|INTRODUCTIONThe 2005 edition of Ntum Oha Annual lecture took place at Erinma Hall on 31st December, 2005. the Lecture was a huge success, thanks to the preparations made by the Organising committee chaired by Mr. Chidi Ukagha. over 4 thousand flyers were distributed, a total 100 interest groups were invited via posted mails. the chairman of the occasion was Dr. C. Eni. the special guest of honour was Prof. N. K. Mpka and the master of ceremony was —– Two resource persons Magistrate Onuma and Barrister Echeme Emole Delivered papers.The program started by 12 noon prompt. Opening prayer was said by the Chairman of the occasion, after which the president Engr. Samuel Agwu Okoji read his opening speech. the first lecturer mounted the podium by 1pm and by 2pm the second lecturer delivered his paper. the Annual lecture program ended by 2:40pm after a concluding remark by the chairman.below are details of the annual lecture program;
|THEMEThe suggested themes for 2005 annual lecture were; After rigorous debates the the theme below was selected:Autonomy: Development versus Balkanization – the Abiriba Experience Background: Nigeria as we may be aware is a federation of ethnic nationalities. The Igbo ethnic nationality, historically is largely a common wealth of Republican states – until the onset of the colonial era, when the colonial masters in an attempt to actualize their indirect rule system in the Igbo geopolitical zone, instituted, recognized and forced paramount rulers upon the majority of these republican city states from then on the adage “the Igbo man Knows no King” gradually lost its meaning. Since these so called traditional institutions lacked historical, customary foundation as compared to other feudalist cultures with recognizable dynasties, King makers and pattern of ascent to a vacant throne, it did not take long before these institutions were hijacked by influential families and squabbles arose between and within families over chieftaincy tussles and who will ascend a vacant throne. Apart from a few communities that have stabilized their traditional institutions, any sufficiently influential person or family can take a shot at the vacant stool or at least assume the status of king maker. The feud soon assumes a larger dimension when the warring individuals or families refuse to agree or arrive at a compromise. The family or entire community splits into factions with mayhem unleashed, often at innocent individuals. Properties are vandalized and burnt, people are harassed, maimed, kidnapped, killed or assassinated, reprisal attacks and killings become the order of the day. At the end of the day if peace is not achieved or sustained a geopolitical division occurs in which each faction may institute a separate, albeit unrecognized chiefdom. Recently, in Abia state in particular, the government of the day has been very liberal in the offer of autonomy to chiefdoms erstwhile under the umbrella of bigger chiefdoms. The manner at which this autonomy is awarded tends to give these factional (unrecognized) chiefdoms opportunity to legalize (regularizing) their new traditional institution. In the larger Nigerian society, the difference between the colonial indirect government by traditional institutions and that of modern government by the democratic system is vague. People tend to mix both. The consequence is the misunderstanding of autonomy granted traditional institutions and modern administrative autonomy of a community. Further more successive state, local and federal administrations have failed to take a stand on, enforce upon and enlighten the people on the particular system of administration it is operating. The result of this is the ill-advised agitation by communities for traditional autonomy while the actual goal is for modern administrative autonomy, the manipulation of communities by certain individuals or families to seek traditional administrative autonomy to achieve there selfish aims, while leaving the community in disarray and the consequent Balkanization of erstwhile cohesive communities. The questions are:Does autonomy (traditional or otherwise) aid progress or development of a community?Is balkanization progressive or retrogressive?Does autonomy lead to development or does it always tend towards balkanization?What is government’s role in the Balkanization of and agitations for Autonomy by communities? Abiriba land historically is among the few communities in the common wealth of Igboland that had a running traditional (quasi feudal) government, instituted long before the colonial era with a well established dynasty and system of ascendance to the throne of the Enachoken. In the light of this and the fact that the Abiriba people operate a unique matrilineal cum patrilineal cultural system make Abiriba as a case study complex.Aims: The lecture aims at enlightening the participants on:Brief history of Abiriba’s political and socio economic lifeEmergent political and socio economic realities.Pros and cons of Repositioning AbiribaRepositioning Abiriba to advantage Target participants: Government officials of Abiriba origin, branch ACIU executives, Age Grade executives, Abiriba NGO executives, Abiriba Professionals, Intellectuals and Elites. Expected participants will total 400.
