By Barr. Emeka Nwode
The sight of some locals resuming their daily routines while driving through Egedegede on my way back from a trip to Abuja was an affirmation of the resilience of the indigenes of that part of Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State whose lives and serene abode were fatally disrupted by a marauding gang of gunmen who are believed to have acted for and on behalf of some herders that lived in the community until recently.
At the end of that unprovoked murderous rampage, about fifteen lives were lost while many houses and other properties were destroyed.
It is to the credit of His Excellency, Engr (Chief) David Nweze Umahi, FNSE, FNATE, the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, that the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, paid a visit to the affected community within three days of the carnage. The quick response of the Federal Government not only assuaged the grieving community, but was also an assurance of its preparedness to partner with the Ebonyi State Government in the latter’s quest to entrench enduring peace and purposeful relationship amongst the indigenes and residents of the State.
This visit of the Vice President was a follow up to the personal assessment of the crime scene by the Governor which he undertook less than twelve hours after the cessation of the dastard and cowardly act.
It is noteworthy that the present Ebonyi State Government had, long before the attack, put in place strategic policies and legal frameworks to ensure a hitchfree relationship between the indigenes and the herders who have lived and raised both their families and flocks of animals in Ebonyi State for several years. Joint meetings of senior Government officials and both the local and national leaderships of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MABAN) were held where mutually beneficial resolutions were reached.
These resolutions include the abolition of night grazing, restriction of under aged herders, non movement of cattles into Ebonyi State on foot, non bearing of arms by herders, non grazing on farmlands, registration and identification of all resident herders, obtaining permission from specified local leaders before moving into any area, etc.
It is believed that the breach of some of these resolutions, particularly as they concern grazing on farmlands and the destruction of crops thereon, necessitated the concern raised by the indigenes of Egedegede, the surreptitious migration of the herders from the area on the eve of the attack and the subsequent invasion by the killer gang.
In all, Governor Umahi deserves accolades for the proactive policy and legal directions he initiated and promoted in a bid to protect Ebonyi people while encouraging both local, Fulani and other pastoralists.
Interestingly, while it is very convenient for some conceited persons whose stock in trade is fault finding and making of political capital out of the misfortune of others to hop onto this unfortunate incident to spray biles of misinformation and outright falsehood, the responses and, or, activities of some of the squadron leaders of this army of deluded bounty hunters in the aftermath of the attack deserve some scrutiny.
Barely three days after the attack on Egedegede, the misfit National Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), South East Zone, Ali Odefa, organized an elaborate 49th birthday party. It is the height of insensitivity and hypocrisy that while the State is still mourning an undeserved massacre of its people, a young man with an unbridled obsession for the klieg lights and attention was busy displaying cakes, food, drinks and unhinged pleasure. Talk about revelling when one’s house is on fire!
While birthdays are life milestones worth reckoning with, an aspiration to be recognized as a leader confers an additional responsibility on the individual so enthused to exhibit empathy and restraint when the people he seeks to lead are in agony. This is expected especially in the peculiar circumstances of Egedegede debacle.
This strand of event is not isolated. It is the trend of the self anointed opposition elements in Ebonyi State. At the forefront of the opposition against Governor Umahi are some persons with ‘FOOD IS READY’ mentality.
This term can be defined as the disposition of only seeing an already prepared and served cuisine without being bothered about the efforts of the chef who laboured to prepare the food. This mentality is even more despicable when the aspiring consumer is gluttonous with a penchant for payments pass over.
For the period the PDP has been in opposition in Ebonyi State, people have been waiting for a discernible and articulate programme of alternative actions to the policies and projects directives of Governor Dave Umahi.
Unfortunately, the understanding of the principle of opposition in a democracy by these over pampered elements is limited to incoherent name calling, mudslinging, junketing around neighbouring States, cobbling at event centres and announcing their presence in photo shoots laced with plastic smiles.
Governance is a serious business. It requires conscious and detailed articulation of policies, revenue generation and management strategies, frugality in the application of scarce resources, close supervision and monitoring of projects to ensure quality, value for money appropriated and viability.
Pragmatism in leadership is now viewed from the prism of a prosperous future. This is very critical as the world moves away from fossil fuel and embraces technology and cleaner and healthier energy.
The private sector, not political offices, now drives the real and sustainable economy.
While Governor Umahi is taking deft steps to put Ebonyi State on the emerging global socio-economic mainstream platform, the hysteric and hypocritical opposition elements are still living in the delusion of obscene appetites that will be massaged by crude oil revenue and free money induced economy.
As they may be fast and furious in condemning everything, including the oxygen that circulates in Ebonyi State, the world, especially Ebonyi people, still notes that the bag of actions and projections that will engender the confidence that they have further and better alternatives to the superlative performance of Governor Dave Umahi is still empty.