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(Opinion) When Dr Uzondu rewards conscientious efforts with slaps – Nnaji Charles writes from Ikwuano

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By Nnaji Charles

In a post of June 30, 2023, Honourable Cokey Nwachukwu, queried, “How can the PG (Dr Uzondu) say in his write up that appreciating Rep Sam Onuigbo is irresponsible, diversionary and unnecessarily patronizing. This unsavoury remark was made by Dr. Uzondu when US based Dr Ifeanyi Uke gave an update about the meeting between some Ikwuano indigenes, Hartland Construction and the Federal Ministry of Works to review the perceived slow pace of work on the Umuahia-Ikwuwmo- Ikot Ekpene Road. Dr. Uke who was also in the same meeting says, ”I want to appreciate Rt Hon Sam Onuigbo for his tireless efforts in making sure the transfer was successful.”

Cokey further expressed his concern when he wrote, “Let it not be what am thinking, that some group of persons want to hide under an umbrella when they are partisan to claim, “GLORY” of been at the forefront to see the completion of the road and thereby silence the name and tireless efforts of Rep Sam Onuigbo…”

After reading Hon. Cokey’s piece on the subterranean and dangerous conduct and unfortunate utterances of Dr Charles Uzondu, whom has been acting like a “Permanent and all-knowing President General” of Ikwuano Development Union Federated as well as the main Chieftain of Labour Party (LP), I was constrained to go back and make sense of Dr Uzondu’s report of the formal meeting that was held at the Council Hall, Ikwuano Local Government, Isiala Oboro on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, the contractors—Hartland Construction Coy, and mostly LP Chieftains who are now the main and probably the only “stakeholders of Ikwuano.”

From what was cobbled together as the minutes of the meeting, every unbiased and logical reasoning person would clearly notice that, there are traces of undisguised and sustained efforts by Dr Uzondu and his team to demonize, destroy and supplant Rep Onuigbo’s achievements.

They worked on a script that the tenure of Rep Onuigbo ended with the executive arm of government on May 29, 2023. Unknown to them, in reality Onuigbo still had over a week to spend as a Member of Parliament.

Consequently, these individuals who had done absolutely nothing about the Umuahia-Ikwuano-Ikot Ekpene Road, since 2016 when the road was totally impassable; when trailers used to pack for over 2 kilometres long from Ndoro to Amawom and from Okwe to Ogbuebule, suddenly found their voices and started prancing around.

It is important to refresh Nde Ikwuano’s minds that some traditional rulers and youth leaders who used to inspect this road with Rep Onuigbo are still alive. Some of them included their Royal Highnesses Ndimele, Obaji, Ejirika, Larry Agwu, Ifenwanta, etc. The youth leaders included Santiago Agomoh, Cokey Nwachukwu, Prince Abba, Chinasa Osondu, Dennis Okebugwu, Williams Ukatu, etc.

It should also be noted that when Major Ako Awah (Rtd) was the Transitional Committee Chairman, he and his workers could hardly get to work because the Ndoro-Okwe axis as well as the road from Olori to Isiala, was impassable. It was Rep Onuigbo that facilitated the first palliative work on that road from December 16, 2016 to April, 2017, and its subsequent award for total reconstruction in 2019.

Unfortunately, paucity of funds disrupted the work of the contractor until Hon. Sam Onuigbo fought for the funding to be transferred to the NNPC Tax Credit Scheme in 2021, and the contractor was mobilised back to work around February/April 2022.
Surprisingly, these individuals including those who absconded from Abia State because of their infractions and questionable pasts, have suddenly arranged themselves and manifested in different forms and groups claiming that they have the interest of Nde Ikwuano at heart. Interesting!

Tony Icheku, in his infamous write up on June 02, 2023, disclosed that Bar Monday Ubani “led a delegation comprising LP Ikwuano stakeholders and officers of Ikwuano Development Union Federated, IDUF to the Ministry (Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Umuahia).…” to express the displeasure of Nde Ikwuano on the slow pace of work by Hartland. In the widely circulated video, Barr Ubani said, “what has happened to that particular money…” If “Fashola has taken away this money and has eaten…” Barr Ubani further asserted that “this particular contractor has not done any road anywhere.”

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According to another LP Chieftain, Charles Ugboaja, “we must trace if there is our inner person who is inside this problem.”

In compliance with Barr Ubani’s assertion in the video that they were going “to blow this matter out of proportion,” they procured the services of Tony Icheku to write a destructive and misleading story. In a bid to “to blow the matter out of proportion,” as threatened by Barrister Ubani, Icheku went to the internet and imported pictures of the worst state of roads from unknown locations, twisted the facts and presented them as the current state of Umuahia-Ikwuano-Ikot Ekpene Road, with the sole aim of manipulating the emotions of Nde Ikwuano, and inciting them against Rep Onuigbo especially those living outside of the local government.

