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Sunday, 24 June 2018

Street-renaming saga: Obiano reacts to Umahi’s allegation of discrimination

Street-renaming saga: Obiano reacts to Umahi’s allegation of discrimination

The governor of Anambra state Mr. Willie Obiano has replied Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state, on allegation of discrimination against Abakaliki citizens living in Awka.

A joint press briefing by his chief press secretary, James Eze and Chairman of Awka South Local Government Area, Mr Leo Nwuba, regretted that the renaming of a street had been given wrong interpretation by some people.

Eze said: “Governor Obiano is the last man to put down a fellow human being let alone his own Igbo brothers. It is totally inconceivable that anyone could assume that the renaming of Abakaliki Street was done with an intention to spite anyone. The question to ask is, to what purpose, really?.

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“Governor Obiano has always been clear about what he wants to do about the new Awka Capital City. The former Abakaliki Street and the surrounding area have been designated as the entertainment hub of the city. That is where you have the largest concentration of entertainment hangouts.

“It is also a part of the city that never sleeps. We have a 24 hours life there. Government has provided adequate security, streetlights, road markings and everything that would encourage a 24 hours life in that axis. That district is gradually evolving into what might be called the Las Vegas of Nigeria especially on Friday nights”.

He revealed that when there was an effort to rename the old Abakaliki Street as ‘Willie Obiano Avenue’, the Governor had quickly turned it down because he wanted the streets within that entertainment circuit to bear names that reflect the offerings of the area.

“He is meticulous about what should be where. That is why he has mapped out an area that would be known as the Central Business District within the capital. Other areas are also being carved out and properly designated. So, there is really no such thing as an attempt to discriminate against anyone in Governor Obiano’s plan.”

Speaking, Leo Nwuba said the state has long designated another street to be named Abakaliki Street within the Capital City.

According to him, “The new Abakaliki Street runs from Club Road, across Queen Suites to Enugu-Onitsha Expressway at the Parktonia Hotel end of the road. The street has clear signs identifying it as Abakaliki Street on both ends” he added.

Mr Nwuba expressed surprise that there was no attempt to balance the story of the renaming of the street with the announcement that another street had been also renamed as Abakaliki Street.

He explained that the renaming of the former Abakaliki Street as ‘Club Road’ was part of the on-going efforts to interpret the Awka City Master Plan, adding that the plan was being tweaked to fit things into their proper places.

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