In a recent report by Premium Times, Anambra State officials attempted to explain things. It is all about the change of street names, from Abakiliki Street to Club Street. The link is https://www. premiumtimesng.com/regional/ssoutheast/273513-why-we-renamed-abakaliki- street-in-awka-official.html
We have read through the Anambra State press intervention on the why and how of the change of street name. We can say nothing really seems to have been explained. The only innocent interpretation one can give is that the change was, perhaps, not meant to slight another. Was it taken in error? Yes it was. Names don’t make zones. Las Vegas is not Club Vegas. In fact, if Abakiliki Street had remained and the emergent entertainment hub succeeded as such, Abakiliki would have been a synonym for Anambra State’s own Las Vegas. These things are in the nature of things. It reminds one of Allen Avenue. Allen, a Lagos Street, once was a synonym for the “fast lane” in the Lagos, if not Nigeria, of the 1980s. Of course, everybody hears of “Oluwole,” and that means a forged document. Actually, Oluwole is a Lagos street ‘dedicated’ to the infamous activity. And it so happened that the street became so successful at its game, it became a synonym for forged documents.
And the matter is universal. In international politics, for instance, Washington is a synonym for American neo-imperialism or hegemony. If a street/zone works out well it takes up a secondary meaning for that, just like Washington, just like Olu- wole. Anyway, pre-naming a district or a street “appropriately” is no hint it will work out well or better. The Russian clone of Silicon Valley was named to order. Called the Skolkovo Innovation Center, it is a failure. It has not innovated anything that the world knows of. A name is not proof, a zone, street or space, etc, will fulfil its wished for dreams. Like an Igbo quip says, hapu ihe edere na motor baa na
motor. The commuter bus that had the inscription “I shall return” never came back. The name is not the magic and the magic is not in the name.
And to worsen matters, the Anambra State explanation went into reverse gear at one point. In trying to explain things, it made them the more inexplicable. According to the Anambra officials, it so happened that the same Abaikiliki Street was once hawked to be renamed Obiano Street. The Premium Times report reads: “He revealed that when there was an effort to rename the old Abakaliki Street as ‘Willie Obiano Avenue,’ the governor had quickly turned it down.’’ That much revelation tells a story. Is Obiano a synonym or Igbo word for clubbing? So, on the face of it, the Anambra State government shot itself in the foot. Its explanation cannot hold water.
Obviously, it is safe to say there was some error or over-zealousness somewhere. But I guess we are all involved, so we speak not so much to condemn as to warn against repeat errors.
Anyway, it is advisable it all be taken as an innocent and unintended error. But, next time, leaders and potentates should come to knowledge about a thing or two. One of those must be that though they have all the powers, legitimacy belongs to that leaders alone have these powers. But seeking consensus confers on them A) Indispensable good neighbourliness, excellent stakeholder relationships, B) Most importantly, IOUs and insurances. These IOUs and insurance payouts are assets they can call up in their own hours of need and interests.
Of course, it is safe to warn and remind us that history does not always begin and finish today. History also would not begin and finish with one leader in his own domain, alone. History is in “a going and coming that goes on forever.” Boy, things go round. Echi ebuka.
One final advice. Matters as these are at best not newspaper issues. Newspapers give protagonists a sense of distance, unfriendly distance. If and as Ebonyi/Abakiliki peoples/Ebonyi government feel “disrespected,” Anambra State government should put a call and explain things at appropriate levels. At such levels, it is more of ‘we are invloved.’ It is better than using the “antiseptic cleverness” of talking across the fence of newspaper headlines. After that, a joint communiqué should be released.
For a takeaway, let us all remember that: Democracy is less and less about power, but more and more about stakeholder governance. Echi eteka. Ahiazuwa.
Izunaso is the hero
HE election of APC party chieftains has come and gone. And Senator Osita Izunaso lost to the candidate of the governors or, more specifically, the candidate of Rochas Okorocha. But that is as much as the votes were counted.
However, there are votes and there is history. History is not won by your count of votes. History is won by the principles one canvasses. And it is clear Osita Izunaso is on the right side of history even if not votes.
The details are as follows: Izunaso was a key part of the vanguard that fought and won the battle to stop Okorocha from converting Imo into his private political capital. Left for Okorocha, Imo State is to be the inheritance of himself, his extended family and private connections.
Today, it can be said that, for all practical purposes, the spectre of Okorocha’s in-law and or other connections ‘capturing Imo’ has receded into the
dustbin of history. For that alone, Izunaso has earned the trust and admiration of not just Imo people and but men of goodwill all over the world. And history will record his epic struggles and victory to unseat emergent state capture and familial tyranny as one of our democracy’s most glorious moment. That is, whatever that happened at the polls, Izunaso has won with history. There are no greater victories in life.
What the nation should do is to remark a man such as him. It is men like this that are due for the highest promotions in the land. Men who can’t be bought with money or power. Yes, if Izunaso wanted, Okorocha was desperate enough, he would have made him offers. But not Izunaso. He wanted no offers, he wanted no deals. For him, the game is to make Imo not just a modern but also a model state. And a key part to doing that is in all-inclusiveness. He canvassed and stood by that, political all-inclusiveness and sagacity. He lost the votes, the conspiratorial votes. But he has won the heart of history and his people. And history, which is greater than votes, will vindicate the just. It will vindicate Izunaso. Ahiazuwa.
The killings in Plateau
All reasonable peoples in the world are at a loss on how to explain the barbarism that has eaten up Nigeria. People are killed off and the government is completely out of its senses, what to do and what not to do. This present government for reasons that are mysteries has failed to do the very elementary task of governance. It has failed to secure the life and security of Nigerians. Matters are so disgusting that at moments like this it is really shameful to be Nigerian.
Taking a long-term view, one thinks that the matter may be more deep-rooted than is canvassed. The real problem may be our “lack of executive capacity.” Just like the former Senate President, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, said of his political enemy, it may rightly be said of us. We are a mass of protoplasm. We are all flesh and no thinking brains. As a people, it is clear we are unable to run a modern, not to speak of model, state.
And this lack of executive capacity failure involves all parties. Nigeria as a failed project comes with no partisans. We are all guilty. Yes, the government is a complete disappointment in this. But how come dozens and hundreds of Nigerian citizens are murdered, routinely, and we are still able to go on as if nothing happened?
How come there are no coalition of civil society partisans mobilising the whole country? And nothing betrayed our senselessness as a popular television show. In the said show hosted by Allen-type babes and housewives, one of them said she was from the Plateau, the killing area. And neither the Plateau lady, nor the rest of the host crew called for a minute of silence or even thought of wearing black bands? To all the rest of us – strangers died. And yet we insist on living together?
And when one remembers that there are 180 million of us, the size of the impending tragedy frightens one. It is incendiary enough that a few million people cannot manage themselves. But to think it that a sub-empire size population will unhinge? That is to go nuclear with self-destruction.