Street renaming: Ebonyi Assembly gives Anambra government seven-day ultimatum

The Ebonyi State House of Assembly has given Anambra State government seven days ultimatum to restore the status of Abakaliki street it earlier renamed.

It said, failure to do this will make the House mandate Ebonyi State to “rename all structures named after Anambra people and towns with immediate effect”.

This was the resolution of the House after its Wednesday plenary. They also resolved that Anambra State government must apologise to the people of Ebonyi State.

A street hitherto known ‘Abakaliki street’ in Awka, was recently renamed ‘Club street’ by Anambra, but the people of Ebonyi state were not happy with the development.

Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi had in a press statement through his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, tackled his colleague, Governor Willie Obiano, for renaming the street.

He said most states in the region especially Anambra always seize every opportunity to “look down on Abakaliki man and urged them to eschew the discrimination”.

The chairman of Awka South Local Government Area, Leo Nwuba, had while reacting to the condemnation trailing the matter noted that contrary to the recent uproar in the media over the renaming of the street, “a new street had long been designated to be named Abakaliki Street within the Capital City”.

He added that the renaming of the street as ‘Club Road’ was part of the ongoing efforts “to interpret the Awka City Master Plan”.

But during Wednesday plenary, the Ebonyi House of Assembly expressed displeasure over the matter.

Speaking with journalists over the resolution of the House, the Chairman, House committee on Information and member representing Ikwo South state constituency, Chike Ogiji, said the decision became important because the action was not only embarrassing “but a threat to the unity of Igbo nation”.

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He said it was worrisome that Anambra States could rename a street named after Abakaliki which had existed for years; an indication that “it (Anambra) had no regard to the cordial relationship that had existed between the two States”.

Mr Ogiji who is also the sponsor of the motion said aside the fact that every successive government in Ebonyi State had always accommodated Anambra sons and daughters in governance of the state, “many streets, town and halls within the capital city were also named after Anambra people and towns not minding that they (Ebonyi) have prominent sons and daughters to name after the structures”.

“The matter in question was sponsored by me. It became important that the sanctity and the relationship that has existed over the years the people of Anambra and Ebonyi is sustained in any account. Recall that no government after government that has not featured prominently either a son or daughter of Anambra in the government of Ebonyi State.

“It will also be interesting to note that most of the major streets and towns either named after Anambra men’s name or towns to the extent of having Aniocha, Awka, Onitcha streets, all of these are prominently residing in the heart of Abakaliki capital city.

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“It is not only that it is embarrassing to the people of Ebonyi, it is also a pointer to the fact that it is a threat to unity of Igbo nation. And I feel that people of Igbo land should rise up to it; just as the Ebonyi State House of Assembly resolved that if after 3rd of July 2018, and that same street is not restored back to Abakaliki, the government and the people of Ebonyi have been mandated by the House to change every city, every street, every town and every halls that bears Anambra man or town’s name.

“It is not as if we don’t have prominent sons and daughters to name after these structures, but we did not want to lose the sight of the fact that we are one as Igbo nation. Any person from any part of Igbo land can go to any part of Igbo land and be protected.

“It was after diligent deliberation that the House resolved that the same street must be restored to read Abakaliki street as it was. They should not take Abakaliki street to any other place. It must be at the same place where it was and (they must) apologise to the people of Ebonyi State. Otherwise, the unity of Igbo nation is threatened,” he said.

It is not yet clear if Anambra State will bow to the latest threat in the festering crisis.

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