Abia: Protecting Our Common Heritage

Politicians are expected to exhibit the spirit of sportsmen. Sportsmen after losing games embrace their opponents. Their consolation is anchored on the fact that games come and go and that if they do not win today, another sporting event provides a window for them to win tomorrow.

Unfortunately, politics in the Nigerian context is viewed from the perspective of "do or die". It is characterised by mudslinging, backbiting, manipulations and maneuverings, character assassination, even at extreme cases attempt to assassinate political opponents.

No place has the negative characteristics of politics come to play recently than Abia. Since the present administration of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu was installed last year, there have been desperate attempts to truncate the mandate which the Abia people vested on him in the April 2015 governorship elections.

The attempts have culminated into several litigations which witnessed its height on June 27th when Justice Okong Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja delivered a judgment that will go in the annals of Nigerian legal history as "the most controversial judgment". The said judgment removed Ikpeazu from office as the governor of Abia State despite some glaring flaws.

Thank God for the same judiciary which lived up to its bidding as "the hope of the common man". The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja last week upturned the judgment, describing it as not only " a rape of our democracy" but " a miscarriage of justice".

Unarguably, the protracted governorship crisis in Abia State has taken a huge toll on the social, economic,and political activities in the state. The crisis has constituted a serious clog in the wheel of progress in the state. Now that the storm is over, it is high time major actors in this crisis had a rethink and demonstrate that Abia is our common heritage which we should collectively protect. It is high time they think Abia first." Abia First" which formed some of their campaign slogans and has graduated to a mantra illustrates that the interest of Abia should ride above personal interest- no matter how highly placed the interest is.

Like sports, political seasons would not cease if Christ tarries to come for the second time. If one fails to win today, the forthcoming political dispensation provides a window for him to win tomorrow. Globally, a particular political office can only be occupied by one leader at a time and not more than one.

Here is a passionate appeal to the major actors in the crisis that Abia is already lying on the fringe, stretching this crisis further would not only be antithetical but would deepen the wounds up to a point that they may refuse to heal .Appeals even to the apex court, Supreme Court, is your right which cannot be denied, but it is indisputable that the collective interest of Abians should override individual interest.

There is also a passionate appeal to the fifth columnists in the crisis to stop prodding their principals to take further actions that would jeopardise the unity of Abia and plunge the state into anarchy. Like the bible admonishes us thus:" For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?- Mark 8:36- What shall it profit you to line your pockets at the detriment of your dear state, Abia.

Indeed, Abia is our common heritage. It does not belong to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu alone. It belongs to all of us. All hands must be on deck to achieve its greatness.

Ukegbu, a public policy analyst and communication strategist, writes from Umuahia, Abia State.

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Articles by Okechukwu Ukegbu