|Chief Don Ubani|
I still remember vividly, with nostalgia, the cross fire that followed the infamous annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election that was widely believed to have been won by one of Nigeria's most philanthropic business moguls, late Chief M K O Abiola.
The nullification of that election, popularly referred to as 'June 12',by the then Military President, Gen Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, elicited a lot of reactions, both locally and internationally.
In one of his write-ups, an internationally acknowledged Nigerian business man and renowned captain of industry, late Chief Onwuka Kalu (Interbiz), the Okpuzu of Abiriba, wrote that 'a gunshot has been heard in the compound of the Yorubas and that natural responsibility beckoned at them not to run away but to rise up to the challenge of defending their compound'.
In fairness to the Yorubas and many other progressive minded Nigerians, that abrupt, unilateral and most undemocratic totalitarian decision of the northern military mafia was successfully fought even with their last blood.
At least, Gen Olusegun Obasanjo, who had been earmarked for death on trumped up allegation of treason, emerged from prison to become President.
For any creation God makes, He has His divine purposes.
Asa people in Abia State are a 'minority' group. God, knowing the peculiar challenges that confront the minority vis a vis their relationship with their majority neighbours, divinely endowed the people with a gift that is special and unique.
It is not by accident that Asa, which only by political administration is Ukwa-West, is the only oil-producing area in Abia State.
In 1999, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, being responsive to the pathetic plight of oil-producing areas of the Niger Delta region, initiated an Executive Bill for thirteen percent oil derivation fund to be made available for oil-producing states.
The essence of this legislation was to enable such states use the fund tackle the problems of the oil-producing areas of the state.
In the same vein, the Obasanjo administration brought about an Act creating the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
The Act specifically stated that each of the nine states that constitute the Niger Delta Development Commission shall be represented on the Board of the Commission only by an indigene of that state who hails from an oil-producing area.
In Abia State, the oil company that operates as a drilling company is the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC.
Milienieum Oil Company has a barely visible operational presence in the state.
Both SPDC and Milenieum are present only in Ukwa-West.
The taste of the pudding, they say, is in the eating. Who ever is in doubt of my assertion could take a trip to SPDC office in Port-Harcourt. Just for the asking, the person would be shown the electronic map of SPDC's operations in Abia State on her power point.
The NDDC Act did not state that any state in which the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC, has an oil depot shall be included as a beneficiary of the Act. If that had been so, Benue, Kaduna, Lagos and any other state in which there is an oil depot would have been part of the Act.
Since President Muhammadu Buhari nominated the Chairman of All Progressives Party in Abia State, Chief Chidi Nwankpa Enyinna, as Member to represent Abia State on the Board of NDDC and many Asa personalities, including yours sincerely, drawing the attention of the President to the travesty of justice inherent in that nomination, I have received a lot of threats, just for saying the truth.
Unfortunately, those threatening me do not know that I become more encouraged and emboldened to pursue the course of truth and equity when I am threatened.
As I had stated in my first post on this subject-matter, the people of Asa have heard a gun shot in their father's compound. They shall not run but shall wisely, brilliantly, professionally and most courageously defend their collective interest and pride.
As a highly civilized people, Asa people, under the aegis of Asa Development Union, ADU, have gone to court.
We have obtained a restraining expartee order restraining the Federal Government of Nigeria from pitching itself against the law.
The hope of Asa people as a minority is strengthened in the rule of law. We believe we are in a democracy and we strongly believe that the Federal Government of Nigeria will not turn our democracy upside down by desecrating the laws of our land.
I, therefore, commend the erudite leadership of Asa Development Union led by Pastor Ngozi Onwubuko Dike, Ph.D for taking the right steps at the right time.
Don Ubani, KSC, JP
Okwubunka of Asa
Centre For Equity & Eradication of Rural Poverty