|OPENING ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Chairman Sir,The Special Guest Speaker, Prof. M. A. Mkpa (The Commissioner for Education, Abia State)Distinguished Ntum Oha Lecturers for 2004 Annual Lectures,Participants and Other Invited Guests,Fellow members of Ntum Oha here present. I greet you all. Ntum Oha is an interest group based in Port Harcourt. Her members are indigenes of Abiriba, who are, at least, graduates of Universities or other Institutions of Learning of equivalent standard. In Ntum Oha, we focus on three major aspects of developments in Abiriba, which are; Education, Health and Politics.Our mode of operation is; Investigative Interview Technique. We ask questions to identify problem areas in those three aspects of community development. The problems so identified are then highlighted and showcased. We also proffer solutions to those problems and then alert appropriate agencies for implementation of the solutions proffered.In the annual lectures, as you will soon witness, eminent sons and/or daughters of Abiriba will talk on a chosen topic. The topic for this 2004 Edition is “Emerging Political and Socio-Economic Realities: Repositioning Abiriba to Advantage”. Questions will be raised to reawaken our consciousness to our proud heritage, Abiriba, and also remind us of our developmental shortcomings.After the lectures, we will have the Frank Talk session. This is a discussion (Audience Participation) session. Most of the questions raised during the lectures will be answered during the frank talk. Please jot down your questions or comments as the lectures progress.At the end of this discussion, we all would be better informed on the current happenings in our community, Abiriba, as it concerns Education, Health and Politics. Also we would know the contributions we need to make, either as individuals or as a group, towards the betterment of Abiriba. Long Live Ntum Oha!Long Live Abiriba!!Long Live Nigeria!!!
| A PAPER DELIVERED BY O.K ONUMA ESQ AT THE NTUM OHA END OF YEAR LECTURE/ TALK SHOP HELD AT ABIRIBA ON 31ST DECEMBER, 2005 ON THE TOPIC: CREATION OF AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITIES IN ABIRIBA:- LEGAL AND DEVELOPMENT ISSUES. PREAMBLES: I want to thank NTUM OHA, THE ORGANISERS OF THIS 2005 Annual Lecture/ talk Shop (FRANK TALK) for giving me yet another opportunity to jaw-jaw with Abiriba people since I am not ready to war-war with anybody. This programme is also known as FRANK TALK as distinct from MONEY TALK. Most people understand money talk easily but when it comes to frank talk, they suffer from selective understanding and selective amnesia.Frank talk is what we need in Abiriba today and not money talk. One thing is that truth which sets souls, countries or villages free never dies. Wish it away and it comes back to haunt you with greater force until you address it. William Cullen Bryant, in the poem titled “The Battle Field” wrote that “Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again. The eternal years of God are hers But error, wounded, writhes in pain. And dies among his worshippers” The truth here is not Hitler’s type of truth. If we must do a frank talk, we must isolate Money talk and propaganda. Allan Buttock in his book on Hitler titled- “A study In Tyranny” quoted Hitler as having said to his propaganda minister:- “Take a little falsehood, build a hyperbole around it, sound it over and over, and very soon people would lay down their lives in defense of it as the truth. The receptive powers of the masses is very restricted and their understanding feeble”. “On the other hand, they quickly forget. That being the case, all effective propaganda should be Simple and repetitive. Only a constant repetition will finally succeed in imprinting an idea on the memory of a crowd”Let me give just two examples of the Hitler’s type of truth and propaganda that has created the problems in Abiriba today. “Wa kpo anyi ama asaghasa” (They called us a compound without ending or any organization). “Wa si e nwoke anoghi Ameke” (They say there is no man in Ameke). DEFINITIONS: The Theme for this year’s Frank –Talk is AUTONOMOUS: – DEVELOPMENT VERSUS BALKANIZATION; THE ABIRIBA EXPERIENCE. It is from this theme that I have chosen the topic CREATION OF AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITIES IN ABIRIBA: LEGAL AND DEVELOPMENT ISSUES. There are just three things I would like to define from this onset. They are Autonomous community, Balkanization, and Development. AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITY– Is defined in section 2 of the Traditional Rulers and Autonomous Communities Law (Cap. 10) Laws of Abia State of Nigeria, 2000 as “ A group of people inhabiting an identifiable geographical area or areas comprising one or more communities and bound by a common traditional and cultural way of life with a common historical heritage and recognized and approved as autonomous community by the Government”, Section 15 of the Law provides- “ Any community or group of communities seeking autonomy shall have a common tradition, identity and be homogeneous”. Thus, to become an Autonomous Community, people living in a particular identifiable geographical area must have three things in common, namely – tradition, culture and history. Then they can only become an Autonomous Community after the Government has recognized and approved them as such. In other words, an Autonomous