THE PRACTICE OF “ISUSU” AND THE 2023 GOVERNORSHIP RACE IN ENUGU STATE; THE PERSPECTIVE OF IGBO NSUKKA PEOPLE
Published by Johnpaul Anih,
In analyzing the rationality behind the Demand of the IGBO NSUKKA UNITED FRONT, (a Socio-cultural Group) that Enugu North Senatorial Zone should be allowed to produce the next governor of Enugu State come 2023 after the incumbent, Rt Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has served out his tenure, in line with the unwritten zoning formula which Enugu State is hitherto practicing, has become germane to be critically examined for equitable distribution or sharing of things in Enugu State.
The analysis will no doubt further enhance the clarity of zoning of Political Offices especially, as regards the office of the Governor in Enugu State for the 2023 Political dispensation and even beyond.
In doing this, let us cast a second hard-look at the etymology (origin) of the traditionally recognized sharing system and it’s practice amongst EQUALS, which is popularly referred to, in Igbo land as “ISUSU”
The system of ISUSU in Igbo land is generally anchored on the premise that the participants in the system are all EQUAL in the lot and the arrangement.
However, were it to be the kindred system (Umunna), the indisputable procedural formula is that the eldest in the kindred must, at all material time, carry first in that order, same with other formulas that involve and comprise of “UNEQUAL PARTNERS”
But in the case of Enugu State Political arrangement and distribution, where the three (3) Senatorial Zones are all “EQUAL PARTNERS” in the Enugu State project, the sole, the best and equitable option becomes the “ISUSU FORMULA” as we will set out and analyse below.
ISUSU, as described by Hans Dieter Seibel in his book, “Micro Finance in Nigeria, Origins, Options and Opportunities” is a traditional credit system that has been in existence for centuries before the colonial era which involved people in the same age grade, contributing their resources and take turns to carry the bulky sum to solve individual problems. The first person to carry the sum was usually decided by casting of lots or the person with the most pressing need. Then it goes round till the last person, who, being the most patient of them all will then rightfully be asked to begin the second round. The age-long logic in the last person being allowed to re-start the carrying of the lot, is embedded on the universal fair-play and justice that the said last person waited patiently for all members to enjoy the turns one after the other.
Seibel’s description is in tandem with A. I. Nwabughuogu, who in his book, “Igbo Pre-Colonial Institutions for Capital Formation” traced the origin of ISUSU to the traditional labour pool known as “Ohe Oru” or “Igba Ohe” where young men of the same age grade took turns to provide labour works at the individual farms for their members. In this labour cycle, the last person whose farm was worked upon last, is allowed to enjoy the benefit of restarting the cycle or turn.
As this practice continued, the pooling of labour turned into pooling of resources and that was how ISUSU was born and has incredibly remained in practice till this day.
ISUSU exists till today and it’s still being practiced and enjoyed without any misunderstanding or deceit from the members.
Today, ISUSU has so evolved that it has taken the form of Committee of friends, Associations, Clubs, etc.
Nwabughuogu (p.10) proved that the practice was very popular in Igboland and across some West African countries, He noted that ISUSU has taken such names as “Etutu”, “Esusu”, “Ogbo”, “ntu ntu”, “Oha” Otu etc, stressing that this genius traditional credit system can only succeed amongst EQUAL PARTNERS who have similar stakes, similar strength, similar income and similar contributions.
When this system is brought home and applied in the context of Enugu State Gubernatorial Zoning formula, the concept of ISUSU which is the only suitable formula for zoning of positions amongst “EQUAL PARTNERS”, becomes imperative, applicable and crystal clear that if EQUITY and JUSTICE should not be suppressed or truncated in Enugu State, Enugu North Senatorial Zone should be allowed to produce the next governor of Enugu State after Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi because they are not just the last in the first session/round of ISUSU zoning formula but also because the zone has suffered long years of systematic marginalization and therefore in more need of it.
In the traditional ISUSU and as generally practiced in Igbo land, if the other two partners (ie the other two Senatorial Zones) in the Enugu State Project should be considerate enough and fair to their consciences, they should, (in the famous phrase of the Lagos State recalcitrant child) “CALM DOWN” for Enugu North Senatorial Zone to restart the Governoshp of Enugu State come 2023.
Enugu North Senatorial Zone deserves to restart the ISUSU formula in 2023 after the incumbent because they are in most need of the slot, having been serially marginalized and grossly and intentionally underdeveloped over a long period of time by the successive Governments in Enugu State.
It’s on record that there is no single institutions under the Executive, the Legislature or the Judiciary that is domiciled any where in the whole of Enugu North Senatorial District. None! Not even one! We stand to be corrected or faulted with facts and figures.
Therefore, in agreement to the rules of engagement, equity, justice, fairness, love, unity and equality, the Guber slot in 2023 should be zoned to the Enugu North Senatorial District to ensure peace and stability of the polity, progress and development of our beloved State.
Anything short of Enugu North Senatorial District producing the next Governor of Enugu State after the incumbent Rt Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is a clear truncation of stability, equity and justice and it will be a dangerous precedent which will not augur well for this generation and generation to come.
©️Igbo Nsukka United Front