By Anayo Edeh
AS the 2023 general election approaches, the people of Enugu State are gearing up to elect a new governor, like other Nigerians in other states.
As it is the tradition in Enugu, the new governor will be elected in accordance with the Enugu Charter of Equity, which ensures that the governorship of the state is equitably rotated around the three senatorial districts in the state.
Nkanu-East is the only local government area in Enugu State that has neither produced a governor nor a senator.
From all indications, the pendulum of power is swinging in the direction of Enugu East Senatorial District, where Nkanu East falls. Nkanu East was created in 1996 by the late Gen. Sani Abacha who was then Nigeria’s military head of state. From inception till date, Nkanu East has remained undeveloped and bereft of all forms of government presence.
Today, there is no Nkanu East son or daughter occupying any position of power and influence at the state and federal levels.
The under-development and isolation of Nkanu East have become scandalous and worrisome, not only in Enugu State but in other parts of the country. This explains why almost all the prominent politicians in Enugu State are throwing their weight behind Nkanu East. These leaders include former Enugu State governors, Senators Jim Nwobodo and Chimaroke Nnamani, former president of the Senate, Ken Nnamani, former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dubem Onyia, and Senator Ben-Collins Ndu, among others. These leaders are aware that a charter of equity, which has brought unity, peace and stability, exists in Enugu State. As statesmen, they are prepared to defend the truth without fear or consideration for parochial interests.
Recently, the leaders of Nkanu East, under the auspices of Nkanu East Consultative Forum (NECF), embarked on visitations meant to bring the plight of Nkanu East to the front burner and solicit the support of the leaders and entire people of the state to enable Nkanu East produce the next governor. They visited Sen. Ken Nnamani. At the visit, Nnamani described Nkanu East as backward and under-developed. While responding to the presentation of the Nkanu East leaders, who were led by former minister, Prof. Barth Nnaji, he said he was totally “sold” to the idea of an Nkanu East governor come 2023. The declaration was made before other outstanding figures from Nkanu East who were in the Nnaji-led entourage. They were former Enugu State Deputy Governor, Chief Sunday Onyebuchi, Igwe Abel Nwobodo, Igwe Felix Nwatu, former Secretary to Enugu State government, Chief Gabriel Aja, Ejike Ani and the chairman, Nkanu East Council of Traditional Rulers, Igwe Hyacinth Edeani.
These Nkanu East leaders were always quick to declare that their struggle and agitation for a governor of Nkanu East extraction was to entrench the values of equity and justice in the leadership recruitment process of the state, which would,
At another visit, Sen. Jim Nwobodo also advised that, in the interest of fairness, Nkanu East should be allowed to produce the next governor of Enugu State. Sen. Ben-Collins Ndu and Dubem Onyia have equally lent their full weight to moves geared towards producing an Enugu governor from Nkanu East.
Nkanu East has the human and natural resources required to provide leadership for the entire state.
The little or no attention that these resources have received over the years, has left them largely under-developed and backward. For example, the people of Nkanu East cannot access their council headquarters directly.
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They must pass through four other LGAs before they can reach their council headquarters.
Also, the poor road network in Nkanu East has made it extremely difficult for even farmers to convey their produce to cities, where they are in high demand.
The poor and pitiable state of infrastructure in Nkanu East makes it imperative for an Nkanu East governor, who knows where the shoe pinches, to emerge and tackle the challenges on ground.
In Nkanuland, Nkanu East is the least developed. In fact, it is the weakest link in the chain. Even in the whole of Enugu State, there is no other LGA that is as backward as Nkanu East.
All men and women of good conscience are in agreement that Nkanu East should now produce the next governor of Enugu State.
The fact remains that the people of Nkanu East alone cannot produce a governor. This is why it is imperative that other natives of Enugu from all the zones should fight along side Nkanu East to achieve this lofty objective.
The few who are opposed to this idea, should examine the facts on the table and take a position on the side of equity and justice.
The Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has made it clear that equity and justice will be the determining factors in deciding who succeeds him. He has done so much for Enugu State for which history and posterity will remember him. He has no reason to fail in giving justice to the marginalised in Enugu.
The two sons of Nkanu East who have so far declared for the governorship race are capable of providing leadership. They are : Chief Evarest Nnaji and Mr. Peter Mbah. The whole of Enugu State will eventually decide who to pick. Any of these two will be able to fulfill the dreams of our people.
•Hon. Edeh, a former member of the House of Representatives, wrote from Enugu