Community is a creation of law. A place becomes an Autonomous community when the Government has said so. BALKANIZATION – The peninsula-like area of the south – Eastern Europe with the following Countries – Greece, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania is called the Balkans. The area is just about 764,000 sq. km, compared to Nigeria’s 923,768 sq. km. In other words the Balkans is smaller than Nigeria but it has been split into Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro and countries. Since the former Yugoslavia has been split into Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro and the rump Yugoslavia, the Balkans now has about twelve (12) countries. There are so many countries in the small area, so many languages, religions, traditions, ideologies and ethnic groups. The splitting of the countries takes place in a confused manner resulting sometimes in people who have nothing in common being lumped together as a country. The result is wars upon wars, ethnic and religious cleansing like we witnessed in the early 90s when the former Yugoslavia was splitting up. This is why the Chambers Twentieth century Dictionary (Supplement Edition 1978) defined the word “BALKANISE” as to reduce to the condition of the Balkan countries where hostile nationalities are or were mixed together” page 98. Another Dictionary called the Book of words vol. 1 at page 110 defined BALKANIZATION as “to split up an area into many small hostile states”. DEVELOPMENT– To develop is “to bring to a more advanced or more highly organized state or to cause to grow or advance” (Chambers Dictionary P.352). Development as it relates to towns or countries is not capable of a single definition. There are things we look for and when they are present, we may say that a country is not developed. See the Book “Government and Business Relations. The Nigerian Perspective” by B. Chima Onuoha and C. E. Udensi page 216. The signs of a place that is not developed includes low standard of living of the people, presence of hunger and disease, low per capita income, poor health facilities, high level of illiteracy, over- population, absence of infrastructural facilities, absence of industries, technological backwardness, transportation problem, etc. When we talk about “development”, we are talking about removing all the signs of under- development. Infact, we are talking about removing unemployment, disease and hunger, eradicating illiteracy, increasing the standard of living, solving our poor road net-works and transport difficulties, tackling our erosion and environmental ravages, provision of electricity, clean environment, active health centers and hospitals, recreational facilities, renovation of our schools etc .etc. Development issues include how to harness our communal efforts to improve the standard of living in Abiriba and of Abiriba people wherever they are. Since faster development comes through power, the issue is how to position Abiriba in such a way that our sons will become the state Governor and Local Government Chairman so that they could help us. There are still open public toilets in Abiriba – how do we eradicate them? There is not one public water bore- hole supply stand in Abiriba today – what do we do? There are no bridges linking our villages together or our farm-lands to the villages. There is no GSM mast at Abiriba. There are no hotels except the NOKO Hotels in Abiriba and there no industries –even a pure water industry. These are developmental issues. BALKANIZATION VERSUS DEVELOPMENT – Balkanization is global trend. People keep asking for and fighting to become new countries, new states, new local government areas and new Autonomous communities. The number of countries in the world keeps growing everyday. We can remember the recent break up of the former Soviet Union into many countries. Back home here in Nigeria people are asking that Nigeria be split into more countries. The clamor for more states is always on. The South-East geo-political zone (each of which has six while South- East has five). The fight for the creation of Aba state has gathered momentum once again. The demand for more local government areas has created a lot of confusion and even put some states like Lagos into trouble. All over, the in thing is divide, create, carve out, balkanize. etc. As at 8th of November 2005, there were seven hundred and twenty-six (726) Autonomous Communities in Abia State grouped by local government areas as follows:
1. Aba North – 9 2. Aba South – 13 3. Arochukwu – 26 4. Bende – 108 5. Ikwuano – 46 6. Isiala Ngwa North – 42 7. Isiala Ngwa South – 48 8. Isuikwuato – 64 9. Obingwa – 69 10. Ohafia – 31 11. Osisioma – 45 12. Ugwunagbo – 24 13. Ukwa East – 22 14. Ukwa West – 25 15 Umuahia North – 35 16. Umuahia South – 46 17. Umunneochi – 73 Total 726
