2023: Clannish Interests Versus Gov Umahi’s Promise Of Peaceful Transition

2023: Clannish Interests Versus Gov Umahi’s Promise Of Peaceful Transition
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Oswald Agwu

Amidst growing fears of tension over who and from where Governor Umahi’s successor would come from in 2023, the Governor has assured that he would deliver a very peaceful transition in  the State.


Obviously, there have been brewing underground, clannish interests, each strategising with their political gladiators to clinch the governorship slot, come 2023.

The Izhi clan particularly, of Ebonyi North Senatorial district comprising Abakaliki, Ebonyi and Izzi Local government areas had continued to maintain that it should be their turn to produce the next Governor under the charter of equity in the State.

They have continued to strengthen their position on the premise that they supported Governor Umahi in 2015 in spite of their son, Edward Nkwoagu who contested governorship under Labour Party, in respect of the charter, alleging that Umahi promised to reciprocate the gesture by handling over to them in 2023.

Some prominent politicians in the district, including the first executive Governor and now senator representing Ebonyi North Senatorial district, Sam Egwu never misses any opportunity to solicit for transmission of power to the Izhi people.

Egwu, though from  Ngbo clan in Ohaukwu Local government area in the Ebonyi Northern district, sees an Izhi Governor come 2023 as a project worth supporting for continued peaceful transitions in the State.

Meanwhile, other Clan’s such as the Ezzas as major contender under the Umiekumenyi extraction, as well as others within the Ebonyi South Senatorial district where the present Governor come from have continued to refute the above lines of thought.

In their own opinion, the Governor can as well come from any district in the ensuing cycle. 

They argue that having completed the first cycle of the equity charter, the next cycle can emanate from any district in as much as it would eventually get through all the districts as in the first round.

The main thrust of the arguments advanced by Ebonyi South Senatorial district comprising of Afikpo North, Afikpo South, Ohaozara, Onicha and Ivo is that the last to take in the first round of distribution ought to be the first in the next, for the sake of fairness.

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However, the battle seems to be of greater intensity among the Umiekumenyi extraction comprising of the eight local government areas within Ebonyi North and central districts: Abakaliki, Izzi, Ebonyi, Ohaukwu, Ikwo, Ishielu, Ezza North and Ezza South, with the Ezza clan and Izhi clan obviously in deepest underground battle.

Speaking on Wednesday during the traditional new yam festival of the Izhi clan popularly known as ‘Ojiji Izhi’ held at the Clan’s ancestral home, Amagu, in Abakaliki Local government area of the State, Umahi allayed fears of any tension, adding that he will offer level playing ground to all and sundries.

Umahi who paid tribute to Izhi people for liberally relinquishing their lands for the numerous developmental projects in the State, as well as for capital city expansion programmes of the present administration, assured them that their request has been laid before God to determine.

He maintained that all the leaders of the State: past and present politicians, elders and of course, the youths would have a part in deciding who succeeds him, adding that imposition of candidates had remained the major cause of tensions and trouble during transitions.

Reminding the Izhi people that he had not disappointed them in fulfilling almost all of his campaign promises to them, he strengthened his resolve to make Abakaliki, the State Capital in Izhi clan, the best in the whole country.

He further promised all the traditional rulers in the clan at least a plot of land at the new Ocho-udo Centenary City for their cooperative disposition to government’s land demands, stressing that his administration would properly settle all displaced persons before it ends in 2023.

Umahi said: “Our transition is going to be very peaceful.

“There is always turbulence when one man wants to decide alone.

“But God Almighty and  the leaders of this State are going to decide every position at the time of transition.

“Mark my words: the Elders Council, the founding fathers, former and present political office holders will hold series of meetings to decide.

“I am happy that all the past Governors are United and at peace.

There is no need for tension…”

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“Every traditional ruler in Izhi land will have a plot of land at the Centenary City.

“You have been very liberal with your lands, and that is why I insist that all the displaced persons will get accommodated properly before we leave office.”

Umahi who further described the Ojiji festival as both very significant and a unifying ceremony, advised the Izhi people to eschew internal wrangling among themselves as well as  divisions along kindred lines which have hitherto continued to rob them off their unity.

Recall that the Izhi clan has two major age-long kindred dichotomy: the Igbojima and the Unwueru, both of which had continued to rival each other in social and political affairs of the clan.

The Governor advised the youths not to succumb to the antics of some elders who, after feeding fat from government coffers turn around to deceive them with kindred biases, admonishing that they need unity to make meaningful impacts.

Umahi during the event extolled people’s culture above politics. According to him, culture has the ability to control behaviours and unite diverse opinions better than politics.

He emphasized: “There is nothing that can unite us better as a people than our culture.

“There are certain things you can mistakenly do under politics which you cannot do under culture, and that is why we must emphasize our culture over and above politics…

“The elders are cheating you in the name of kindred.

“You know in my government, if you try division on kindred lines, I will show you the way out.

“Don’t allow those elders who had fed fat from government to cheat you people.

“The youths should unite and move Izhi land forward.

“The talk of peace in Izhi land should not be by mouth alone.

“We need to see it in practical terms.

“What are the struggles for when you are same blood, same people.”

Former Governor, Egwu, who is a guest of honour at the event had earlier in his speech acknowledged the importance of the Izhi clan in the development of the State and appealed to Governor Umahi to grant the people their constantly requested heart desires in the politics of the State.

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For individuals who would likely succeed Umahi from the contending clans and groups, the pictures are yet to come clear.

However, to say that permutations and serious underground alignments are currently intensifying is simply stating the obvious.

Recently, news has been trending in the media of how most National Assembly members, especially Senators from the State had  boycotted major State functions which they ordinarily ought to have attended as before.

To most analysts, the development portray the onset of political groupings preparatory to 2023 political struggle for the seat of the Governor by the State bigwigs in the Peoples Democratic party.

There has been a trending allegation that the Senator representing Ebonyi Central Senatorial district, Chief Obinna Ogba is strongly contending for the coveted position under the Party

In Ebonyi North, though there is no indication yet of former Governor Egwu’s direct interest in the race, there is the growing certainty that he sure has an interest from the Izhi clan to protect.

In the Southern district, it is almost clear that Senator Michael Ama Nnachi will not join the governorship race but surely desires a return ticket to the Red Chambers.

As a true Nigerian politician, one should expect that he would align with any prominent group and or opinion which would best guarantee his ambition

The truth is that in spite of the recent Governor Umahi’s alleged reconciliation mission to Abuja where he met, interacted and even did some official duties in company of most National Assembly Members from the State, the battle for who succeeds him on the seat by 2023 is gradually heating up.

For now however, it is important that all political office holders in the State  focus more on impactful leadership and quality representation as the case may be .

As the Governor often admonish, it is too early for such distractions.


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Governor David Umahi