Why Mbaike and Mbaise Nations must back old Owerri Local Government Area

In recent time, issues ofmarginalization, political balancing, fairness, equity and justice has occupied the center stage of political discourse in Imo state ahead of 2019 general election.
The strongestprotests against marginalization in Imo today is coming from fair minded individuals who believe that Okigwe and Orlu Zones have dominated the governorship position in the state and argue therefore, that Owerri Zone should produce the next governor in the next election. Since Imo is built on the tripod of Owerri, Okigwe & Orlu Zones.
Beside the topical issue of marginalization in the governorship, there is also strong build up agitation within the Owerri geo- political Zonea gainst the incessant occupation of the Imo East Senatorial Seat, otherwise known as Owerri Zone, by either the Mbaike or Mbaise Nation.
This domination has not only marginalized the Old OwerriLocal Government, but has totally alienated them from having a full shot at OwerriSenatorial Seatrepresentation. The growing restive mood among the marginalized bloc has raised ominous signs in the air, judging from the vehemenceof multi-plural condemnation by the people concerned.
Suffice to say that the interest the issue of marginalization has garnered across communities, geo-political Zones and political divide in the state is not unexpected given that the typical Igbo man seeks ways to contribute to the socio-economic and political development of his society.
This is sobecause marginalization wrecks the self worth of a people. There is no gain saying the fact that   every Zone has prepared sons and daughters of requisite manpower, intellectual capacity, political dexterity and managerial prowess to call the shot of leadership in various political positions including the Senatorial Seat.
Hence those, who benefit from marginalization and bandied the excuse that competence accounts for the lopsided representation by a particular blocs, can best be described as enemies of equity and fairness.  Every community, if not every family can produce eminently credible, competent and qualified candidate.
That is why Owerri Zone, with their array of capable resource persons in every field of human endeavour, hascontinued the agitation to produce the governorship of the state.  It is however, interesting to note that men and women of good conscience and honour have keyed-in into theargument andhave strongly registered their opposition against such obvious societal ill as marginalization.
It therefore beats the imagination of right thinking members of the society, whythe electorates, the who-is-who in Owerri Zone and interested parties should close their eyes to the manifest marginalization that is being perpetuated within Imo East Senatorial District,otherwise known as Owerri Zone.
Like the leader of Youth Movement for Equity (YME) Comrade ChimaOkemiri, puts it, “the marginalization going on in Owerri Zone is a serial alienation of others from occupying the highly exalted Senatorial Seat of Imo East Senatorial District”.
Records have shown that in more than 30 years, the coveted seat of Owerri senatorial Zone at the National Assembly has been occupied by members from Mbaise and Mbaike.
The people of Old Owerri Local Government Area made up of Owerri North, Owerri West, Owerri Municipal and Ngor-Okpala, which constitute a very significant majority in the Zone, have been completely left out. They are totally alienated from the Senatorial Legislative representation.It is on record that Old Owerri Local Government Areais the only bloc in Imo East Senatorial District that is yet to produce a senator of proper tenure.
It becomes more striking because they equally parade erudite and knowledgeable individuals who no doubt, will offer unusual qualitative and effective representation in the hallowed chamber, if offered the opportunity. Unfortunately, they have never gotten the support and understanding of their sister blocks-Mbaike and Mbaise.
It is also not contentiousthat Mbaike and Mbaise nations have always got the political backing and support of the Old Owerri Local Government Areaduring every senatorial election, hence these two blocs effortlessly andconsistently haveproduce the Senator of Imo East Senatorial District over the years. The facts are there.
If we look at the 4th parliament upward, it will show that the Senatorial Seat of the Zonehas always rotates between these mentioned blocs.
For example, between 1999 and 2003, which is the twilight of Nigeria’s democracy after the military interregnum, Chief Evan Ewerem fromAtta Ikeduru (Mbaike) took the shot of the Zone’s Senatorial Seat. He rose to become the senate president.
Senator Ama Iwuagwu who hailed fromMbieri, Mbaitoli (Mbaike) took over. Unfortunately we lost that fine gentle man to thecold hands of death. Within the same legislative period, Senator Eze Ajoku filled the gap just for about 9 months.