It is crucially important for the readers to note that Tony Icheku is from Umuigu Oboro, but he lives in Amawom Oboro, Ikwuano, from where he travels on that road daily. He was not practicing his journalism from Ukraine or China. Icheku knows the state of that road including the previously worst section of Ndoro and Okwe axis that has been fully reconstructed and asphalted. Therefore, his intent in manufacturing and publishing deliberate falsehood was clear and unambiguous: “to blow it out of proportion.” For this dishonest and unprofessional work, Icheku was applauded and appreciated as Barr Ubani diligently and dutifully distributed, forwarded and spread around the world this dishonest, dubious and misleading write up with false photos with the inscription, “portionps of Umuahia-Ikwuano-Ikot Ekpene Road.”

It is troubling that Barr Ubani has forgotten in a hurry that there was a time when the Ndoro-Okwe-Isiala axis of that road was totally and completely impassable, as confirmed by His Royal Highness, King Larry Agwu, in his recent intervention. We still have it on record that persons like Barr Ubani and even Prince Nkume and a few others used to park their cars at Ndoro and completed their journeys on motor-cycle to their villages of Awomukwu and Isiala respectively.

Although the road has not been fully completed, but currently Barr Ubani drives from Umuahia to his village through Ndoro-Okwe axis that used to be the worst and impassable section of that road, and he knows that there is no place like the pictures published by Icheku, yet he dutifully circulated and spread them across the world even when he knew, as a lawyer, that what he was doing was immoral, dishonest, misleading and unprofessional.

Up to date, Bar Ubani has neither apologized to Nde Ikwuano nor the world at large, for this immoral and misleading conduct, especially the different Bar associations that he belongs to and where he massively distributed and circulated these false pictures to since nearly a month ago.

Curiously, Nde Ikwuano, especially those at home who know that the pictures published by Icheku and distributed by Ubani were not true and genuine, have all kept quiet apart from one individual who wrote on the platform that there were no places like those on Ikwuano road today. Most troubling is the silence of the grave yard from the admins of Oganihu, where there is no doubt today, that two standards are so shamelessly applied. If this embarrassingly immoral and dishonest conduct had come from someone else, particularly those not protected by the admins of Oganihu, there would have been strident calls for apologies and withdrawal of the story and its fraudulent and misleading pictures. The President General of Oganihu Ikwuano also joined the fray stating “… I will advice that when next you want to address Nde Ikwuano on this road … Please don’t sell out your people” instead of demanding that Tony should retract the misleading information.

At this stage, please let us divert our minds to the formal meeting called by Dr Uzondu. Dr Ifeanyi Uke, who attended the same meeting, wrote, “For the most part, on the note of his (Federal Controller’s) explanation on how rigorous and bureaucratic it is to transfer contract to the NNPC tax Scheme, I want to sincerely commend and appreciate Rt Hon Sam Onuigbo for his tireless effort in making sure the transfer was successful.” Now, contrast Dr Uke’s honest and patriotic assessment with Dr Uzondu’s outright dismissal and characterization of Rep Onuigbo’s efforts, as he ventilated his deep-seated hostility. He wrote, “the Federal Controller’s call for Ikwuano people to commend Rep Onuigbo for the transfer of the project to NNPC tax Scheme, was irresponsible, diversionary and unnecessarily patronizing.”

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He dismissed the effort as not important but “normal transfer of projects…” In further pursuit of his agenda to tarnish Rep Onuigbo’s unblemished image, he wrote, “Hon Onuigbo our immediate past representative at the Green Chambers was also invited to the meeting because of his acclaimed commitment to the realization of this road project. We also believed his input would guide us and our new HOR representative to follow up on this important project. The meeting was at the instance of Nde Ikwuano, unfortunately Hon Sam Onuigbo did not make it to the meeting.” Dr Uzondu, who was clear and focused on his mission to discredit and tarnish the towering image of Rep Onuigbo, wrote this less than noble account even after Rep Onuigbo’s representative at the meeting, Evang Abraham Osondu, had publicly announced to Dr Uzondu and the entire meeting that he came to represent Rep Onuigbo who was away from the country.

On another day and in response to Prince Nkume’s write up, and still on what appears to be a destructive and Pull-Him-Down mission, he resurrected the issue of the Federal Controller’s harmless comment urging Nde Ikwuano to thank their son, who not only attracted the project which was awarded in mid 2019 with funding as a major challenge, but also succeeded in transferring the project to the NNPC tax scheme. In clear display of belligerence and unrestrained hostility on any remarks in favour of Onuigbo, he described the Controller’s innocent comment as “insulting.”

As president of IDUF, a non partisan organization, Dr Uzondu has forgotten that it amounts to double-face for him to celebrate that he directed Ikwuano people to vote for Peter Obi, Darlington Nwokocha and Obi Aguocha, and that Nde Ikwuano were happy for it. However, in a shocking self-revelation, Dr uzondu who had kept solid silence throughout the legal tussle suddenly realized that two Ikwuano sons were allowed to drag themselves to the Supreme Court where Rep Onuigbo defeated Hon Emeka Atuma.

