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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Political Tsunami: More Members From Opposition Parties Join APGA Ahead Of 2019

Ahead of the coming general elections in the country, more opposition party members have continued to defect to the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in Ogbaru Local Government Area.

Addressing the new and old party faithful at Atani, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Political Matters, Comrade Arinzechukwu Awogu, said APGA has brought a new dawn to the state and South East as well as raised the tempo of good governance.

Comrade Awogu, while commending the party members for their efforts and contributions to the successes recorded during the Governorship and other elections in the state, stressed the need to build on what has been achieved so far.

He enjoined them to continue to harness and expand the grassroots support enjoyed by the party across the state.

Also speaking, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Image Management, Mr. Paul Nwosu, noted that regular interaction among party members would enhance understanding and provide opportunity for all to make inputs that would further move the party forward and enjoined the members to avoid acts detrimental to the collective interest of the party.

In his remarks, the Transition Committee Chairman for Ogbaru Local Government Council, Barrister Ignatius Ezediokpu, called for more support for the Obiano administration to deliver more democracy dividends to the people.

Speaking on behalf of the new entrants, Chief Okwudili Osai assured that they would work with other members of the party to consolidate the success of APGA within and beyond the state.

Governor Obiano Inspects Ongoing Work At The SARS Abube Nando Bridge

Governor Willie Obiano was on ground yesterday to inspect the launching of cross beams on a bridge along SARS Awkuzu -Abube Nando road. 

The bridge links up the all important 4.5km inter senatorial zone road connecting Anambra Central from Onye Agu Abagana through SARS Junction, Awkuzu - Abube Nando into the Onitsha - Otuocha - Ayamelum road in Anambra North.

The road was awarded by the present administration and 4.2Km have already been asphalted, remaining three hundred meters around the bridge area.

Governor Obiano who spoke after the beams launch, said the road is a major route that opens up agrarian communities of Anambra North and other parts of the area designated for real estate development.

He explained that the visit was to see whether the contractor was living up to terms with respect to the funds released by his administration and expressed satisfaction that work was in top gear at the site.

The Member representing Anambra East in the state Assembly, Mr Obinna Emeneka said people of the area are reaping the dividends of good governance which they enthroned with their votes, adding that when completed, the road will have a positive effect on the economy of the area.

The contractor handling the project, Igwe Ben Emeka thanked Governor Obiano for giving them the opportunity to showcase what they can do in the state and for keeping its own part of the agreement with respect to provision of funds, assuring that they will deliver the road before the next rains.

Some people of Nando including Mr Ezenwa Adukwe and Mr Lawrence Ejimofor who expressed delight at what the government has done, prayed God to grant the Governor more wisdom to continue to steer the affairs of the state to greater heights.

Women of the area sang in solidarity with the Governor.

Obiano Inspects Chisco - Osumenyi Town Hall Road, Assures Completion By End Of April

The State government is to complete the Chisco House Amichi -Osumenyi Town road by end of April, this year.

Governor Willie Obiano disclosed this when he paid an unscheduled visit to the project site.

The road which was awarded in April, 2014, had the challenge of a major gully that cut it into two before the State government intervened.

During the visit, it was observed that the gully had been fully controlled while earthwork has been achieved on a reasonable length with Asphalting and installation of streetlights ongoing.
Speaking after the inspection exercise, Governor Obiano said the road is important as it provides a diversion from the very busy major roads, adding that with the completion of the road, the area will be permanently saved from erosion challenges.

He expressed satisfaction with the quality of work done except for some observations he noted about the thickness of asphalt on the road, which he said the contractor had noted and promised to address.

The Contractor handling the project, Mr Sylvester Onwuzulike said they are heeding the directive of the state government to deliver a quality project that will stand the test of time and commended the overwhelming support of the Governor that has helped them surmount the challenges they encountered in the course of their operations.

By Kenechukwu Ofomah

Governor Obiano Inspects Ifite-Unizik Road, Assures Students Of Improved Security To Cub Criminality

The State Government is to intensify security along Ifite-Awka Road leading to Unizik Gate to curb the pockets of crime experienced of late around the area.

Governor Willie Obiano made this known yesterday when he inspected ongoing reconstruction work on the road.

Governor Obiano who revealed that the state joint Security team will embark on a raid of flash points to rid the area of illicit drugs which he noted is driving the recent spate of crime there and warned that anyone found to be dealing on prohibited drugs will be arrested and duly prosecuted.

