Don Ubani Blows Hot
By Sir Don Ubani
A former Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Abia State.
Sir Don Ubani blows hot as he states that In one’s life, there are certain dates that could pass as Red Letter Days. A red-letter day is a day that is pleasantly noteworthy or memorable.
As I begin to compile my thoughts on issues for subsequent publication and presentation, Wednesday 29th October 2014 irresistibly becomes prominent in my upper region of thought.
Except for those who may have forgotten as a result of amnesia or their natural inclination to disregard whatever effort put in for the success of a project as long as it did not emanate from them, Sir Don Ubani was relentlessly conspicuous in the advocacy and struggle for, not necessarily generally for an Abia Governor of Ukwa/Ngwa extraction but specifically for an Abia Governor of Abia-South origin.
In as much as I believed that the Governor of Abia State in 2015 should be of Ukwa/Ngwa stock, I was vehement in my belief and expectation that equity demanded that the Governor should hail from Abia-South.
In 2013, while the State Executive Council in which I served under Governor T A Orji had been dissolved and politicians were busy lobbying either for re-appointment or fresh appointment as Commissioners, I was openly occupied with an entirely different project. My interest was in making sure that Abia-South would produce the next Governor of the State. Thanks to Governor T A Orji, who definitely had good intelligence on my advocacy and activities and still re-appointed me when he reconstituted his Executive Council.
Towards the realization of this noble objective, I knew it was imperative that I created a platform for its pursuit. I, therefore, personally initiated the formation and inauguration of Abia-South Senatorial Indigenes’ Assembly, ASSIA.
The first meeting of ASSIA that I conveyed was held in the Liaison Office of Senator Enyi Abaribe, at Aba. Among those that were in attendance were Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, Dr. Solomon Ogunji and Chief(Mrs) Uwaoma Olewengwa.
After I had explained both specific and general objectives of the meeting, all of them applauded my vision and courage to initiate such a risky political move which was capable of bringing me into a head-on collision with the State Governor, especially at a critical moment when the Governor was yet to reconstitute his Executive Council. Dr. Solomon Ogunji, therefore, moved that since the project was my brain-child, it was equally expedient that I led the Assembly. His motion was supported by Dr. Ikpeazu. Chief(Mrs) Olewengwa was made my Secretary.
Lest I forget, Senator Enyi Abaribe, Hon Eziuche Ubani and Dame Victoria Akanwa though not present, were fully in support of the essence of the Assembly.
On Thursday 24th of July, 2013, I was able to summon a General Meeting of Abia-South Senatorial Indigenes’ Assembly at Abia Hotel, Aba. The attendance was unprecedented.
I addressed the surging crowd for about thirty minutes and before I could say Jack Robinson, every attendee had started asking for a space to sign in the Communique I had articulated and prepared in anticipation that it would receive no objection from the people. Truly, except for a minor observation raised by Barr Thomas Nkoro, every item contained therein was unanimously endorsed. My very brotherly friend, Chief Seth Agonmuo, eulogized me for the initiative and erudite articulation.
Being that before then, as at our first meeting in Senator Abaribe’s office at Aba, we had only two officers of the Assembly; Chief (Mrs) Olewengwa and myself, it became necessary that the Executive was increased. Sequel to that, Chief Chinwe Nwanganga was made the Deputy Coordinator, Chief Omenihu Nwogwugwu emerged as the Financial Secretary while Dame Victoria Akanwa was made the Treasurer.
As a reminder, the specific objective of the Assembly was to create high-level awareness, sensitization and consciousness that equity, from whatever angle it was viewed, dictated that the next Governor of the State should be a Southern Abian, irrespective of what part of Abia-South.
In the course of the meeting at Abia Hotel, Aba, we raised calls to Senator Enyi Abaribe, Hon Eziuche Ubani, Sir Chris Nkwonta and a few others. These three were generous in their donations to the Assembly. The only Transition Committee Chairman in the whole of Abia-South of six local government areas that gave us money (N50,000) was that of Ukwa-West, Chief Stanley Ikechukwu Eche.
Armed with enough money from our donors, we proceeded, without any hesitation, to make public our 10-Point Communique.
On the last inside page of Thisday Newspaper of Saturday 5th August 2013 and page 51 of Vanguard Newspaper of the same date, each being a full-page advertorial, Abia South Senatorial Indigenes’ Assembly communicated to the world. Boldly but respectfully, I personally delivered the two publications to Governor T A Orji.
Whoever did not read it but is interested in having a glance over it, offices of the two newspapers, I hope, could make them available.
As soon as one of our own; Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, emerged as a formidable aspirant on the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in the State, my excitement had a leap in the air of optimism and satisfaction.
As a prolific writer, I wrote many commentaries in support of my advocacy for an Abia Governor of Abia-South extraction. I had many reasons for advocating for a Governor from my senatorial district. One was the deplorable state of Aba. My calculation was that an Aba man, as Governor, would restore the past glory of that hitherto Great Enyimba City. Of equal importance was the challenge of inaccessibility to my home. Our roads were in the worst state of abandonment and decay. I was upbeat that a Governor close to my home would give us some succor, even if it meant ordinary grading of Umuiku-Isi-Asa/Ariaria road.
On Wednesday 19th October 2014, one of my commentaries was aired on BCA Radio. It was titled; Abia 2015 Governorship Election, An Opportunity Abia Southerners Should Not Trivialize.
I went to work in Umuahia that day. As it was my policy, I made sure no file was left untreated on my table. In fact, in the two Ministries I had served as a Commissioner; Information and Petroleum, the civil servants in them, especially those that are sincere, would attest to the fact that no file stayed more than twenty-four hours on my table. That was an area I radically disagreed with what many Civil Servants regarded as Bureaucracy, that is delaying people’s files, fate and future. I stand vehemently against procrastination. What is worth doing is not only worth doing well but equally worth doing on time.
Having been done with my official duties for the day, I left Umuahia for Aba. While on that return trip, I got a call. It was from Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu.
After the usual exchange of greetings, he asked me where I was. I told him I was on my way from Umuahia and that I was already approaching Aba. He then told me he wanted me to sign his PDP Governorship Nomination Form. It could be my name was drawn to his mind after listening to my commentary on BCA that morning.
Spontaneously, I felt elated. I asked him if we could meet at Aba Sports Club and he responded in the affirmative.
No sooner did I alight from my car at Aba Sports Club, than he arrived. Without any waste of time, I gladly and meticulously signed as One of his Nominators.
After I had signed for him, his body language indicated ‘saying or doing something’. In fact, he said, ‘Okwubunka, I ganu Igba Fuel’, meaning, Okwubunka, You Would Need Some Fuel.
Unknown to him, I had provided some ‘fuel’ for him. Before he could know it, I had brought out a One Hundred Thousand Naira UBA Cheque of one of my Companies, Akudinulo Agro Enterprises Nigeria, written in his name and handed over to him. He thanked me and left. That cheque did not bounce. I got the resultant bank alert the following day.
Sir Don Ubani also stated that he has decided to put his little contributions in black and white because they are very easy to, not only pretentiously forgotten but disregarded and discarded because the man that made those sacrifices is not, after all, from a Majority Group but from Ukwa, a Minority Group in Abia State.