Details surfaced yesterday why Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha CON, renamed a road named after former South Africa President, Jacob Zuma to foremost nationalist and first Republic Minister of Nigeria, 90 year old Mbazuluike Amechi.

The dual carriage road located in the heart of Owerri was named after the South African leader by former Governor of Imo State,  Rochas Okorocha, which sparked widespread criticisms.

Zuma as at the time the road was named after him was facing corruption charges back home in South Africa. He was subsequently convicted by the Supreme Court after stepping aside as leader of the former apartheid nation.

Eyebrows were raised why such an honour should be conferred on the then South African leader with the tar of corruption by the Okorocha administration.

A year after the honour, Okorocha’s successor and the current Governor of the State, Emeka Ihedioha stripped Zuma of the honour and bestowed it on foremost Nigerian nationalist, Mbazuluike Amechi, a move hailed by majority of Imolites.

Ihedioha  gave reasons for his decision.

Governor Ihedioha said, “Dr. Amaechi is an icon, one of the founding fathers of the nation whose contributions to nationhood should not be overlooked”.

 “Dr. Amaechi remains an inspiration, who stood and defended those principles that remain valuable to nation building.”

Top Igbo leaders including former Commonwealth Secretary General, Emeka Anyaoku, Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, two former ministers, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho and Walter Ofonagaoro, were in attendance at the birthday bash organized by the Imo State government, to honour the nationalist

Also in attendance was former President Olusegun Obasanjo and President General, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, John Nnia Nwodo

Mbazulike Amechi, a native of Ukpor in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State, played very significant role in nationalist movements that led to the attainment of Nigeria’s Independence.

He was elected as a member of the House of Representatives in 1959 and was appointed Minister of Aviation and Transport in 1962.

He is also the only surviving member of Zikist Movement, founded by father of nationalism and Nigeria’s First President, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe.


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