the lookout for the announcement. Kindly inform others too.
Hon. Obinna Ichita, Member representing Aba South Constituency in the Abia State House of Assembly