Group rejects inclusion of Ohaji in proposed Orlu State

A socio-cultural organisation, Ogbako Ohaji People’s Forum in Imo State, has rejected the inclusion of Ohaji in the proposed Orlu State, citing cultural, social, and geographical differences with the Orlu people.

A bill for the creation of Orlu State is being considered by the National Assembly.

In a letter addressed to the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon.Tajudeen Abbas, the Ohaji district of the Ohaji/Egbema LGA stated that their inclusion in the proposed state was a result of political conquest and selfishness, and not a decision made by the people.

The forum highlighted their proximity to Owerri, the capital of Imo State, and their historical and cultural ties to the capital city.

They also noted that their inclusion in Orlu State would lead to further marginalisation and deprivation.

In the letter signed by various leaders of the forum which included High Chief Fidelis Enyia, Dr. Theodore Amunwa, Isinwa Destiny, and Nwosu Nicholas Tochi, the Ohaji people demanded to remain part of Imo State, where they say they rightfully belong.

The statement read, “The above organisation being the apex social cultural body speaking for the good people of Ohaji district in conjunction with other major stakeholders wholly and entirely support and commend the bill for the creation of Orlu State.

“For so long the people of Southeast have not left anyone in doubt that an additional state needed to be carved out for the geo-political zone. This move therefore will not only correct the imbalance but goes a long way to assuage, placate and give them a sense of belonging.

“However, Ohaji district in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State with a population of 177,940, made up of 20 Autonomous Communities vehemently detest and reject the move to include us (Ohaji) in the proposed bill for Orlu State. Ohaji district’s inclusion in Orlu Senatorial Zone ab-initio was more of political conquest and selfishness of few leaders who acquiesced to it then, hence an aberration whose time has come for correction.

“Furthermore, we have no cultural and social affinity with Orlu people and political marriage should be by choice and agreement, not by compulsion. It is the fundamental human right of Ndi-Ohaji to unanimously determine the State to belong.

“To that extent, we say emphatically no to our inclusion in the new Orlu State but yes to Imo State where we rightly belong and wish to remain.”

It added: “Another point or reason for our rejection of the proposed Orlu State has to do with distance. The capital of Imo State which is Owerri is a stone-throw from any part of Ohaji town or village and can’t be more than 35 minutes’ drive, approximately 26 Kilometers, coming from the extreme part of Ohaji.

“Whereas, the capital of the proposed Orlu State town is 69 kilometres which is roughly one hour twenty-four minutes from Ohaji. Some of our communities have common boundaries with Owerri; for example, Avu, Okuku, Oforola and Obinze all in Owerri share boundaries with Obosima, Ohoba, Umuokanne and Mgbirichi all in Ohaji. Let the proponents of the bill for new State creation tell the World where we have any boundary with Orlu people talk more of other things.

“Our marriage of inconvenience to Orlu people has only produced misery, deprivation, servitude and unpardonable marginalisation, Owerri is the gateway of every Ohaji person as our nearest city, seconded by Port Harcourt in Rivers State. Every Catholic in Ohaji belongs to Archdiocese of Owerri, same to Anglican whose Archdiocese is seated in Owerri. It would amount to unforgivable monumental error if we leave Owerri that has been our kit and kin to criss-cross towns and villages to Orlu.

“There is no doubt that our abundant oil and gas deposits, cash crops in Ada palm plantation, Obitti Rubber plantation and other monies yielding cash crops are their target.

“Conclusively, Ohaji will not be part of the proposed Orlu State. As much as we wish that the envisaged State in question succeeds, Ohaji will remain in Imo State.”


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