Orji Uzor Kalu And Aba, The City Of Dung

by Felix-Abrahams Obi

Aba is a phenomenal city and about one of the most popular in contemporary Nigeria. It is famed as the “Japan of Africa” for the famed ingenuity and industrial prowess of the inhabitants who engage in all sorts of fabrications ranging from spare parts, to engine blocks and much more. In the very soul of Aba is the famous “Ariaria Market” which attracts traders from all parts of Nigeria and all across West Africa and beyond. The entrepreneurial spirit of the businessmen in Aba has distinguished them and in times past, Aba-made shoes competed with Italian-made shoes until lately when Dubai-sold, but China-made shoes overran the Aba shoe industry. Aba-made clothes have suffered a similar fate like their folks in the shoe industry on account of the Chinese businessmen who have flooded our Nigerian markets with their clothes .”China-Town” now receives a horde of “Nigerian tourists” to their enclaves at Ojota and South West Ikoyi in Lagos, who forage for cheap textile materials shipped from China!

I am not going to dwell on the notoriety that Aba garnered in recent times courtesy of the Bakassi Boys misadventures and jungle injustice and killing of innocent people which elicited public outcry. My worry is about the quality of life the average Aba resident is subjected to due to the crass dereliction of duty exemplified by the present government of Governor Orji Uzor Kalu. One may wonder why I am concerned about Aba when I hail from Imo State where Governor Achike Udenwa has not come out as Joseph or Joshua the deliverer of Israelites. But are we not supposed to be our brothers’ keepers and speak up in their defense when the need arises? Moreover, there is little or no difference between a man/woman from Imo and his sibling from Abia since we all sucked the same milk of human kindness from the same nipples in the old Imo State.

You can imagine how sullen I was when I visited Aba in November 2005 to see how Aba was adorned in sloven apparels. My stomach went into revulsion as I traversed the streets of the Aba as my eyes alighted on the countless heaps and mole hills of dung that bestrode this glorified suburb called a city. Worse still, as I went to Milverton Avenue to board a bus to Port Harcourt, I met the most worrisome eyesore: the decomposing body of a possible robber who was burnt alive with tyres by the “Aba Peoples Mobile Court of Justice”. To my chagrin, the victim’s body was dumped at the refuse bin where buses loaded. Passersby merely blocked their nostrils with their hands as though the action will defuse or ameliorate the human stench. I was most disappointed to say the least.

As we left Aba for Port Harcourt, I discovered to my dismay that the median section of the Aba -Port Harcourt expressway has been converted to dump sites along the Aba axis of the highway. Even a visually-impaired person would spot the difference as we entered Port Harcourt that day. One would wonder why there is a sharp contrast between the environmental situations of these two adjoining cities that enjoy close economic ties. Someone may argue that it is not a problem of governance but that of the city’s inhabitants. But in which city in Nigeria do you have law-abiding citizens that manage their generated wastes without the government playing a pivotal role.? Lagos would have been a glorified dump city, save for the concerted efforts of Governor Tinubu and his aides at the LAWMA and the Ministry of Environment. Other cities in Nigeria are relatively clean on account of the political will exercised by their respective governments in tackling the problems of waste disposal and management in their major cities.

Then late in April 2006 (barely two weeks ago), I had cause to visit my friends and relatives in Aba again, and did I come back with memorable stories to recount? Nay! Aba has not changed in terms of infrastructural development or its environmental health status. The streets are visibly neglected with bumpy roads, some waterlogged with poor drainage systems. The underground drainage system which was constructed by the late Governor Sam Mbakwe’s government in the early 1980s has not been rehabilitated nor new ones constructed. The inhabitants literally groan under this sub-human state under which the present government of the state had abandoned them. One would have expected that Aba’s status as an economically-viable city would have made it receive some level of infrastructural attention given its economic potentials, but Orji Uzor Kalu has steadfastly cast a derogatory look at this famed city that brought him to the limelight.

