Naming Calabar street after late council chair will encourage tribalism – Jalingo

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Social activist, Agba Jalingo has called on the Cross River State government not to name the historical Goldie Street after the late Calabar South LGA chairman, Esther Bassey.

Bassey died as the general election was climaxing in February 2023.

Jalingo frowns at the many colonial names given to popular streets in Calabar, other major towns in the state and even the official residence of the state government, he also disagrees that any street be named after Esther Bassey.

In a statement, Jalingo said, “My only problem with Governor Ayade’s decision to change the name of Goldie Street to Esther Bassey Street is that he is replacing the name of one tribalist with another tribalist.

“It should rather be replaced with the name of a credible character with indelible imprints.

“Esther Bassey was a tribalist who consistently demonstrated her dislike for Igbo traders in Calabar South till she died. She used her power as LGA Chairman to pummel them with all kinds of shenanigans, including physical violence and even asked them at one point to leave if they can’t go by her draconian rules.

“The traders even sued her and the matter is pending in court. I see no reason why such a long street should be named after her. What exactly is her legacy?”

Jalingo, however, called on the local government authorities to remove all foreign names from streets and give native names that can resonate with the locals.

He doubted that there are any streets named after Efiks or Africans in Scotland where Goldie Hugh hailed even though, he said, it is believed that most of the modern cities in the UK, Portugal and America were built by African slaves who did heroic acts without recognition.

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He further argued that the Christian evangelism by Reverend Hugh Goldie which reason a street is named after him is viewed by non-Christians as a sort of usurpation and disservice which has stunted the growth of our local religions and way of life.

In an earlier interview, a prominent Efik son, Mr Gershom Davis, kicked against the plan by the state government to rename Goldie Street in honour of the departed chairman.

He argued that the name Goldie Street should not be wiped away, insisting that doing so would mean dishonouring past achievers to elevate current ones.

According to Davis, Goldie Street stands as a befitting memorial for a man who spent 48 years of his life in Old Calabar, contributing immensely to the religious and social emancipation of the people.

“He is highly revered by the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Christians all over the world and the people of Old Calabar in general.

“We should learn to eschew sentiments and rein in our emotions when taking actions in the public sphere.”

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