Sunday, 1 July 2018

Abakaliki Street: group caution Gov. Umahi against using Gov. Obiano for his Second Term bid



The South East Family Union (SEFU) has watched with growing concern, the deliberate heating up of the political climate of South East Nigeria by the Government of Ebonyi State over the renaming of a street in Awka, the capital of Anambra State. We have observed with deep anxieties as the political leaders of Ebonyi State abandoned the serious issues of governance for cheap emotional showmanship to buy the support of an increasingly suspicious electorate for the 2019 general elections. We are surprised that the lawmakers of Ebonyi State could devote a whole plenary session to bellyache over the renaming of a street by a sister state. And we sincerely feel that the time has come for reason to prevail in Ebonyi State.
We consider the recent ultimatum given to the Governor of Anambra State by the Ebonyi State House of Assembly to reverse himself on the renaming of Abakaliki Street to ‘Club Road’ and to tender an unreserved apology to the people of Ebonyi State, the height of insolence and extreme insensitivity. It is a highly provocative act that is drained of logic and reason. The ultimatum does not only violate the basic protocols of inter-governmental relations, but also pokes a rude finger in the eye of peaceful coexistence in the South East region.
We confirm that long before the renaming of Abakaliki Street, Anambra State had demonstrated goodwill and a desire for peace by naming a longer and better street after Abakaliki to avoid a possible negative reaction to the change. And following the emotionally charged Press Statement issued by the Government of Ebonyi State on the matter, the Government of Anambra State had replied with a statement, explaining the considerations that made the renaming of Abakaliki Street necessary and assured the Government and people of Ebonyi State that it was done in utmost good faith. That was the path of dignity and honour. The path of peace!
We believe that under normal circumstances, these two gestures would have been enough to appease anyone who has no hidden agenda. But because the 2019 general election is underway and Governor Umahi is searching for an emotional rallying point to mobilize support for his second term, he has turned a blind eye to logic and reason.
We are disappointed that Governor Umahi who is the Chairman of the South East Governors Forum has failed woefully to show leadership when the unity of the South East mattered most and has chosen instead to play to the gallery.
We are disappointed that for a matter that could easily have been resolved with a single phone call to Governor Obiano to express his disapproval of the renaming of Abakaliki Street, Governor Umahi’s first reaction was to issue an emotional press statement and position himself as the new Messiah of Ebonyi people.
We advise Governor Umahi to remember that as the Chairman of the South East Governor’s Forum, Ndigbo expect a more intelligent leadership than he has shown on this issue so far. Umahi should know that it is downright offensive to give a fellow governor an ultimatum let alone demand for an apology from him, no matter the purported offence. He should quickly retrace his steps from the ignoble path he has chosen!
We advise Governor Dave Umahi to quickly save himself and Ndigbo this embarrassment.
Signed
Arc. Donatus Chime Dr Dubem Okafor
President, SEFU (Enugu) Secretary, SEFU (Anambra)
Chief Emma Nwaiboko (Ebonyi ) Barr. Ugoo Ugboaja (Imo)

Dr. Onuoha Kalu (Abia)

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