By: Sam. Onwuemeodo.
THE ONLY FEMALE, ELECTED INTO THE 90-MEMBER, IMO STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY, IN 1979.
A development had warranted my writing about Chief Mike Ahamba, SAN, the previous week. A very brief and innocous piece.
ln the course of doing that, l recalled that Ahamba was elected into the lmo State House of Assembly in 1979. And he was the Minority Chief Whip, from 1979 to 1983. He was elected on the platform of the National Party of Nigeria, NPN.
That was when and how, this Mberi born amazon, Mrs Victoria Akanwa, came into my mind. And also became a subject matter. Very tasking. Luckily for me and by the GRACE OF GOD, l have a library that breaths. l went to work.
By 1978/1979 academic year or session, l was a first year student of Mbaise Secondary school. At that time, lmo Broadcasting Service, IBS, was the major source of news for most people, especially the rural dwellers. Then, BBC and VOA, for the highly enlightened ones.
Those who wanted to hear about Zik, Mbakwe , RBK Okafor and others , were glued to IBS. Those interested in being acquainted with events in the state.
And 4- battery or 6- battery or 8- battery Philip radio, was predominant in the homes of those who could afford any of them . They were used with “finger” batteries.
You know the positive side of the battery with “+” sign at one side and the negative side with “_” sign at one end. lf you put the positive end, to the negative end, it would not work. The radio wouldn’t on. There wouldn’t be reception.
At times, the batteries could over stay in the radio or could be over used to the extent that, they would begin to produce water inside the radio. That wasn’t an issue. When new batteries were bought, you would simply use rag to clean the water before putting the new batteries. The reception would come . Enjoyment would begin. Who say God no dey. Or, men no dey. Life made easy. No cause for alarm. All things bright and beautiful, God made them all.
That time, it was IBS said this or that. At a time, the NPN bigwigs in the state decided to break or distort the IBS monopoly. They came with Radio Nigeria, located at the boundary of Obama Enyiogugu and Azaraegbelu. l have been soliloquizing.
Akanwa, the only woman, elected into the old lmo state House of Assembly, made up of 90 members. ln other words, 89 of the members were men . Not just men , loaded men . Men of substance. You could imagine the scenario. When the current Abia and lmo states constituted one State. lmo State. And Akanwa was the only woman elected into the Assembly of that time. Of that period or era. Who say , women no dey?.
For the sake of those who weren’t around and those who were around, but must have forgotten, l am also going to mention the other members of the Assembly, all men and their constituencies. For you to agree with me that Akanwa deserves a ” STATUE”.
Mrs Victoria Akanwa was elected on the platform of the Nigeria Peoples Party, NPP. Zik and Mbakwe’s party . She was elected for Asa Constituency.
Born on March 3, 1947, at Mberi, in the then, Mbaitoli/lkeduru Local Government, to Mr and Mrs James Onozie. But today’s Mbaitoli LGA. She married an Ukwa man, Geofrey Akanwa.
Before she was elected into the lmo State House of Assembly in 1979, she had also served as elected Councillor for IPU East/West in Ukwa LGA and was the Supervisory Councillor for Education, from 1977 to 1979.
She was a vocal voice in lmo 90- member Assembly, with 89 men. She made her marks in the men dominated House. And could rightly be regarded as the woman who opened the door of lmo and Abia Houses of Assembly for the female legislators after her, especially from 1991 till date.
The State should do something to appreciate her foresight and doggedness, either by erecting her statue at the Assembly or naming the Assembly building after her or naming one of the structures at the Assembly complex after her.
The female legislators, both former and current, from Abia and lmo could also come together to do something in recognition, in honour and appreciation of this woman of history. Great Amazon.
She raised her finger to be counted when most women were asleep or in slumber. And she never left any stone unturned. ln the Assembly under reference, under scrutiny, under review, see the men Akanwa operated in their midst and gave good account of herself.
Gideon Ndubuisi Atulomah, a lawyer, was on October 2, 1979, elected the Speaker of the Assembly. He was elected into the House in July, 1979 for Aba South Constituency on the ticket of NPP. The Clerk of the House was Mr Emmanuel Onyeobia.
Dr. Okechukwu Okibedi was the Deputy Speaker of that House. He was elected on the platform of the NPP for Awo-Omama/ Amiri/Otulu Constituency.
Nze Herbert Sorronnadi Kamalu Osuji, represented Owerri Constituency. He was the Majority leader of that House. Mr . Maxwell Agbara representing Uturu/Umuchieze Constituency was the Majority Chief Whip.
Smart Okpi, represented Ndioji Abam Constituency, and was the Minority leader. Mike Ahamba, represented Oke Ovoro Constituency. He was the Minority Chief Whip.
