Insecurity took the centre stage at the maiden edition of the ongoing town-hall meetings being organised by the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka in Enugu State to sensitise electorate to be politically conscious ahead of the 2023 elections. The platform provides interface between candidates of various political parties and the electorate in a controlled environment.
The urgency of insecurity in Igboeze North LGA was on the lips of everybody to the extent that out of fifteen persons who volunteered to ask questions, five of them repeatedly asked Hon Simon Atigwe, the incumbent representative of Igboeze North/Udenu Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, to tell the electorate how he would tackle the insecurity in his area. His answer left many mouths agape.
According to him, “I don’t police myself. I am not the chief security officer in the state, not even in my village, and my local government. I don’t have security votes. But I report to the governor and security agencies accordingly. Our people are gradually realizing the need to be good. Those that represented us in Abuja before I was elected into the House of Representatives [might have] caused it.”
An observer at Saint Jacob’s Catholic Church, Orba, in Udenu LGA, where the event held last Saturday, said, “Atigwe has shown that he lacks abilities in conflict resolution. His answer is like gods telling their worshippers that they (the gods) also are seeking answers from somewhere.”
Hon Dennis Agbo, the candidate of the Labour Party, was also interrogated on his stewardship when he was in the House. He, like Atigwe, reeled out his achievements. But a revelation from his submission is that he delivered his democratic dividends to Udenu people through the PDP structure. Agbo said he utilized the House member representing Udenu State Constituency, Hon IK Ezeugwu, for delivery. According to Agbo, one of such is the Igugu Technical College, which today the natives of Igugu do not ascribe to Agbo.
Agbo also said he did not do anything at Orba, the country home of Gov Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, because the governor ‘was his predecessor and was also consulted for approvals when such projects were being allocated’. Hon Agbo wanted the audience to believe that Gov Ugwuanyi, as governor, would ‘balance up’ for him.
The same observer, who responded to Atigwe, said, “Agbo has lost it by working through anybody in discharging those projects. Today, nobody knows him. Unfortunately, he is now in another party. His destiny is in the hands of those he entrusted his projects unto, mostly in Udenu LGA.”
Our correspondent reports that the church is organizing the sensitization from 3rd December, 2022, to 4th February next year where the contestants interface with electorate aimed at voter sensitization and election of credible leaders.
A breakdown of the programmes, obtained by Adadareporters.com, shows that the town-hall meetings for the House of Assembly and House of Representatives contestants for Udenu LGA started on Saturday (Eke), 3rd December 2022 at St Jacob’s, Orba. That of Igboeze South LGA holds on Thursday (Eke), 15th December at St Mary’s, Ibagwa-Aka, while 12th January, 2023 will be the turn of Isi-Uzo LGA at St Theresa’s, Ikem.
Saturday (Afor), 14th January, is designated to contestants of Igboeze North LGA, and holds at St Mary’s, Ogrute, while contestants in Nsukka LGA will have the floor on Thursday (Nkwo), 19th January at St Theresa’s Cathedral, Nsukka.
Saturday (Orie), 21st January 2023, will be the turn of Igbo-Etiti LGA, and holds at St Gregory, Aku, while the train moves to Uzo-Uwani on Saturday (Eke), 28th January 2023, and holds at Sacred Heart, Nkpologu.
Our correspondent gathered that the town-hall meeting involving candidates for Senate and governorship holds on Saturday (Nkwo), 4th February, at St Theresa’s Cathedral, Nsukka.
According to information obtained from Rev Fr Dr Matthew Ezea, coordinator, Nsukka Diocese, JDPC, and Rev Fr Dr Emeka Ngwoke, head of the public elightenment unit of JDPC, ‘about 18 speakers/contestants per local government area are expected to feature’.
Fr Ngwoke said the enlightenment was to create political consciousness among the populace: “Political enlightenment in the diocese is a big business. It is civic education. A populace that is ignorant about how a society functions is dangerous. Some of us wear the barge of political apathy as honour. Even some educated ones do nothing to solve societal problems, and they proudly declare their political apathy.”
JDPC is a structural response to the Second Vatican Council appealing for the church’s involvement in the affairs and development of the society. It is geared toward a positive change in the human condition, such as poverty, religious bigotry, election malpractices, diseases and injustice.