Orji Uzor Kalu’s exploits and popularity has been partly due to his magical transformation of the Peoples’ Elephant, Enyimba FC such that it earned both national and continental glory in winning the coveted African Champions League trophy back-to-back. To his credit, he transformed Aba Township stadium such that it can host matches of international standards. But beyond football, what other benefits have Aba enjoyed courtesy of Orji Uzor Kalu? Has not Governor Peter Odili paid similar attention to Sports in Rivers State that earned him accolades by CAF as well? We have seen the economic prowess of Aba diminish by the day due to this obvious but inexcusable neglect of this city that made Orji Uzor Kalu in some sense. The sartorial prominence of Aba has waned such that the hub of the fledging fashion industry in Nigeria has moved to Lagos leaving Aba’s economic potential untapped, and numerous others due to neglect and lack of vision by the present Abia State government. If Orji Uzor succeeded in reconstructing the major roads in Aba like Governor Adamu Muazu did in Bauchi town using Julius Berger, the residents of Aba will remember him for life like they revere Dee Sam Mbakwe. But he has thrown away an opportunity to stamp his feet on the path of posterity and he would account to the people and God how he neglected Aba during his 8-year reign, so to speak! Governor Donald Duke has brought Cross River State to the eyes of CNN viewers and International Business Community through the visionary Tinapa Project at Obudu Cattle Ranch whereas Aba has been an economically viable city whose potentials remain yet untapped.

Since his second term in office, Orji Uzor Kalu has made us believe he is the long-awaited Messiah that would pull Nigerians out of the doldrums of underdevelopment, dare I add, mal-development. He has spent more time and energy campaigning for his presidential (vice president to wit) dream within and outside Nigeria.He has formed political alliances in the west and in the north. He has been turbaned as a friend of northerners and a bridgehead that unites them with his dis-enfranchised kins in Ala Igbo.He has lately been seen to unite warring factions in the north when he united Buhari and IBB as he brought them to his hometown to bury their hatchets. He might have received the tacit support of the numerous Umu Igbo who live in USA and Dispora, but Ndi Igbo in Ala Igbo would scrutinize his developmental and governance credentials vis-à-vis the democratic dividends he swore to provide our people when he swore to oath in 1999 and 2003 respectively in Umuahia before paying credence to his presidential ambitions.

I have no personal misgivings whatsoever towards Orji Uzor but am worried that sycophants and opportunists dot our political landscape of today. I am worried that those who seek positions of governance hardly see beyond their noses (excuse my language) to be able to envision how they can engender collective development which has the good of the people as the central motif or fulcrum that drives their leadership. As an Iboman, I was taught from childhood that “ana esi n’ulo amara mma puo n’ama”, which literally means that “charity should begin at home”. If Orji Uzor Kalu is the archetype of the Ibo President we have to offer, then Ndi Igbo are of all Nigerians, the most miserable. It is so disheartening that our elected leaders have contributed in impoverishing our own people in Ala Igbo. I picked out Orji Uzor Kalu not because he

typifies the worst governor in the South East, for others in his ilk have not done well equally in the past 7 years they kept vigil over the coffers of the states they govern. I have brought Orji Uzor Kalu to the soap box of the peoples’ court to give an account of his stewardship in Abia State because he feels ‘OK” to be the elusive Messianic President that Nigerians have longed for decades since independence!

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Sampson Iroabuchi Onwuka October 27, 2010 - 8:24 pm


we probably need a larger network to discuss the history of Abia State and Ngwa, but I want to assure you that as much as your history is not in doubt, the sum of it represent a small section of Igbo history. the version of Ngwa history you just put up is micro synthesis covering a whole range of improbably. The relations between Umuahia and Ngwa is very slim. And like I said, disabuse your mind about some of these congratulatory history of Ngwa. Just forget about it. And I can encourage you to disabuse your mind on it largely on the ocntext of several stimulus