He reminded the students that they have a duty to provide information that will help security agencies keep them safe and disclosed that a police patrol vehicle has been dedicated to ply the road 24 hours, to protect students from criminals.

The Governor noted that the State government has fully mobilized the contractor handling the project and stressed that he has made it clear to the contractor that the road must be completed to Amansea before the next rains.

The President of the Students Union Government of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Comrade Ikenna Igwebuike who recalled their plight when the road was bad, thanked Governor Obiano for coming to their rescue by constructing the road.

The contractor handling the project said they will complete the project within the specified period.

Students of Unizik trooped out during the visit to welcome the Governor with solidarity chants.

By Kenechukwu Ofomah

10 Things You Should Know About Nnewi

Nnewi is located in Anambra state, South East Nigeria and is the second largest city in the state and an abode for over 300,000 people. 

Bustling with life dawn to dusk, it is a choice place to live, work and transact on various products and services.

If you’re currently planning to move to Nnewi, below are 10 things you should know.

1. Nnewi is a very commercial and an industrial city

Nnewi popularly called ‘The Japan of Africa” is a commercial city with large economic activities going on a daily basis. Next to Onitsha, it is an economic hub for commerce, industry and trade in Anambra State. There are numerous large and small markets in the town including Nkwo Nnewi which is one of the largest auto and motocycle spare parts market in West Africa.

Majority of residents of Nnewi are traders specialized in auto and motorcycle importation and spare parts distribution. The motorcycle market at Nnewi has developed to the extent that dealers in collaboration with their manufactures now have products made and sold in local branded names. Local technicians are equally equipped to carry out maintenance, repair and provide service support to customers.

The love for auto industry by Nnewi people may be said to have started as far back as 1912 when Sir Louis Ojukwu, the father of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (Ikemba Nnewi) made history as the first Igbo man to own and drive a car.

To fulfill the needs of its auto market by local production, Chief Innocent Chukwuma an industrious son of the soil sited an automobile manufacturing plant in the city. Thus Nnewi is home to the only Indigenous Auto Manufacturing plant in Nigeria, the Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited that produces the IVM brand. IVM, the pride of the city has put Nnewi in the limelight for the past 5-6years producing sedans, SUVs, vans and buses. The company has also ventured into producing armored vehicles and maintenance of aircrafts.

Apart from the vibrant auto industry, Nnewi industrialist manufactures products which range from agrochemicals to plastics, electric cables etc. Some other manufacturing industries operating at Nnewi includes Life Vegetable Oil and AZ Oil of the Chikason Group, Ibeto group of companies, Coscharis Group, Louis Carter Group, Cutix Plc, Uru Industries etc.

2. Nnewi is both a city and two local government areas

Nnewi is not just a city but also a combo of two local government areas; Nnewi North and Nnewi South. Nnewi town or Nnewi Central is basically made up of autonomous communities of Otolo, Uruagu, Umudim and Nnewichi. These four large communities and a neighbouring community Ichi, make up Nnewi North local government area with their headquarters at Umudim. The sister local government Nnewi South encompasses communities like Ukpo, Amichi,Utuh, Osumenyi, Unubi etc with their headquarters at Ukpo.

Nnewi North and South Local government areas make up the Metropolitan area of the city. However, resident generally refer to only the Central area as Nnewi while other communities are known by their respective names.

3. The traditional institution is powerful in Nnewi

Nnewi is governed by a traditional monarch known as Igwe. While every autonomous community in Nnewi Central has an Obi(individual community traditional ruler), the Obi of Otolo who is invariably the  Igwe is the head of all the Obi’s and the holder of the ofo the cultural, political and religious symbol of leadership. The present Igwe of Nnewi,HRH Igwe Kenneth Onyeneke Orizu III  is the longest serving monarch in Nigeria and a highly respected first class chief in Anambra State.

Igweship in Nnewi is by inheritance thus the mantle of leaderships is neither electable nor negotiable.  Power is transferred from the King to his son, the crowned Prince at death. Annually, the Igwe hold a cultural festival known as Ofala festival to celebrate his coronation. This festival is attended by dignitaries from in and outside the country.

