State Creation: Groups Downplay Orlu, Clamour For Anioma, Adada

By Tido Lawal

The Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC) has made case for the creation of Anioma State in the South East. The group however kicked against proponents of either Orlu or Etiti states.

This is as the Adada State Creation Movement avers that Adada is the oldest and already pre-qualified proposed state in Nigeria, hence should be created. The surging argument was sequel to a recent bill for the creation of Orlu State by Hon Ikenga Ugochinyere representing Ideato Federal Constituency of Imo State.

The position of Ohanaeze Youth Council was made after its conference held at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Center in Owerri. Its national president, Comrade Igboayaka O. Igboayaka, and the secretary general, Comrade Ifeanyichukwu Cedric Nweke, condemned the proponents of Orlu state and supported the birth of Anioma State from Delta State.

OYC said that its support is “in line with principles of equity, justice and fairness.” The statement read, “OYC has lent its support to Senator Chinedu Nwoko representing Delta North senatorial district for the bill seeking the creation of an additional state in the southeast to balance out politically.

“The above is based on the marginalisation of the southeastern part of Nigeria in terms of the number of states thereat, being the only geopolitical zone in the country with only five states in contradistinction to the six states hitherto maintained by the other geopolitical zones in Nigeria save North West with seven seven states.

“Nwoko, through a bill, re-echoed the need for a creation of an additional state in the southeast which would goad the political spirits of the southeasteners in the political affairs of Nigeria with balanced political geometry for equal opportunities.

“Any patriotic Nigerian should support same to promote national unity, integrity, fairness and equity as the creation of an additional state, to be known as and called Anioma State, should not be seen as portions of regional benefits.”

OYC accused proponents of the creation of Orlu State as exhibiting clannish mindset and selfishness.

According to the statement, “Among the proponents of creation of an additional state in southeast, like the proposed Orlu State which comprised Orlu zone, parts of Anambra and Abia states, and the proposed Etiti State comprising parts of Imo, Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia, and Anambra states, only those favouring the creation of Anioma State wear the sacred garbs of selflessness, equity and fairness.

“Besides, it’s obvious that part of ethno-political crisis in Nigeria is as a result of ceding some micro-ethnic groups to a large ethnic group in one state. Therefore, the creation of Anioma State is a blueprint that will settle ethnic crisis in Edo and Delta states.

“It’s reasonable, logical and a peaceful political dovetail and/or marriage to cede parts of Ndoni people in Rivers State that link to Ukwuani axis of Delta State and the following communities in Edo State such as Idumodin, Ottah, Ute – Oheze, Ugo, Igbanke, Iru egbede, Evbobanosa, Oza, Ogan, Oheze, Idumiru and others including the whole Delta North senatorial district to form Anioma.

“The council is aware that the creation of the six geo-political zones in Nigeria was not entirely carved out on the considerations based on their geographic locations but rather on the states with similarity of ethnic groups and/or common political history at play in the same zone.”

Igboayaka expressed conviction that the creation of Anioma State falls within the principle of geo-political creation in Nigeria, adding that, “Anioma has the same ethnic groups and same political history as other states in the southeast. The birth of Anioma State to the southeast family will build zonal equity as same would go a long way to address the deplorable issues of marginalization of southeast zone.”

OYC, therefore, called on Hon Ugochinyere to withdraw the bill seeking to birth Orlu State and sue for Anioma State.

In a contrasting development, Hon James Ugwu, Chairman of Adada State Creation Movement, says Adada should be the state to be created in South East for equity, justice and fairness.

Ugwu based his argument on equation and the fact that Adada is the oldest and already pre-qualified proposed state for creation in South East. He further argued that there are modalities for state creation, and not simply sponsoring bills in the National Assembly

According to him, “The constitution specifies modalities on how states are created. I don’t believe that states are created simply by moving motions in the floor of the House. Section 8 (1) particularly outlines the methodologies. It involves the signatures of the stakeholders, including elected local government chairmen, councillors, senators, and House of Representatives from the area demanding such state creation. They must all sign that they want the state, then send the request to the National Assembly. That is the time you could begin to think of moving motions. But the Orlu case is just to stand up and say you are moving a motion for its creation. I’m not sure they did what I just outlined, otherwise two constituencies of that area would not have pulled out.

“They may believe that because somebody like Gov Hope Uzodinma of Imo State has access to the Presidency, anything can happen. Can you imagine that a bill passed the first reading, and somebody is already clearing a site for the Orlu State secretariat! They are joking.”

He traced how South East was divided into two zones, and based his position on Adada on equity and justice. In his words, “Sometime in 1970, there was a request for the creation of Wawa State, which is Enugu today. The application was submitted to General Yakubu Gowon. In that document, which I have, South East is sharply divided into two, with equal population and landmass. We have the southern Igbos, known as Ndi Agbenu. The northern Igbos are known as Ndi Wawa, comprising Ebonyi and Enugu today. Southern Igbos presently have Abia, Anambra and Imo states. People should morally see reasons that if any state should be created, it should be Adada, which is from the northern Igbo.

“If you talk about qualifications, Adada is the most qualified. We met all the criteria from the beginning. We don’t have dissenting voices. It was 100 percent signatories of all councillors, local government chairmen, House of Assembly and National Assembly members for Adada. The governments of Ebonyi and Enugu are supporting Adada.

“Mineral resources to sustain the state are not a problem. We have them in abundance. We have tertiary institutions in abundance. Adada is qualified.”

He said creating another state aside Adada from South East amounted to injustice, adding people of the proposed state would not be part of it.

Quoting him, “If a state will be created in South East to make up the six states as other regions of the country, with some having more, and you give that slot to southern Igbo land, they will be having four, and then the northern Igbo will have only two. And you are thinking about regional administration! States are created for development and not for crisis. If they create one from southern Igbo, they do not want the progress of the region because it will be full of crisis. We will not be part of any regional administration in South East if that is done, and we have the constitutional right to determine where we shall belong.

“I appeal to our brothers and sisters in southern Igbo to see reasons why the sixth state should be given to the northern Igbos. President Bola Tinubu and members of the National Assembly should also see reasons to this effect.”

He recalled that the Ararume Committee, in 2006, recommended Adada State when former President Olusegun Obasanjo wanted to create the sixth state in South East.

According to him, “The National Assembly leadership from the South East invited us to Owerri. After hearing the submissions of the agitators, they went back to Abuja, looked at the submissions, and decided to go by voting. They were ten, two per state—one senator and one House of Reps. Adada had five votes, Aba had two, Orashi had three, Njaba had zero. That remains the only decision of South East as far as state creation is concerned. lAso, the 8th National Assembly disqualified all state creation agitators except Adada.”

He said Adada enjoys the support of Enugu and Ebonyi states, including people outside the two states.

In his words, “Many sincere people in the southern Igbo still support Adada. That was why we got five votes. Nothing has changed other than the gimmicks of people who think they are semi-gods. They should not think like that. It is dangerous.”

He urged people of the proposed Adada to remain calm, adding that, “I urge them to keep on supporting the efforts. They should remain law-abiding. There is God.”

Adadainfo is an online newspaper reporting Nigerian news. Email: Phone: 08071790941

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