How Politics Exacerbated the Deplorable Condition of Nkalaha Road - Onyeji Nnaji

It beats my imagination to notice that charity no longer begins at home. Should the supposed be the case, it presupposes that the affection one has for his birthplace should outweigh those of other places. This is the inexplicable love Hon. Dr. Stephen Odo has for his home town; although people seem to misconstrue his actions.

When Hon. Dr. Stephen Odo was appointed a commissioner in Ebonyi State, I did not hesitate to call him "the man the cap fits," in a piece primarily intended to serve as a congratulatory message for such an enviable height. And because I am aware that issues about this few kilomitres road had given him concern in the past, I did not forget to keep him reminded. I did note clearly that, although it is not in his command to rehabilitate the road, he could influence it. 

I had believed strongly that Hon. Stephen has similar zeal for the community with Hon. Barr. Jonathan Nwonuma who, within weeks in office as the speaker of the old Enugu State House of Assembly, seized that slightest opportunity to get Nkalaha electrified. Perhaps, it was the same zeal to make Nkalaha road motorable that Hon. Stephen had chosen to act too fast. Unfortunately, this zeal was despicably misdirected as he had just acted in an unpredictable way and has turned the community against himself. The deplorable condition of this road has raised several dusts as members of the community could let me know. Many stated assuredly that the road was preferred in its former state to what it has been made to look like presently.

You will not understand what the community members are complaining by mere looking at the picture above. Seeing the video will make you lamented for Nkalaha. See the video of one of the positions  below:

The first impression coming from someone who allegedly claimed that Hon. Stephen did not use half of the N10,000000 meant for the road project. He sounded convincing, especially when he stated that he had lived with Stephen  back then in the Northern part of Nigeria and affirmed that I should quote him anywhere as Mr. Friday Ezea.

Ajuede news gathered that some members of Nkalaha were selected to form a committee that should see to the proper rehabilitation of the road. Speaking with a member of the committee who pleaded anonymity, the following was recorded,

"Stephen actually instituted a committee for the road maintenance, among which I was one. But something very strange happened that got the rest of us confused. We had a meeting after the inauguration of the committee. While in the meeting, Ozioma Eze who was made the chairman of the committee received a call from Hon. Stephen demanding his attention at Abakaliki. Right there and then, Ozioma left for Abakaliki.

The rest of us members of the committee had our minds focused on the plans set by the committee and to execute them when money for the project arrives. Astounded, I was informed that Hon. Stephen and Ozioma had commenced the road repair already. I became more confused and asked myself, 'why did he call us into a committee when he knows he could do it alone?' That was all I knew about the said rehabilitation of Egedegede road."

She also noted that, instead of the six culverts agreed to be constructed on the road, Ozioma and Hon. Stephen constructed two and patched another two culverts. "These were against our plans," she noted.

This fellow spoke exactly what majority of Nkalaha population said over the incident. The worries in the more considerate ones was that Ozioma was the wrong person to handle issues of road. He is an architect, no doubt, but this is not a building site. Politics nevertheless is a game of interest, but in the dealing with one's own community, personal interest should be removed. As people say, "If one spoils another place he runs to his home; but when he destroys his own home, where will he run to?" Here is a video of another position of the dilapidated road.

I wish to advise that the people concerned should put hands together to remedy this damage. Someone may say, "is he the first to work on this road?" He is exactly not; but I speak as a town cryer and a roadside observer of issues concerning Nkalaha. Mark me by my words, ask anybody from Nkalaha who had provoked the community to wrath by one reason or the other, he will show you the scar on him. I am not here to mention names; any reasonable member of Nkalaha knows what I am saying. Check the politicians involved in the diversion of the community funds and some business men who wrongly offended the community; racal what they did and assess their positions presently.

I call on the people concerned in this road matter to do the needful!

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  1. My brother, God will bless you. I felt humiliated when people came for my sister's marriage on 22nd of last month. The road was a mess.

    The visitors could not believe that someone from Nkalaha had ever headed a handsome position before in the government or had ventured inro the scheme of things in the state. The surprise on their faces when I told that Hon. Iyke Eze had been a federal house member before and he held from the community was alarming.

    God will not forgive the people who did this. They should have allowed it to remain the way it had been. You know the painful thing, these people were not the original initiators of that project. Hon. Stephen Odo highjacked it because of his position in government the way he highjacked the councelorship.

    1. Well, you may not conclude so fast. I know Stephen in person, although I can't tell better now that we aren't close. But I am aware that he did not know that such damage was done on the road. I hope he will do something better next time.

