The senator representing Abia South in the senate, Chief Enyinnaya Abaribe, is, by all measures, the lone voice defending and fighting for the course of the South East in the national assembly. Since 2015 when the APC sauntered to the central government of Nigeria, Abaribe who is popularly known and addressed as Enyi by his numerous supporters across the country, has been more or less the mouth piece of Ndigbo as all the other politicians East of the Niger seem to have been cowed and subsequently bowed out of fear.
At a time when all the other national assembly members are practically afraid to be associated with the Igbo question, Abaribe who was a one tenure deputy governor when Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu was the governor, has assigned himself with the odious task of standing for the interest of Ndigbo.
Even when serving ministers, ambassadors, governors and other government functionaries of South East extraction, out of inferiority complex, have intrinsically been non chalant in presenting the Igbo challenges before President Muhammadu Buhari, Abaribe has proved that the sun still rises from the east.
Certainly, the likes of Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Chief Francis Arthur Nzeribe, Prof Theo Nwalor, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Chief Jim Nwobodo and even Dr. ABC Nwosu can be excused due to age, their younger generation of Igbo politicians cannot proﬀer any reason they don’t stand up to be counted in the face of Igbo exclusion by the present administration.
Abaribe who has been in the senate since 2007 is described as a courageous man by those who know him very well. Prince Clinton Uba is a well known politician in Abia State and a follower of the senator. According to him, “Abaribe is a courageous politician. I am sure you still remember how he stood down then Governor Orji Uzor Kalu antics when he (Kalu) moved to impeach him when he (Abaribe) was serving as a deputy governor.
“Again, recall that it was Abaribe who agreed to sign the bail bond for Mazi Nnamdi Kanu when most Igbo politicians, particularly, the national assembly members dreaded to be associated with the IPOB leader. Nnamdi Kanu was detained then due to his Biafra agitation, believe and convictions. When he was granted bail and one of the conditions in his bail term was that a serving senator of the federal republic must be presented by Kanu, Abaribe put himself forward. That is the kind of stuﬀ he is made of”.
In the same line, Godwin Adindu, a former chief press secretary to Governor Okey Ikpeazu of Abia State once described Abaribe as the people’s voice. Really, Abaribe is living to the true meaning of Adindu’s description. This is so because he was the one who spoke out when the armed forces, operating in the Operation Python Dance, in 2016, allegedly massacred tens of IPOB members for daring to protest for the whereabouts of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu who had escaped death by the whiskers after security agents bombarded his family house in Afaraukwu, Umuahia.
In the last ﬁve years, Abaribe had been demanding Igbo’s constitutional rights from the APC – led government. For instance, when the senate played down the release of funds for the rehabilitation of the Akanu Ibiam Airport, Enugu but immediately released that of Kogi State, Abaribe demanded to know why?
About two weeks ago, security agents murdered about 21 IPOB members in Aba, Abaribe, once again, condemned the act and called for the perpetrators to be brought to book.
Recall that Abaribe has been in the forefront calling for the quick construction of the Second Niger Bridge at Onitsha.
Again, as the call for Igbo presidency in 2003 rages on, Abaribe has proved to be a reliable Igbo son. He has made clear that some people from the other zones in the country are using as a bait to make the Igbo look culpable and vulnerable. Therefore, the project is not attractive to the South East. He even called for restructuring.
Indeed, Abaribe is Ndigbo’s lone star.
It is necessary at this point to ask why it is that among all the Igbo leaders only Abaribe is the lone voice in the raging war to undermine and exterminate Ndi Igbo. When did we suddenly become cowards? Where has gone the spirit of our predecessors who prosecuted the war to free ourselves from the stranglehold of our detractors. We fought a 30 month war to ﬁght oﬀ injustice and paid dearly for it with the precious blood of Igbo sons and daughters.
The issues that led to the war have continued unabated and at a time we should say no to marginalization we seem to be comfortable. The truth is that many of the Igbo leaders suddenly turned puppets controlled by the northern overlords. They sold out for their own selﬁsh reasons. They have refused to talk either because they have some skeletons in their cupboard which they would not want to haunt them or because they want to protect their selﬁsh business interest.
If they are comfortable with the status quo are their kits and keen comfortable too? How come it is now non Igbo that are championing Igbo cause? If it is not Fani Kayode talking, it will be Olusegun Obasanjo, others all talking in defence of our case. Among the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Igbo is the most marginalized yet they remain indisputably the most nationalistic. Igbos have investment all over Nigeria developing everywhere they sojourn.
The struggle for Igbo cause is not just for the beneﬁt of this present generation for our unborn generation. If Odumegwu Ojukwu and the likes did not rise in protest to speak against the ill treatment of the Igbos earlier we may not have this little freedom that we are enjoying today. The young men who are today asserting their freedom through the Biafra struggle were not born as at the time Biafra struggle originated but have become so sensitized by their experience of alienation from a nation they, their forebears and present generation have contributed so much.
It is also disheartening that the Igbo elites who are not spared in the marginalization are also silent. It is important to note that a sealed mouth is a closed destiny. If we cannot speak for ourselves whom do we expect to do so for us. Ndi Igbo wake up.
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