Posted by News Express | 21 September 2020 | 2,892 times
In times like this, many citizens of our country would wonder the essence of a good gathering in a season when making ends meet has become the most arduous task, despite efforts of governments as the one in Enugu State to make things better and work out for the common people.
This has become the reason we must first appreciate our roots, our journey, our travails, our glorious ventures and our marks so far.
Briefly, just briefly, Ebeano is not a creation of accident. It was a political philosophy, first initiated as a political sloganeering expression before it was conceptualized as the political mindset sitting in the typical Enugu man and woman, screaming about whole, equal, total, deep, brotherly and friendly coalition of efforts and resources, for the good of all. It also goes further than this as it took no time in manifesting as the philosophical foundation for all-inclusive and equal participation in the making and sustenance of the values of the society.
Many may be surprised by the evolution or discovery of this as the etho of the Ebeano. But in reality, this only means that Ebeano is only reaching back in history for the values upon which the age-long Igbo republican values had long been anchored. It was a set of values giving every man and women the opportunity to excel, that important opportunity to be the best one can be, to have a voice, to be heard.
Yes, some may argue that the democratization process has been long and deep in Nigeria and elsewhere, but we make bold to state that it was only in Ebeano political family that preference for offices were never based or anchored on only paper qualifications and upper-crust connections. We insisted, and it held, that popular acceptance was the deciding decimal.
We cannot forget so soon that it was a political philosophy when put into practice led to a stream-side stone crusher emerging to contest, and she won an election, into the State House of Assembly. It was one where a youthful, inexperienced, musical band leader was not prevented from contesting and wining to be a member of the State House of Assembly. Many found these developments as infradig, but being convinced that if democracy was the issue on the front burner, elite preferences and pandering to old family names without relationship with the people was, at best, a pretension to aristocracy.
Indeed, the principles on which Ebeano was founded make no pretenses that it is a assemblage of equal joiners, equal partakers. It is never an exclusive club. It has never in the over 26 years it was founded, run on any secret arrangement, but rather open to all, inviting all, providing for all to have a say, show talents, show abilities and exhibit loyalty. It is only in Ebeano that you can become a Commissioner whether or not you hold a degree. The idea is anchored on the truism that it is not the paper you hold that does the job, but your abilities, loyalty, industry and acceptability within your community.
At the moment, we are consolidating our organization, entirely, and only to provide support for the government of Dr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi which is ours, which has exemplified the principles and practice of Ebeano in development of the infrastructure and the people of Enugu State?
We cannot forget, and we happily revive our old patterns of Ebeano State, Ebeano Zone, Ebeano Local Government Area, Ebeano Development Centre and Ebeano ENSIEC Ward as the common platform. Others are the Ebeano Babes, Ebeano Youth Alliance, Ada Ebeano and Enugu Democratic Alliance, ENDA among others. Nobody will be left out. We may need, at this juncture to emphasise that we will immediately start these structures, if anew or otherwise, and in no case will the issue of old joiners and new joiners ever arise. We shall remain equal. Onye rua rie. The invitation now goes to all to join at the various levels they can contribute in support of the governor and government. Our structure remains, in each case, a 20-man/woman executive with other members to achieve total mobilization and inclusion of all, as usual.
When the founder of Ebeano, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, eventually conceptualised the idea, he was succinct: the place to be. He told us that he actually projected a mindset, scene, actions and programmes of the people of Enugu State in the efforts to achieve what is their manifest destiny as a people and a part of Nigeria, especially with some incidences of history, deep and far reaching, in the making of Nigeria. In his words, the distinct political contributions of Enugu as a region was such that the concept and practice of all-inclusive politics must be pursued and maintained for the best of the people to continue to register in Nigeria.
He further stated that it baffled him that some persons, high and low, appeared to be sucked into the mindset that governance should be a project and programme of the elite. According to him, democracy is not anything less that the people, high and low, mighty and little, vocal and docile. It is about the people, but all the same the people and how they think they should be governed, their resources and the uses as well as their values in perpetuation.
