By Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
With Nigeria currently being buffeted by separatist agitations, the federal government and the political class have been urged to adhere to the principle of justice, equity and fair play in the allocation of resources and political positions at all levels of governance.
This call was the central thread that ran through the various speeches made at the weekend at the grand finale of the 2016 Media Week of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Abia State Council, which also featured award presentations.
Speaker after speaker underlined the need for governments and political leaders at all levels of governance to apply the principle of justice and equity irrespective of their personal interests in order to give every component of the polity a sense of belonging.
In a keynote address, the Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Hon. Martins Azubuike, said Abia is a classical example of where the application of justice and equity has yielded positive political dividends following the implementation of Abia Charter of Equity by the former Governor, Senator Theodore Orji.
He noted that in the battle for power shift to Abia South zone, Senator Orji had “stood on the solid ground of conscience and truth” and with the backing of the PDP both at the state and national level as well as the majority of Abia people the hitherto marginalised people of Ukwa/Ngwa bloc are today singing a new song.
“The imperatives of implementing equity cannot be overemphasized. Today Abia is in peace,” the Speaker stated, adding that the vision of the founding fathers of the state was that Abia “would be run on best global standard application of equity, fairness and justice.”
The state Commissioner for Works, Mr. Eziuche Ubani, who chaired the event, said that the successful implementation of power shift has engendered a new spirit of inclusiveness and positive approach to do things better.
“There is a new determination to succeed even with the distractions of the post-election litigations,” he said, adding, “our commitment is that no matter what happens Abia must go forward.”
The Vice-President of NUJ, Zone C, Chris Isiguzo, called for an urgent action by both the federal and state governments in the South-east zone to tackle the parlous state of insecurity and dilapidated infrastructure in the zone.
Specifically, he urged the federal government to rein the marauding herdsmen and declare a state of emergency on federal roads in the South-east, especially Enugu-Port Harcourt, Enugu-Onitsha, Onitsha-Owerri, Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene and Aba-Ikot Ekpene highways.
“We have been asked o embrace farming, yet people cannot have access to their farms due to the murderous activities of herdsmen,” he lamented, adding the governors of the South-east zone are not helping matters as they are working at cross purposes due to their political differences.
The Chairman of Abia Council of NUJ, John Emejo, said journalists in the state have remained steadfast in discharging their duties and urged the political class to place the interest of the state above their personal interests.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman of Correspondents Chapel, Comrade Emmanuel Ugwu, warned the political class against taking the nation’s record of uninterrupted democratic rule for granted because “without equity and justice our democracy is doomed to asphyxiate.”
He explained that the awards given to three distinguished persons, namely Senator Theodore Orji, Hon. Uko Nkole and Prince Chris Odinaka Igwe were aimed at underlining salient ingredients of successful democratic governance – equity, quality representation and citizen participation in development.
Orji, who represents Abia Central in the National Assembly, was honoured with hero of equity award, Nkole, who represents Arochukwu/Ohafia federal constituency received quality representation award while Igwe, a businessman and philanthropist was honoured with development catalyst award.