by: Ifeanyi Onyekachi
As a keen observer of the political developments in Imo state and Owerri Federal Constituency in particular, I owe it a duty to inform our people on issues I have some competence and knowledge. This is more the case at this critical period of electioneering when it has become obvious that political marauders and their spin doctors are bent on perpetuating tissue of lies aimed holding the innocent but vulnerablemembers of the society down for selfish political gain.
It is for this reason that my heart bled when I read a post in one of the social site platforms. It was written by one Mr. Aic Akwarandu who was obviously writing for his master,Hon. Ezenwa Francis Onyewuchi, Member, representing Owerri Federal Constituency at the Federal House of Representative, Abuja.
The article was titled: “Understanding the frustration of Dr Mike Nwachukwu”. When I saw the title, I was attracted to read the article because I assumed that the writer situated the perceived frustration of Dr. Mike Nwachukwu in the context of the general frustration, despair and hopelessness which the people of Imo state and Owerri Federal constituents are undergoing owing to ineffective representation at the National Assembly by Hon. Onyewuchi.
But that was not to be. Instead Mr. Akwarandu unveiled his mask and revealed that he is one of those paid writers who must do the bidding of their masters so as to enjoy the crumb that falls from the master’s table.
In his piece, he portrayed Chief Mike Nwachukwu in many unkind words while extolling to high heavens the legislative gains which he said Hon. Ezenwa Onyewuchi attracted to his constituency. The question that has continued to agitate the minds of those who have read the illogical piece is what are Chief Mike Nwachukwu’s sins that warranted the venom by Akwarandu?
The only thing that irked him, as I can decipher from his writing is a simple statement of fact, which he attributed to Chief Mike Nwachukwu. According to him, on the day Chief declared to vie for the senatorial seat of Owerri zone, he told members of the press that Hon. Ezenwa Onyewuchi, “has given his Federal Constituency no voice in Abuja”.Akwarandu said he read this in one of the local tabloids.Though he did not quote the said newspaper, but whether
Chief Nwachukwu said so or not, that statement is neither an aspersion nor a slight, but a reflection of the truth that stares the people of Owerri Federal Constituency at the face. Chief Nwachukwu only expressed the sentiments of the constituents who have no means or avenue to communicate their deep rooted disappointment on the charade called representation.
I can state categorically, having transverse the length and breadth of Owerri Federal Constituency, that Mr.Akwarandu in his piece, only struggled in vain to cover-up the abysmal failure of Hon. Onyewuchi.
The so called ‘stylist empowerment’ projects which he said were carried out by Hon. Ezenwa Onyewuchi were mere illusion of reality - a disproportionate exaggeration that crystallized the well-known deceptive attitude of some politicians, including Akwarandu’s pay master.
Right thinking members of the society are therefore baffled at the temerity of Hon. Ezenwa to again choose to go for Owerri Senatorial Seat when he has failed to render satisfactory account to the people on his current assignment.
Is it not when a man excels in smaller thing that he can be assigned a higher responsibility? Where are the infrastructures? Where are the road networks in the three local governments he represents namely: Owerri Municipal, Owerri North and Owerri West?
How come Hon. Ezenwa, our representative at the Federal House did not know when the Inter-State rail project that excluded Imo State was initiated until it was presented at the floor of the National Assembly.
What about the heavy gullies and erosion sites at Owerri West along Nekede-Umuguma–Ihiagwa. In other constituencies across the country, such natural disaster are issues for the intervention agencies such as the Ecological Fund Office, Border Communities Development Agency, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) just to mention a few.
The people of Owerri federal constituency are bothered that in the nearly eight years of Hon. Ezenwa Onyewuchi presence in the National Assembly there is no sustainable quality capital project to his name. This is probably what Chief Mike Nwachukwu means when he said that Hon. Ezenwa has not given the Owerri federal constituency a voice at Abuja.
I do not want to talk about the avalanche of dilapidated roads within the 3 local governments. These roads have become death traps. Most communities in the constituency are cut-off from one another owing to failed road infrastructure. Examples abound everywhere - the Umuguma-Okuku road, Irete Market-Malaysian Junction in Owerri West, Ihitta Ogada-Owalla-Owellu, the Ubaa – Mgbhiri – Ngwoma – Ulakwo, and the Ulakwo (Owerri – Aba road end) - Emii road. Road Safety -Orji link roads must also be mentioned.Virtually all the adjoining roads in Owerri Municipal are impassable. The list is endless.
I do not want to talk about the growing rate of unemployment which has wreck the same youths that worked hard to ensure that Hon.Ezenwa was elected. It is therefore understandable, that any man with some human feelings, who watches the excruciating suffering of the people, will speak truth to power. That is what Chief Nwachukwu has done for which he is been crucified.
The lame argument advanced by Mr.Akwarandu while trying to defend his master include,“…in a functional government where executive is working, delivering quality infrastructure, the parliament should strictly focus on law making”.
Even if we agree for the purpose of this narration that he is right, the question that should follow is what Motion or Bill has he initiated to enhance the quality of lives of his constituents?The argument is a clear case of bad work man quarrelling with his tool. We all know that Appropriation and Oversight as functions of the legislature relate to appropriating for projects which the law makers discovered during their oversight, including projects in their constituencies.
Mr. Akwarandu also praised Hon. Ezenwa for dolling out transformers, motorcycle (Okada), clippers etc. as empowerment for the people of the Federal Constituency. This is not only demeaning, but an offense to our sensibilities as a people.This type of empowerment is a deception for which time is up.
I wonder how many of Hon. Ezenwa Onyewuchi’s sons or brothers are Okada riders? Our people have gone past this stage. What they seek for is Capital Projects that will jump start real economic boom which will offer jobs that will not debase their human dignity. Our people clamor for legislation that will not only give them sense of security and fulfillment but will guarantee their happiness.
Akwarandu also in his piece said that Hon Ezenwa influenced the appointment of some of our brothers and sisters into federal ministries. Such claim needs to be confirmed to ensure that they are not phantom jobs, or employment to family members and cronies.
For the avoidance of doubt, Chief Mike Nwachukwu that I know is a focused, purpose driven, passionate and empathetic individual who has thrown his hat into the ring for Imo East Senatorial District seat in the upcoming 2019 general elections. His declaration to vie for Owerri Senatorial Seat on the platform of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) is well intended. He is coming to unlock & activate Federal Government resources in response to the infrastructure deficit issues in Owerri Zone. I have listened to him and do not have any single doubt in my mind that he understands the Federal Government’s Budgetary Process and will deploy his deep knowledge and understanding of this process to address the sordid state of infrastructure – particularly road infrastructure in Owerri Zone.
He is a through breed, with the right intellect and disposition to change the status quo and trajectory of senatorial representation in the zone, God willing.
For Aic Akwarandu, I understand his fears; let him be assured that he will not lose his job if Chief Mike Nwachukwu takes over the Imo East Senatorial seat in 2019.
Onyekachi,a journalist and public affairs commentator
wrote from Owerri