The question is, what did Dr Uzondu, President General Ikwuano Development Union Federated do to stop the protracted legal tussle between two Ikwuano sons? He did nothing because they were not members of Labour party like Darlington and Aguocha. This is the President General of IDUF whose deep partisanship ought to have been detected by Nde Ikwuano, but we have allowed him to continue to use his position and partisan disposition to influence to incite hatred against a Rep who is not from his party and other political office holders in Ikwuano. He has been occupying this position for about one and a half decades. Dr Uzondu, used his PG’s position to promote LP candidates, especially those contesting against Ikwuano sons. Similarly, he used the same position to become a member of Dr Alex Otti’s transition committee while posturing as the most pious.

It is absolutely curious and bizarre that Dr Uzondu could convene a formal meeting involving many organizations and personalities, but did not want the media to be present at the meeting and report the outcome. Why, what was he hiding? When he noticed that other journalists, apart from Tony Icheku, the hatchet man, were in attendance, he directed that they should be driven away. When Evang Abraham Osondu was informed of his strange action, he (Abraham) quietly approached him for both of them to resolve the issue. What did Evang Abraham get from Dr Uzondu for his patriotic effort? Dr Uzondu told him twice, “I’ll slap you.” It is interesting to note that the same journalists he had ordered to be driven away, he later turned round and hugged them and spent inordinate length of time with them and the outcome was the distortion of the true account of what transpires at the meeting.

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The journalists including Tony Icheku, (apart from where Icheku launched a personal attack against Evang Abraham for no just cause), tried to write a balanced report, except Grace of ABN whom Dr Uzondu had already told what sensational headline to write on. She, like what Tony Icheku did in early June, wrote “to blow it out of proportion,” and therefore forgot that neither Dr Uzondu nor any other speaker in that meeting called for the “termination of the contract.” Therefore, the question is, from where did she derive her sensational headline, this may be connected to hobnobbing after the meeting?

But again, it would be observed that Dr Uzondu carefully avoided saying “termination of contract” either in his speech in the hall or during his interaction with the journalists. This was exactly the same way Dr Uzondu and Bar Ubani influenced Tony, a journalist who should know better to expose his unprofessional underbelly.

After realizing that through his ill-intended and inciteful utterances against Rep Onuigbo, that he had acted less than noble and appears to have exposed his unhidden hatred, he quietly and quickly wrote a piece purportedly claiming that he wrote a letter and congratulated Rep Sam Onuigbo when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Most Valuable Parliamentarians of the NASS. Only five persons were inducted out of 469 NASS members comprising 360 Honourable members and 109 Senators. Rep Onuigbo was the only person from Southern Nigeria, that was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Thorough inquiries made revealed that Rep Onuigbo’s offices in Abuja and Umuahia did not receive any letter from him, not even on Ikwuano platforms. No congratulatory phone call from him was received by Rep Onuigbo.

At this juncture, it is apt to place on record that Rep Sam Ifeanyi Onuigbo (Odozi Obodo Gburugburu) has been specially recognized and commended by many national and global organizations like the US Department of State, US Navy, Climate Parliament, GLOBE International, NASS, etc. for his doggedness, commitment and outstanding execution of his assignments. The Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has commended Rep Onuigbo for his commitment on how to reconstruct and rehabilitate Umuahia-Ikwuano-Ikot Ekpene Federal Road. The Ministry has written two letters to Rep. Onuigbo dated June 15, 2016 and November 21, 2021 wherein he was commended for his commitment towards the actualization of the project and for “having the interests of his constituency at heart.”

These later day activists, advocates and envelop-induced reporters who were no where to be found since 2016 when there was no road across the Umuahia-Ikwuano-Ikot Ekpene Road, but who are now “searching for their money,” and “where this particular money has gone,” should be advised to intensify their search for it.

They should leave Onuigbo alone for he does not have your money, but he only made enormous sacrifices towards the realization of this road project. It does not matter whether any body appreciates. He did not wait for anyone to appreciate his efforts. He fought for it, and is still fighting for it because he knows that it matters to Nde Ikwuano and other Nigerians.

It is therefore very clear that the coordinated and sustained efforts by Dr Uzondu, Barr Ubani, Chris Umebali, Charles Ugboaja, Chukwuemeka Okezie, Dr Ugah, etc to hide under the current controversy about the reconstruction of Umuahia-Ikwuano-Ikot Ekpene Road, which they never did any thing about until June 01, 2023, when they launched their campaign of “finding where the money has gone,” is for a defined purpose. Their campaign to demonize, discredit and erase Rep Onuigbo’s outstanding accomplishments has gone full circle.

The good news is that on each mission, they not only missed the target of their subterranean, deliberate, sustained and coordinated campaign of calumny, but they always ended up revealing their evil intentions against Rep Onuigbo, an innocent gentleman who, God in His infinite mercies, has decorated with a towering, enduring and impeccable national and international image.

Nnaji Charles writes✍️✍️ in from Ikwuano, Abia State.

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