Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Ebonyi State Governor and Chairman, South-East Governors Forum, David Umahi, on Tuesday, berated his Anambra State counterpart, Willie Obiano, for renaming a street in the state capital, Awka, which was formerly known by the name of Ebonyi State capital, Abakaliki.
Abakaliki Street which houses most of the nightclubs in the capital city was recently renamed Club Road by Governor Obiano when he visited the area one of the nights.
Obiano had explained that renaming the street became necessary, so that its name could depict the flurry of night life activities which the street has become synonymous with and assured that his government would put in place more facilities to make the area conducive.
But reacting to the development in a press release signed on his behalf by his Chief Press Secretary, Chief Emmanuel Uzor, Umahi expressed sadness over the removal of Abakiliki name in Anambra capital insisting that it smacks of marginalization and discrimination against Ebonyi state.
The state which quoted the Governor as calling for the immediate reversal of the action said, “While he condemns in its entirety, the action, if it is true, Umahi has put everything in place to ensure that His Excellency, 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.
“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 blocs.
“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 clams 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, renaming 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 frowns at every opportunity by other states especially Anambra to look down on Abakaliki man and wishes to call on Ndigbo to eschew this discrimination and see every Igbo man as a brother irrespective of where he or she comes from.
“He is seeing Igbo nation where we all will have homes and become citizens irrespective of our state or origin.
“For us in Ebonyi State, we have Awka, Onitsha, Neni, Nri, Agulu, Nando, Oraeri, Oraifite and many other streets and these streets are very strategic in Abakaliki and yet, no government has ever tried to rename them, rather, these streets which have been in bad shape have all been ashphalted and illuminated with street light and we expect our brothers in other states to maintain our legacy and pride by allowing all the streets named after Abakaliki or Ebonyi State to remain so.”