4. The culture of not killing Eke and eating Ewi in Nnewi

At Nnewi, it is forbidden to kill “eke”, a type of python, or to eat “ewi,” a rodent of rabbit family. Edo, the goddess which is the supreme deity of all the deities in Nnewi outlaws it. It is believed that the rodent played a great role in saving Nnewi people during the time of wars.  The python on the other hand is said to be a totem of the goddess. If anyone intentionally or accidentally killed these animals, they are punished according to the traditional judicial system. The punishment usually involves paying a fine and performing some rituals to appease the gods.

The ancient warring community is also referred to as Anaedo (the land of Edo) so residents and visitors despite their religion inclination are expected to abide by this law in honour of the goddess of the land.

5. Igbo Language is the major language for communication in Nnewi

Residents of Nnewi are majority Igbos thus they generally speak the Igbo language. Although, majority of dweller have at least basic education and can communicate in English or pidgin English, Igbo language still remain the major language of communication. Visitors or residents who do not understand the language will always have to request for people to speak English when he/her goes to the market, hospital or any public places.

Public functions are not exempted as Anambra State government champion the battle to keep Igbo language alive by the use of Igbo language at state events and other public functions.

It is advisable that any resident who intend to work and engage in business activities on long term basis learn to speak some basic Igbo language as this will facilitate his/her stay. There are study centres in Nnewi Central where one can easily enroll to learn the Igbo language at very little cost. Also, friends, associates and neighbours may be willing to assist one who is willing to learn the language at no cost.

6. Motorcycles are everywhere in Nnewi

As funny as this may sound, it is very important that anyone who plans to move to Nnewi be fully aware that motorcycles are everywhere in the city. The overcrowding of bikes in this municipal cannot be compared to what you have in any other city in Nigeria including what we had before the ban of commercial motorcycles in Lagos. One is 95 percent more likely to be knocked down by a motorcycle in Nnewi than a car.

Typically, people of Nnewi love to move around in motorcycles. Although, commercial motorcycle popularly known as Okada is a major means of transportation in the city, every household in Nnewi is believed to own at least two lightweight motorcycles which has been nicknamed Nwanyi Nnewi (Nnewi Woman).  Some families are said to have up to five or six bikes.

This quest for bike may not be unconnected to the availability of the product at affordable prices as the city plays hosts to a large motorcycle market and an indigenous auto manufacturing plant churning out bikes. The bright side is that the use of motorcycle gives easy access to areas with poor road network where cars will find difficult to navigate.

7. There’s little opportunity for white collar jobs in Nnewi

Apart from schools, banks, hotels, hospitals, government institutions and some industries that may offer employment, white collar jobs is farfetched in the city. Nnewi is not necessary a place where unemployed graduates troop to look for job like we have in big cities like Lagos or Port Harcourt. Opportunity to attend employment assessment and interviews are very limited. Private institutions are more likely to employ people based on referral and recommendation than through the normal recruitment processes. Graduates who intend to build a career in fields like software development, business administration, taxation, may not thrive in city. Most of the readily available jobs are for school leavers who are usually employed as secretaries, store man and shop assistants by individual traders at wages which may not appeal to graduate job seekers.

Blue collar jobs like mechanic, carpentry, masonry, fabrication, welding, driving are easier to come by.

8. Nnewi residents are majority Christians

Residents of Nnewi metropolitan city are majority Christians. Dwellers are very religious and attend more of first generation churches, Catholic and Anglican Churches. There is Diocese of Nnewi for both the Catholics and the Anglicans. Each of the two major denominations has a large cathedral and also a resident presiding Bishop.

Pentecostal churches are not left out as they also have a decent share of the population. Other religions like Islam, Jewish are in the minority. Adherents of religions like Buddhism and Hinduism may not have an existing place of worship in the city as such religion is strange to the people.

Even Traditional religion which is the major religion of the people before the coming of the white Christian missionaries is no longer popular.  Although freedom of worship as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution is practiced in the city, one who practices another religion apart from Christianity may find it tough to propagate his/her faith in this new abode.

9. Cost of living is cheap in Nnewi
The overall cost of living in Nnewi is affordable when compared to the cost of living in cities of similar nature. Housing is available in flats, duplex, self-contained apartments, single and double rooms and is very affordable. House owners’ are also very humane and considerate to old tenants who could not afford rents and can offer flexible payment plan of half year, quarterly or even monthly payment as against the normal yearly rent renewal.

