The crossing of swords between the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, and the indigenes of his native community, Alor in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State has gone viral.
The Minister is set on a war path with his people over the presidency of the Alor Peoples Convention. The Minister has been accused of taking sides on the issue of the rightful President-General of Alor Peoples Convention. It is not in dispute that Dr. Ngidi hails from Alor. He is without, doubt, a distinguished son of Alor and it is naturally expected that he should be patriotic and a big bridge-builder, he should be a uniting force in Alor and not a dividing one. Ngige must have ruffled some feathers in his native Alor to attract the criticisms of the Alor Youths Congress. Some leaders have this trait of creating crisis and confusion in their native enclaves. Instead of using their leadership positions to unite and amalgamate the opinions of their people, they prefer to lord it over their kinsmen and treat them with disdain and contempt.
Alor may not be the only town that is locked in crisis over the selection or election of the Executive of the Town Union, especially the exalted office of the President-General. The town union is essentially the government in the towns. They help to make peace and progress in the various communities. Therefore, the post of a President-General is a very sensitive one and due diligence and caution must be at play in the dine of a President-General. As a son of the soil who is a Minister in President Mohammadu Buhari’s Government, Ngidi is expected to be a statesman and a principled compatriot and patriot. He should be able to rise far above partisanship, sentiment, division, cronyism and godfatherism. He should be a patriot though and through and shun all forms of Local Politics and refuse to patronize purveyors of division and discrimination in the community. His word should be his bond. His yes must remain his yes and his no his no. There should be no half-way measures. The position of Alor Youths Congress on this matter is unassailable. It is not the responsibility of Ngige to give Alor her President-General. Ngige should not use his position as a Minister to impose a President-General on Alor. In fact, Ngige should be neutral in the matter and display a great sense of detachment on the issue. Ngige’s threat that he can do and undo, and lock up people and nothing will happen is unfortunate. It is unfortunate that when some community leaders rise through the ranks and through the rites of the people, they become nothing short of Frankenstein monsters who attack those who lifted them up. Dr. Ngige should know that he cannot lock people up for no just cause and that something can happen if he does that. It is only in Nigeria that those who call themselves “big men do whatever they like and often get away with it. Ngige has no right to say that he will lock up his folks and kinsmen because they dared to condemn his negative interference in the crisis rocking Alor community over the authentic President-General. All members of the community have the right to express their views and opinions freely and fairly without fear, favour, affection or ill-will. It is, therefore, reprehensible for anybody, no matter how highly placed, to muzzle divergent views, comments and opinions on the matter. Ngige’s position as a Minister is to serve the generality of Nigerians and provide employment for the jobless youths roaming Nigerian streets. It is not an avenue to harass, hound and harangue innocent and defenceless citizens and violate their constitutional right to free speech by threat of unlawful arrest and detention. It is a shame that we have deteriorated so low in this nation. In the Alor case, the position is that the town union executives of the town is still subsisting. It has not been dissolved. Ngige is not the Governor of Anambra State or the Commissioner for Rural development. He has no business with the Town Union in Alor save that he hails from there. The existing caretaker Committee in Alor is recognized by the Anambra State Government. So, what is the problem with Ngige? It is sad that under the very watch of Dr. Ngige, a social club metamorphosed into the Alor Government on December 30th, 2019. There were battalions of soldiers, DSS Operatives and Policemen where this denigration of Alor custom and tradition happened on the region, Ngige enthused that nobody in Alor, dead or alive knows about governance more than himself. This is taking the joke so far. To disregard an existing town union structure and superimpose another one in broad light and claim monopoly of experience in governance is, to say the least, the greatest insult to the collective intelligence of Alor people. It behooves our leader across the length and breadth of Nigeria to allow peace to reign in this country. Dr Ngige should give peace a chance in Alor and refrain from plunging the town into a deep abyss of mayhem and confusion.