1, that is summary of clever renactment of Ngwa history and whole generalissimo over large swathes of land from Aba to Umuahia is grossly mistaken. It is easily based on Igbo history or school of history that argues that an Igbo movement took place some time in the past, involving a certain group of people from the North (Benue, Anambra, Enugu) and headed SOUTH, who as condition put it made occassional raids in what is now Imo state and what is now Abia state and was able to settle among these people, forming categories of people such as Mbaise, Owerri, Ngwa, Umuahia, and so on. How this view is so wrong and dangerous can only be understood by the damages it has created for Abians and for the trouble it has created for many Igbo society. Such movement as a I said is a clever reanactment of Igbo, but it is a view that is only synthetic and justifiable, given the natural view that it terms of movement of Igbos, they could have only been one movement. Clearly enough there was one movement of Igbos that took place in some distant past, that movement also involve some settlers Mbaise and company, that movement is very recent and therefore not significant in joining history to Ngwa. There are no surpsies there, since the whole of Ngwa history, amounts to a small portion of Igbo history and their history only abounds in their EXODUS or settlement, which may or may not taken place in the way it is perceived, which may be a question infiltration than outright conquest strategy. All in all, the history of

I also want you to be sure the wehn we speak of Igbo history, we are talking about a small sections of people or a small section Igbos, perhaps Ngwas and comapny can speak of themselves, but in terms of Igbo history, we speak of the WHOLE of Igbo society. For some version of Igbo legends, especially your Abia North, speak of their ancestors as a people of different race and different culture. They are also aware of the legends of Ijaw people and Igbos who returned and who settled in the areas of Ijaw. I want to assure that these ancestor of ours of North Abia, called themselves Hebrews which is closer to Igbo, creating if you remember the initial misunderstanding between the Igbos of a certain

Kind and another who called themselves Ibo for certain reason. The problem was eventually normalised with the standization of Igbo langauge, which force ‘neutralization zone’ such Mbaise, Owerri, Aba, Umuahia, and so on, to assume a position in the history of the Igbos. But most first class schorlars of lingusitic comprative will suggest to you that Origins and Optimality (Neutralization) of dialects confirms their independent history, each is completely the opposite of the other. If Igbo dialects reached its highest pro-efficiency in the fore mentioned areas, the dialects and its origins are elswhere, the deeper part of the North Abia.

Yet the facts may be taken much more seriously that teh center of Igbo society is closer to Okigwe, closer to Item, to Nkporo, to Edda on the other side and up. Why is this fact that important, the fact is that important largely to clarify that a man from Item, travelling through to Edda, will get to Enugu much more faster and much easier than a man travelling from Aba….


Kelechukwu October 10, 2010 - 6:12 am

@ Iroabuchi Onwuka, I’ve been so consumed by my studies that I had forgoten our on-going discussion on our people’s history. You seem to be grasping at an understanding of the larger migrations and population movements of the entire Eastern Nigeria that lead to the current location of Igbos and their neighbors. I admire your efforts, as it is an arduous task, based on my own attempts to gain an understanding of Igbo origins.

However, I must say that you have a defecient understanding of Ngwa history. I prefer to expound on that which I am very conversant with, which is Ngwa history, and all I have told you about my people are documented by historians and corroborated by even non-Ngwa Igbos that share similar historical experiences. I don’t know how you can tell me that there is no such thing as Ngwa-Ukwu. I find it rather dismissive and insulting to disregard someones history in that manner. My dear friend, I am from Ngwa-Ukwu in Isialangwa, so I’m not telling you about something I read about somewhere. Ukwu and his brother Nwoha led Ndi Ngwa across the Imo river, and this is a history that Mbaise people are very familair with also. Mbaise were part of that expedition with Ndi Ngwa, that got left on the other side of the Imo river. Hence, Ndi Ngwa for ndi mere ngwa ngwa. That thing bout ‘gwaw’, a hebrew word that you mentioned, is a far reach.

You seem to have this understanding that Ala Ngwa revolves around Aba and its environs. Might I remind you that Ala Ngwa stretches from Umuahia to Ndoki(to and not through these areas), and attempting to explain Ngwa history from just Aba would create a convoluted mess as I’m afraid you have done. Ngwa ancestral home is Okpualangwa(okpulor ngwa) in present day Isialangwa, from where they pushed further south, and indeed some of Ngwa land was initially inhabited by Anang and Ibibios. As Ndi Ngwa invaded, the names given to these new areas reflected the origins of the new settlers i.e Abayi, Ihie, Osusu etc. For many years people from Abayi, Ihie, Osusu etc in Isialangwa would not intermarry with people from same named areas in Obiomangwa(Aba, Osisioma, Ugwunagbo) because they are kit and kin.