  2. Sure, you are doing well in your awareness campaign for our people. Information is very important for the development of a people and society. It's rather an act of foolishness, greed and sub-human nature of the people involved and not politics that have brought us this low. Maybe through hard work, one day, God will remember us through one of us who represents normal human being.

    1. I chose politics because, I wonder what could be wrong with the primary and secondary actors of this road issue; the very people I have known with normal thinking, to have changed against the very thing they had ever prayed to come in place. Reflecting on all these, it though speaks of the variability in humans, but I feel what could remove and, perhaps have removed, this ever-dying zeal for the community as found in them is politics.

      It does appear to me that politics makes people change from being the normal people they used to be. Or should I say that it hatches the acrimony people have nursed for years against others or their own community.

      Whatever the matter is will definitely not be far from these suggestions. I was once involved in this mad arsonists' ideology and all I was able to find was mutiny, hate, sabotage and all manner of bad behaviour that characterised a devil-of-a-person or an animal.

      I have tried correcting this arsonists lifestyle when I was moving with the late Joe Ebe. Obiechi Nshiowo, Obinna Ede and Nnaji nwa Fidelis are testimonials to my interception and repudiation of this form of political ideology among our people. They heard me doing this the day we went for condolence to the family of Okay Udoku in Umuhuali.

      Nkalaha needs a new breed of politicians who will set a working structure for the community to grow politically. It does not expunge oppositions; no, it won't. But the form of structure that will create a "round table politicing style" where the body of the structure can always come together to draw conclusions on one purpose is what I have looked for. Yes, outside the fold, we may play our politics our own way, while the conclusion of the structure stands tall in our minds. That is what I call unity in diversity.

      I expected Hon. Iyke Eze to do this as an academic in his own form, but he failed due to his acrimony for the community. And like my father (Late Elder Nnaji nwa Nnaji) would always say, "He who spoils his face cannot take another's," where is Iyke Eze today in the eyes of Nkalaha?

      Heaven help me! May I not climb to the kind of leadership height where people who honoured, respected and reverend me would return to spit on my face. The very thing I fear most is evil words from the very community that bore me. These are why I blamed it on politics.

  3. Your writing is not Journalistic. You failed to call a spade a spade because Stephen is your friend and Ozioma is your brother. That was how he took Amokwe councelorship turn and gave to Jonathan Ede.

    Stephen is cruel and heartless, he has eaten the money like others. Thanks for bringing the road issue here, but my anger is that you did not reprove Stephen or Ozioma.

    1. Thank you so much for your observations. But there are things you need to understand. The language of journalism is culturally a constructive critical approach. A good journalist does not underscore an argument; he rather presents propositions that would allow the reader to draw conclusions on their own. But because he would want you to support his views, he makes his language to tilt towards one end. It is only a paid medium that embacks on destructive criticism. But this is out of the ethics of journalism. You find this among CNN and The Guardians against Trump; also among BBC, The Channels etc. Femi Adesina uses this approach to supportof Nigerian government.

      Coming to my language here, I selected my words carefully such that you cannot conclude whether I am criticizing Stephen or rebuking Ozioma. But anybody with his right sense of judgement will understand what I have said at the end of the paper. That was my advice. I am aware that nobody has his cake and eats it; so my role as the voice the ancestors is to remind them of the wrong things they have done and to reiterate the possibility of repercussions. Besides, I was only told that Stephen did this alongside Ozioma; I have not seen or heard from any of them. So, it is not a better avenue to label blames.

      On the issue of councelorship, I only blame Stephen for one reason: he sought for advice very late, and as a result he has inflicted wound on the people he held dear to heart. That is why I hate politicing. I would also blame the people around him: the likes of Chima Ugwu and others for having not advised him earlier. But I wouldn't know if Stephen told them the steps he wanted to take.

      Politics is a game of interest; but this interest in the context of the present councelorship matter ought to have been communicated to avoid every necessary altercation. If he says he has interest, such interest should be respected, at least, it is in his position to act so. My problem is that we fight aimlessly. What I feel we should fight for is how we may have more than one wards so that the chances of leadership would be more.

      Finally on this issue, I wish to advise that we should desist from hunt-him-down-project-me malignity poiticing. It opens room for acrimony instead of holding us together. Even when Stephen had taken his stand lately over the councelorship issue, he should have solved this problem amicably. It does not cost him his position calling Dr. Chinedu Agbo to resolve the matter as friends. His advisers did not tell him this. If they had, the matter wouldn't have got to the governor, as I heard. We are one, nothing more. Let us not let this throw us apart and make us laughing stocks before our neighbours. Thanks.


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