Cost of foods like yam, rice, cassava, cocoyam, three leave yam, palm oil, maize etc.  are inexpensive as they are either locally produced or bought from nearby farming communities of Anambra state. Green leafy vegetables are grown by residents’ in home gardens and farms and are very affordable.

A plate of delicious food in a local restaurant cost between 250-500 naira. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and groceries are reasonably priced. Source of drinking water is mainly bore holes which are drilled in individual compounds or sachet water which are not costly.

Cost of transportation (bus, taxi, bike etc.) depends on your negotiation power but is within reach.

Childcare and Schooling costs are also not on the very high side. Although Tuition fees for good private schools are not outrageous, parents who cannot afford them have options of good public schools where their children can still get quality education. Working mums can get elderly women as nannies at affordable rates. Clothing is generally inexpensive. Health facilities are available and cost of accessing care very reasonable.

Facilities such as government health centres administer antenatal care, conducts child delivery, post natal care, immunization at little cost. There is also a federal university teaching hospital, the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH) in the city where patients can access excellent and specialist health services at low costs.

Cost of utilities, relaxation and entertainment is also within means in means.

10. Afia Olu Festival in Nnewi

Every year towards the end of August which is usually the end of rainy season and the season for harvesting yams, Afia Olu Nnewi which is the Nnewi version of the Igbo new yam festival is celebrated in the city. During this festival, indigenous sons and daughters travel from far and wide for reunion and to celebrate with members of their families. The festival takes place for a week, Monday through Sunday with Saturday being the climax.

Afia Olu Nnewi features cultural displays including rituals by the Monarch and elders of the land, dance by men, women, youth and children groups, masquerades, beauty pageant etc. Before the festival, there is usually a press release stipulating the rules for the festival especially for masquerades. Despite this ,their presence all over the city constitute  a problem for residents  as these masquerades moves around the city with canes of different sizes which they use on their rival groups and men within their age grade. As a show of strength and resilience, young men are expected when confronted to take up the challenge to withstand flogging from these masquerades while onlookers cheer in the process. Residents offer money to these masquerades to appease them and escape being flogged or to appreciate them for the entertainment.

The sight of frightened young school children running away from fierce looking masquerades in the metropolis is very common during this festival and this poses a hazard as they can be knocked down by vehicles.  Members of the public especially the female folks who by Igbo tradition are not expected to stand before mmuo (spirit of the ancestors) also gets hot chase by these masquerades. Some callous young men go as far as flogging and frightening young women who turned down their love advances in the past.

By Chinyere Ihemeje

Nnewi Auto-Industrial Park: Enelamah urges UNIDO For Speedy Implementation

The Minister, Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, has urged the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to find a way of bringing about workable plan for the proposed Nnewi Auto-Industrial Park in Anambra State within the shortest possible time.

In a statement signed by the Deputy Director Press, Olujimi Oyetomi Enalema, Enalamah  said this at  a meeting with the UNIDO-assembled Advisors, comprising the Industrial Park Consultants, High level Technical Advisors, Financiers – African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK), Bank of Industry (BOI), Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) and the National Automotive Design and Development Council, among others.

The minister was taken through a presentation on Action Plan on Automotive Industry in Nigeria done by the Project Manager,  Bhagharas from Mahindra (Renowned Auto-Makers in India) and David Brown of Ecorys, Enalamah was assured that a world-class Auto Industrial Park can be delivered for Nnewi.

By Franca Ochigbo

Ihiala Community Delcares War On Cultism And Other Vices

The Ihiala community in Ihiala local government area of Anambra state has resolved to check the menace of cultists in the area, insisting that their notorious activities have become a threat to lives of people in the area.

Addressing newsmen yesterday, the President General of Ihiala Progress Union, Chief Jude Ngobili expressed concern on the threat of peace and stability of the town, which has been truncated by the violent juvenile cultists which are on the increase in the town.

According to him, part of the measure put in place to actualize this dream was a stakeholders meeting which was consummated and decision taken on the way forward. 

Chief Ngobili said, “Apart from the immediate danger cultism pose to the community, the Ihiala people can no allow their children to grow up in an environment where locals are harassed, intimidated and attacked". 

“Cultism is growing at an alarming rate as primary school pupils and secondary school students are now being initiated into dangerous cult groups".

“The cultists by nature are so brutal that it is practically impossible to appeal to their conscience and that the security agencies are brought in to demonstrate the resolve of the town to meet the cultists fire for fire.

