Chief Abia Onyike, illustrious son of Edda
The Edda Professionals’ League (EPL), a body of eminent experts and professionals of Edda extraction of Ebonyi state, has vowed to resist any plan aimed at humiliating Chief Abia Onyike, former Commissioner for Information and State Orientation.
The group in a statement signed by its National Secretary, Mr. Ikenna Emewu, and made available to SummitNews on Monday in Abakaliki, said the plan to disown Onyike would never stand.
The group described Onyike as one of Edda’s most illustrious sons that has contributed immensely to the development of Edda land.
The group while faulting the alleged plan described those behind the ‘plot’ as ‘busy bodies’ saying that the plan would not succeed. .
According to the statement, some government functionaries, leaders of interest groups and traditional rulers from Edda in Afikpo South Local Government Area are allegedly forced to sign a document where Onyike has been purportedly ostracized by his people.
Emewu said: “From the findings of the group, after the piece was drafted, some political office holders, traditional rulers and representatives of several interest groups are being cajoled to sign the document.
“The document is purportedly signed on behalf of all Edda people to coerce Onyike, former Commissioner for Information and Deputy President, Nigeria Union of Journalists, to recant his criticism of the state government or be declared an outcast.
“The position doesn’t represent the stand of the Edda people and must be disregarded as worthless and mere figment of the imagination of those behind it.
“No Edda person has the right in the laws of Nigeria or the traditions of Edda land to declare anyone an outcast just for taking a stand opposed to the government.”
The group noted that the statement credited to Onyike was a personal view he canvassed as a free citizen of the state and did not in any way reflect the views of Edda people.
“Onyike’s position on the style of governance in Ebonyi and leadership failure in the state are his personal opinion and does not in any way reflect the generality of opinion of Edda people.
“We wonder why an opinion freely expressed in exercise of his constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech should be a matter of discuss by some ‘self styled leaders in the community.
“We have it on good authority that some political interests in Edda have banded themselves together to come up with a public statement that will purport to coerce, compel, cajole and stampede Onyike to tender public apology to Ebonyi government.
“The said document will also force him to denounce whatever he had at any time said to the media about the government of Umahi in the state as lie.
“We also gathered that the well orchestrated plot involves not only traditional rulers, political office holders from Edda, but also has students’ bodies, youth organizations leaders of political parties whose signatures are currently been collected.
“We, therefore, wish to alert the public that the alleged plan by the above mentioned groups to banish, ostracize or exile Onyike are mere grandstanding which does not reflect popular opinion in Edda land,” the statement added
Emewu reiterated that the body, as a group of eminent and informed Edda natives was fully aware of the traditional methods through which erring members of the community were being called to order.
He said that such methods or measures did not include disowning our own before the outside world.
“We state for certain that there has never been a time the Edda Clan gathered at Osisioma, Ububa, Atamata or any of the traditional decision taken grounds to indict Chief Onyike first, as to bring him to public denial,” he said.
SummitNews recalls that Onyike’s travails with the state government started on June 9, when he criticized Governor David Nweze Umahi, of Ebonyi state, for lack of leadership and under performance during a radio programme, Political Voices, in 92.5 Dream Fm, Enugu, the Enugu state capital.
The governor in a state broadcast on June 11 ordered that Onyike, also a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), should be forced to proceed on 14 days quarantine for violating COVID-19 protocol restricting inte- state travels.
Recall also that Prof Benard Odoh, chieftain of APC and governorship aspirant in the 2019 gubernatorial election was threatened with ostracism by traditional rulers from Ezza for publicly criticizing Umahi for his government’s alleged anti- people policies