Despite man?s claims of knowledge and wisdom, no man has successfully faulted God?s impeccability. There is nothing God created or did that failed to be worth its creation or doing. In His perfection, God created the black, the white, the tall, the short, etcetera. In the same vein, God created the majority and did not fail to creat the minority. It, therefore, follows that in any human setting, two principle things must be on focus; it is either good or bad, success or failure, beauty or ugly, strong or weak, honest or dishonest. Both majority and minority naturally constitute the body politic of any human congregation.

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As the nomenclature implies, majority connotes numerical superiority in any human organisation. Whether it is majority or minority, it is imperative that the development of the society is hinged on availability of both human and natural resources.

In most cases, development of human resources are best propelled by effective harnessing of natural resources. A highly populated society that is bereft of natural resources may be respected for its census but on a more serious note, may not be accorded much respect in the comity of societies as its economic growth may not be commensurate with its high population census.

Again, God, in His flawless wisdom, deploys unquestionable discretion in determining where He places precious natural resources. Knowing that minority ethnic groups could be brutally subsumed and injuriously suffocated by majority groups if such natural resources are located within the geo-political boundaries of the majority groups. By this divine wisdom and application, God makes the minorities essentially relevant.

A typical illustration of this assertion could indisputably be found in Nigeria. The majority ethnic groups in Nigeria are the Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba. These three ethnic groups probably have more than seventy percent of the totality of the Nigerian population. They, therefore, call the shot once elections are used to settle issues. But as God would want it, natural resources that account for about seventy-five percent of the country?s net income are divinely located in the minority nations of the South-South of Nigeria. Where some are located in the geographical vicinities of the majority ethnic groups, ironically and interestingly, such resources are located in the minority areas of the ethnic groups.

In Igbo land, for instance, the black gold, which is petroleum, is found in Ukwa and Ohaji/Egbema in Abia and Imo States, respectively. These two areas, for one reason or the other, are considered to be minorities. Yet, the economic relevance of both Abia and Imo states in the politics of oil in Nigeria is entirely hinged on these minority areas of Ukwa and Ohaji/Egbema. To break it down further, it is an open secret that the existence of Ukwa in Abia state is the only reason why Abia state is considered one of the nine oil-producing states of the federation and by courtesy of that fact, enjoys a thirteen percent oil derivation from the Federation Account.
As a result of the economic fortune that accrues to the State Government due to the strategic economic importance of Ukwa land and its people, it becomes preposterous for any right-thinking man to dismiss Ukwa people as a mere minority. Their economic uniqueness has roundly made up their population deficiency.

Ukwa people are basically made up of two distinct sub-ethnic nationalities; the Asa and the Ndoki. Before the 1976 Mamman Nasir Boundary Adjustment exercise, Ukwa Division included Obigbo, an Asa Community, that has since been re-named Oyigbo and ceded to Rivers state. It also includes Afam, an Ndoki Community that was also excised from the old Imo State to Rivers State.

The history of Ukwa people has been a chequered one. They had undergone deprivation, marginalization and frustration. Their fears of marginalization made it imperative that they had to articulate and present their fears before Sir Henry Willink?s Commission set up by the British Colonial Government to allay the fears of the Nigerian minorities in 1958. That administrative development was a very healthy and result-oriented one as it led to the creation of a federal constituency for Asa and Ndoki people in 1959 in the name of Aba-South Federal Constituency and represented by Chief O.C. Ememe. Sir Willink?s commission also gave rise to the emergence of two Regional constituencies for the Asa and Ndoki people in 1961,named Aba-South-West and Aba-South-East, respectively.

Under the leadership of Governor T.A. Orji, Ukwa people have had a true sense of belonging. The administration has shown visible commitment to the development of the area. Many indigenes of the area have been given very responsible appointments, including Commissioners, Permanent-Secretaries and even the Head of service of the state?s Public service. The Administration of Chief T.A. Orji, in its determination to address the many years of marginalization of oil-producing areas of the state, willingly and wisely established, via legislation, the Abia stateOil-Producing Area Development Commission; ASOPADEC, an interventionist Agency that has gone a long way addressing the problems of Ukwa people, including the rehabilitation of the Obehie-Obohia road. Currently, the state Government is neck-deep in conducting a feasibility survey that will metamorphose into the dredging of the Obuaku end of the Imo River in order to access the Atlantic Ocean. By the time this dream comes true, it would transform the economy of the state to a very high pedestal.

But with the recently concluded primaries of the People?s Democratic Party; P.D.P, in the state, a good number of Ukwa people feel bruised and annoyed. Their annoyance stems from the fact that, in the avowed commitment of the leadership of P.D.P in the state to assure equity, both the Governorship ticket and Abia-South Senatorial tickets of the Party were conceded to the Ngwas of Abia-South, to the exclusion of the Ukwas who feel that one of the tickets should have come to themfor purposes of deepening equity in the zone. To buttress their grievances, angry Youths have taken to the Highways demonstrating against what they perceive as glaring injustice.

In as much as they have a point in their agitation, the good people of Ukwa should not forget that opportunities in a democracy do not only come through elected positions. There are several appointive positions that their occupants could, if they are people-oriented, use to advance the course of their people. Besides, they should appreciate the fact that Governor T.A. Orji is very compassionate and does notabandon his friends and allies. The Governor has already set up a reconciliation committee made up of time-tested and experienced personalities. It is advisable that every genuinely aggrieved person should take advantage of this olive branch being offered by the Governor and, by so doing, give peace a chance.

CHIEF (SIR) DON UBANI; KSC, JP
(OKWUBUNKA OF ASA)

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