In essence, Ebeano got anchored, not on the preferences or the pretences of the few, but rather on the interests of all proclaimed in the over 500 kilometres of roads across the State, 396 units of buildings for the State university, over 34 structures for the State Specialist/Teaching Hospital/the Parklane, the effectuation of 51 Development Centres and ENSIEC wards, reticulation of pipe borne water, electricity and other arteries of the society, among countless others, to ensure the full participation of all.
In other words, Ebeano is a creation of family political culture, where every person; high, low, mighty, powerless, industrious, watchers and observers, have a say in what affects them as a people.
In then creating the Ebeano vision, thrust and impact, it was not unexpected that feathers were to be unruffled. But no intension, whatsoever, was to hurt. Rather, it was to create a foundation for democracy of the family, the village, the kindred, the clan, the district, the division and province, digging deep into the age-old Igbo Republicanism. According to Saline Damain, you cannot talk of democracy without the basic operatives of the values of the society...and your courage as a democrat is to stand in for the weak, the uninformed in the new values, the confused and the disenfranchised so that they can be a part of defining and streamlining their education, technical development, health system, and the general values.
When the Ebeano set out to build a new political class, it had in mind the reality of the failure of the old system where persons of the old order were consulted before councilors were picked; where some establishment personages were pandered to if commissioners were to be picked; where homage to the high and mighty was the deciding act to be reckoned with, in forming a government at all levels.
Like every other social organization, we have had our inertia. We have suffered our own distractions but as our founder said then, ours is a tapestry in persons of varying backgrounds, colour and time...a combination of fancies and interests, which have to first, meet, mute, mix and then blend, not necessarily for party politics. And there is no definite time you can say that the blending will be accomplished more than it would face variegating interest drives at most junctures of its political development.
Our presence, today, in the Palace of Government in Enugu State is not in any way a proclamation of the end of some somber era. It is neither a sudden emergence from any hibernation. And of course, it is not a wake from some inertia or quagmire of conflicts of personal and group interests. It is a visit to celebrate a worthy ambassador, who appreciates the values of revival and reexamination of a project started 26 years ago, in 1996. But, which, as every promising institution, must repeat the exercise of discovery and invention.
I will not have the time to go through the entry, cultivation and immersion of Governor Ugwuanyi into the Ebeano family, but I can boldly state that His Excellency, being a part from the beginning, has exemplified the values capable of toppling any level of inertia, sweeping off the blinds of hibernation and amplifying the deadened mute posture. Every society or its organization has this experience, but it takes strong princes of the concept to louder the volume. I wonder if any other person can louder the volume more than His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi. He has done over 600 kilometres of roads so far. His foresight in rebuilding the 11-kilometre Ngwo Milken road has turned out to be the only easy entry into Enugu from the West. There is also the now dualised Opi-Nsukka Road, Nkalagu-Eha Amufu Road, Ebonyi River Bridge, Udenu ring road, Ukpabi Nimbo-Ugbene Ajima-Eziani road, Ogbaku road; Ameke-Ngwo-Nsude-9th Mile road, the airport round about, Inyi-Akpugoeze road, hundreds of kilometers of urban roads, rural access roads, bypasses, etc. they are simply uncountable.
This solidarity visit and reception accorded are landmark in many faculties of life. It is a proclamation of a new generation of Ebeano, and the shape of things to come. While you are free to call it a novo-coalescence, be assured that as the Holy Book states, newer energy, vision, and impact came with the return of the exiles.
We want to extend our gratitude to all who contributed in every measure to make this exercise a reality. In observance of the protocols of Covid-19, some of us are sitting outside the precinct of this Government House, and we understand ourselves that we are entirely together, but only kept apart by the necessity to remain safe and healthy.
I welcome you all, and in anticipation of the gains of this exercise, we say, as usual, To God be the Glory.
•Excerpts of a welcome address by Former Secretary to the Government of Enugu State and ex-Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Dr. Dan Shere, during the solidarity visit of the Ebeano political organisation to Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Saturday, September 19, 2020.
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