It is usual to see streets named after people, communities and indeed, anything. This makes it easy for identification by those seeking direction. But beyond that, is what has become the craze by people to have streets named after them, even when those in that street hardly feel their impact or even know them.
Thus many streets now bear names of people, usually well-to-do people. This new phenomenon has drawn complaints from the public who feel that more emphasis is now placed on owning streets than having those streets maintained.
While streets are not necessarily maintained by those they are named after, and while we are not suggesting such, we frown at the proliferation of street names which is often done at the detriment of decency.
There has been public outcry against this proliferation which often does not take into consideration the backgrounds of the people who benefit from it. It appears as if anyone who makes money wants a street to be named after them.
While we also do not have anything against such people, government should also ensure that people of dubious means are not favoured as that will negatively affect society. There is nothing that says that a poor man of good background cannot have a street named after him. Doing such will show that everything is not about money, but that those who contribute meaningfully to society can be recognised and honoured.
That is why some people are posthumously honoured, either by awards or by having streets named after them. Such people as Nigeria's first president, Nnamdi Azikiwe; Nigeria's former prime minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and our own late Bishop Albert Obiefuna have had streets and important monuments named after them because of their contributions to the country and their immediate society. They serve as role models to others who will strive to do what those people had done.
Streets should not be given out to people on the basis of closeness to the power corridors but on the basis of what they gave to society or are still giving. Naming streets after any Tom, Dick or Harry is not germane to society.
We therefore call on the Anambra State Government to review the policy on street naming. While streets can be named after individuals who have impacted on society, as a mark of respect or recognition, all others, apart from perhaps, important institutions, can be made to not only pay the government, but to take on the responsibility of maintaining the streets. That could be a new way of boosting the revenue profile of the government.
It is therefore high time our society was sanitised by playing down on hero worship. Perhaps, this tendency has contributed to the dearth of the right role models as everything, including modesty and decency, has been sacrificed on the altar of money. This should stop so that our society can regain its lost glory.