Group demands creation of Enoa State
A proposal for the creation of Enoa State has been sent to the National Assembly for consideration, as federal lawmakers are gathering suggestions from Nigerians to alter some portions of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Enoa, an acronym derived from the first letters of Etche; Ndoki; Omuma/Obigbo and Asa, the clans that make up the proposed state.
Etche, Ndoki, Obigbo, Omuma and Asa clans are the same people with same culture, but balkanized into different states of Rivers, Akwa-Ibom and Abia.
Dr. Dike Onwubiko, coordinator of the ‘Enoa State Movement’, explained that the move had become a necessity following underdevelopment of the five clans in three states, where they are regarded as minorities.
Onwubiko, who, on May 27, 2021, presented the issue of Enoa State during the South-East Zonal public hearing of the review of the 1999 Constitution, held in Owerri, Imo State, said the move for the creation of Enoa State had been on since 2013, and was also presented during the 2014 National Conference.
Onwubiko stated that the people of Etche, Omuma/Oyigbo, Ndoki and Asa were of the same ancestral origin, who were balkanized into different sub-groups of three states, noting that, “the five clans are currently stranded in development as a result of deliberate policies of governments of states where they fall under.”
He noted that they had been waiting for an opportunity to present the matter until the ongoing constitutional amendment exercise offered them a better opportunity to present their case.
He said that the Justice Mamman Nasir, National Boundary Commission of 1975, ceded 17 Asa and Ndoki communities to Oyigbo, Rivers State; Ohaobu and Akpala-Ndoki communities placed under Akwa Ibom State.
He stressed that other Asa and Ndoki communities were equally wrongly placed in Osisioma, Obingwa, Aba North, Aba South and Ugwunagbo Local Government Areas of Abia State, where they are currently treated as minorities.
“Before then, all of us had one place where we assemble and that was Obehie, where we had our Magistrate Court. Everybody was assembling at Obehie, including those in Rivers State, like Etche and Omuma.
“We have everything in common, our dialect, mode of dressing and culture. Today, in Abia, we are minority, in Akwa-Ibom we are minority and in Rivers State we are also minority.
“This has not helped us politically and in terms of development, employment and everything we’re disadvantaged. We’re neglected, we’re marginalized and these conditions have not helped us.
“Our people are not happy with all these situations. So, our people gathered together. Those in Etche, Omuma and Obigbo, we gathered together and said why can’t we ask for a new state? Remaining as minority in three different States has not helped us”, he stated.
Onwubiko said that the plights of the five clans in all the three States where they find themselves are similar, as neglect on their infrastructure like roads have made them look like strangers in their own country.
“To move from Obehie to Okeikpe, headquarters of Ukwa West Local Government Area (LGA), is now a nightmare. To also move from Obigbo to Afam is a nightmare. Omuma and Etche, is also the same thing.
“Nobody remembers them. So, the best thing for us to do is to come together and ask for a state and see how we can be pulled out from this minority syndrome.”
He explained that Enoa State would be viable, as it had all it takes to survive and even stand a better chance of developing faster than many other states, as a result of its abundant natural and human resources.
Onwubiko said that all issues that raised signs of marginalization witnessed in other states, had been ironed out in the proposed Enoa State with equity and fairness set to take centre stage.
“We are five clans that are coming together to form Enoa State. From our map, you’ll see that the five clans, divided into 15 LGAs. Each of the five clans got three LGAs in our equitable distribution of the LGAs, to avoid any form of minority or majority.”
On which region to place Enoa State, Dike noted that it was the responsibility of the National Assembly, adding that they had agreed that their capital would be at Obuaku.
According to him, “Enoa is an Igbo-speaking area. So, the decision to put us in South-South or South-East is entirely the decision of the National Assembly, but we on our own, will prefer South-East. We have signatories from leaders of all the five clans coming together to form Enoa State.”
For Dr Ikechuckwu Ajuzieogu, Secretary General of Asa Development Union and one of the promoters of Enoa State said that the proposed State if created would be viable.
Ajuzieogu stated that Enoa was richly blessed with lots of mineral resources, such as oil and gas, gold and sharp sand, etc.
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The people are also farmers and produce palm oil, timber, cassava, yam, pineapples, cucumber, among other cash crops in commercial quantities.
He added that, “Enoa has trillions of litres of untapped natural gas, 220 functional oil wells and 90 capped oil wells.”
Yolamchi Ukaga, Aba