Our past political leaders failed, betrayed us – IDU-F President, Uzondu *Speaks on sloughing off their old skin
By Charity Uwakwe
The President-General of Ikwuano Development Union-Federated, (IDU-F), Dr. Charles Anyadiegwu Uzondu says has decried the age-long disappointments and betrayals the people of Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State have suffered in the hands of the political class in their midst.
Recounting their years of agonies and sorrows, Dr. Anyadiegwu regretted that Ikwuano as a Council had over the years, remained the most underdeveloped among others Local Governments in the State, as he blamed their obvious backwardness on their political leaders.
In this exclusive interview with Charity Uwakwe, Dr. Uzondu emphasised the need for the people of Ikwuano to take their own destinies into their hands. He reminded that it was high time the people took outright responsibility for their development, hence the need for a proposed one billion naira project fund raise.
Moreso, he used the medium to speak on what formed the decision of his people of Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State, to discard their son’s and endorsed and voted for candidates from other Local Government Areas during the 2023 general elections. According to him, he, alongside his people had decided to undergo the process of “ECDYSIS”, an act of sloughing-off of the old layers of their skin”, hence it was the only possible way to salvage the people from their age-long suffering.
It is no longer news that over the years, the people had been subjected to severe marginalisation, subjugation, intimidation and victimisation in the hands of their Umuahia counterparts.
Also, he informed that the decision was intentional and a collective decision of the sons and daughters of the land resident at home and in diaspora. According to him, it was borne out of their desire to eradicate poverty from the Council and giving it a facelift.
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
Q: Sir, your decision to ignore your sons who ran for the offices of House of Representatives and Senate at the 2023 general elections, really got many tongues wagging. Please, could you speak elaborately on that uncommon brevity in display.
Resp: I am not powerless to rebuild Ikwuano, that’s the major thing; we are not powerless.
On December 27, 2022, just before the elections, in a general meeting of Ikwuano hosted by Oloko people, at Ahia-Eke Oloko, I presented a paper entitled: the ecdysis commences, which means sloughing off of old skin.
So, in that presentation, I told Ikwuano people that at the end of 2022, in preparatory to the elections, we were sloughing off all our old skin which means everything that held us down, we are going to tear it and we are going to get ready for a new skin. I also supported that with the example of the story of the Eagle. For those who know much about the Eagle, once every year, every adult Eagle takes a break, hides somewhere and removes its feathers with its own beak. So, that is similar to it. You know the comparison is that with the Eagle, that’s the flying creature,the sloughing of skin that is creeping creature, so we were initially creeping and then we entered a stage where we started flying and even at flying we needed to remove our skin and the result was the voting pattern of the 2023 elections which brought in Labour Party and their winning in Ikwuano. That’s the background of the whole story. And then, why did we do that? Why did we need a change? Because we considered that for 20/25 years almost, the Union sold out its responsibility; we allowed our young men and women who were politically minded, that’s the politicians, to take responsibility, we wanted them to mature. So, we said go ahead and do the politics and bring the development but for 25-years and more they failed us completely, and the local government became the worst developed out of the 17 local governments in Abia State.
Q: So, sir, are you now trying to say that of 17 LGA’s in the State, Ikwuano is the most backward?
Resp: Yes. So, that was why we now articulated the fact that we don’t have to be there. The only reason we are there was because for those 24 25years which is in reality a quarter of a century, our political leaders disappointed us, that’s why we are taking our new decisions and that’s why we are following it from all angles; we are shooting from all angles.
Q: Recently, the people of Ikwuano met at Ibere and one of your sons, Comrd. Osinachi Nwaka proposed a one billion naira fund raise for a developmental project. What is your take on that, sir?
