By Chukwuemeka Opara
Afikpo South – Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi on Sunday evening reconciled with his estranged major political ally in the state, Chief Julius Amah-Orji, popularly known as ‘Ochiliozuo’ (He who caters for the people en masse).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the relationship between the duo cracked when Umahi appointed Amah-Oji’s main political foe in Afikpo South Local Government Area, Chief Eni Uduma, as the Caretaker chairman of the council.
The final nail was driven into the coffin when the governor ensured that Uduma emerged as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the council for the forthcoming council polls in the state, a situation that infuriated Amah-Orji.
The reconciliation was made when Umahi led members of the State Executive Council, state Elders Council and members of the House of Assembly, among other political stakeholders, to an Easter visit on Amah-Orji at his country home in Nguzu-Edda community.
According to the governor, the visit was to bring reconciliation among diverse political interests in the area and ensure that no individual in his political group ‘abandons the ship’.
“Many people across the state, expressed misgivings over the outcome of our LGA elections primaries but one thing I agree with the elders council, is that no one who fought the battle with us will be left behind.
“Amah-Orji has a right to be angry if he has reason to do so and we are here because he is very important to our winning elections no matter what people say.
“Humility which is very important in a man’s life brought us here as people can give any type of interpretation to this visit but am not shamed to preach the gospel of love,” he said.
Umahi described Amah-Orji as a consummate politician and leader with a good heart, noting that he worked assiduously to ensure his election as the governor in 2015.
“He gave us rooms in his several hotels in Lagos free of charge during our struggle to be elected among other immeasurable assistance as we are blessed in Ebonyi, to say sorry whenever we err.
“Our visit here should unite the people of Afikpo South LGA because the state is too small to be fragmented or fractured.
“I earnestly appeal to Amah-Orji and other political stakeholders of the council to embrace peace and love not because of elections but because they are the greatest gifts of God to man,” he said.
He thanked all those who accompanied him on the visit, noting that shelving their Easter celebrations was remarkable and a sacrifice for the desired unity in the state.
“When the names of two traditional rulers in the council: HRH Ugwuocha Obasi and Dickson Okorie were submitted to me for recognition, I stepped them down, insisting that Amah-Orji should be the one to submit them.
“He has done so presently and I direct the traditional rulers to come to my office on Wednesday and collect their staff of offices,” he said.
Chief Franklin Ogbuewu, former Minister of Culture and Tourism and Chairman of the state Elders Council, commended the governor for his humility and noted that the visit has achieved its desired goal.
Ogbuewu, who was also Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Greece, noted that he counseled Amah-Orji and the governor separately and in their profound wisdom, heeded to his counsels.
“The governor noted that to prove that he has accepted what I told him, he will pay Amah-Orji an Easter visit which he did today to prove that we are still a united family,” he said.
Responding, Amah-Orji welcomed the governor to the area and conveyed his peoples’ warm felicitations towards his visit.
NAN reports that the governor finally performed the symbolic handing over of Uduma into Amah-Orji’s care, signifying reconciliation and harmonious relationship between the duo.
Sources close to Amah-Orji told NAN that in his displeasure over Uduma’s emergence, he resigned his appointments as member of the Ebonyi State University Governing board and the state elders council.