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Ebonyi community leader lauds Buhari over LG name change



A community leader in Ebonyi State, Iro Ukpai, has lauded the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for assenting to a Bill that changed the Afikpo South Local Government Area, to Edda LGA, of Ebonyi State, adding that the change means a lot to the people of the area.

According to him, aside from ease of identification, the development will expose the people of the area to the respect and fame hitherto deprived them, in addition to placing the Edda clan on a global world map.

He stated this during a meeting with journalists in Amoso village, Etiti Edda community, in the Afikpo South (now Edda) Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, on Thursday.

He said, “I’m Barrister Iro Ukpai, a community leader from Amoso village, Etiti Edda community, in formerly Afikpo South Local Government Area and now, Edda Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, awaiting to be gazetted.

“The change is long over due and it’s long been expected, and I’m extraordinarily excited and happy to have witnessed this auspicious change happening in our generation. The name, ‘Edda’ had been subsumed under Afikpo Local Government Area and as a very populous clan, the Edda people are the most homogenous people in Ebonyi State and beyond. Therefore, calling it Afikpo South means you have to navigate through Afikpo to arrive at Edda even at the point of introduction.

“When Gen. Babangida created the LGA and gave it Afikpo South as its name, a good number of us didn’t quite appreciate that move, but because we needed a local government, we were happy that it was given to us.

“Now that it has been changed from Afikpo South to Edda LGA, we are happy and we thank His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari for making it possible and assenting to the bill that changed the name from Afikpo South to Edda LGA.

“The implication of this name change from Afikpo South to Edda LGA is whenever you are called and ask where are you from, you will be bold to say I’m from Edda. It’s also going to make those who didn’t know Edda to know Edda. The people will straightly navigate to Edda. And if our documents and records are changed from Afikpo South to Edda LGA in that constitutional amendment, it means Edda is going to become a household name in Ebonyi, in the South-East geo-political zone and in Nigeria. And so, the people are happy about it because their records, documents and easy of identification and location wouldn’t be through Afikpo again.

“In those days, when they asked where are you from? You said Edda-you have to take back that introduction to Afikpo to start telling where you are from to enable the people identify you. So, the identity of an Edda man is going to be bold, it’s going to be noticable and known to the whole world.

“The whole of Edda people are happy with this development. The day it was announced there was massive celebration all over Edda and all over Nigeria by the Edda people; and, we are still going to celebrate and to thank all the people that made it possible for the name to be changed.

“When you talk about culture, Edda has a lot of cultural activities and masquerades that can be showcased to the whole world, as a people.”

He added, “However, I don’t want to align myself to say that Egbela Edda is retarding the growth of the Edda people. Yes, to some extent it may have been the case in the past, because of the way and manner it was being done-where young men would have to spend seven years, in the bush before they are initiated into the Egbela Edda culture and then bought out from the bush.

“But now I don’t think that is still the case. Every village or community world over, has a culture. What we need is a cultural realignment and change. This is because, according to the law, any culture that’s not subject to change is bound to collapse. With a few minor changes here and there, Egbela Edda can be a weapon or a sign for development. It can even generate money for the people, because on the day of the festival people can come from all over the world, all over Africa, all over Nigeria and from different places to witness it. And by so doing, they either pay money or they lodge in hotels and buy food and other things in the course of the festival.

“Edda has very highly educated and intelligent people. We have many professors in different fields of law, medicine, engineering, accounting, etc. And it will be difficult to say that Egbela Edda retarded their growth, because these people are from Edda and a good number of them have passed through the Egbela Edda culture.

“However, there is a argument that the Egbela Edda actually needs to be retouched and refined so that the Christian kingdom and the cultural kingdom can meet and align, and then use Egbela Edda as a medium of celebration, identity and then everybody will be allowed to participate, and not just the men. The idea will be that both the men and the women can participate.

“Although in various clans, there are certain cultures which do not allow women participation. But there’s need to change this trend, because women are now senators, local government chairmen and play different roles in the development of the society. Some women are chief executive officers, others are heads of NGOs and holding sensitive positions in the society. There’s need to liberate the women so as to be part of the culture, too.

“The Edda people are known for their hard work, they are known for their intelligence, they are known for their determination and even warfare. They were the first to begin to help to liberate other people, because of their physical power. And I think the change of name will now make it possible to showcase all those ingenuities and prowess that were being credited to our neighbours because we were passing through their name. Now we are navigating straightly to Edda.

“Edda will be recognised and appreciated by the Edda people, and our neighbours who will now identify us through the Edda name and concept. I want to personally thank all those who in one way or the other played a role for the actualisation of this noble and historic feat.”

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