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Anioma is My Ethnic-nationality not Igbo

Until we the Anioma People recognize the incontrovertible fact that we are indivisible group of people with one destiny concentrated in Delta and Edo States (Igbankes) we may continue to wallow in ignorance and ultimately end up giving our victory to our opponents or still, end up as what Prof. Ola Rotimi, the late Literary Guru called “A Butterfly that thinks himself a Bird”. In the instance, our opponents are the Igbos (of the South-East) If oral history in its own usual business continue to claim that some of us originated from the Igbos are we still Igbos? We have our own distinctiveness whether cultural and linguistic unique to us. We are united in Anioma and on “Enu-Ani we stand.

At least we have a place in the 250 ethnicities in Nigeria . We are today Aniomas and not Igbos. We have this sense of belonging because we know we have our own place in this Nation that place we shall move on to take with Renewed vigour.

If the Igbos see us as “Delta Igbos” the same way we were seen as “Bendel Igbos” in the past how do we see ourselves? We do not even need history in assisting us know that the Igbos are largely failures in the theatre of Nigerian politics for the reason we cannot rely on them rather we must understand the simple truth that an individual in this Land cannot belong to two different ethnic nationalities. We cannot be Aniomas and at the same time Igbos. Anioma is our own and our home. We have been deceived for too long by the Igbos.

Ohaneze will do us no good or can anybody pointedly tell me what we have achieved from this organization over the years? Instead we await Ohaneze to help us actualize the creation of Anioma state,the oldest state in agitation in Nigeria . If Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu led panel for the creation of additional state in the Igbo land could conclude that the creation of Anioma sate would mean an additional state for the people of south-south geo-political zone then the Aniomas are on their own and cannot count on the Igbos.

If the Governor of Imo state, Chief Ikedi Ohakim has declared the readiness of the governor and people of the state to give necessary backing to the growing call for the creation of Njaba state from the present Imo and Anambra states (see the Punch newspaper, Monday, March 31 2008) We have no place amongst the people of Imo sate.

Is the proposed Njaba state more viable economically than Anioma? It is sad that 48 years after the independence of Nigeria, the Igbos have not yet familiarized themselves with the gimmicks of political competitions in Nigeria such that we begin to wonder if the politicians from this geo-political zone ever consult their Academics, Historians and other political scientists before formulating their “wash-wash” policies.

It is equally very wonderful that the Igbos would prefer to remain as they presently or even shrink in the name for the purpose of creating one additional state for the zone rather than extend and claim their either lost Anioma or Rivers state group. How unimaginable it would appear for the Igbos to carve out one more tiny state out of any of the present existing tiny states of the east.

The Anioma ethnicity has in the past sacrificed quite a lot for the Igbos but our rewards remain nothing but denial for separate existence or even to join them as our believed kiths and kin. During the civil war, almost all the Biafrian commanders were Aniomas. Even the Biafrians invaded the Mid-western region which at that time included the Aniomas. Series of massacres were also carried out in Asaba, Ogwashi-uku, Ibusa and other towns and villages though by the federal troops all of these we had to suffer for the Igbos.

Today, the Igbos would look the Aniomas in the eyes and boldly tell us they the prefer the creation of any out of mushroom names and not states of Urashi, Orlu, Njaba and other villages.

I hope the Aniomas have leant a lesson at least we now know we never for once belonged to the Igbos and that the Igbos do not see us as one of their own. We have discovered our root since 1951 and this can be found in Anioma. We have no inheritance in Ohaneze Ndigbo. The earlier we seek our own ethno-national umbrella the better for us.

Anioma “Ofu-obi kanyi jie je!

By Emeka Esogbue