By Mike Anyaegbuna
IT IS indeed surprising that a recent innocent and harmless suggestion by the Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano that Ebele Onyekwelu Street in Awka, should be renamed Club Street, an idea adopted and implemented by the Awka South local government council, has elicited a premeditated bile from the Ebonyi State government.
Apparently, the Governor Dave Umahi’s administration was incited or goaded into this negative attitude towards Anambra by Mr. Emmanuel Uzor, the Chief Press Secretary of the Ebonyi helmsman.
Unknown to his principal, Mr.Uzor is still waging an unfinished war with the government of Anambra State, enthroned by the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
Mr. Uzor, who started his journalism career as a stringer for the Sun Newspapers in its Onitsha office later became the media aide of Mrs.
Uche Ekwunife, who after the 2015 general elections, assumed the seat of senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly but was legally dislodged from the Senate by the immediate past former National chairman of APGA, Senator Victor Umeh.
As a matter of fact, Uzor, alias Ikenga, was the brain behind the deluge of vile propaganda and caricatures against Ohamadike and Governor Obiano, during the latter’s quest for his re-election in 2017.
It would be recalled that he and his hirelings in Awka unjustly started and sustained an incongruous comparison between the flyovers constructed by the Obiano and Umahi’s administrations in Awka and Abakaliki respectively.
This was in spite of the fact that Umahi was not Obiano’s opponent in the November 18, 2017, gubernatorial election in Anambra State.
However, due to his pathological hatred for Senator Umeh, who competently served as the Director-General of The Governor Willie Obiano Re-election Campaign Committee, Uzor who is still embittered by his Madam’s deserved ouster by the indefatigable Ohamadike (Sen. Umeh), has as a bad loser bluntly refused to sheath his sword.
Governor Umahi’s CPS is obviously anti-Obiano because of the laudable role played by Sen. Umeh in the emergence of the incumbent Anambra State governor as the candidate of APGA during the party’s governorship primaries in August 2013, in which Mrs. Ekwunife was roundly defeated. Ikenga is equally whining from the fact that Obiano’s re-election paved way for Senator Umeh’s easy victory in the January 2018, Anambra Central Senatorial District Re-run Election.
Traumatized by APGA’s resounding victory in Anambra, and Governor Obiano’s delivery of verifiable democracy dividends, Uzor is scared stiff that APGA is most likely to take over Ebonyi and other South East states in the 2019 general elections. The rising profile of Governor Obiano as a trustworthy Igbo leader is troubling to some fake and opportunistic politicians in the South East region.
They are actually jealous of the Anambra helmsman because of his popularity among the Igbo hoi poloi, who admire him for fearlessly organising the Ozoemezina funeral for the repose of the souls of Ndigbo who lost their lives during the Nigerian Civil War and other political cum religious crises in the country in 2015 at Dr. Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka.
The recent successful hosting by Governor Obiano in Awka of the first South East Summit on Restructuring of the Nigerian Federation organised by the Ohaneze Ndigbo is also another source of worry to certain hypocritical Igbo persons who are pretenders as leaders of the zone.
Ikenga has because of his unholy dalliance with such Igbo saboteurs, oblivious of his current principal’s knowledge, unfortunately declared himself an arch enemy and traducer of the Obiano administration.
This explains why Mr. Uzor, as an agent provocateur has without compunction ignited and stoked fire in the brotherly relationship between Ndi Anambra, their Ebonyi siblings and their two governments. It is indeed very shameful that Uzor should wickedly claim in his incendiary press release that Governor Umahi called his Anambra counterpart on phone to discuss the issue of renaming of the hitherto non existent Abakaliki Street.
The plain truth is that Umahi, contrary to Uzor’s falsehood did not call Obiano to discuss the matter.
However, in demonstration of good faith and respect for the feelings of Ndi Ebonyi, the caretaker chairman of Awka South local government area, Mr. Leo Nwuba, in whose remit it is to name and register streets under his jurisdiction, promptly renamed and registered a new street after Abakaliki in one of the choicest zones of the capital city.
In spite of this kind gesture, the executive and legislative arms of government in Ebonyi, without realising that they are being dubiously manipulated by Emma Uzor and his former Madam, who is now a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
They have not realised that they are regrettably and ill-advisedly giving an ultimatum to the Anambra State government to again rename the former Ebele Onyekwelu Street, after the Ebonyi State capital city. It is however worthy of emphasis that Governor Obiano’s mere suggestion for the renaming of former Ebele Onyekwelu Street to Club Street, is altruistic.
As a matter of fact, the name ‘Club Street’ is most fitting for the thoroughfare in question because, due to the transformation of the Anambra State capital city, Awka and reintroduction of decent night life in the state by the Obiano administration, the former Ebele Onyekwelu Street is in reality a re-enactment of the United States of America’s city, Las Vegas.
As a matter of fact, the thoroughfare in dispute was in the past nick named Abakiliki Street. As at the time it was re-registered as Club Street, records in Awka South local government council show that the road’s actual name was Ebele Onyekwelu Street.
Without mincing words, the Umahi administration has by its disrespectful ultimatum and command to the Anambra State government crossed the Red Line. The Ebonyi State Government should shun irascibility and reason with the Anambra State government in order to amicably resolve their differences on the matter, which in fact, is a non issue.
With that notwithstanding, methinks the government and good people of Anambra State should bear the apparent insult being engineered by Mr. Uzor and his cohorts with equanimity and maturity. We cannot afford to descend into the cesspit with the likes of Ikenga, who has been misleading his principals.
Governor Umahi should do well by reprimanding Mar. Uzor, and go the extra mile to rejuvenate his brotherly relationship with Governor Obiano. After all, the peoples of Anambra and Ebonyi States have since time, immemorial, enjoyed cordial relationship. Irritants like Mr. Emmanuel Uzor should therefore not be allowed by all right thinking persons, to damage the harmony and conviviality between the governments and good peoples of the two brother states.
Dr. Anyaegbuna, a public affairs analyst wrote from Onitsha, Anambra State.