You seem to have a vast knowledge of Igbo history in general, and I’m open to learning as much as you are willing to share. I would challenge you when I sense a flaw, but I understand that history is hardly ever black and white, and things are not always what they seem like. I’m not out to prove that my people have a more glorious past than anyone else, so I’d think that I’m open minded enough, and curious to gain an understanding of Igbo history.

Iroabuchi Onwuka March 8, 2010 - 5:02 pm

@Kelechukwu. This is just to add to your Historical claimancy of Ngwa people people crossing Imo River. I wanted to share with you a ‘find’ in Hebrew word by the word ‘gwaw’ which no doubt to me is much the same as Ngwa. The word ‘gwaw/gaw’ in Hebrew refers ‘to the end’ or ‘a summit’. It is possible that somehow the two legends of Ngwa people, for instance our case of Ngwa; refers to people who live yonder (probably beyond the river or close to the river) and the other, your version, which refers to people who ‘crossed the river’. Somehow the word ‘Ngwa’ may just be an Igbo form of expression regarding people who either live close to the end and those who made it to the end. Probably, the ‘end’ in this case would mean the river/s either the Imo river you mentioned or the river at bank of Atlantic from today’s world map. In some sense, the word gwaw/gaw in Hebrew may be an iincomplete form of more complete saying or word refering to those who crossed ‘the end’, those who crossed a terminus, and in this case a river. Even the word ‘Gullah’ is Hebrew for ‘the saved’ ‘the redeemed’ ‘the exiled’ and it somehow fits into the set of words in question. In all, there is reason to believe that Ngwa may refer to an incursion into the reaches of Aba and beyond or an excursion -possibly a war excursion through the reins of the Imo River. Perhaps, and most perhaps, the two legends and waves of cameo, indicate an early version of your people and a later which superceded or articificiated the elder.

Iroabuchi Onwuka March 1, 2010 - 8:06 pm

Mr Kelechukwu…I encourage your interest in your people and I can ask you to write me if you can at sunsetstudios@hotmail.com and we can talk about Nigerian people and the end of the Black Spanish age and Nigerian society. How that end brought on the era of slave trade in Africa and the world is to me a career quest, worthy of the greatest minds of the race and of West Africa. In short, Igbos are Spanish Jews and there is a lot of things I would have loved to discuss with you on that, but I would like you to disabuse your mind about certain dis-ingenius Igbo history, irrespectively of its popularity.

For instance, the issue of the Ngwa-Ukwu…is one of the histories you can forget, for the facts are too much on the ground that there was no such person and no such thing as Ngwa Ukwu. Ukwa-Ukwu was neither a human or a thing…Arochikwu was neither a human being nor thing. Am Igbo and I have kindred in Ngwa who still retain the very old link of their ancestor and many of them are part of the royalty. Aruchuku/Arochiku as we call them is not a human being…it was not even a village, it was a war declaration of 1699. The declaration took place in what in what is now Arochiku…formerly the capital of Ibibio and Ijaw. The arochiku declaration is different from Afijoku/Ahiajoku…but Afijoku or Ahiajoku took place in arochiku sometime in 1800 or there-about. Arochiku was a declaration of Igbos to protect themselves and their commerce from enemies and in doing so, protect the very union of Igbo villages. Abam was one of the chief proponent of such declaration. As such, places like Ohafia, Abiriba are not human beings…they were named after a certain incident or for some other reasons. Much like Ngwa….which is accurately the name given to the people who lived ‘yonder’, close to natives of the town called Aba. In fact it was MONG people who own the area we now occupy in Aba, Owerri, and so on and it was them and their Urhobo counterparts that opposed the terms of arochiku of 1699 and its commercial venture which included the sale of Human beings at Umu-Ocham. But Aba belonged to them in proper sense and the people who now live among them were those who they gave the permission to do and those who they accused of adding to their gift what was not theirs. These people are the Bende…and by Bende we mean Igbere, Item, Bende, Alayi-ugwueke, and parts of Isi-ukwuato and so on. These people led of the last of Igbo wars called Ekumeku…and there were others from parts of what is Mbaise. Mbaise…according to my research and to my father played very pivotal hand in creating Ekumeku and it was that war against slave trade traders among others that led to many villages in that part of Igbo society. One thing you can be sure is that the current map of the world will show Ngwa/Aba at the very end of Igbo society and that Owerri is far from the heart of Igo society. Behind these Igbo towns are very Myamiri/mong people, who still call Aba their home.

