Ebonyi State House of Assembly has given Anambra State government seven days to restore the renamed Abakaliki Street in Awka, the Anambra capital.
The lawmakers threatened to mandate their government to rename all structures in Ebonyi named after Anambra people and towns, if the street’s previous name was not restored in seven days.
This was the resolution of the House after its Wednesday plenary, where it also resolved that Anambra must also apologise to Ebonyi people.
Reacting to the condemnation trailing the name change, Leo Nwuba, chairman of Awka South Local Government Area, had noted that, contrary to the recent uproar in the media over the renaming of the street, a new street had long been designated as ‘Abakaliki Street’ within the capital city.
He added that the renaming of the street as ‘Club Road’ was part of the on-going efforts to interpret the Awka City Master Plan.
But during Wednesday’s plenary, the Ebonyi House expressed displeasure over the action of Anambra government and insisted that the street must be restored to ‘Abakaliki Street’, if the existing cordial relationship between the two states was still important to Anambra.
Chike Ogiji, the chairman, Ebonyi House of Assembly Committee on Information, said the decision became important because the name change was not only embarrassing but a threat to Igbo unity.
Ogiji, who sponsored the motion, said aside that every government in Ebonyi had always accommodated Anambra sons and daughters in the governance of the state, many streets, towns and halls within the capital city were also named after Anambra people and towns, not minding that Ebonyi had prominent sons and daughters to name the structures after.
His words: “The matter in question was sponsored by me. It became important that the sanctity and the relationship that has existed over the years between the people of Anambra and Ebonyi are 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.
“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, Onitsha streets, all of these are prominently residing in the heart of Abakaliki capital city.
“It is not only embarrassing to the people of Ebonyi, it is also a pointer to the fact that it is a threat to unity of the 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 July 3, 2018 and that street is not renamed Abakaliki, the government and people of Ebonyi have been mandated by the House to change every city, street, town and hall that bears Anambra man or town’s name.
“It is not as if we don’t have prominent sons and daughters to name these structures after; 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. And for Anambra government to rename a street that has outdated the present government in the state after a club, an immoral institution, is embarrassing; and should be of serious concern if we are really talking about the unity of Igbo nation.
“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, otherwise the unity of Igbo nation is threatened.”