It was the literary English giant William Shakespeare who penned that ‘death’ is a necessary end…It will surely come when it will come. It is no news any longer that the legislator who represented Isiuzo State Constituency in the Enugu State House of Assembly, late Honorable Chijioke Leonard Ugwueze is no more with us in the land of the living. The late handsome legislator slept in the Lord on Friday, July 31 2020. May his gentle soul continue to rest on with his Maker in Jesus name, Amen.
Arising from the death of Hon. Ugwueze, is the earnest jostle to replace the space created by his sudden demise in the State legislature in an impending bye-election since nature abhors vacuum. It is interesting to note that interested parties in the October 31st 2020 bye- election have either commenced or concluded the process of selecting their flag bearers to contest the election. Interestingly, the widow of the late Hon. Chijioke Ugwueze has been elected the flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party. Not a few tongues have started wagging with this new development. However, few things are germane which need to be put in proper perspectives here.
For one, it must be stressed here that the emergence of Mrs. Catherine Amaka Ugwueze as the flag bearer of the PDP in the October 31st Bye-election is attributable to the humane nature of the lovable governor of Enugu State, Dr. Lawrence Ifeanyichukwu Ugwuanyi (Gburu-Gburu).As part of the cardinal objectives of his administration to run an all inclusive government, women too have become an avatar to be given a chance to prove their mettle. This is to be seen in the wave of appointments of deserving women since the inception of his people oriented administration.
It is important to note too that Gov. Ugwuanyi is a man to be trusted when it comes to walking the talk. He has never left anyone in doubt to implement the affirmative action which seeks to include women in governance and ultimately empower them to contribute to nation building.
For those who have started expressing misgivings in the choice of a woman who was recently widowed instead of allowing her to mourn her dead husband, it is important to allow reason to prevail. According to their permutations and the age-long held tradition of the Igbos and elsewhere concerning the place of a widow especially the one whose husband “might not have transited to the spirit land fully” It is improper to distract such woman from the propriety of
fully mourning the dead. Today as we know it, most Igbo nation still condemn widows to worst kind of deprivation and restrictions in the name of mourning the late husband as if they had hand in what killed their husbands. Some are condemned to stay in such depressive condition for as long as 12 calendar months, while some more fortunate others have theirs reduced to half a year. It is gratifying to note too that some progressive minded Igbo nations have embraced a paradigm shift in the manner widows are currently treated in their areas. I am aware that some widows have been encouraged with this new model in these progressive areas to put behind their misfortune, pick up their pieces and move on to fend for the family left behind by the chief bread winner. This is truly commendable given the extant laws enacted by various State Houses of Assembly in the South Eastern States which seeks to discourage ill-treatment of widows or consign them to depressive condition simply because they have the misfortune of losing their husbands.
For instance there exists the Prohibition of Infringement on Widows and Widower’s fundamental Rights Law Cap.124 (PP3665) which was passed in Enugu State on the 8th of March, 2001. The law inter-alia states that ‘Anyone who contravenes or conspires, aids, counsels, procures or assists another person to contravene the provisions of sections 4 or 5 of this Law shall be guilty of an offence and therefore liable on conviction to a fine of five hundred Naira or imprisonment for two years’. I have actually gone to this extent to demonstrate that being a widow should not be an issue to discourage the emergence of Mrs. Amaka Kate Ugwueze to fill in the vacant position left by her late husband. Again, Governor Ugwuanyi should be commended for standing by the Laws of the land which he swore to uphold.
Again for those who are bent on throwing sand to the emergence of this widow or the propriety of it, it becomes important to remind them that as far as modern history is concerned, we have had a handful of such scenarios playing out especially in the South-East States. Members of the immediate family of deceased political office holders are usually drafted to either fill the vacuum left by the deceased not necessarily as a compensation of sort but a kind a boost to the dead to appreciate his enormous contribution to nation building while he was alive. Just to mention but these few where such political maneuvering have played out….Mr. Dickson Okafor while writing in an opinion
page of the Sun newspaper noted in his tribute to late Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu who represented Imo North Senatorial District that his constituency have called on the APC stakeholders to “toe the path of equity
and fairness and do unto Okigwe South Federal Constituency as it was done to the people of Onuimo when Hon. Maurice Ibekwe died, the people of Osun West when Sen. Isiaka Adeleke died and the people of Kogi State when James Enojo Ocholi, the former Minister of State for Labour and Productivity also died alongside his wife and son in a fatal road traffic crash”. The above mentioned who died while representing their constituencies in office have their relatives or kinsmen drafted to complete their tenure.
Interestingly, the beautiful Amazon in the person of Mrs.Kate Ugwueze is not just any relative but the better half of late Chijioke Ugwueze. She must have understudied her late husband whose legacies to his Isiuzo State Constituency and contributions in the state Legislature is a story for another day. She is not a mediocre having mastered her discipline up to the Masters level. Therefore she is brain-packed. She is an astute home maker and a busi-tepreneur. She truly deserved all the support to win the bye-election scheduled to hold on the 31st of October 2020.
Finally, Governor Lawrence Ifeanyichukwu Ugwuanyi should be thanked for honouring the late politician Chijioke Ugwueze even in death by ensuring that his amiable wife steps into his big shoes to continue from where he left off. History beckons!