By Echiemeze Chizekene Ofili
“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?”
The above Century old quote from William Shakespeare summarizes the predicament that Anioma People must confront as they approach the National Assembly Committee on the review of 1999 Constitution at Constituency level public hearing.
At last or at least it seems to appear, that balancing of the present geopolitical zones on basis of equity and fairness is one issue that Nigerians and their representatives at the National Assembly have come to agree.
A new Anioma State as the sixth State of South East geopolitical zone is being proposed and may well provide this master stroke. If it receives a favorable consideration, it is strongly being tossed as a Bride: “A Bride of Equity” that would bring to an end a history of imbalance and injustice, and provide the closure needed to foreclose the perception of marginalization. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing Anioma
Anioma People without big players in Nigeria politics presently hold the ace that could provide this balancing act for the South-South and South East geopolitical zones. A new Anioma State with the right composition and location in the proper geopolitical zone will be the pride a nation of people and manifestation of the peoples’ ability to solve their problems by compromise and precision.
However, the dilemma is whether a People with the longest agitation for a state in the history of state creation will boggle this chance. As it stands today, if no consensus is reached on the communities that would constitute a new Anioma State, and its best geopolitical location; Anioma People may have to live with a self-inflicted injury in many years to come.
There are propositions that a new Anioma State that is partly different from what has long been pursued or historically proposed may emerge more viable. Reasons are that times have changed, and communities and social formations have evolved and are still evolving.
First there are more challenges and opportunities today than far back when Sir Dennis Osadebe and his folks first conceived the idea of a separate political jurisdiction to be known as Asaba Division in the old Western Region. This political jurisdiction with some modifications constitutes what is presently known as Anioma.
Anioma region and people have evolved from seeing themselves as or being classified as: Western Igbos, Midwestern Igbos, Bendel Igbos and Delta Igbos to seeing themselves simple as Anioma people. This new identity is supported by many factors the most potent being a new Anioma Nationalism fueled by social media communications. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria)
To some people a little modification to the composition of communities that would constitute a new Anioma State or realignments both in terms of geographical composition and nomenclature may further promote and assure its future viability.
According to the above, a new viable Anioma state may be that which is created not only to provide succor to Anioma people’s historical demand for a state of their own, but that also takes into account the needs of its closest neighbors and the entire Nigeria nation.
This group advocates for a new Anioma State that is carved out from the present Delta State and that will provide a relief from the persistent tension between Anioma people and the Core Delta people in the present Delta State. This new Anioma will include the Igbankes and Egbedes presently in Edo State; the Ndoni people( Sir Peter Odili’s Community) that was originally part of Aboh Division but presently in Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Area (LGA) Rivers State ; Onitasha people now presently in Anambra State but share historical and cultural links with other Onicha communities of Eze Chime Clan in Aniocha Local Government Area, in Anioma region of present Delta State; the Oguta people presently in Imo State but share historical root an culture with Aboh people.
To others, it is either an Anioma State as was conceived by our forefathers or nothing.
The pros and cons of these two positions must be fully communicated to Anioma people by each party making these propositions. In the coming state creation exercise Anioma people will resist to be left with the short end of the stick.