Nwankwo T. Nwaezeigwe, PhD, DD


Although State creation is neither a part of the intractable security, economic and political problems confronting Nigerian masses presently, nor is it attainable under the present political dispensation; but since a person like Senator Alhaji Ned Nwoko, a known Fulani Muslim political errand boy and scion of jihad in Anioma land has chosen the path of self-serving distraction, we will follow him by his footsteps.

Senator Alhaji Ned Munir Nwoko

I have also read the mendacious and intellectual cacophony put forward by his cousin-Special Assistant on Media Maxwell Peter Nwoko in defense of his master’s bogus political promenade and I feel the onus falls on me to respond appropriately.

Media Maxwell Peter Nwoko began by asking if Ned Nwoko made a mistake by proposing the inclusion of Anioma State in Southeast, and subsequently concluded by stating: “The truth of the matter is that the Senator didn’t make a mistake.”

Well, the real truth is not about making a mistake but creating a false impression of Igbo patriotism to cover over his devious role as a Muslim Igbo Senator representing the core interest of Sokoto Caliphate among the predominantly Christian Igbo of Delta State. It is in agreement with this core Fulani interest that Senator Ned Nwoko placed his mother-in-law Mrs. Rita Daniels as Women Leader of Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu-led Ohaneze Ndigbo and member of the atrocious Committee on Apology to the Fulani.

So the motion for the creation of Anioma State which had been a recurring political decimal at every Senate Session is neither new nor is Ned Nwoko its pioneer initiator. It had existed long before Ned Nwoko came into active politics, pioneered by the like of Obi (Senator) Nosike Ikpo during the second republic. Likewise, the issue of adding Anioma to Southeast or adding Onitsha and Ogbaru to Anioma has been a recurring feature in the politics of Anioma State creation.

Ned Nwoko knows that including Anioma State to Southeast is as difficult as Southeast allowing Onitsha and Ogbaru to join Anioma State. Ned Nwoko knows that even his Idumuje Clan which majorly traces its origin to Esan in Edo State is averse to joining the Southeast. Ned Nwoko still knows that the Yoruba-speaking Odiani (Olukwunmi) Clan of six towns in his Aniocha North Local Government Area will oppose any inclusion of Anioma State to Southeast.

Unfortunately, the man Ned Nwoko calls his cousin and Special Assistant on Media, Maxwell Peter Nwoko blundered beyond the expectation of someone who parades himself a Senator’s chief spokesman when he wrote quite ignorantly:

“A closer look at the South South zone which consists of six states including Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers with a total number of 125 Local Government Areas (LGAs). You will discover that if Anioma should be created, Anioma will have no cultural or language bond with any of these states listed in the South South zone.”

Is Maxwell Peter Nwoko saying that Anioma people are the only Igbo-speaking people in South-South Zone? How does he ethnically define the Ngwa of Obigbo, Ikwerre, Etche, Ahaoda, Egbema, Ogba, and Ndoni people of Rivers State? Is Maxwell Peter Nwoko not aware that there are about one dozen Igbo-speaking communities in Edo State and about three ethnically Igbo defined communities forming part of Urhobo land? Is Maxwell Peter Nwoko equally saying that there are no cultural bonds between the Edo, Urhobo, Isoko and Anioma people? Is Maxwell Peter Nwoko aware that part of the present Rivers State particularly Ndoni, the hometown of former Rivers State Governor Dr. Peter Odili was once part of the present Delta State?

In his bid to fabricate his false thesis of Ezechime migration myth among the Igbo of Delta State as one of the basis of inclusion of Anioma people to Southeast geopolitical zone, Maxwell Peter Nwoko claims that Aro people of Arochukwu are part of Ezechime Clan. Where he got this version of Aro history, one does not know. Unless Maxwell Peter Nwoko is mistaking Aro people to be the Abam-Ohafia people of Abia State whose progenitor Uduma Ezema is reputed to have migrated from the present Owa-Riuzo Idu town in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State.

I think if both Maxwell Peter Nwoko and his master Senator Ned Nwoko want cheap publicity, there are many humble ways of going about it and not by creating fabulously untenable political scenario with diminutive sense of historical facts and political credibility. If indeed Senator Ned Nwoko is truly representing Anioma people and not his Muslim interests in Igboland, let him voice out against the intractable security and economic problems facing his people, the Igbo and the nation in general. State creation is not the major concern of the people presently. The major concern of the people is food on their tables and security of their lives and property from his marauding fellow Muslim Fulani herdsmen and Bandits.

However, as our people often say, “Anu gbaa ajo oso, wa agbaa ajo egbe” (when an animal engages in dangerous race of escape, you respond with an equally dangerous gun-shot), it is important to put the records straight in historical terms against Ned Nwoko’s self-serving political promenade.

First, it is instructive to state that the present Anioma people are multiethnic and multilingual in origin cutting across the Igbo, Isoko, Igala, Edo, and Yoruba ethnic groups, with each subgroup holding fast to its historical origin. The Igbo have only the overriding advantage of being dominant in language and culture, just as many Igbo-speaking communities are being dominated in Edo, Kogi and Benue States respectively by the dominant Edo, Igala and Tiv ethnic groups. Therefore any political decision without the consent of these people cannot stand.

