By Tony Okafor, Awka
~ Hails governor for Achebe Airport
Lawyer and media practitioner, Val Obienyem, has hailed the Anambra State Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, for naming Anambra State International Cargo and Passenger Airport,Umueri, after the late Prof Chinua Achebe.
He said it was an honour well deserved and universally applauded for.
Obienyem, however, condemned the naming of the International Convention Centre(ICC), Awka, after the immediate past governor of the state, Willie Obiano, describing it as irrelevant.
He queried the rationale behind naming a building after a man who squandered a significant portion of the state’s savings, plunged the state into debt exceeding half a trillion, and left numerous (97%of the roads he flagged off) unfinished projects in his wake?
Obienyem stated these in a statement made available to our correspondent in Awka, the Anambra State capital, on Tuesday.
He said,”A few days ago, Mr. Peter Obi delivered a lecture at Princeton University in New Jersey, commemorating 40 years of Achebe’s “Trouble with Nigeria.”
“The insightful celebration reached its climax when Governor Charles Soludo, whom I suspect was following Obi’s speech, was, I suspect again, inspired by the speech to name the Anambra Airport after Prof. Chinua Achebe. It was a decision universally applauded for its consistency with Achebe’s exemplary life.
“Achebe’s life is greatly appreciated today because, unlike those we might consider his contemporaries, who are currently vacillating between truth and falsehood, Achebe remained consistent until his death.
This commendable act by Soludo reminded us of similar past actions that were fitting, including: 1 Naming of the secretariat after Udoji by Mr. Peter Obi.
2. Naming of the State University after Odumegwu-Ojukwu by Mr. Peter Obi.
3. Naming of the Teaching Hospital after Odumegwu-Ojukwu by Peter Obi
4. Naming the stadium at Onitsha North after Justice Ikpeazu by Mr. Peter Obi. Ikpeazu was the first person to own a private football club in Nigeria.
5. Naming of the stadium at Onitsha South after Godwin Achebe by Mr. Peter Obi. Achebe was the longest-serving Captain of the National Team.
6. Naming the Library at Awka after Prof. Kenneth Dike by Mr. Peter Obi.
7. Naming of Ekwueme Square by former Gov. Mbadinuju.
8. Naming of the Women’s Development Centre after Prof. Dora Akunyili by Gov. Willie Obiano.
Continuing, Obienyem asked,” What about the International Convention Centre? What’s the reasoning behind naming it after Obiano? There seems to be none! The fact that he funded its construction is irrelevant. All the structures I mentioned earlier were constructed by others.
“Furthermore, what message are we sending by naming a building after a man who squandered a significant portion of the state’s savings, plunged the state into debt exceeding half a trillion, and left numerous (97%of the roads he flagged off) unfinished projects in his wake?
“In his excessive pursuit of undeserved recognition, he even attempted to name the Airport after himself. He also had more than 20 streets named after him, his wife, and children while he was still in office as Governor.
“It’s worth noting that during his time as Governor, Obi declined the naming of institutions and even the street where he reside in Onitsha. Even when he reconstructed the maternity ward at Holy Rosary Hospital in Waterside, Onitsha where he was born, he refused to have it named after him.
“In Obi’s philosophy, honouring individuals and bestowing dignities are indeed commendable, but he firmly believes that these should be bestowed upon individuals when they are not in office.
“While we express our gratitude to Soludo for his recent action, we urge other Nigerians to consider granting honours and dignities as a means of recognizing unwavering reputation, rather than as a way of repaying personal favours or friendships.”