With expectations rising on the creation of new states following the recommendations of the just concluded National Conference, the Abia State Advisory Council yesterday urged the people to use new states to expand frontiers of development and not as barriers to the existing cultural and social affinities.
Chairman of the Council and elder statesman, Dr Anagha Ezikpe sounded the warning at a press conference to usher in activities marking the 2014 Abia Day celebration, which would climax with merit awards to be conferred on Abians who have distinguished themselves in their various fields.
He said that Ndigbo should not forget their oneness just because they found themselves in a new state, adding that the Igbo race remained the same no matter the geographical boundaries that emerge with state creation.
The present structure of Abia State would be altered as Aba State, which would be carved out from the present Abia State, was among the new states recommended for creation while Etiti, another recommended new state, would absorb two local governments from the northern part of Abia.
“I urge all citizens of Abia State to be guarded in their utterances, they must avoid any statement that will cause disaffection, because in the final analysis we are still Igbos and must stick together like the Jews, wherever we find ourselves,” he said.
Ezeikpe, who was flanked by another elder statesman, Chief Bob Ogbuagu, also spoke on the raging issue of Abia Charter of Equity and the attendant zoning of the governorship ticket of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to Abia South.
According to him, zoning was in line with the spirit of the Charter of Equity, which he described as “a good document written with conscience” to reassure every segment of the state that they would not be marginalised in sharing of power.
He said that the Advisory Council had ab initio, made efforts to have the House of Assembly enact a law to make the implementation of the provisions in the charter binding, but successive legislatures had not seen the need to act accordingly.
Dr Ezeikpe noted that without making the Abia Charter of Equity a legal document, its implementation would continue to be difficult, adding that the decision on zoning would continue to be a political decision because there was no law making it binding on everybody.
“It was done in good conscience and as gentlemen we are bound by that decision,” he said.