He was brought in from America to become our local government chairman when he had never been in politics before then. After all, we accepted and respected his elder brother for his stake in Abia politics. He emerged as a chairman in 2016; a young returnee lawyer who would have been more productive in the US Army he belonged to. Many thought he would become the messenger of hope due to his training abroad but were disappointed in his two years as chairman of Umunneochi.
Again in 2019, he was imposed on us again as a House of Assembly member, yet we couldn’t resist the strong oil magnet behind the scene, hence, we yielded to a second imposition with same person on different positions in Umunneochi. In all of these impositions, we didn’t leave him alone, instead we worked as a party to protect the party. Midway into his stay in the House of Assembly, Barr. Philip Okey Igwe is always fueling crises in the polity. He warred with previous T.C Chairmen including Barr Chima Mgbeke, Engr Matthew Ibeh and was the brain behind the unfortunate removal of Matthew as T.C Chairman. He installed Barr Eze Chikamnayo instead but later ran out of favour with him. He is drunk in the pride of being the highest PDP elected office holder in Umunneochi. But does that give him the power to control the Local Government Chairman? For Peter’s sake, he left that office totally depleted, what else is he in for? He parcelated over 500 plots of land belonging to Umunneochi to himself, family, friends and associates, yet he is still playing the ostrich. How come he is not afraid of possible probe of his activities while LGA chairman by private individuals?
Recently, election was held into the offices of Chairmen and Councillors of the 17 local governments of Abia state. Barr Okey Igwe absconded to USA to avoid participating in the election and contributing either his money or tact. He didn’t know that Umunneochi election was conducted on Saturday 19th December against 18th that was the initial date. He left the chairmanship candidate all to himself, yet came back to seek undue right. Many wondered how he was able to fly into USA amidst strict COVID-19 restrictions of entry to US. But no doubt his membership of the USA Army gave him leverage. He abandoned his company Umunneochi to seek holiday in the States while election was on course. He didn’t show presence throughout the election and after. He didn’t commit a single dime to the candidate of PDP or the the party herself in the course of the election. Perhaps, after losing out on his interest during the primary election, he gave up interest. Barr. Okey Igwe was yet in the US when all councillors emerged, but at the point they were preparing for election of Principal Officers of the Council, Okey woke up from his slumber. He started scheming for the soul of the Council. He projected his Councillor from Amuda for the Leader of the Council and other CFC councillors as principal officers. He also sought to impose one of his stooges from zone one as another Principal officer right from his parlour in the US. When the election of Principal Officers was called up on the 30th December, 2020, Okey who was still in far away US, mobilized his CFC Councillors and others led by a notorious outlaw from Mbala Isuochi to distrupt the sitting of the day. When they were rebuffed by combined Police and Civil Defence, the council went on and elected their principal officers. Rt Hon. Oguejiorfor Okoli therefore emerged as the leader. The Deputy Leader was elected from Umuaku, a part of zone 2 that has no position as of current in sharing of positions in Umunneochi. It would be recalled that Umuaku had two Councillors, one of them died in an accident the morning he was running away from the pressure to join Okey’s camp to challenge the emergence of the principal officers. Unfortunately, they were still calling the deceased phone as he was breathing his last. Sadly, enough, barley two months after this unfortunate incident, they have not called nor condoled with the family of the deceased. In sympathy to Umuaku and in respect to their departed colleague, the councillors ceded the Deputy Leadership to the other councillor from Umuaku Hon. Biereonwu Chigbo. As we speak, Barr Okey Igwe is fighting tooth and nail to strip Umuaku of this only position. He is insisting to retain the deupty leader to his ward against popular opinion. According to natural law, for the fact he was not around during the general and Principal Officers’ elections, and also given that he didn’t contribute even pure water to the campaign, he doesn’t have any right of claim to any slot for principal officers. He ran away from the responsibility of the election, yet all of us rallied round him during his own elections.
These notwithstanding, out of the five Supervisors that will form the Chairman’s cabinet, one slot was given to Chief Ndidi Okereke for zone 1, one to Barr Okey Igwe for zone 2, one to Chief Ifeanyi Okechukwu for zone 3, one to Dan Okoli for zone 4, the last one was reserved for the chairman of the LGA Chief Ifeanyi Madu. When Barr Okey started offensive against the chairman, acusing him of influencing the election of Principal Officers of the Council, the peace-loving chairman relinquished his own slot to him, allowing him two slots of supervisors just to let the sleeping dog lie. This is to us the highest show of respect and love. This is regardless of the fact that when Okey Igwe was chairman, he didn’t consult any body for the selection of Principal Officers of his council and appointment of supervisors. After all these extension of olive branch, the House of Assembly member is yet to be pacified. What else does he want? He boasted that he will rubbish the administration of Ifeanyi Madu because his preferred candidate didn’t make it beyond primary election. He is seeking to achieve these by infliterating the council will his stooges. He has been treated fairly, what else does he really want?
He has reported the Executive Executive chairman to the party at state and LGA level. He also reported to Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly two times, and at all of which the chairman had proven his fairness to him. When he didn’t succeed in armtwisting the sympathy of Mr speaker, he proceeded to DSS. Why all these desperation? What does Okey Igwe want from our bridge-building chairman?
When power becomes arrogant, history must remind it of its limitations.
Hon. Tobias Egeonu
Public Affairs Commentator and Political Analyst.