On the date I obtained the above data from the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs Umuahia there were fifty (50) new applications for the creation of more Autonomous Communities. Around the 20th of November, 2005, eight (8) new autonomous Communities were created to add to the existing 726 making a total of 734 Autonomous Communities in Abia State. Why so many Autonomous Communities? why do people want to be balkanized?.(1) Many people want to be divided or carved out of an existing order so that they can be free from injustice, oppression, marginalisation and suppression. There are people who want a kingdom for themselves for pure selfish and ambitious interests. Balkanization should stop where it is no longer viable, useful or make any legal meaning.(2) The plan of the government in creating Autonomous Communities is – to enable such communities to have an organized mouth-piece for ventilating the grievances and problems of their areas and attracting assistance from government, especially the local government. . But how many Autonomous Communities are created today with this object in attracting assistance from government, especially the local government. But how many Autonomous Communities are created today with this object in mind? The Autonomous communities are now created as gifts or compensations to influential individuals and party supporters.(3) The Traditional Rulers are paid some minimal allowances by the government and sometimes, they get fertilizers and Christmas gifts from their Local Government Councils. There are so many people who want to become Traditional Rulers so that they can survive from the perks mentioned above.(4) There are so many 419 people who have so much ill-gotten wealth but without good names or reputation. They want to become respectable, relevant and legitimate. They now sponsor the creation of Autonomous Communities where they become “Ezes” and “Royal Majesties” thinking that titles will clean them up or change their shady characters and past.(5) Most politicians are title crazy. And what other title is better than “Prince”. To get “Prince” attached to their names, politicians do everything to get Autonomous Communities where their fathers become Ezes and they become “Prince”.(6) There are very few instances where Autonomous Communities, are created for welfare and developmental reasons. Let us now use the Ameke Autonomous Community as an example. Why was the Ameke Autonomous Community obtained? (a) Some say that if Amogudu and Agboji have their Autonomous Communities, why can’t Ameke have theirs? Here we recall the parable about the rat that went out into the rain with the lizard. When lizard got dry the rat did not. As traders, we also know that you don’t buy goods simply because Mr. A bought the same goods. Mr. A may sell all his goods while you will not sell any. (b) Some say that Amogudu boasted that Ameke has no son capable of obtaining an Autonomous Community for Ameke. So, if I say that Ameke has no son capable of standing in front of a moving train or capable of wrestling with a wild tiger a son of Ameke would go and do so. And then be saddled with the consequences. What a Widow! (c) There is the angle that one rich man in Ameke obtained the Ameke Autonomous Community in order to “deal” with the Enachioken who “insulted” the rich man. Whichever is the case, the important thing is that the Ameke Autonomous Community was not obtained with the conviction that it will help and enhance the development of Ameke. The Ameke Autonomous Community was not obtained in good faith. Those who obtained it did not do so out of patriotism or love for the progress of Ameke and this is why there are problems and controversies trailing the Ameke Autonomous Community. There is in truth no mass support for the Ameke Autonomous Community but those behind it have money, thugs and political connection to force it upon the masses. The masses are protesting but the more they protest the more violence that is visited on them. Lives are being lost, properties are being destroyed, insecurity is enveloping the place and progress or development is standing still in Ameke. Those behind the Ameke autonomous Community do not care about these problems because their aim was only to “deal with the Enachioken” or show that they have “a son who can obtain an Autonomous Community “for them. They are pursuing their only aim not minding whether or not the whole Ameke in particular or Abiriba in general is razed down. The money that Ameke people on both sides of the Autonomy issue have used in making police cases, paying lawyers and hiring assassins would have been used in making far reaching impact on our de3velopment. Some individuals are just using the Ameke Autonomous Community issue to massage their egos, dress up their vanity and engage in personal vendetta. If we keep quiet and allow them, they will destroy all of us. ULYSSES in TROILUS AND CRESSINGA said “Then everything resolves to brutal force. And headlong, force is led by boo winked will. For wild ambition, like a ravenous wolf, spurred by will and seconded by power, must make a universal prey of all. And last devours itself”. WHAT ARE THE LEGAL, POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL GAINS OF AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITIES?Like I said earlier, Autonomous Communities are creations of law. We therefore have to look at the law used in creating Autonomous Communities in order to see their purposes, uses and gains. For example, we know that certain rights, privileges and powers are attached to the status of being a State or a Local Government Council in Nigeria. The question is what is attached to the status of being an Autonomous community in Nigeria?When a state or a local Government Council is created, we look at the constitution (1999) of our land to see the gains or legal effect of the status. For instance, the new State or Local Government Council becomes entitled to monthly allocations from the nation’s