INTERVIEW: There’s Disconnect Between South-East Governors And Ohaneze – Nduka Eya
Chief Nduka Eya is a former secretary general of Ohaneze Ndigbo and currently member of Ime Obi, which is the highest decision-making organ of the Igbo socio-cultural body. In this interview with Chinedu Aroh on the aftermath of the South-East Security Summit held in Enugu on Wednesday, the octogenarian bemoans the outcome, and raised salient issues. The excerpts:
Did Wednesday’s security summit in Enugu meet the expectations of Ohaneze Ndigbo from your personal perspectives?
Who summoned the security summit? Who was responsible for the governors of the Western Region coming together to announce the formation of Amotekun? Was the inspector general of police there? Why is our own always different? I was surprised that there was a security meeting, held behind closed doors, ahead of that summit. On Sunday, the Ime Obi, which is the highest decision-making organ of Ohaneze Ndigbo, met to discuss our common security matters. Coincidentally, the southeast governors met on the same day in Enugu. I demanded to know if Ohaneze invited our governors, because they should be part of Ohaneze. They said yes. I asked satirically because I had written to our governors informing them that there is disconnect between the common man and southeast governors. Go to the streets and you will understand what I am saying. Our governors sit comfortably and refuse to listen. The young people do not regard our governors as anything, except for partisan loyalty. The sycophants run around, telling the governors what they want to hear. The governors don’t want to hearken to truth. The governors were eventually informed about our meeting. Gov Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State replied that they had agreed to form a southeast security synergy. Then on Tuesday, two days after, a security summit was summoned, and a communiqué read by the same Umahi had it that the governors had accepted community policing. Community policing has been here before this time, and we still encounter security problems. Gov. Ugwuanyi has empowered the police with security vans and other logistics. Enugu State has forest guards. I think only Enugu and Anambra implemented it. Umahi told us they had agreed on a southeast security project on Sunday, then on Tuesday, it is now aligning with FG’s community policing. Which one is it?
Is there disconnect between the south–east governors and the Ohaneze hierarchy?
Of course there is. We are told that the governors are not Igbo leaders. They are politically elected people, and they should tie themselves to what Ndigbo say. Ohaneze is our umbrella and that is where we take decisions about what affects Ndigbo. When Jim Nwobodo was governor, then it was the job of governors to implement the party’s manifestoes. The party was supreme. But since the military incursion into politics, the governors have become the leaders of the parties. That is why we are having the trouble. Umahi has to tell us the relationship between what he told us on Sunday, and the communiqué he read out on Tuesday. Ndigbo want to know.
In other words, do you advocate a south-east security project rather than community policing?
I, Nduka Eya, will support another Amotekun for southeast. That is the only language we should toe. Let’s have our own. I recall when we were asked to return firearms to the security operatives. It was a ploy to disarm us and pick us like chickens. How many Fulani have been prosecuted for committing atrocities, but many people are being prosecuted for reacting to Fulani incursions. We want to follow the processes of their prosecution. Many things are wrongly being done. Are we running a country? It is either that our president is insensitive to personnel management or we are dancing the dance of the dead. Otherwise, Buhari has risen to this level of incompetence.
What is next?
Ask the governors. I think Chief Nnia Nwodo, the Ohaneze president-general, should summon another meeting of Ndigbo and review what happened on Tuesday vis-a-vis our expectations. That is the only way out. I am a former secretary general of Ohaneze. Every state in the region said the same thing, including Anioma, during that Sunday’s meeting. We saw it as an opportunity to interface with the governors since they were meeting. And Umahi responded that they had already agreed on a security synergy for the southeast. Then on Tuesday, they agreed on community policing. Is it the same as what he said on Tuesday? Ohaneze suggested even a name. Amotekun means ‘no escape’ in Yoruba. They have moved on, and we are here running around. Have we become slaves?
Could it be attributed to south-east governors’ clandestine agenda?
I do not know because I don’t want to judge the governors. The truth is that a majority of Ndigbo want a security system that is unifying, so that if you go to any part of the region, you feel protected. Why are the police afraid? Are they a dog in the manger? You are created to protect us but you can’t deliver. And you don’t want us to protect ourselves. They know what they are doing, and I think there is a hidden agenda which we don’t know.