Abia: The Height Of Impunity, The Rise Of Docility, Fear & Hunger

Abia State

“A People that elect corrupt politicians, impostors, thieves and Traitors are not victims.. but accomplices” – George Orwell.

Walking round major streets of Umuahia, the Abia State capital, I had expected to see massive demonstration, human blockage of the main entrance of the government house just as they did when a court of competent jurisdiction asked the incumbent governor to vacate office on account of alleged pre-election information falsification.

I had expected to see the kind of crowd that barricaded the National Assembly entrance when the Senate suspended one of its own, the immediate past Senate Leader, Sen. Ali Ndume. I had expected to see a crowd in the magnitude of that which blocked the main gate of the Abia House of Assembly,  a couple of days ago when it was suspected that the House may effect a leadership change for the 3rd time in less than two months.

Perhaps, the absence of a protest in Umuahia is a pointer to the fact that Abians are peace loving people. There exists however, the temptation to run with this assumption. Against that backdrop, a quick vox pop unveiled the opposite, a confirmation of my worst fears. The notion that Abians have been boxed into a corner is a general street impression.

The seeming docility,  those in the know claim is a product of fear and hunger. “Nobody wants to talk or join issues with the present administration just so that the demoted headmistress treatment is not extended to the ones who dare to question such mindless impunity”, they posited. Yet as leaders, they are meant to be held accountable for their actions and/or inactions.

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Mrs Ocho M.U, a headmistress of a Primary School in Ohafia, Abia State, a Punch Newspaper report alleged  was unjustly demoted and transfered for questioning the establishment’s rational behind feeding pupils in primary schools while their teachers are made to go months without salaries.

Ocho may have felt that mrs Ikpeazu, a fellow woman, mother and wife of the governor would be a sure bet and an apt courier on speed post, whose aftermath will most likely bring succour to earthly dwellers, who toil and till here, but are almost always reminded of a heavenly reward.

If Ocho was a politician, pictures of placard carrying  women in uniform would have flooded Umuahia. rights groups would have turned her home into a Mecca of sort. But Ocho is a bloody civil servant, whose twin sins are being a teacher and an Abian. Not even the Nigerian Union of Teachers dare question such injustice,  yet they freely chant – injury to one is injury to all.

And i ask, what qualifies an injury? Paid agents and jaundiced political class in obvious solidarity are celebrating Ikpeazu’s wife for a job well done. For this group, Mrs Ocho’s action amounts to anti party activity. When you remind them that the headmistress is not a politician but a civil servant, they are quick to interject.. ”oh, then, her actions are anti government in that case.” Or how else would one describe the torrents of threats, insults and verbal attacks hulled at voices on the other divide.

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For those in the know, the recent state orchestrated rebuttal is no doubt an after thought, engendered by the backlash,  the Ocho treatment had generated.

What is more insulting is the state’s stand, not to press charges against The Punch Newspaper since its report are mere rumors that can not be founded. New media reports credited to one of government voices say to do such will amount to distractions.

Yet, they are quick to link Charles Nzechi Foundation to the demotion saga for daring to host an award in recognition of Abia Teachers,  few days after the saga broke, compelling the host to clear the air on a project he dutifully midwifed after a whole year antenatal on one hand and forcing those who ordinarily would have identified with him into beating a retreat for fear of being labelled.

Methinks this act is as irresponsible as the demotion and transfer of the now embattled Mrs Ocho.

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According to Afam B. C. Nnaji, a public commentator, “whoever orchestrated this transfer and demotion believing it makes sense is doing more harm than good to the people the person may be trying to please. One thing is certain, politics makes otherwise intelligent, rational and objective people to begin to reason like people without any iota of intelligence, fairness, objectivity and rationality.

Are our leaders we criticize everyday not a true reflection of what majority of Nigerians are in the final analysis? If getting involved in politics will destroy one’s integrity and credibility then the wise should have nothing, absolutely nothing to do with politics. Where are the powerful politicians that held sway 4, 8, 12 or 16 years ago today? Do you know how many of them that regret some of the actions they took then when they forgot the fact that power remains transient and doesn’t last forever?

Reversing this badly and ill thought out punishment is the only sensible response to this and not explanations and justifications that are meant to insult the intelligence of sane and normal Nigerians.”

Article written by Iyke Martins



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