Kelechukwu January 24, 2010 - 8:33 pm

@iroabuchi onwuka, I am glad that you’ve realized that we are all part of the same family, which is a welcomed departure from the contents of your original post. Indeed, Ngwa history acknowledges the fact that our people descended from Arochukwu, were later settled in the Owerri area, and later migrated to our current location. The tale of the drama that ensued at the crossing of the Imo river, is still very much part of our folklore. It might seem like a round about way to arrive at their current location, but that it is how the Ngwa made their way to Ala Ngwa. Ukwu Ngwa, who led the expedition, settled at Okpualangwa( okpulor ngwa), and the expansion commenced from there. Now, Ndi Ngwa recognize a few clans in Imo as their kit and kin, and others in Umuhia too ( for instance, Ohuhu Umuahia). Ndi Ngwa, were not part of the Aro-confederacy, and I would agree with you that most people from Umuahia are indeed from the Bende area. Ndi Ngwa did NOT descend from Bende, but are part of the same group of people that left Arochukwu long time ago and settled around Owerri. In that sense, we are part of the larger family of Igbos that can trace their history to Arochukwu.

As I stated in my initial post, there has been a historical rift between these two groups(the old Bende axis and the Ngwa axis) that has only been compounded by politics. As brothers, we have to do better, and it all starts and ends with mutual respect for ourselves.

Iroabuchi Onwuka December 16, 2009 - 5:04 pm

@kelechukwu. There is no need to cry over a spilled milk. But am kinda curious why It took so long for us to admit that a rift exist in the state. Ngwa people are mainly from Bende. The eight villages of Ngwa called Isiogo Asato, are nothing more than eight heads of family… family heads from mainly what is now Bende LGA. A village like Umu-agbayi in Aba is wrong pronunciation. The name and the right pronunciation is Umu-Agbai strictly meaning children/sons of Agbai, a remnant of a group that began. Now you must be aware that ‘Agbai’ is not a current Ngwa name and many contemporary Igbos do ot answer the name and the reason for this go back to this period in mid 19th century which is 1840 through 1870. You see Ngwa people are much the same as Bende…at least I know that for sure and its not legend. I also know that Umuahia people (Umuahia-joku) saving parts of Ariam Usaka are mainly from Ohafia and Abam. The main family line of these group of people are called Mbei. Some say that Mbei started in Edda. My ancestors are Isi-Mbei that stretched from Abiriba, Abam, Nkporo, Osso Edda to mainly Ohafia. I also know that Imo people of Owerri through to Mbano, to Izuogu are mainly from Arochukwu. Aro-ugo of owerri was a son of Ezearo descended from Edda. The main people of the place you call Abayi Umu-Ocham of your Aba are trullu remnant of the Ochams. Ngwa is just part of the club and we are family with you

