It is no secret that many politicians are in politics for what they stand to gain. That’s why many of them will employ the act of deceit in trying to remain in the position of authority. Such politicians who engage in such an act are indeed anti people. They punch the wind and kick the sky, all to provide an impression that is amorphous and fake.
Such politicians stay in the middle of the road, neither helping their immediate environment nor the society they ought to serve. Aneurin Bevan, 19th century British politician believed that they’ll be run over. While the act of falsehood may endure for some time, its expiring date will be the day of accountability ie balloting.
If we take into proper perspective Hon Jerry Uzosike’s (the Member representing the good people of Umuahia State Constituency in the Abia House of Assembly) scoreboard so far, we’ll be left with some shock and disappointing revelations ie the abandonment of his electoral commission to the people, Represent/Speak for them in times crisis and in periods of danger. But is Jerry Uzosike actually executing this mandate? The answer is NO.
Take for instance the terrible pains and agony a sub-Clan like Umunwanwa, one of the seven sub-Clans in Umuopara Clan, is undergoing. The natives are currently under siege and in fact under the pangs of menacing gully erosion. To say that Umunwanwa is devastated via a roaring natural disaster is to state the obvious. Yet, Jerry Uzosike, whose assignment as their grass root representative believes, maintains, and practices Afghanistanism in his approach to vital issues that concern the people.
Jerry Uzosike hails from Umunwanwa town. He goes there often but shockingly decides to look the other way as the gullies roar on. Sadly, nothing on ground shows that this lawmaker has anything on paper to get the relevant authorities to prepare action that bring lasting solution to the menace.
By the way, the Mbara Umunwanwa, the Community centre or what any one may call the headquarters of this town which is peopled by eminent personalities such as professors, captains of industries, world beaters in many areas of human endeavours, is the melting point of the town. In the next elections, the people, according to our sources, may stone him or whoever comes to ask for their votes.
They are dejected, despaired and despondent. They look at politicians like him with disdain, hate and leprous mien and are ready to punch their noses at the claim of being a politician. Their despondency is incensed by the fact that the roads are also despicable and impassable. What would they be told in 2023 to be convinced to vote? This is what is puzzling serious minds and only time will tell, we gathered. “Our faith is hanging on the balance”, said one of the respondents to our enquiries when our team visited Umunwanwa Community recently. He therefore asked cynically, “do we have a representative?”
Ironically, the gullies are not listening to any language except action. Its hydra-headed attacks may swallow the Church nearby, St Peter’s Methodist Church; Umunwanwa, located some few steps away. The local market has been caught up. Few people seen there when this Reporter visited believed it was a matter of time the entire market would experience a landslide. The gully is frighteningly yawing. It is 100 metres deep, while its weight is about 30. The length stretches on to over 500 metres and many people living in that vicinity have fled as some houses have cave into the gullies.
Lamentably, the famous Community centre, Mbara Umunwanwa is gone. The other side, Ama Peter is endangered. A careless stranger to Mbara Umunwanwa stands the risk of making a dangerous and life-taking fall into this abyss. The community, according to information available to us, has contributed some amount to fight the rampaging gully, but their contribution is like a flash in the pan. It’s just beyond their scope.
However, the state government can tackle it with the involvement of some organisations local or international. There’s a new agency called Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP). It has its offices all over the states. It is World Bank assisted. It has an office in Umuahia also. Has Jerry Uzosike gotten them to be seriously involved in combating the Umunwanwa erosion menace?
A visit to NEWMAP office in Ogurube Layout, Umuahia by our Reporter shows that nothing serious in tackling the Umunwanwa menace is being done, except the usual promises of “we’re doing some paper works towards tackling it”.
Yet, Jerry Uzosike kicks the air and punches the wind with some highfalutin community acrobats wrapped up with an elaborate ceremony of building a bungalow for a widow, while his people are counting their days to extinction. Certainly, it is good to be philanthropic, but it is absolutely crass to sit idly by and allow a people to be swallowed up by natural disaster that could be controlled by actions and reactions of a good legislator.
Many believe that the few inaudible noises he made in the Abia State House of Assembly over the Umunwanwa Erosion Menace, as it should be tagged, were far from being enough and that those statements labeled “Matters of Urgent Importance in House” only circulate within the periphery of the Assembly premises. “They won’t control the Umunwanwa Erosion; Never”, an observer insisted.
A good representative should have made a position paper on the menace and followed it with some leg work, galvanising some powerful contacts that should be assisted by the state government. The Abuja office of NEWMAP should by now have been bombarded by Jerry’s write ups and pictorial illustrations of the devastation of Mbara Umunwanwa by the menacing gullies vis-à-vis the suffering of the people as a result of the threat.
Nothing of such has gone there. He has seniors in legislative business in this side of the state: Senator TA Orji, Senator represents Abia Central, while Rep Sam Onuigbo, represents Ikwuano/Umuahia North/Umuahia South in the House of Representatives. Both are in the National Assembly.
What has he done to bring this devastation to their knowledge and even impel them to bring it to the notice of the federal government through the Houses of the National Assembly? The effective combination of these personalities would definitely bring solution to the erosion menace. Apparently, Jerry Uzosike does not appreciate the anonymity of the Umunwanwa erosion and/or does not understand his role as State Legislator. When would he learn to do his job as a State Legislator?
2023 is beckoning! For now the Umunwanwa Community is shivering, its Mbara which is the pride of the community may soon cave in and the Ekpe Cultural festival, an annual ritual, celebrated only in the Market Square, may cease to hold while Jerry Uzosike continues to dance naked in his macabre dance with some inglorious politicians in Umuahia South.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.