The Area Commander in charge of Ihiala Area Command of Nigeria Police Force, Mr Michael Falade (AC) commended the community for resolving to partner with security agencies to battle cultism.

He pointed out that security is an intricate issue that calls for collaboration from every law-abiding individual in the society noting that the members of the public would be doing well if they make useful information available to security agencies.

Mr Falade said the rampaging cultists are not spirits but youths known by members of the society who are carried on as overlords because the society has not decided to inform the law enforcement agencies about their criminal tendencies and activities.

He noted that with the current secured haven that Governor Willie Obiano has created in the state, the issue of Cultism will be handled with all seriousness.

NDLEA Invades Hard Drugs Hideout In Umunnachi

In keeping Anambra safe and securing lives and properties, a promise the State Government has kept so far, the Anambra state command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), has commenced raiding in rural communities where trafficking and use of dangerous drugs are practice.

The raid was in Umunnachi, a community in Dunukofia Local Government Area of the state, an alleged notorious drug dealer was arrested while the major dealer escaped upon the invasion of the men of the NDLEA in his house.

The state Commander of the agency speaking through the command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Charles Odigie, revealed that two big bags and 18 packs of the substance suspected to be cannabis have been recovered in the raid.

He appeals to members of the various communities in the state to support the agency by providing useful information on drug peddlers which will aid their arrest and so rid the society of crime and criminality.

According to Odigie, the command will carry on more sensitization on the effects of drug trafficking and its intake.

Pope Accepts Resignation Of Okpaleke As Bishop Of Ahiara Diocese

Pope Francis accepted the resignation, on Monday of Bishop Peter Okpaleke who had been rejected by many of the priests of his diocese since his appointment more than five years ago.

In June 2017 Pope Francis met with clerics of the Diocese of Ahiara and demanded that they accept the bishop appointment that had been made, or face suspension and loss of office.

In accepting Bishop Peter Okpaleke's resignation Feb. 19, Pope Francis chose not to take action against the clergy of Ahiara, saying they have since expressed repentance.

At the same time, Pope Francis appointed as apostolic administrator sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis of Ahiara Bishop Lucius Ugorji of Umuahia.

Bishop Okpaleke's resignation letter was sent to the Vatican Feb. 14.

Okpaleke was appointed Bishop of Ahiara in December 2012 by Benedict XVI. However, the Ahiara diocese is dominated by the Mbaise ethnic group, and as an outsider from the nearby Diocese of Awka, Okpaleke was rejected by much of Ahiara's clergy and laity, who wanted one of their own to be appointed bishop over them.

The Mbaise are among the most Catholic of Nigerian peoples, with 77 percent of the diocese's population of 670,000 being Catholic. Nearby dioceses range between 19 and 70 percent Catholic.

However, Awka, Bishop Okpaleke's home city, is located in the state of Anambra. Ahiara, on the other hand, is located to the south in Imo state. The Mbaise have often asserted that the Nigerian hierarchy favors Anambra.

Many members of the tribe resent what they call the “Anambranization” of the Church in southeast Nigeria, believing there to be corruption within the Church in Nigeria and a “recolonization” of the Mbaise.

The Mbaise also have a high number of priestly and religious vocations, many of whom end up serving as missionaries in Western nations. The diocese has seen at least 167 priestly ordinations since its establishment in 1987. Because of this, many had hoped that one of their own would fill the two-year episcopal vacancy in the Ahiara diocese.

After Bishop Okpaleke's appointment, his Mbaise opponents blocked access to Ahiara's cathedral for his episcopal ordination, forcing the prelate to instead be consecrated and installed outside his new diocese, at Seat of Wisdom Seminary in the Archdiocese of Owerri, May 21, 2013.

In July 2013, shortly after his election, Pope Francis named Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja as apostolic administrator of Ahiara in a bid to resolve the problem; however, the effort proved to be unsuccessful.

In his letter of resignation, Bishop Okpaleke remarked that the situation in the Ahiara diocese “unfortunately … to the best of my knowledge has not improved.” He has remained in Awka since his espiscopal consecration.

“Most importantly, this has been threatening my spiritual life,” he wrote. He said that he thus believes that remaining Bishop of Ahiara “is no longer beneficial to the Church,” as his apostolate would not be effective “where a group of priests and lay faithful are very ill disposed to have me in their midst.”

