Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum, Chief David Umahi has condemned in totality the renaming of a street named after Abakaliki in Awka, the capital of Anambra state by the state governor, Mr Willie Maduabuchukwu Obiano.
He made this known in Abakaliki through a statement issued to journalists by the Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Mr. Charles Akpu-Enika and Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Emmanuel Uzor.
Umahi was said to have complained to Governor Obiano of his disgust over the matter, adding 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 polity.
The governor, while calling on the people of the state to remain calm, said he has already contacted his Anambra counterpart, Willie Obiano with a view to getting him to correct the action.
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 etc, all named after Anambra towns and sons” he said.
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.
On his part, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Emma Uzor said renaming of the street to ‘Club Street’ by the Anambra state governor has caused an uproar in the social media.
While admitted that Obiano has every constitutional right to rename any structure be it road or any other infrastructure in the state, he 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”.
Uzor said, “While he (Umahi) 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.
“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 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, 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’s aide said.