The legislative period of the 7th parliament which commenced in 2007 was filled by Senator Chris Anyanwu from Mbaise nation. She did 8 years in senate. A feat she achieved by the unflagging support of people from the Old Owerri Local Government Area.
The 8th Assembly which is still running has Senator Samuel Anyanwu. Senator Anyanwu is from Ikeduru, (Mbaike). He is currently doing his 1st term which is expected to elapse in 2019. He would have probably sought for a 2nd term if not for the fact that he willfully decided to run for the exalted office of Governor of Imo State.
If we look at the record further down, it will also reveal that between 1979 and 1983 Senator Tony Anyanwu from Ahiazu Mbaise held sway while his kinsman from a neighbouring community Senator Isdore Obasi took over from him in 1983. Senator Isdore Obasi was succeeded by Senator Bright Nwanne from Ezinihitte Mbaise in the 1990’s.
The big question that is left to the conscience and consciousness of people of Mbaike andMbaise of Owerri Zone is, for how long will the people of Old Owerri Local Government Area made up of Owerri North, Owerri West and Owerri Municipal and Ngor-Okpala be sidelined in the Senatorial Seat of the Zone?
What other better time than now for Mbaike and Mbaise people to reciprocate the gesture of the Old Owerri Local Government Area and support them to clinch the Senatorial Seat?  What is good for the gander is also good for the goose. He who goes to equity as is saidmust go with clean hands.
­­There is now a dire need for a change of baton from Mbaike and Mbaise nation to Old Owerri Local Government Area. This will definitely foster oneness, equity and balance in the representation of the Senatorial District.
This is so because people are beginning to ask the right question. Before now, who will imagine that a group will rise to demand for balancing OwerriSenatorial Seat?  I am aware that organizations such as, YME is already mobilizing against marginalization at all levels.Political consciousness is increasing and the people of Old Owerri Local Government Area are already agitated about their calculated exclusion from occupying the Senatorial Seat.It is therefore wise to check this imbalance!
Political leaders in Imo East are already talking tough on the matter. For example, Mr.Fidel Oparaji and Marcilinus Ewelike, bothmajor political stakeholders in the Zone, have spoken vehemently against the marginalization of Old Owerri Local Government Area in the Senatorial Seat of the Zone.
For Mr. Fidel, “Old Owerri Local Government Area must be given the chance to produce the next Senator. It is grossly unfair that Mbaike and Mbaise axis has continued to produce the Senator for the Zone in the past 30 years. For equity and balance the status quo must change”.
Ewelike on his part has promised to work tirelessly for the emergence and eventual success of candidates from Old Owerri Local Government Area he he or she from PDP, APGA, APC or any other Political Party for that matter. He said he believes in equity and that the same argument Owerri Zone is making to the good people of Imo State should be allowed to trickle down to Owerri Zone.
No wonder most political parties in Nigeriathat understand the need to carry every tribe and creed along in dispensation of resources have devised meansof ensuring that all are equally represented. They achieved thisthrough zoning and rotationalformula.
These strategies which have sufficiently reduced marginalization and fosteredsocial integration of members of diverse blocs and groups have also enhanced peace and brotherliness.
Today, the Igbonation clamor for a person of their extraction to become the president of Nigeria. Political Parties consider it a legitimate request and are strategizing within the party on howbest to realize this.
The Nigeria State knowing the ugly consequence of marginalization of any tribe in the Nigerian economic system applied the quota system to attempt addressing the imbalance.
Although some of these control mechanismand tactics to guarantee equitable representation are not captured in Nigeria constitution, they are “gentleman’s” agreement to move the society forward.
The point is, if we campaign against marginalization of Nd’Igbo from becoming the President of Nigeria, if we frown against the exclusion of Owerri Zone in the Governorship of the state; we the must start the correction of any form of imbalance from within. Mbaike and Mbaise must back the Old Owerri Local Government Area to produce the next senator of the Zone in 2019.
Ifeanyi Onyekachi, a Journalist & Public Affairs
commentator wrote from Owerri

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