Kelechukwu June 28, 2009 - 6:42 pm

Mr. Onwuka Iroabuchi, I do not appreciate your smear tactics against the Ngwa, which has little to do with the incompetence of Kalu as a governor. The Ngwa have been gracious hosts to all foreigners in Aba, which gives you the ill-informed audacity to declare Aba “no man’s land”. Might I remind you that Aba-Ngwa has Ngwa indigenes, and it is surrounded by other Ngwa communities. Today, the LGA chairman of both Aba north and south are from the old Bende region, so your stupid attempt to blame the rot in Aba on the Ngwa is baseless. Your statement that “Ngwa-who were actually related to the Igbos but not completely” reveals the long standing condescending attitude you and your likes from the old Bende have had towards the Ngwa. Apparently, in your estimation, the Ngwa are quasi-Igbo. Try as you may, we, the Ngwa are fully aware of our history. We are well informed of our relationship with our kit and kin in Imo state, and the migration that brought us to our current location, where we battled the Anang/Ibibio for years to acquire this land which an idiot like yourself wants to call a no man’s land. Did the Ngwa names of these places or the Ngwa people there disappear into thin air?The truth is that historically, the Ngwa were a major opponent of the Aro confederacy which included the old Bende, and played a significant role in the Aro-Anglo war which brought about the collapse of the Aro empire. This history and the prevailing attitude of the old Bende towards the Ngwa, informed the protest against the inclusion of the Ngwa in Abia state, even before it was created, by some Ngwa whom preferred to remain in Imo state.

You betrayed your prejudice towards the Ngwa when you unleashed your anti-Ngwa propaganda in response to an article that clearly addresses the lapses of uzor-kalu as a governor, whom is from the old bende axis. This has nothing to do with the Ngwa, but the desperation of your smear campaign does not permit such logical reasoning. It’s an utter shame that simpletons like yourself, would be allowed to misuse a forum such as this one to spread fallacies and hatred against the Ngwa.

Martin Ohamadike October 22, 2008 - 3:07 am

Am from Imo State but was born & bread in Aba just like my dad & even Orji Kalu himself. But Orji kalu is a DISGRACE & SHAME to everyone of us who has been to Aba city lately, what is more embarrassing is with all the noise in the media of orji being an action governor. Its really a big shame for him to have wasted 8yrs in office and couldn’t leave any legacy (writing his name in GOLD) like Dee Sam Mbakwe of blessed memory.

With the way Orji and his mother robbed Abian’s of their public fund show’s the kind of home they came out from. These day’s it’s an embarrasment for you to introduce yourself in decent social gathering that you are from Aba.

Blue chip company’s are all relocating from enyimba city due to degradation of social and economic infracructure constituted by Orji Kalu’s yrs in office. I pray that God will urgently save us from this wrath.

Aybmann Kalu October 5, 2008 - 7:16 pm

Dear Iroabuchi,

That was a fantastic research. The Igbo people need to know their history very well.I do appreciate you for that masterpiece.

However the question still remains “How do we get our politicians and the ordinary man in the street realize that our dear Abia state is in a great COMA and is almost nearing DEATH”.As at today nothing is actually working in that state.Salaries are not being paid as at when due not to talk of social services that the government is meant to render to the people.

In my opinion the people of Abia state should first be told by Orji and his henchmen what they did with all the releases to the state for the past 8years,Also we should know how the debts being repaid by the state came about.Abia needs a rescue and bail squad, and a truth and reconcilliation hearing just as Rivers state did.This however should be preceded by the people owning up that all is not well with the state.

Just take a tour of Imo state or better still any state that was created on the same day with Abia state and check out the glaring and obvious differences in development.Orji Uzor is our own flesh and bllod and I do believe in vendetta, but the past administration should be made to return what belongs to the state that they took away to Gambia and elsewhere.It would have been better if he used these funds to establish on-going concerns to employ his kit and kin at home or even pay taxes to his state government.

We shall not give up.Abia must rise and ABA must rise again.I too feel very bad and ashamed about Aba since I was also born and bred in Aba and was a permanent resident of the city till 1992.

Long live those who feel the pain Abia is going through Long live all Abians who wish that the state rises again and Long live all Nigerians and Nigeria



bayosky_44@yahoo.com September 14, 2007 - 4:59 pm

Orji Uzor Kalu is simply a rogue and a swine. Ohaneze Ndigbo should cover its face in shame!