Resp: Well, like I said earlier, because our political leaders disappointed us, that’s why we are taking our new decisions and that’s why we are following it from all angles; we are shooting from all angles; we are shooting from the financial angle and that’s why we talked about raising money. We’re taking about leadership positions; we are talking about the youths and getting them employed, we are talking about the Traditional Rulers and our culture. So, that was actually why the meeting on Saturday was held. It was not just an ordinary meeting; we had to bring in men who understand the need for collective responsibility. We want Ikwuano to take care of itself, to take responsibility, nobody can develop Ikwuano except Ikwuano people.
Q: During the campaigns, you took the bull by the horn, by publicly declaring that Ikwuano as a local government, would support Labour Party irrespective of the fact that there were some of prominent sons of Ikwuano who were vying for some notable positions in the country, yet you discarded everything and took that decision, how do you feel about that decision and the outcome of it?
Resp: That decision came as a result of what I mentioned earlier, for 25years ikuano politicians had no single thing to show us. I’m not interested in naming any party, the parties came and met Ikwuano people, ikuano will always emerge, but none of the parties A-Z in the last 25years or more did anything to show that Ikwuano people have been voting for them. That is one.
Secondly, some of our political leaders, in fact, one of them in particular who was a chairman of the local government, nearly told us in a meeting at Isiala, a meeting of IDU at isiala that they can do without the Union, and they (the Union) told him you can not do without this Union. He said that because all the while, most of us running the Union have not been around, we might be either in Abuja, in Lagos,far so when ever they had their elections we were not around. So, we reminded him that.
Thirdly, we invited each and everyone who was interested in running for a position that will concern Abia state, whether you are running for governorship, you are running for senatorial position, you are running for House of Representatives or the State House of Assembly, whatever you are running for, on the 29 and 30 of November, we invited people for discussions, Ikwuano people sat, not just my Executives, and then those who came, overall, we interacted with about 15 persons,a governorship candidate was there, we interacted with her, she answered the questions, some senatorial candidates were there, over 10 members of State House of Assembly were there,about 4/5 senatorial candidates, members running for the House of Representatives were there.
?Sir, would you mind mentioning the particular Ikwuano son who boasted that he could do without the Union?
Resp: I don’t want to mention his name, but he was the chairman of Local Government, he was a Transition Chairman and he said it in a meeting in isiala, he said it to us some years back.
Q: Did he also participate in the election?
Resp: Yes he participated, not that he ran for any position, but he supported his party.
But then, what is important here is that, after we had invited people, because of the question you raised, some of those ones in Ikwuano who were running for positions refused to come to interact with us. A person like Rt. Hon. Darlington Nwokocha sent somebody because he was out of the country and apologised for his not coming, he sent a delegation of 3 or 4 persons, first time and second time we met, the present Governor sent his deputy who was his running mate then. He came there and took the questions. Rt. Hon. Obinna Aguocha, the current member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia North and South Federal Constituency, came about 3 times, each time we called he came because we were giving questions, we’ll ask the same questions, we were also scoring everybody, we told everybody. You’ll take your seat, we’ll ask you the questions, we’ll score you. There were 8 persons scoring, and they were also people within the community. So, when you finish introducing yourself, we ask you questions; why you want to run, what do you know about ikuano; what are you going to do for Ikwuano? Then we also give people or the house an opportunity to ask questions, then you too will throw questions you will decide. But the sad thing is that some of those we are talking about in Ikwuano did not come, 2 or 3 attended but some of them did not show up.
Q: Sir, can you tell us what process you adopted in the exercise.
Resp: The outcome of the election, let me put it this way, if you ask members of my Executives, each time we met and discussed the election, because we set up an election team. It’s an expanded Executive. Each time we met, the prayer is God, let us not vote where you will not vote, God let Ikwuano people vote where you are voting. so we were voting where God wanted us to vote.
Q: Alright, sir. Finally, how do you feel about the outcome of the election?
Resp: We like the result absolutely! No single regrets!
Q: However, sir, there are insinuations that most people from your Council are mad at you. So, are you bothered about what people are saying already?
Resp:If you are in leadership you expect such things,so those things don’t mean anything. Some of them who were insulting have also called to say oh you had a foresight. So, it doesn’t make any difference.