OPINION: Amichi; What Happened to Us? – By Sir E.C Eriobu,Esq.
It is obvious and quite unfortunate that our own Amichi, a town that moved so progressively during and immediately after the war is now lacking behind in the Anambra comity of town union.
The retinue of friends I have across towns in Anambra state gave me the opportunity of insight into many of them and the progressive ways it is managed by their Traditional rulers, Town union executives, and Ordinary but patriotic citizens.
The progress recorded by this town which was hitherto behind our beloved town Amichi is envious and enormous.
Presently, towns like Osumenyi, Ojoto, Neni, Alor, Agulu, Oraukwu, Oba, Nimo, Agukwu Nri, Nawfia, Nanka, Ichi, Nibo, etc which were hitherto behind Amichi in all ramifications are now miles away in terms of development, and the individual buoyancy of their citizens.
Immediately after the war, our parents changed the architectural landscape of our beloved town when they littered every village with their 2 decking impression buildings, they paraded the highest number of members in the famous Peoples Club of Nigeria, they controlled lots of markets in Lagos, Aba, Ikare-Ekiti, and Ibadan, the famous Nnamdi Azikiwe street market in Idumota Lagos was like a village market (Eke Amichi), they owned shops number to number, door to door, they founded Alaba International Market, the founding Chairman (Late Chief Ebele) and Secretary(Nze GSM Chukwujekwu) are among our greatest citizens.
Our parents, despite their academic disadvantage, were able to attract the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Usman Shagari GCFR) on the 2nd day of January 1982 for a developmental project,(Amichi Community Hospital) which was made part of University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) and the Post Office, commissioned by the Minister of Post & Telecommunications, Alhaji Hamisu on behalf of the C in C on the 28th day of December 1983, through their deeds and cohesion of unity.
Politically, Amichi did not lack behind, we gave Late Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke CFR (Ezenwakenyi), and Late Chief Cyprian Okeke (Ichie 1, C to C) as members of federal and state legislative houses respectively. What is happening now?
Socially, Late Chief Titus Ike Ume-ezeoke,(Eze Onyima) and Late Chief Alfred Umeh (Eziafakaego) we’re the founders and pioneer presidents of the famous People’s Club of Nigeria and Ugwuochi Social Club of Nigeria respectively.
Many did not know that the 1st October 1960 independent musical fiesta anchored by Late Chief Osita Osadebe took place in Amichi and the event was hosted by Late Chief Daniel Okoli (Odelu) at his famous Dandy Rendezvous Hotel, Amichi, the epicenter of “socialization” that attracted folks from Nnewi, Utuh, Osumenyi, Unubi, Ezinifite, Azigbo, etc. Do we have any Center of attraction in our town now?
Administratively, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church was the HQ of what is known today as Onitsha Catholic Archdiocese during the Nigeria – Biafra civil war, and it rendered all the administrative services successfully, the country home of Late Chief B.O Atuchukwu (Ezeafojulu) was the center of Nigeria’s unity on January 15th, 1970. Why can’t we give ourselves the same “UNITY” now that we most desire it?
Many of us do not know that Alhaji Ahmadu Chanchagi of the famous Chanchagi Transport and Chanchagi Air Services was a mechanic living somewhere in Okpokolo, Amichi before the outbreak of the civil war. Why did we not leverage his contacts when he was alive sitting on top as captain of the industry to reposition our beloved town positively?
Dear brothers, if you juxtapose the above achievements, progress, and the reason why they happened, you will only see three words PEACE, UNITY, and LEADERSHIP.
Then nobody cares about the quarter that produced Late Chief Joseph Ekedum, the then President of Amichi Improvement Union (AIU), or how long he has been in office, nobody wants to know that the same Late Chief Joseph Ekedum(Akuafulunanya, The Boys is good) was also the founding President of Akuluo Uno Social Club of Amichi or that he has been in office for too long, all they cared to know and see were BROTHERHOOD & PROGRESS.
In the 70s, Amichi was behind Nnewi but at par with the neighboring Awka-Etiti town, hence the 3 town unions chose to use “IMPROVEMENT” instead of the word DEVELOPMENT as the narrative and operating word of their town union. The same problem that is destroying us now set Awka Etiti back and yet we refused to learn from them. Late Mr. Okonkwo Enyiegbe of Ebenator Okpala said and I quote ” in the future, Nnewi will be like Onitsha and Amichi will be like Nnewi.”
The above inspirational and divinely message from our beloved brother materialized for ndi Nnewi but failed in our town because of DISUNITY, instead, other towns hitherto behind us like Osumenyi and Neni have taken over our position, otherwise, why should Eke Osumenyi market be buoyant and productive than Eke Amichi which was hitherto behind Eke Amobi-Nnewi and number one Eke market in the whole of Umu Okotu town, why should I go to Neni to process documents in their Local Government HQ, why did we not ignite our contacts and revive Ochi Local Government when it matters most? Was Col Nnaemeka Akonobi who made it possible for Neni not our great-in-law and mente of Late Chief Cyprian Okeke (C to C)? I remember vividly that Ochi LGA, with HQ at Amichi, has the best vehicle number uniform, my late uncle Late Chief B C Ezike (Akunne) traveled from Onitsha to Amichi just to register his Peugeot 505 SR with the beautiful unique number of our LGA, (AN 393 X). I cried when I saw a branch of Osumenyi Microfinance Bank at the premises of Chez Petroleum, Amichi when we have none. Thanks to His Lordship, Rt Revd Ephraim Ikeakor JP. & Professor (Sir) U Nzewi for wiping the shame of an Amichi person/resident depositing the proceeds of his sales at Osumenyi Microfinance Bank from our faces.
Why are we combatting or fighting our Traditional Stool, the Leadership of our Town Union, and insignificant thing like the administrator of the ADU WhatsApp group? Do we have a PATRIMONY in common that the leaders of the above-mentioned subject matter of disunity may marginalize us while sharing?
Why don’t we plant the seed of LOVE in other that our land will heal and germinate PROGRESS so that our boys will CONQUER their territories and bring the SPOILS of WAR home to develop our FRONTIERS?
Apart from the chieftaincy title of ANYAEJIAFUZO given to me by the first class Chief of Isikwuato, in Abia State, Late Chief EN Eloagu, in 1999, I have turned down invitations for lots of chieftaincy titles from traditional rulers of Akpo, Nnokwa, Alor, Isieke, etc, simply because I desire to have it from my traditional ruler first if I truly deserve it under an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.
Umunnem ndi Amichi, our highly revered, Chief SN Okeke (Ochendo, Ami-Amichi) in his wisdom named one of his sons “TAGBO”, which means TA-BU-GBO.
Therefore following the literal meaning of this name, it is simply telling us that TODAY is still EARLIER enough for us to mend our ways and follow the path that will restore PEACE, UNITY, and PROGRESS to our beloved town.
Finally, as a member of Osumenyi Sports Club, my heart bleeds and my eyes drops tears each time they make a mockery of our town during our HAPPY HOUR or SOCIAL EVENT.
Therefore, I plead from the Sanctum Sanctorum of my Temple of Justice, that we should all sheath our swords and embrace PEACE and BROTHERHOOD, for only then that we can take over our LEADERSHIP position in the comity of Anambra town unions.
To God be all the glory!
Sir. E. C Eriobu hails from Umunka kindred, Umunwehi Village AMICHI. He is a lawyer, the CEO of Infinity Merchants – a legendary movie production company. He writes from the Caribbean country of Trinidad & Tobago.