Mr. J Ogbeni- Response to the creation of new state in Nigeria-

As long as marginalisation is the order of the day in Nigeria, the clamour for the creation of more states will not stop. In Delta State, the peace loving people of Anioma have been short-changed. This is the time to stand up and get the right thing done. Some ethnic champions in Delta State have arrogantly proclaimed that as long as the capital remains in Asaba, our people should never aspire to produce the governor of the state. Talking about redefining the rules and essence of democracy! And for this reason, the Anioma area remains the most under developed part of Delta State. The billions of naira in allocation, plus the 13% derivation funds given to oil producing areas, has never had any positive impact in our area. 

The other day, it was reported that Aniocha South local government area is the least developed in that entire region. It was also in the news that the elders of Ika who stood up to demand the dividends of democracy in their area were confronted and tear -gassed by agents provocateurs. Surely, we cannot allow this to continue.

Anioma State fulfils all the criteria that the National Assembly has laid down for new states to be created. Our strong points are as follows: We have the human resources needed for the state to take off. There is no family in Anioma that does not boast of one or two graduates. The issue of underdevelopmen t brought about by the parochial attitude of the powers that be in that Delta State must be addressed. The Anioma people are the most culturally bonded and homogenous of all ethnic groups in Nigeria. We have the basic infrastructure in Asaba to enable the new state to take off. Our area is the most peaceful in Nigeria, and inspite of our underdevelopmen t, we have not taken up arms against the Nigerian State like others have done. We have the peace of God in our midst; that is why incidents of murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, religious uprisings, inter community clashes are unheard off.

We need to demonstrate once and for all that without oil, our people can make it. We can build a model state. I would like to thank all our leaders who have pursued with passion this vision of a state for our people. Thank you to the tireless Asagba of Asaba. We the youths of Anioma are solidly behind you.

I would like to call on our son, Professor Pat Utomi and our daughter, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala to join hands with our people to make this vision a reality. Charity, they say, begins at home. Let me also call on the President of Ohaneze Nd’Igbo, our dear son Ambassador Ralph Uwechue to lend his support to this noble venture. All hands must be on deck. Our people always say that: ibu ba n’uya, anyi ebue n’isi ọkpọ. Do not ask me to translate this because the English language does not understand the nuances in this expression.

John Ogbeni
[UK]