By Lanre Oloyede
Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora, AESID, has warned governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi not to force any state lawmaker to join him in alleged plan to defect to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The group also expressed displeasure over the decision of Governor Dave Umahi-led administration to proscribe the affiliate unions in the Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki.
According to AESID, the unions recently proscribed include the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and other affiliate unions excepting only the Students Union Government.
Reacting to the recent happenings in the state, AESID in a statement signed and made available to newsmen Tuesday in Abuja by its President Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, also raised an alarm over what it called widespread insecurity that has befallen the state.
According to Oluchukwu, By bumping the heads of the various affiliate unions and pitching the students against their tutors, Governor Umahi has played the worst divisive politics in the history of the institution which would haunt him forever and continue to decimate the legacies left by his predecessors in the once-revered institution that has produced very outstanding scholars and professionals in various fields including Law and Medicine.
“AESID condemns in its entirety, the actions and threats meted out to the Lecturers of Ebonyi State University by the Umahi-led administration and cautions that the government should stop forthwith and take their welfares most seriously especially considering the fact that illiteracy level is still very high in Ebonyi which is yet captured as an Educationally- Less-Developed State, ELDS.
“We commend and stand with the description of the Governor’s action by the ASUU National Chairman, Prof. Ogunyemi as ‘an aberration’ because even past military dictators never denied ASUU its right to freedom of association and consequent agitations for better welfares for its members.
“Our platform hereby issues a 48 hour ultimatum to Governor Umahi to consider genuinely going back to the round-table to renegotiate with the affiliate unions to broker peace with them and restore the good industrial harmony and peaceful co-existence between Staff and students of the institution. He shouldn’t play further petty-politics with the lives and welfare of our only State-owned tertiary University.”
On the allege plan to join the APC as reported, the association said: “while acknowledging his rights to freedom of association as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution, we wish to sue for peace in our dear Sstate. Therefore, we request him not to coerce, intimidate or pressure politicians and stakeholders in his Party- the People’s Democratic Party, PDP to join in his APC defection plans because our dear Ebonyi State remains a traditional PDP State for now and any attempt to muscle people into where they feel they do not properly fit into just to help one man out of hundreds of thousands of Party faithfuls fulfil his lust for political power could spell serious doom for the peace and unity of our dear state.”
Reacting to the level of insecurity in Ebonyi state, the statement expressed surprise that a group of youths under the aegis of Akubaraoha Youths Aassembly (AYA) could be ‘empowered’ with cutlasses to tackle the widespread insecurity aftermath of the protracted #ENDSARS protests.
“In videos and pictures that virally circulated on the Social media last week, the political thugs and touts many of who are suspected to be cultists were seen at the Abakaliki township stadium, brandishing very sharp machetes given to them to fight hoodlums who invaded the state the same week.
“We at AESID totally frowns at this archaic approach and order for untrained Neighbourhood Watch members to unleash mayhem on hoodlums especially when we take a deep reflection on the many nefarious activities and attacks which the government-sponsored platform has unleashed on suspected oppositions in Ebonyi state.
“We ask the mainstream Nigerian Police, NSCDC, DSS and other federally-recognized security agencies to rather intervene in restoring peace, law and order in our dear State rather than resort to the use of untrained thugs to attempt to checkmate hoodlums.
“AESID however condemns the attacks and razing of police stations and other public infrastructures by the said hoodlums and also sympathize with Ebonyians all over Nigeria for whatever they suffered and went through in the course of the protests against Police brutality.”