Isi-Uzo And The Crisis Of Identity – By Dennis Agbo

 

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It was not for nothing that that the Igbo political sages named a particular geographical entity in the present day Enugu state, Isi-Uzo. Though Isi-Uzo at its inception comprised of many communities and local governments now located in other parts of Nsukka cultural zone, such as in Igboeze North and South and Nsukka local government areas, Isi-Uzo was among the initial two creations that made up the old Nsukka zone in the pre-colonial period. The relics of the Whiteman’s Rest house and PWD house are pointers that the colonialists moved from Isi-Uzo to Nsukka in the later days of their expedition and conquest of the northern part of Igbo land.

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Isi-Uzo provided administrative cluster for the greater part of Nsukka area up to the periods it was named a county council, Isi-Uzo Division and up to its present status as a local government council that comprises of five major communities of Umualor, Ikem, Eha-Amufu, Neke and Mbu.

Earlier than the present republic that started from 1999, Isi-Uzo had belonged to Nsukka geopolitical zone and was very prominent in both political and cultural affairs of the zone, until in 1996, when it was carved out to Enugu East zone after the creation of new Enugu state. Starting from the first republic, the present day composition of Isi-Uzo local government produced the representative of Nsukka zone to the then national unicameral legislature in Lagos in the person of Chief Samuel Nwaro (late). Nwaro, from Neke, made effective and impressive representative of the constituency in the then House of Representatives that when he returned, he was quickly rewarded with Chairman of Civil Service commission in Enugu and later became the traditional ruler of his community until his demise.

Then came the second republic in 1979 and Engr. Isaiah Ani (late) was elected in two quick successions as the Senator representing Nsukka zone, a position he held until the military’s disruption of democracy in 1983. Senator Ani, a London trained Electrical Engineer was among the Igbo intelligentsia that manufactured the Biafran bomb better known as Ogbunigwe. He later consulted for Brown Boveri Company that electrified majority of the communities in the old Anambra state made up of Enugu and Anambra and part of Ebonyi states.

The above facts are testimony that while Isi-Uzo remained in Nsukka zone, it never played a second fiddle role but maintained a clear lead in the comity it found itself. The people are known for their hard work, excellence in knowledge and training and never wavered when fraternizing with their neighbours. It is on good record that Isi-Uzo has always provided the magic wand when it mattered most. Some examples will suffice: In the second republic, when the Igbo needed national integration from the defunct NPP to the NPN, it was Isi-Uzo that produced the votes that made Chief C.C Onoh win the election under the national party platform. A similar incident occurred in the just concluded 2015 national assembly election, when Isi-Uzo gave block votes that returned PDP to the Senate for Enugu East senatorial district.

It therefore becomes agonizing and quite despicable when such a magnanimous people like Isi-Uzo is stabbed on the back and denied its merit such as the post of Vice Chancellor of Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT).

Going by what transpired recently, the denial of Prof. Denis Onah the post of ESUT VC is a devastating blow and a stab in the back by a group of people that see themselves as more Enugu east senatorial zone than others.

From available information, Prof Onah, a firstclass professor of  Vetinary Medicine in the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) from Mbu in Isi-Uzo local government area came first in the interview to become the Vice Chancellor of ESUT in 2010 but it was awarded to Prof. Cyprian Onyeji because the state wanted somebody from Enugu north senatorial zone to become the ESUT VC.

In the present 2015 race, Onah came first again in the interview and some people sold to the Governor that “giving the VC to somebody from Isi-Uzo is as good as giving it to somebody from Nsukka zone.” Those people that gave the Governor such a poisonous pill were the same people that slept in Isi-Uzo soliciting for votes when they wanted to win elections and Isi-Uzo mattered much to them, yet they do not consider the people good for positions they win by merits. So where does Isi-Uzo belong really, in Enugu north or Enugu east senatorial zone, which one?

Come to think about it, Isi-Uzo was very comfortable in Enugu north senatorial zone before it was co-opted into Enugu east zone without their consent. Those who co-opted Isi-Uzo into the unfarmilar zone are now the very people denying Isi-Uzo their rights and privileges. Why is it that there was no plebiscite before such a critical decision was reached and forced on the people?

Former Governor Sullivan Chime, who had had cordial relationship with Isi-Uzo people should not forget about the unlimited support he received from the people of Isi-Uzo particularly on all his times of tribulations as governor of Enugu state. Some persons have become the later day advisers and champions in the state. They are at it again to create crisis in the peaceful Enugu State.

The people of Isi-Uzo should be told in clear terms which of the senatorial zones they belong in the state. If Isi-Uzo is presumed to be in Enugu east senatorial zone, then it should be accorded unfretted privileges that every other local government area in the state enjoys.

The people demand that the post of Vice Chancellor of ESUT be returned to Prof. Denis Onah even with an apology. This type of injustice is capable of destroying not only political equations in the state but also the peace and conviviality that the wawa people enjoy.

It would be wrong to create division and suspicion particularly now that a new administration has just taken off in the state. All hand must be on deck to return the position of ESUT VC to Prof Onah who won the position on merit else a wrong signal would have been sent out in the state.

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