Revenue account. It becomes entitled to be represented in the National Assembly (for a state) or in the state House of Assembly (for a Local Government Council). Some many other Laws of the land (for example, Electoral Laws) recognize and confer some gains on states and Local Government Councils. Does the Nigeria Constitution or any other law of our land confer any legal power, benefit, gain or recognition on Autonomous Communities? What development comes with the creation of Autonomous Communities? I have searched through our 1999 Constitution, and I have searched through all the laws of our land and I cannot find Autonomous Communities recognized anywhere or even mentioned as having any legal right or as being the basis for the distribution of anything along the lines of Autonomous Communities. For example, in many government forms, there are provisions for Local Government Area of origin and State of origin but there are usually no places to fill Autonomous Communities of origin. Have we paused to consider why the Federal Government is not interested in how many Autonomous Communities we create but once you create a Local Government Council, they will be interested and order you to scrap them? It is because legally, Autonomous Communities mean nothing. If it means anything, you can be sure that some other parts of the country will get more of it than the South- Eastern States. We should remember for that Kano State alone has forty-seven (47) Local Government Councils. I have searched through the Traditional Rulers and Autonomous Communities Law of Abia State and I cannot find one benefit-legal, political, economic or social that is attached to Autonomous Communities. The benefits if any, are attached to the Eze of the Autonomous Community as Section 19(1) of the Law provides the following FUNCTIONS for the Traditional Rulers:-(a) Representing his Autonomous Community on ceremonial occasions;(b) Receiving important visitors to the community on ceremonial occasions;(c) Presiding at cultural festivals in the community;(d) Acting as the custodian of culture, custom and tradition and advising the community on them;(e) Assisting in the maintenance of law and order in the community;(f) Taking steps to reconcile disputing parties in civil matters whether or not such matter which the disputing parties bring to him for reconciliation are matters governed by any law of the community;(g) Encouraging development projects of the community;(h) Assisting the State and Local Government in-charge of the community in the collection of taxes;(i) Promoting stability and peace in the community;(j) Attending meetings summoned by the Chairman of the Local Government Area from time to time for the purposes of consultation and advice. As can be seen from the functions listed, functions are not the same as benefits, advantages or gains. Except for (g) and (i) the rest of the functions of the Eze under the law are hardly of any benefit to the Autonomous Communities. The functions are attached to the Ezes personally and not to the communities. Do we know that Autonomous Communities do not exist in the Northern and Western Nigeria? Are we more developed than they are because we have Autonomous Communities? Do we know that it is better to have more Electoral Wards than Autonomous Communities? We know that Arochukwu people are “sense people” but they resisted the creation of Autonomous Communities in Aro. Sure enough, if splitting up an area into countless Autonomous Communities had positive benefits, Aro people would not refuse it. Do we recall that even our own State House of Assembly planned to scrap so many of our existing Autonomous Communities to drastically reduce their numbers until the Traditional Rulers cried foul? AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITIES VERSUS FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS The 1999 constitutions of Nigeria which is the Supreme Law of the land guarantees and protects certain rights and freedoms of individuals. These rights, found in sections 33 to 43 of the Constitution includes:-1. The Right to Life.2. Right to the Dignity of the human person.3. Right to personal liberty.4. Right to fair hearing.5. Right to private and Family Life.6. Right to Freedom of thought, Conscience and religion.7. Right to Freedom of Expression and the Press.8. Right to peaceable Assembly and Association.9. Right to Freedom of movement.10. Right to Freedom from discrimination.11. Right to acquire and own property. Any action of the government or individual (e.g. a Traditional Ruler) must not violates or derogate from these rights. The right cannot be compromised. Any law that compromises these rights is null and void. The rights applies to “every Nigerian citizen wherever he may be in Nigeria” that is, whether he is his own Autonomous Community or not. For example S. 41 provides that.Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof and no citizen shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereto or exit there from. (Underlining is mine,) A citizen of Nigeria does not need visa or the permission of anybody to move, reside, enter or exit from any place in Nigeria. It is illegal and criminal for any Autonomous Community to banish anybody there from or refuse – any person the freedom of movement in the area simply because such a person refused to identify with the Autonomous Community. Last December (2004) a very popular Abiriba son went to visit somebody at Umueso, and parked his car at the village square. When he came out to go after his visit, he could not find his car at the spot he parked it. Some ignorant persons had pushed the car away. They told him that since he was not supporting the Ameke Autonomous, he should not park his car on Ameke land. Around September this year (2005) the town crier of Ameke Autonomous Community went round Ameke announcing that one prominent son of Ameke was banned from entering Ameke and that if he dares to enter Ameke, he should accept whatever happens to him. Somebody came to me for advice the other day. The problem was that his immediate village (one of the strong supporters of the Ameke Autonomous) had decreed that he would no longer use their public toilet or fetch water from the village stream. Sometimes, thugs will block the Orie-Akwa Junction that leads to both Amogudu and Agboji and they will claim that they are on their own Autonomous land. People have been killed or wounded, stores/houses have been burnt, people have been ostracized, harassed and intimidated for not joining the Ameke Autonomous. Those who are perpetrating these devilish acts have a complete misunderstanding of what Autonomous Communities are all about. A Nigerian, anywhere he is, has freedom of Association, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of movement, right to own properties and the right to utilize any natural stream in the place. The Constitution gives these freedoms and no Autonomous Community can take any of the rights away. It is because the Constitution protects these rights no matter the geographical location that enables Abiriba people in Diaspora (at Aba, Lagos, Abuja, etc) to live in such places, carry on their businesses there, hold their age grade meetings there and even perform cultural festivals without any molestations. Nobody has ever prevented Abiriba people at Aba from holding their cultural carnivals on the basis that Aba is not their Autonomous Community. It is out of ignorance that people imagine they can send anybody who does not belong or believe in their Autonomous Community away. Every Nigerian has a right to believe what he likes and identify with any organization he likes and he is free to criticize what he does not like. People call the President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, all sorts of names. They condemn his programmes and refuse to identify with him. Yet, with all his powers, Obasanjo has not sent any citizen out of Nigeria or restrained any person from entering Abuja. In Abia State, some people are strongly opposed to Governor Orji Uzor Kalu. But they still drink the water the Governor provides and the governor has not asked them not to use the roads he built. The Constitution allows opposition at all levels. Opposition has its uses. The best policy is not to kill; or main the opposition but to win over or convince the opposition with good works. Those who violate human rights in the name of Autonomous Communities do so at their own risks. When caught, they will face the law and only then will they realize that Autonomous does not protect any person who commits a crime. The creations of Autonomous Communities per say does not bring development. Only people can bring development in an atmosphere of peace and security. Can anybody point to a single project in Ameke, which the Autonomous status has brought? CONCLUSION1. Do the majority of Ameke people support an Autonomous Community for Ameke? Or have they been intimidated into silence? Why are the sponsors of the Ameke Autonomy opposing the conduct of a Referendum in Ameke to determine whether or not the masses want the Autonomy? It is important to determine what the people want.2. The Ameke autonomous Community and the two Autonomous Communities (Amogudu and Agboji) are not in the same situation. Amogudu and Agboji obtained their Autonomous Communities using the same Traditional Ruler who, by custom are their Ezes. Is the present Traditional Ruler of Ameke the proper Eze for Ameke Eleven villages?3. Scrap all the three Autonomous Communities in Abiriba. But Amogudu and Agboji have not used their Autonomies to create problems in Abiriba. They have remained Committed to the Abiriba Unity and loyal to the Enachioken.Why should they be scrapped? Scrap the Ameke Autonomous instead. But those behind it would cry foul. However, the Ameke Autonomous Community is the one created under controversial circumstances; it is the one conducting its affairs in a controversial manner. It is the one using force to get support and it is the one obtained for reasons other than development. In fact, it is the one creating problems in Abiriba today. Why should it not be scrapped?4. If not scrapped, those behind the Ameke Autonomous should start doing good and embarking on projects that will show that their aim is developmental and noble.5. We must realize that the 1999 constitution is the supreme Law of the land. Any freedom or right contained in it shall be respected by every Autonomous Community.6. Our people need more education and enlightenment on the effect, gains and legal advantage (if any) of Autonomous Communities. If people understand that Autonomous Communities have no gains, they will be less fanatical about them.7. We have a very complex history and geographical settings, Autonomous Communities will not work in Abiriba.
