By Mohammed Abba
There have been clamours for creation of more states in Nigeria. These are not unconnected with the incidental development effects and the arbitrary manner various states were created in the past. Again, for political reasons, some interests yearn to be carved out of larger states. While the agitations for state creation remain the rights of any group, there is need to focus properly on the proposed Adada State.
Adada State is the oldest yet to be realized demand for creation in Nigeria. It was first made in 1983 by Yunusa Kaltungo, a federal lawmaker from Bauchi State, as a result of what he perceived as imbalances in state creation in the country, especially in the Southeast. Then in 1996, the same request was represented to the Mbanefo Panel on State and Local Government Creation and Boundary Adjustment. However, for obvious reasons, Ebonyi State was created, making states in the Southeast five.
Another demand for its creation was in 2005, when former President Olusegun Obasanjo convened a Confab to address salient political issues in the country. The aftermath of that political reform led to the unanimity to create an additional state in the Southeast. Adada then received general acceptance as standing out in the Southeast.
For its fruition, the Southeast Caucus of the National Assembly, under the then Senate President Ken Nnamani, constituted a 10-man committee to look into the nagging state creation matters in the region. Suffice it to say that while the demand for the creation of Adada State was being sustained, there were subsequent demands for state creation, not only in the Southeast, but across the Federation.
It was against this backdrop that the Senator Ken Nnamani-led Southeast Caucus constituted a ten-man committee of senators and members of the House of Representatives from the five states of the Southeast, headed by Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, to recommend an ideal state to be created in the region. Each state was represented by a senator and a member of the House of Representatives. The committee’s mandate was to collate various requests in the zone, and make recommendations to the Southeast caucus.
The Ararume Committee held a meeting of political leaders, past and sitting governors, Speakers of State Houses of Assembly, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, promoters of state creation demands, traditional rulers, professionals, academics, and business executives. The meeting held in Owerri on March 26, 2006, and was hosted by the then executive governor of Imo State, Chief Achike Udenwa. It received demands for the creation of Adada, Aba, Njaba and Orashi. In its wisdom, members of the committee voted to determine the one to be created after open presentations by the advocates. The results were Adada, 5 votes; Orachi, 3; Aba, 2, and Njaba, 0. No such high-powered meeting on state creation had held since then, hence the results subsist.
Adada has been consistently popular because it is densely populated, economically viable, and the homogeneity of its people. Nsukka particularly is the oldest and biggest local government in Nigeria. It was a district headquarters, and the only of such yet to be a state capital.
Again, the choice of Adada is to effect internal political balance in the Southeast. Structurally, there are two political blocs in the zone: North and South. Recall that the same issue was emphasized in 1970 during the quest for Wawa State. The Southern part now has Abia, Anambra and Imo, while the North has Enugu and Ebonyi. Externally, Adada will also balance the state structure in Nigeria as Southeast has the least state (five) in the country.
If the cardinal reason for creation of states is to enhance even development, then Adada stands out most prominently as the very next state to be created out of the Southeast geopolitical zone, being the least developed area among all the requests from there, despite its great human and economic potentials. All it needs is also a state status to be able to stand on its own feet, pull in resources and synergize them with internal human and economic potentials to soar.
In terms of agriculture, the proposed state has abundant fertile land for commercial farming. Uzo-Uwani LGA has the most fertile land and waters in Southeast. It also houses Ada Rice and the World Bank project on rice production. With effective harnessing of rivers Adada, Amayi, Ubene, Oshenyi and Obina through irrigation, all-year round farming will be guaranteed. There are also NALDA Farm in Agu Ukehe in Igbo-Etiti LGA; Enugu State Irrigation Farm at Ete, Igboeze North, and Okpuje Federal Piggery Project. Adada’s potentialities also cut across favourable land for the production of yam, cassava, maize, beans, cashew, palm oil and other cash crops.
Its tourism potential is unequalled. It is blessed with abundant lakes, springs and waterfalls. With the dwindling nature of oil, tourism is becoming a major source of wealth globally. Adada also has many oil fields at Nsukka, Igga and Ukpatu in Uzo-Uwani and in Ehalumona. In fact, Adada has the highest commercial quantity of gas deposits in Africa, located at Ikem, Eha-Amufu, Eha-Alumona down to Uzo-Uwani. It has solid minerals, like limestone, salt, sands for glass making, clay for pottery and ceramics. It remains unbeatable in palm produce, kola nuts, ogbono, ogri, and ose Nsukka (which has gone international). In sum, Adada is more viable than many existing states today because its wealth is multifaceted.
As a proof that there are no dissenting voices in the proposed state, the Enugu State government created the Adada State Actualisation Committee with the mandate of making this request a reality. This is unlike other requests that do not have the support of their mother states. Further to that, Enugu State House of Assembly, on 24th April, 2008, passed a resolution supporting the creation of Adada State.
This is, therefore, a clarion call for expedited action towards the creation of Adada state.
• Abba writes from Yobe State