Emmanuel C. lkememezie , elected on the platform of GNPP , represented Amandugba Constituency. Isreal Achumba, represented Aba na Ohazu/Ugwunagbo Constituency.
Moses A. Agbara, a Medical Doctor, represented Nvosi Constituency. Joseph Agbarakwe, represented Amaigbo Constituency. Uka Agwa represented Nkporo Constituency. While , V.N. Amaechi, represented Owerri South-East Constituency.
Magnus Anyanwu, represented Ahiazu North-West Constituency. Raymond Anumaka represented Agwa/lzombe Constituency. Theophilus Anugom, was for Umueze Constituency.
Agu Ajali, represented lshiagu Constituency. Alphonsus Ajiero represented Atta Constituency. Peter Aka was for lkeduru East Constituency. Chukwuka Akabusi represented Osu-Owerri Constituency.
Victoria Akanwa represented Asa Constituency. Herbert Umunnakwe Akotaobi represented Ntighauzo/lbeme Constituency. Alexander Ariawa, represented lkperejere/Abueke Constituency. Jude Chikezie was for Ezi-East Constituency.
Felix Chimaokwu represented Egbema Constituency. Herbert Dikeocha represented Umuaka Constituency. Charles l. Durueke represented Nsu Constituency. Jonh M. Durueke represented Ogbaku Constituency. Hilary Ezenwoko represented Mbutu Constituency.
Pius Eze was for Omuma lsiaku Constituency. Anuforo Echeumunna, Owerri South-West Constituency. Gerald lheukwumere lbe, lkenanzizi Consultancy. Alfred lgbozuruike, Awo-ldemili Constituency. Udo lgwe , for lsiama Ohafia Constituency.
Nwabueze ltam, Arochukwu Constituency. Bennet lsiguzo, Ezi-West Central Constituency. Valantine lke for Ugiri Constituency. Amaefule lkoro, for OT/OT East Constituency. Michael Kalu, ltem Constituency.
Desmond Mbachu, for Nguru Constituency. Ambrose Mezu, for Owerri North Constituency. Luke Muoneke for lhitenansa Constituency. Kevin Njoku for Enyiogugu/Okwuato Constituency.
Anthony Nwamerue for Amakohia Dimneze Constituency. Francis Nwokorie for Umuariam/Achara Constituency. Meshach C.Nwosu for Obodoukwu/Urualla Constituency. James Nwobbi for Aba North Constituency. lshmael Nweke, Ndoki Constituency.
Humphrey Nwosu for Ngwa Ukwu Constituency. lsaac Nlewedim for lkwuano Constituency. Otuokere Njaka, for Akokwa Constituency. Uwalekwu Nnochiri for Uzoakoli Constituency. Ejikonye Obikwere for Owerri West Constituency. Dennis Ogwuegbu for Amainyi Constituency. Eric Ogbonna, Oguta Constituency. Justin Ohanuzue, Amauzari Constituency.
Boniface Okwara, lsiekenesi Constituency. Godffrey Onyemaobi for Ibeku Umuahia Urban Constituency. Augustine Ogbonna for Olokoro/Ubakala Constituency. Samuel Okoro for OT/OT North Constituency. Linco Okonkwo for Avutu Constituency. Sunday Okoro, for Bende Constituency.
Elem Okoh, for Afikpo Constituency. Abel Oka, for Amasiri Constituency. Pius Okpechukwu, for lhioma Constituency. Michael Okike represented lsu/Onicha Constituency. Jerome Okor represented Okposi Constituency.
Patrick C. Onuoha represented Ahiazu Central Constituency. Boniface Onyebuchukwu, for Ogwa/Orodo Constituency. Paulinus Oparaji represented Ohaji Constituency. John Opoke, for Ukawu Constituency. Emea Oji represented Ekoli Constituency.
Arinze Oparah, for Mbieri/Ubomiri Constituency. Albert Ukandu represented Owerri East Constituency. Major Osuji, for Mgboko Constituency. Ibe Otah, represented Abiriba Constituency. Anthony Tassie, represented Nkwerre Constituency.
Albert Uwanamodo, represented Ohuhu/Umuopara Constituency. Vincent Uwanna, represented lsuikwuato Constituency. lgwe Ugwumba, represented Nguzu/Owutu Constituency.
Hyacinth Omenugwa, represented Ahiazu East Constituency. Anthony Uchegbu was for Umunumo Constituency. l press the pause button here.
l have done all these for the sake of one woman. The only elected female legislator into the old lmo state House of Assembly in 1979, with 90 members. Not easy. Not a tea party. She deserves attention, whether dead or alive. And l wish alive. While we continue to clap for Jesus.