By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—Uneasy calm has enveloped Owerri, following the renaming of Assumpta Avenue by Governor Rochas Okorocha, to Muhammadu Buhari Road.
The Road which was named after the magnificent Maria Assumpta Catholic Cathedral, Owerri, several decades ago, had remained so until it was renamed by Okorocha.
Vanguard recalls that Assumpta Avenue, with the Zip Code 460211, stretched from the old Library Roundabout, Okigwe/Wetheral Roads, to Assumpta Cathedral, Control Post.
It would be recalled also that following the establishment of banks along the Assumpta Avenue, some residents, including commercial motorcyclists, started calling part of the Avenue, Bank Road.
A staff of one of the banks, who spoke to Vanguard on strict grounds of anonymity, said that most of the banks bear Assumpta Avenue as their official address.
He stressed that “it is this Avenue that Governor Rochas Okorocha has sadly changed to Muhammadu Buhari Road”.
Another resident of Owerri, Bro Ikay, equally lamented that Okorocha has changed the names of other major roads in Owerri.
“Wetheral Road is now Sam Mbakwe Road, while Okigwe Road has been renamed Nnamdi Azikiwe Road”, Bro Ikay said.
Continuing, Bro Ikay recalled that Okorocha had earlier renamed Douglas Road after the 10-year old boy, Somtochukwu Ibeanusi, who was shot dead, during the destruction of Ekeukwu Owerri market.
Reacting also online, Agunwa Emeka Nzeribe, who claimed to be a chieftain of All Progressives Congress, APC, and a Catholic faithful from Oguta, said that the action of Okorocha in renaming the Assumpta Avenue is unacceptable, but quickly added that “we must treat it with caution”.
He wondered why Governor Okorocha should not have opened an entirely new road and name it after the President, like the former Governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim did on Musa Yar’Adua Road.
“He is no longer loved by Imo people and he is playing to the gallery to ensure that he wins the favour of the Presidency to enable him install a preferred candidate as his successor. We should ask ourselves what made him stop the unveiling of the remaining statues moulded in New Owerri,” Nzeribe said.
Continuing, this Catholic faithful recalled that everybody in Imo State knows this road as Assumpta Avenue, until recently when banks took over both sides of the road, from Douglas Road Junction, which became known as Bank Road.
“As his days are numbered, I implore all Imolites to tarry awhile in order not to jeopardize chances of desired change Imo people are yearning for in 2019”, Nzeribe pleaded.