Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
The Senatorial candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Ebonyi North District, Ebonyi State, Chief Onyekachi Nwebonyi, on Monday lamented the perennial crises in the four local governments that make up the zone.
This was as he blamed National Assembly members in the senatorial zone and the National Boundary Commission(NBC) for inability to find solutions to the crises which he said had claimed many lives with properties worth billions of naira destroyed.
He disclosed that few months ago, over 100 lives were lost in the crisis between Ngbo, Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state and neighbouring Agila, Ardo Local Government Area of Benue, describing it as unacceptable.
He vowed that he will find permanent solution to the crises and urged the National Boundary Commission to be alive to its duties to end boundary disputes in all parts of the country.
Nwebonyi spoke in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital during the ongoing Media Parley for Political Candidates organized by Correspondent Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ) in the state.
The former state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) opined that he will petition the NBC over the crises in the constituency immediately he take oath of office if elected the Senator in 2023.
“I am soliciting for the votes of Ebonyi North Senatorial District to enable me represent them as their next Senator in the National Assembly and one will quickly ask, what are my reasons for soliciting votes and I will tell you this. Ebonyi North Zone currently is facing a lot of challenges ranging from boundary disputes that have claimed many lives.
“You can see it from the axis of Ohaukwu. Ohaukwu and Agila people; just few months ago over 100 were killed. We now move to Ebonyi Local government; the people of Ishieke Benue State are having the same problem. We now move to Izzi Local Government we are having the same boundary problem with the Benue people. We now move to Abakaliki Local Government where the same thing is happening between the Local Government and the Cross River people.
“It appears as if these problems have no solutions. But the problem is that the people representing us at the National Assembly are unable to solve these problems because I believe that the primary assignment of government at all level is to protect lives and properties. So, if you are representing your people and they are being killed on daily basis on a known problem that has a solution and you are unable to address it, then you have no business representing those people.
“So, I want to say that on the day of my inauguration which I know God will do, as I am taking the oath of office, I will be holding my petition and I know that we have the National Boundary Commission(NBC) whose duty it is to address all these issues but somebody must propel that to happen. I, Nwebonyi, will see to it and I want to assure my Zone that I will do all within my powers to make sure that these perennial problems are put to rest.
“The Boundary Commission must be made to sit up. Even if it means using what we call order of mandamus in law, we will do it. Order of mandamus means compelling government agency to do what it supposed to do at a given time. Boundary adjustment and something related is the duty of the National Boundary Commission and the presidency and I know I will have access to them and I know this problem has a solution. I want to see that solution and I must see that solution ,” he stated.
The former Commissioner for Capital City Development promised to tackle unemployment in the constituency.
He said under him as Senator of the zone, he will introduce guardian and counselling in the district in all the secondary schools across the area and set up committee that will evaluate the performances of the student before they enter the university so that they will study courses that will enable them to get employment on graduation.
“On the area of employment, securing jobs for the jobless youths of Ebonyi North, in that area I will do well. I can see that there is problem in the land, how can parents spend money and train their children at the university level and 16 years later, there is no job. Just imagine, all the hope of that family is dying. I, Nwebonyi will not allow that to happen. I will do more than that because what I am seeing today is that most times, our children get admission to study any-how course because they are not being guided.
“I am going to introduce guidance and counselling at the secondary school level meaning that at SS1, I will have committee that will approach you, evaluate your performances visa-vis the subject you have done to enable us know the area you will be going into as you are entering the university because most times, we produce graduates that have no relevant in the current market. So, we must produce graduates in professions that are selling so that as you are coming out from the university, you have something doing.”
The Lawyer turned politician described Senate as a place for serious business and not a ‘retirement benefit’ for politicians who are very old and should be rewarded with senate seat.
“Senate is not a place you see as a retirement benefit to all these old men of merchants, it is the highest decision making point of the nation. After Presidency, the next place is the Senate and all these lapses we are seeing today is because there is no effective representation. They see it as retirement benefit whereas it is not so.
“It is a place you work round the clock and if you are there, you must sit up, you must work round the clock if you want to really represent your people. But because of poverty, backwardness politically, most of the electorate don’t even know what to we should expect from the Senators. So, this is one of my major reasons of going there, to change the game, to show people what it is.”
On the governorship and senate tickets of the APC his party that were given to his Izzi clan; Ebonyi Local Government and Izzi Local Government by the party, Nwebonyi said: “Ebonyi North Zone is made up of four local government areas and you don’t compare senate with the governor. Governorship seat rotates within the three zones of the state. The North had their slots in the person of Dr. Sam Egwu who is currently in the Senate for second term of eight years, the Central had their turn in the person of Chief Martin Elechi and of course the South is having their time in the person of Chief David Nweze Umahi and what is equity? Equity is natural justice. Equity demands that the governorship seat should start from where it started before which is Ebonyi North and when you come to Ebonyi North, Ohaukwu which is the minority has produced the governorship seat in the person of Egwu. So, it goes to say that this is the time of an Izzi man to be governor and that is at the state level.
“You come to the Senatorial seat. We have four LGAs that make up Ebonyi North senatorial zone. We have Abakaliki LG. in Abakaliki LG, we have Senator Nshii, we have Senator Polycarp Nwite, we have Senator Ngiji Ngele, three of them. We move to Izzi Local Government, we have Senator Andrew Nwnakwo, Senator Chris Nwankwo too. We come to Ohaukwu, we had Senator Anthony Agbo, we now have two term Senator in the person of Sam Egwu who will make eight years in the Senate by 2023. Now, what is the sin of Ebonyi Local Government? What have we done wrong that all these sister local governments will have two three slots and we don’t have one. So, every right thinking person should know that the Senate seat for Ebonyi North zone should go to Ebonyi Local Government. So, who will say that it is not our turn? It is our turn to be governor, it is the turn of Ebonyi Local Government to be in the Senate”.