Ann nwaofor July 8, 2007 - 2:06 pm


May God bless you, for seeing and speaking the truth, Orji Uzor Will one day give account of all he did, it might not be to any man but to God. Let us always pray for Nigeria using Aba as our contact point, God will pay each person according to his or her deeds, a lot of people have forgotten that "there is God, who will ask you for your stewardship one day" this might sound like something not serious but something will happen to all those that have brought hardship to Aba residents.

onwuka iroabuchi June 24, 2007 - 1:00 pm


Mr. Felix-Abrahams Obi, your piece is very straight to the point and you are quite right but I have to give you 3 out of 5 for failure to track the root of Oji Uzo's neglect. Am not from Igbere but from Abia state…and my village elders diplomatically sucked life out of a coflict with Igbere aghast his mother's treat in 2003 election. Am an Aba brought up…an so- called ABU and I was in Aba at about the same time as you. I was then visiting home for the first time in 10 years, and you can imagine the shock that came with my NY visit to Aba. The whole pace seemed strange to me and as matter of fact I succomb to chills and fever after my second week. This was a town left to it's own device which merely include refuse where possible. I said to myself, "it is the attitude of the people" towards anything when they feel completely neglected. In 1995 when I left for the States, I had no intentions of living elsewhere…Aba was my happy home, my immortal home. Not only for her ingeniuty nor her culture of defiance and hardwork but for imparting to some of us who witnessed her evolution as a society the direlection of expecting anybody favors from anybody and from anywhere but to show favor only when you can. Yet I couldn't have suspected that this depth of nuisance in 2005.

In December 2005 it seem to me that everyone left at once…perhaps not at once but the dump on the street were Gothic reminding of how easily any Nigerian town will.

Aba is angst-ridden and in steady decline but I couldn't see this, rather I was able to understood the advanced symtom of state/national neglect. Sanitation for a million people is quite scary- stiff.

Was Oji Uzo the man to blame…well not really since local government chairmen were equally elected. Aba is a city of dump no dioubt but the rest of Abia as at 2005 wass handsome clean. Nwafor I heard tried to shuttle Oji Uzo kalu him out of office through his Ngwa youth had occassionally menaced Governement houses…insisting on toal control. When these places where left for them, nothing is done. I don't always agree with Oji Uzo Kalu and his mother but if Ngwa people from my eye witness account are interested in public and private harrasement of certain people from Bende LGA and to some degree Ohafia calling them uncharacteristic igbo names like ndi mong…, if you have to come from Ngwa to work in custom house or now city hall or work in major governemnt houses, if you have to pay thier own shameful adoption of area boys to invest in any good business or to be Ngwa to build certain houses in certain places without interference, if you have to pay Ngwa youth money to get public transport, or use some means to humiliate the public servants including the governor…then we are nolonger playing and we have investigate our priorities.

I do remember my near-hell experience with Ngwa people in the 80's following a youth-driven uprising instigated by Enweruzo's father demanding control of Aba.

Part of his view was a greater share of Eziukwu, Eziama and parts of Osusu should be amended to install some Ngwa chief as sees over government projects and lands. In essence, he wanted to keep restituted authority over the then lucrative Aba local authority. The theme of his inciting and provogatuer is that Aba was forcefully…if not gradually "schlpepped" from them/Ngwa. Sometime so completely false.

The deeper life of the problem goes back to 1840 when Aba; a then a portuguese slave market was suddenly shut following the end of slave trade. It can be recalled that chief Owerre…who was himself a Jewish portuguese slave trader…founder Naze and Nakede, had sent forces to Nnachi Oke of Aro or (Inachi Oken/ Abariba) to wrest war from Ibibio who refused rights of access to land and the blue river flowing from through Imenyi and Isikwuato and coming to full acccesible view at Bende then to Ibenu/south Abia branching towards Aro but essentially into the Atlantic. Igberre people know this River and so do Bende…and Amadi Ikweche was a certified Navigator and from thier too. That was his primary reason for creating Bende as the then capital of Abia. The ancient name of that River is called Abia or Abiaia if you from Abam and Abiriba.

Mbiriba's brother by name Otusi Okpan-agwu or Eze agwu/1690 founder of Arochukwu was denied access to this river and to some land by Ibibio people. The result of this clash was a mass of slaves taken to Owerre by Aro chiefs and sold on auction at Aba-yi ( near Aba) which in portuguese Hebrew means slave territory. These slaves were auctioned of to higher bidders in Aba and were taken to Onisha and through the water they were gathered at Warri(another Hebrew word) by King Asa a spainish Jew working at a time with permission from Oba of Bini…territory was named after him-Asaba/the territory of Asa. Aba Owerre simply mean Owerre's territory and "Aba yi umu Ocham" also mean in Hebrew the slave house of the Ochams or the bond slaves of the Ochams.

