Ebonyi state Governor, David Umahi and the state Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Mr. Charles Akpu-Enika have called on Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state to reverse his earlier decision of re-naming Abakaliki street in Awka, the state capital.
Already Governor Umahi is said to have complained to governor Obiano of his displeasure over the matter.
The Anambra-state- born Akpu-Enika, a cabinet member of Ebonyi state executive council said that such an act was most unguided, coming at a time the Igbo race was doing its best to be united and generate desired cohesion to gain its deserved attention and dues in the Nigerian nation.
Umahi made his feelings known in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Uzor after the re-naming of the street to ‘Club Street’ caused uproar in the social media.
The governor while calling on the people to remain calm said he has contacted his Anambra state counterpart, Willie Obiano with the aim of getting him to correct the action.
Ebonyi and Anambra are in the South-east region of the country together with Imo, Abịa and Enugu states which are predominantly Igbo speaking states.
Umahi who noted that Mr Obiano has every constitutional right to rename any structure, be it road or any other infrastructure, however pointed out that “in doing so, what should come to mind should be the unity and perpetuation of legacies and sustenance of the sacred thing that holds us together as a people”.
“While he condemns in its entirety, the action, Umahi has put everything in place to ensure that Chief Willie Obiano reverses the action of bringing back the Abakaliki street, a name gazetted long time ago in the spirit of oneness in Igbo land”, said Mr Uzor.
“There should be no part of Igbo land that should be discriminated upon. Ebonyi State has received the highest discrimination even from among her brother states and this is not healthy especially as we fight to unite our people and form a formidable economic and political bloc”.
“The Governor has put a call through to his brother Governor, Chief Willie Obiano on how best to resolve the conflict of interest especially as regards the social media claims that the street was taken away from Abakaliki people because they are not qualified to answer such name of a major street in Awka”
“While we don’t want to rush into conclusions as regards the rumour making the rounds describing Abakaliki as a backward state, may we remind whoever that is taking any action against Abakaliki man based on the former toga and personality that Abakaliki had, that since inception of the administration of Governor David Umahi, Abakaliki has become the fastest developing state and the most beautiful state capital in Nigeria with great potential to overtake other states in the nearest future”.
“Therefore, re-naming a street originally named after Abakaliki because of the stigmatization and the spirit of Wawa does not arise as Abakaliki has grown to become more developed than the city in question”.
The Governor, according to Mr Uzor, said that most states in the region especially Anambra always seizes every opportunity to look down on Abakaliki man and urged them to eschew this discrimination and see every Igbo man as a brother irrespective of where he or she comes from.
Mr Umahi further noted that he has a vision of an Igbo nation where all persons will have homes and become citizens irrespective of their state or origin.
Akpu-Enika noted that, Anambra indigenes in Ebonyi state were enjoying the best of cordiality, “Many streets in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital are named after Anambra towns and persons.
We have Aguleri Street in Abakaliki, Obike Street, Ikenga Street, Udemezue Street, Obiri, Obi, Mbanefo, Ejiofor Nibo, Jemeni, Okuzu all named after Anambra towns and sons”.
The Commissioner explained that Ebonyi state has been transformed better than some older states, hence it was derogatory for anyone to assume that a street named Abakaliki Street has developed beyond bearing the name.