The struggle for national balance through the creation of new states in the South-east continues unabated as former Abia state governor Dr.Orji Kalu warned against allowing outsiders to play on the imaginary divisions within the geo- political zone.
Kalu said in a statement by Emeka Obasi his media chief, “I have heard a lot of comments especially by so called prominent men who still believe in marginalisation as an instrument of war.Some of them claim the Igbo are quarelling over names for the proposed states. Others claim there are agitations over who should benefit from the arrangement.These are all diversionary.Call them Njaba,Adada,Orashi,Aba , Etiti or even Anioma states.The people are not divided,just create the states first.”
The former governor said it was usual for opinions to differ.”Not everybody in the Western region supported the creation of Mid-west in 1963.There were politicians who felt the Northern and Eastern regions were playing politics with the process.And name does not really matter.Afterall, in General Yakubu Gowon’s broadcast on May 27,1967 that divided Nigeria into 12 states,there was no mention of Kwara state.What he mentioned was West-central state,comprising Ilorin and Kabba Provinces.States he emphasised, were free to change names.That was how Kwara came to be.”
He also cited other examples where what was expected by some was not met,yet it did not affect the creation of those states.”Let us look at Ogun state at creation in 1976.I guess many Ijebu thought Sagamu would be named the Capital City.Their expectations were dashed when Abeokuta got it.They saw the hand of a Son of the Soil who was just a step below the Head-of -State at Dodan Barracks.Again, when Delta state was created,the Urhobo felt Ughelli or Warri could have been picked,not Asaba as Headquarters,”Kalu added.
Kalu urged those who claim that creation of new states would further weaken the economy since more than 32 of the present 36 states were insolvent, to ask for the reduction of states to 30,so that each geo-political zone would have five like the South-east.
“By their words we know them.When we talk of equity,someone goes into financial economics,an area they hardly touch in their homes.Okay,let all of us do this political mathematics of numbers.Let us save so much money for the country.Reduce the number of Local Governments,merge some states so that each zone would have five,then reduce the number of aides attached to politicians and past leaders.That done,those of us who cry marginalisation may have to change strategy,”he said.