So the politics of Anioma people goes beyond one covering nomenclature of common Igbo identity. We know that Ebu people are Igala even though they bear Igbo names and speak Igala alongside Igbo. Similarly, we know that the people of Ugbodu, Ukwunzu and Ubulubu among other towns of Olukwunmi Clan are Yoruba even though they bear Igbo names and speak Igbo and Yoruba concurrently. These people cannot be forced into the Southeast geopolitical zone unwillingly without mutual agreement; and where their opposition stands, it subsequently becomes the standing position of all Anioma people.

Secondly, it is pertinent to state with clear political mindset that the creation of Anioma State from the present Delta State is untenable under the present political dispensation. Senator Ned Nwoko knows that his demand for the creation of Anioma State on the floor of the Senate was primarily a political ploy by the present Federal Government to distract the attention of the people from the main security and economic problems currently confronting them; and secondly, to shore up his unrecognized political visibility before the Igbo of the Southeast geopolitical zone.

Thirdly, no geopolitical zone would support the creation of additional State from another geopolitical zone without having one created from its zone. In this case, Anioma State cannot be created without the creation of additional State from the present Southeast; otherwise the Igbo would be the losers. Thus Ned Nwoko’s claim that the aim of creating Anioma State is to balance the Southeast imbalance in the Federation is as false as it is self-serving in design. Instead what we expected from him is to rest his reasons on “Igbo imbalance” rather than “Southeast Imbalance.”

Fourthly, it is a historical truism that Anioma people and the Igbo of Southeast had existed as separate and independent political entities from historical times to the present without each being the factor of the other’s existence. Senator Ned Nwoko knows that the mere substitution of “Igbo” with “Southeast” will definitely raise oppositions from a cross section of Anioma land including the Ika and Ndokwa Local Government Areas, which will then deceptively place him as the defender of Southeast cause in Anioma land before the people of Southeast; while protecting the interest of his Muslim Fulani brethren among the Igbo. A smart political 419 subterfuge no doubt!

Fifthly, the Igbo of the Southeast should understand that it pays them more in political and economic terms to have strong Igbo presence in South-South and other geopolitical zones in Nigeria like the Fulani are doing, than attempting to lump all those they presume to be Igbo-speaking together into one Southeast geopolitical zone in the name of common ethnic identity. The dominant presence of the Igbo in the present Rivers State and the considerable pronounced position occupied by the Igbo in the present Delta and Edo States offer the Igbo of the Southeast a tentacle of ethnic balance beyond their traditional homeland.

A number of Southeasterners enjoy almost the same rights with the indigenes of Delta State without any form of discrimination on account of being of the same ethnic group with majority of Anioma people. For instance, my lecturer at University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Prof James Okoro Ijeoma from Arochukwu, enjoyed Midwest State university scholarship.

On the creation of Delta and Edo States, there was no question of you must go back to your own State; rather there was the option of choosing which State you wish to serve, especially for the junior and middle level manpower of the civil service. Many Southeasterners opted to go with Delta State, while a few stayed with Edo State.

This was against the non-indigene experience in Enugu State where a woman from my hometown Mrs. Nwegbe who was a Vice Principle at Queen’s Secondary School, Nsukka, and whose husband Dr. W. D. O. Nwegbe was a lecturer at the Department of English, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, was retrenched without benefit after serving for twenty-nine years, for being a non-indigene of Enugu State.

Beyond the issues of endemic insecurity in Southeast with fellow Igbo shedding the innocent blood of fellow Igbo, and the recurring cases of gross self-serving saboteur syndrome among the Igbo leadership, the degree of intra-group sectionalism among the Southeast States does not present a good and attractive political image. The case of Nsukka indigenes creating a deep gorge of division and hatred among the Igbo over the appointment of the Vice Chancellor of University of Nigeria, Nsukka is one such instance which presents the Igbo in bad light before her neighbors.

Furthermore, the recent statement by a Southeast Member of the Federal House of Representatives representing Orumba North and South Federal Constituency in Anambra State, Honorable Princess Chinwe Nnabuife, rejecting the inclusion of her constituency in the proposed Orlu State clearly reveals how internally sectional the Igbo within the Southeast geopolitical zone are.

Beyond the creation of artificial States, it is historically clear that the greater part of the present southern part of Anambra State falls within the same Igbo sub-cultural and dialectal complex with the people of Orlu Zone of Imo State. So why is Hon. Princess Chinwe Nnabuife refusing to join her Igbo kith and kin in Imo State to advance one common Igbo cause? Yet the same Hon Chinwe Nnabuife was among those applauding Senator Ned Nwoko for proposing the inclusion of proposed Anioma State in Southeast geopolitical zone.

It is also pertinent to remind the proponents of Anioma State joining the Southeast Geopolitical zone that when the indigenes of Onitsha and Ogbaru Local Government Areas opted to join Anioma people to make the creation of Anioma State possible from Bendel State under President Ibrahim Babangiga, notable Igbo leaders from Southeast objected. That objection was responsible for the creation of the present Delta State with Asaba as Capital and subsequent loss of Anioma State under the watch of the noble daughter of Anioma land and First Lady of the Federation, Mrs. Mariam (Rosemary) Babangida.

These are some of the intractable internal issues one expects Igbo leadership to address before talking of including other people in Southeast geopolitical zone. If the houses of the Southeast are not presently in a chaotic state of affairs, some segments of Ikwerre people would not be advancing falsified and ridiculous accounts of their non-Igbo origin. This is just one of the provocative consequences of a divided house.

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