Aba itself like Lagos, Calabar, Kalahari, Abakiliki, Ivo, Bini, Warri, Asaba, Owerre, Onitsha among others were all establsihed by portuguese merchants…many of them of Jewish retraction. In fact the root meaning of some of the tribes and villages in Nigeria can be traced to portuguese…e.g, Efik meaning the "oppressed" and Jos which will be written in English as Ijaw or Ijo. That is comma, "Ij" in 1550-1600 Portuguese will be debutted as J and S will be added at the end to specify the kind of noun; Jos…a place.

Meanwhile slavery endeared even after the first portuguese who began it had left…this time it was the Dutch and the spainish.

After about a hundred years or thereabout, certain group of inlanders called Ngwa-who were actually related to the Igbos but not completely sent words to what is now Bende seeking thier help to overcome the epidermic. Bende and thier company reponded with promise of a large piece of land…which are now Osusu, Eziukwu, Umu-agbai and Eziama, alpha villages in Igbere Item, Bende and Alayi. There were other volunteers from Abam, Nkporo and Abariba…under the so called brother hood "Mboko oson Nte benu" they came to fight, but the fight was swift and abrupt due to the sudden demise of the slave market and seeing such victory Ngwa chiefs wanted these people out by accussing them of adding to thier portion what was then a huge no man's land Aba North. Of course the conflict lasted till the coming of the English who eventually defeated "Ekumeku" by offering bribes to many chiefs of Ngwa. They did expose the guerrila hide out of this igbo group led by Nkporo and Aro…there were others from several parts of what is now Imo in doing this they betrayed a serious igbo trust. Of course Nkporo merceneries who were preparing to join thier but had to wait for the first rain, but on learning then they learnt thier brothers fate and the treachery of an Ngwa chief of Ogbulafor…so they went by night and camped till day break when everyone had left for farm…and came in they did from close watch and killed only the old men and women in the village finally severing any useful relation between the two groups.

The solution to this problem lies with our own igbo society how much we can do to help our fellow igbos get involved in order to make a difference for own people at Aba…they can do this by seriously advocating social peace. Nigerians ought to equally understand that Aba as a federal character has offered so much to the country…including gas and oil…country can at least pay the people back. Good housing and sanitation is not beyond the capacity of the federal government.

Lastly, Oji Uzo who is from Igberre left Aba for Nwafor and his people because Nwafor was staging a backdoor attempt on the political career of then Governor. He didn't quite succeed hence the "Agwo turu mbe issue". Besides, today's chiefs of Ngwa is not legitimate since all saving Obioma Ngwa were arrested during 1910 re-opening of the market by English people. Some of the chief were hanged and the people were subjected to the rule of England and Tax. In 1914/5 Aba was re-declared a no man's land. A title that still holds and it is when this is maintained can we avert "structural fraud".

BIGFEST May 14, 2006 - 8:19 am

It is only in this part of the world that people who could not carry out the cheapest duties of their homes(states)aspire to be PRESIDENTS of the community(NIGERIA).WHAT AN UTOPIAN ILLUSION.

Paul I. Adujie May 9, 2006 - 3:55 pm

Dear Mr. Felix-Abrahams Obi,

I am glad that you, Mr. Uche Nworah and myself have all seen and commented on the same Governor Kalu, who cannot and has not in seven years performed the most basic and elemental functions of even a local government….. removal and hauling of garbage/refuse heaps to landfills or to incinerators!

But the same Kalu has the audacity to want to be president of Nigeria or perhaps, he only wants to be president of dog-catchers, road-diggers' clubs?

I hope the world is interested in knowing that the traders/business people in Aba, actually get charged fees…. regularly, for garbage removal? Fees, Levies and taxes for services that are never rendered!


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