WE NEED FRESH BLOOD AND FRESH IDEAS IN THE REPRESENTATION ISUIKWUATO/ UMUNNEOCHI FEDERAL CONSTITUENCY – EKEBUIKE
An interview with Enyioma Ekebuike a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Isuikwuato L.G.A.
As one of the politicians who have been there and have seen it all since 2002 till date, former Adviser to the then Executive Chairman of Isuikwuato LGA on Rural Mobilization and Political Matters, Former Transition Councilor representing Ovim Ward doubling as the Supervisory Councilor for Environment; later Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Environment Abia State and former Local Government Party Secretary of Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA) and presently a Chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) Isuikwuato L.G.A. Abia Facts sought to have the views of Mr. Enyioma Ekebuike on issues regarding Isuikwuato L.G.A., her representatives at all levels and Abia State political terrain as politicians gear up for the 2019 elections.
AS AN EXPERIENCED POLITICIAN IN GRASSROOT MOBILIZATION, WHAT IS YOUR PERSPECTIVE OF THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE?
I began my political career with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2002, but I must tell you that the party presently has failed to live up to peoples’ expectations. The PDP government in Abia State is an abysmal failure that aspirants running under the party umbrella will find it difficult convincing the people to vote for them come 2019. Every sector of the Abia polity have been betrayed by this PDP government. Workers are owed 4,6,9,11 months and more of salaries and arrears. Pensioners, the senior citizens who gave their productive years have been totally neglected. All these are in spite of the regular monthly allocations to the state and Local Governments which has become the State Government’s Exclusive preserve, the internally Generated Revenue (IGR) which the State Governments has made a great secret that should not be discussed, 3 tranches of Paris Club Refund made to the State, and pension deductions made on the workers’ salaries, but which they never pay and other funds including the ones from foreign partners and donor agencies. In the area of infrastructure provision and development the present government have completely failed.
WHAT IS YOUR ASSESSMENT OF THE LEGISLATORS WHO ARE THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE?
I will like to concentrate on those who represent my people of Isuikwuato L.G.A. at the State House of Assembly, Isuikwuato/ Umunneochi at the House of Representatives and Abia North at the Senate. Beginning with the State House of Assembly, I think that sending people there to represent Isuikwuato L.G.A. as far as I am concerned is simply personal empowerment. They have to tell us that what they have done as the representatives of our people. Isuikwuato L.G.A. is supposed to be a major political block in Abia State and since the present dispensation we have never been in the opposition at the state level. Even though our representative claims to be close to the leadership of the government and the ruling party in the state yet their closeness has not been rewarded with a major position in the House of Assembly such as Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, Chief Whip etc. I am not aware of any bill sponsored by present occupant. Infact, there is a lot of antagonism in their party as many are aggrieved at impositions and the insensitivity of the party leadership. To put the records straight Hon. Chukwudi Ogelle lost the 2015 elections to the APGA candidate were if not for the unfortunate incident at the Court of Appeal Tribunal in Owerri that led to the sacking of the Chairman of the Appeal Panel.
At the Federal level, one may ask what is representation if not calling the attention of the government to your constituency especially the Federal Government? But in about 11 years of representing Isuikwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency what are the major achievements of Hon. Nkeriuka Onyejeocha? We’ve not seen enough Federal presence in terms of road constructions, electricity, etc. The only federal road in Isuikwuato is the Akara-ABSU road which last received attention about 30 years ago. Presently, there are more than 5 major gully erosion spots on the road, which our representative have done nothing about. She has not deemed it fit to use her office to make the only contractor on one of the erosion site who has done nothing since he was awarded the contract to do the job. New erosions spot are springing up. The only road attracted by a legislator to Isuikwuato L.G.A. was by the late senator Uche Chukwumerije. Other Federal interventions on roads were attracted by private individuals, mainly civil servants. Ask questions and find out what first term legislators have achieved. Hon. O. C. Prestige of Aba North and South and Hon. Solomon Adaelu (Osisioma) just to mention but a few is showing us what effective representation means. Infact, O. C. Prestige has done many roads in Aba. Coming to the issues of electricity, she should show us a single electric pole she attracted in the entire local government. For over 14 years, Isuikwuato L.G.A. was in total darkness before Lt. General Ihejirika intervened. What has she done? She had not provided even the basic elements of representation. Even some of the projects she pointed at as her own during the 2015 elections were always subjects of dispute. The only thing she can point to is stomach infrastructure and handout. Her supporters will tell you that she provides employments. There are many Isuikwuato L.G.A. sons and daughters not occupying political positions who have given many people well-paying jobs without making noise about it.
In other Federal Constituencies, collaboration between the House of Representative Member and Senator yield dividends. What do we see, our representative quarreled with late Senator Chukwumerije till his death and I am not sure whether the quarrel has been resolved between her and the late Senator’s family. She has transferred the same to Senator MAO Ohuabunwa. She can never address her supporters without picking on Senator MAO. You can see that without agreement as to how to constructively attract projects, they will be working at cross purposes.
Coming to our senatorial representative, I have seen the power project at Mbalano attracted by Senator Ike Nwachukwu, the Amaba-Ezere NDDC Road attracted by Senator Uche Chukwumerije. After 3 years of representation, Senator MAO has not done enough to justify him remaining there, he has no landmark project apart from the few health centers and transformer dropped at Umuakwua without adjoining high tension wires and poles to transport the electricity to the people. His other project is the empowerment of people with frying pans and spoon.
HOW DO YOU ASSESS THE ASPIRANTS TO THE LEGISLATIVE SEAT?
We are still waiting for aspirants to declare their intentions before we can begin to look at who has what and who does not have what to represent our people. I want to say it loud and clear that there should be changes at all the levels of legislative representations for our people. We need fresh blood and fresh ideas in the representation of Isikwuato State Constituency, Isuikwuato/ Umunneochi Federal Constituency and Abia North Senatorial District.
Thank you, Mr. Ekebuike, for your time.
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