|“Emerging Political and Socio-Economic Realities: Repositioning Abiriba to an Advantageous Position” By Chijioke Echeme EmoleI appreciate the invitation by Ntum Oha to participate in this dialogue – the 4th Ntum Oha Annual Lecture/Frank Talk.I appreciate the enormous job Ntum Oha is and has been doing to sensitize Abiriba people on evolving political and socio-economic realities.I Intend to provoke a dialogue and not necessarily deliver a lecture, with a view to arriving at the path forward to re-achieve political and socio-economic prominence for Abiriba.Although I wrote down the points of discussion in English, l will present the points of discussion in Abiriba language.What are the emerging political realities in Nigeria and in Abia State? a) Igbo national political marginalization;b) 2007 presidential alignment;c) Growing demands for de-centralization and self-autonomy by constituent parts of the federation;d) 2007 Abia Governorship – Abia South Factor; other options;e) 2007 Senatorial election;f) Alliances with other groups; What are the emerging socio-economic realities in Nigeria and globally?a) Globalization – free movement of persons, goods, services, capital, information, infectious diseases, and destructive weapons across international borders.b) Nationally – liberalization; deregulation; privatization;c) Increased and increasing criticality of knowledge industries and economies;d) Entry of women into the workforce in increased and increasing numbers; and impact on income and savings’ patterns;e) Unsustainability of imports as a trading niche following government policies regarding serial import bans on various goods and items. Where are we situated in these emerging realities?a) Politically fragmented and divided and ineffective;b) Economically devastated, following downturn in import business;c) Confidence negatively impacted;d) Amorphous, visionless, self-centered economic and political leadership;How do we reposition Abiriba to an advantageous position?a) Politically: re-group; aim to capture state-wide political office in 2007; and national representation. Erect social and political mobilization structures. Think radically about age-grades; think outside the box regarding their functionality.b) Re-invent the “Abiriba mind”;b) Create data base of professionals;c) Direct youth towards education; knowledge industries;d) Invest in Agriculture in Abiriba and environs to create youth employment;e) Engage in active HIV-AIDS activism to drastically reduce infection rates and treat economically disadvantaged victims;d) Create business cluster groups; shift to manufacturing and agro-based industries;e) Diversify trade focus to sustainable goods and materials, especially for energy industry;e) Leverage the business and economic facilities around the zone – Calabar Export Processing Zone; Onne Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone; NLNG; Aluminium Smelter Plant, Ikot Abasi;
|NTUM OHA ANNUALLECTURE AND FRANK TALK —————————————————————————————– YOU ARE SPECIALLY INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE 2005 EDITION OFNTUM OHA ANNUAL LECTURE AND FRANK TALK THEME: AUTONOMY: DEVELOPMENT VERSUS BALKANIZATION – THE ABIRIBA EXPERIENCE DATE: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2005TIME: 12:00 NOON TO 3:00PM PROMPT (NTUM OHA TIME)VENUE: ERINMA HALL – ABIRIBA SIGNED CHIDI UKAGHACHAIRMAN ORGANISING COMMITTEE