Victor Sorokwu argues that the agitation for the state has been a lifelong ambition

 The quest for the creation of Anioma State is not just a dream by Senator Ned Nwoko, who represents Delta North in the Red Chamber. It is the life long aspiration of the forebears of the Anioma ethnic nationality who had risen to redefine their socio-cultural and political existence, in the midst of a heterogeneous geopolitical setting called Nigeria. The agitation for Anioma State was conceived many decades ago by very illustrious sons and daughters of Aniocha  Ndokwa, Ika and Oshimili.  Indeed, it predated the creation of Midwest, Bendel and Delta States. Historically, the agitation grew during the colonial Western region of Nigeria.

Some described the move by Senator Ned Nwoko as opportunistic, and at best a political stunt. Others regarded the renewed Anioma State advocacy as premature, ill-timed and lacking in consensus building. In fact, I was reeked by amusement when one said his permission was not sought before his image in a group photograph was published in the media in respect of the Anioma State creation saga. How pedestrian could such arguments be coming from so-called politicians, who claim to have the interests of Anioma nation at heart? 

Particularly, those of them whose history, origin and ancestry is infinitely rooted in Nri, the cradle of Igbo race. Unarguably, over 70 percent of Anioma communities could trace their origin and ancestry to Igbo cradle. Tradition, culture, language, native names and identifications, socialisation and civilisation are virtually the same.

What other form of consultation is required for a dream and age-long agitation, whose time has come? What other ‘dignified’ stakeholders should be notified before a well-positioned player in a very decisive match score an all-time historic goal? 

Anioma adage renders thus: ‘that an elder does

not prepare and serve a meal for a young guest to query what ingredients were used in making the soup’. 

The progenitors of the Anioma State were revered personalities like Chief Dennis Osadebay, Sen. Nosike Ikpo, Ambassador Raph Uwechue (one-time leader of Ohaneze-Ndigbo), Chief Humphrey Iwerebor, Prof. B.I.C Ijeomah, Prof. Chike Edozien the Asagba of Asaba, Dr. Emmanuel Efeizomor the Obi of Owa; all our royal fathers, and a host of eminent captains of industry, timber and calibre.

These revered Anioma icons had finished the necessary consultations across the federation of ethnic nationalities called Nigeria. No, not Ned or any politician today could have been able to engage the deep, wide far reaching consultations done by these Anioma sages.

It becomes worrisome therefore for some folks among Anioma people to find fault with Ned Nwoko’s foresight to lobby his kith and kin at the National Assembly to allow the creation of the long sought Anioma State to add to the South East to attain an equitable number of states in each region of the Nigerian federation.

Ned – a similitude of Joseph, an offspring seed of the promise made by God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – simply caught the vision for the creation of Anioma State, which was passed down by generations of Anioma ancestors and he cannot be wrong to seek every legitimate avenue and opportunity to actualise the dream.

Every true son and daughter of Anioma should support Senator Nwoko for daring to dream of the birth of Anioma State now. This is indeed nick of time to renew the advocacy to redress a bedridden agitation, which would not only address the socio-cultural and political crisis of identity the Anioma ethnic nationality is grappling with, but also assuage the age-long marginalisation meted on the South East, giving impetus to agitations for self-determination in the region.

· Sorokwu writes from Asaba

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