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ENUGU AND DIVISIVE SENTIMENTS

By NBF News
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The creation of Enugu State out of the old Anambra State was masterminded by the late Chief C. C. Onoh and other founding fathers of the state. Chief Onoh, an apostle of the 'Traditional Wawa philosophy' and equally the highly cerebral canvasser of the advancement of the Igbo race, was known by friends and well wishers and lovers of Wawa nation as 'aninefungwuh'.

The announcement of the creation of Enugu State almost 20 years ago set the whole state aflame in jubilation, the streets of Enugu Town were literally lit up in wild joy and pure ecstasy, the atmosphere reflected sheer frenzy, there was a phyrrhic dissolution of the walls of division between the wawa and the non-indigenes.

When Chief C. C. Onoh and his fellow crusaders - for the enthronement of cultural sentiments of rich wawa values and traditional ethos of legendary greatness of the wawa man - set out on the journey of ethno cultural actualisation, it was a step ab initio that was inured with the overriding enthusiasm for protection of primordial instincts of racial survival and perpetuation of unique elements of individuality of the wawa people.

Chief Onoh's noble quest was a welcome development. It was a sincere attempt to extricate his people from pernicious and sociological extinction and cultural atavism. 'Aninefungwuh' was a man whose deeply complex personality struck a discordant chord in the hearts of many. With a compounded personality that sprung up from an awkward blend of the finest of western education - having trained as a lawyer in the United Kingdom - and his almost prehensile bonding with the obsolescent antiquity of the unadulterated culture of the Wawa people, Chief Christian Onoh could then be described as a man that straddled two different cultures.

He was as a matter of fact so nimble in the game he learnt overtime that his quaintly personality always smacked of knotty puzzle whenever he blitzed on the nation's public space like the larger than life colossus he rightly was. Consequently, to those who are at home with the seasoning ingredients of the 'wawa culture', he was a bulwark and custodian of his people's unique ethno-cultural leanings but to those who could be routing for some form of socio-political revolution, Chief C. C. Onoh could, with an incredible elasticity and the same gust of energy present himself as the man to take the first shot.

Successive Governments in Enugu State especially after the military interregnum of the early nineties, seemed to either have a vague idea of the blue print of the great wawa that Onoh had in mind or were outrightly mischievous personalities with a dangerous trait of puerile pyromania. Basically when States are created, the frontiers for development are expanded, the windows for creative ingenuity are stretched, the opportunity to engage in a healthy and competitive quest for self actualisation is stimulated. State creation egenders a cultural paradigm shift wherein the people are accorded their inalienable right to better identify which positive values set them apart from other cultures and accordingly pursue those values in line with the ethos of their cultures and the long established practices of their ancestry.

The founding fathers of Enugu State therefore did not call for the creation of a state that would be a destructive theatre of marginalisation, an unwanted battle field of surreptitious intellectual wars that are fought using ethnicity, nepotism and favouritism as weapons of warfare. The founding fathers of Enugu State both dead and alive would feel thoroughly betrayed witth the turn of events in the state. It is decriable that a man who has a hungry family to feed would be heartlessly caught off from his source of livelihood in the civil - service on account of the flimsy reason that he is not an Enugu indigene even though he may have been legally married to an indigene and has lived in Enugu State all his life. Particularly irksome is the fact that a family is made to suffer humiliation, heartache and the inconvenient indigenity of lack of accommodation because they were forcefully ejected out of an estate which is a common legacy of the people, primarily on the basis of ethnic consideration. Victimisation in the State is so bad that Government largesse and spoils of office are distributed using ethnicity and familial propinquity as a sole determining factor.

There is no gainsaying the fact that societies are not built by alienation and willful exclusions, rather societies are built by carrying everybody along, the Enugu State of our dreams may be difficult to emerge if the people who have the collective mandate of the masses to deliver a society that is free from bad blood and rancour continue to predicate every of their actions and philosophy on the pyromaniac principle of exclusion.

Ezeugwa writes from Lagos