“Exercising the ministry in a diocese where priests who are supposed to be my immediate and closest collaborators, brothers, friends and sons are at war with one another, with the laity and with me as their chief shepherd would be disastrous and a threat to the salvation of souls – including my own soul.”

The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples said in a Feb. 19 letter to Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, president of the Nigerian bishops' conference, that Pope Francis had received 200 letters of apology from clerics of the Ahiara diocese. The congregation responded to each priest who wrote.

The congregation added that with the appointment of a new apostolic administrator, Pope Francis “wants to point out that He continues to have a special and particular concern for the Diocese of Ahiara.”

“For the time being, the Pope does not intend to provide normal Governance to Ahiara and reserves the right to evaluate its spiritual and ecclesial progress before He makes another decision.”

In a Feb. 14 pastoral letter, Bishop Okpaleke characterized opposition to his appointment as a “Refusal to give the Holy Spirit a chance” and announced his decision to offer his resignation.

He included a call to repentance, saying he wanted “to invite those who have remained in permanent opposition to have an authentic 'sensus Ecclesiae' (i.e. staying with the Church in love), to renew the spiritual bond and to refrain from being guided by ideologies, motivations and ideas that neither belong to Christ nor to the Church.”

Obedience is central to discernment, the bishop wrote, and “it involves trust that God is leading the Church.”

“I invite any dissenting priests to re-examine their initial motivations for becoming priests in the Catholic Church. Repentance and reconciliation are very urgent!”

In a Feb. 19 statement, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples confirmed that in their letters expressing “obedience and fidelity”, some of the Ahiaran priests who wrote to Pope Francis also said they would have “psychological difficulty” in collaborating with Bishop Okpaleke after years of conflict.

The congregation urged each priest involved to “reflect on the grave damage inflicted on the Church of Christ” and voiced hope that in the future, they would never repeat such “unreasonable actions opposing a Bishop legitimately appointed by the Supreme Pontiff.”

“The Holy Father, who accompanies with prayer this new phase in the life of the Church in Ahiara, hopes that, with the new Apostolic Administrator, the local Church will recover its vitality and never again suffer such actions that so wound the Body of Christ.”

By Elise Harris

Finally, Omor Community Endorses Chidume As Its New Monarch

It was all excitement and celebration galore for the entire people of Omor community in Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra State as they watched Governor Willie Obiano issue a Certificate of recognition to their illustrious son and Igwe-elect, His Royal Highness, Igwe Chris Oranu Chidume. 

The Igweship throne which had hitherto remained vacant for about 10 years now, following the demise of Igwe P. N. Udemezue in 2007, fell on Chidume, an Onitsha-based industrial giant. The late Igwe Udemezue hailed from Aturia village, the third youngest.

The final selection of His Royal Highness, Igwe Chris Oranu Chidume, few   months ago, followed the recommendation of a committee set up by the state government to select a popular candidate who will be acceptable by the vast majority of the people in the area to fill the vacant throne.

The state government had set up the committee made up of credible personalities to assess the popularity of all the Igweship contestants, select the popular choice of the people and recommend same for the   issuance of the certificate. The committee which had its members as Dr. Tim Menakaya, Chief Paul   Odenigbo, former SSG, Igwe Rowland Odegbo of Nteje, Igwe Christopher Idigo of Aguleri, the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Chief Greg Obi, after a thorough job, recommended   that Chidume was the choice of the entire populace.

Chief Greg Obi, flanked by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Local   Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Hon. Ikechukwu Onyeabo confirmed that it was based on the committee’s recommendation which Obiano adopted, that Chidume was selected as the Igwe-elect and was entitled to receive the certificate and staff of office.

Obi therefore urged Chidume to unify the people and rule them with love and care. The certificate and staff of office was issued to Chidume barely 24 hours before he was crowned as the Eze Ana-Ukwu, Eze Igulube of Omor, by the entire community, having been selected from the youngest Amikwe village whose turn it is to produce the traditional ruler this time.

Three other villages, Orenja, Akanator and Aturia in the order of seniority, had at one time or the other produced Igwe, before it became the turn of Amikwe, the youngest. In a brief ceremony held at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia, Obiano declared that he was issuing the certificate and staff of office to Chidume, based on the power conferred on him as the Chief Executive of the state, under Section 7 of the Traditional Rulers law of 1981, which is an indication that Chidume has transformed from Igwe-elect of Omor to the substantive Igwe of Omor.

The governor noted that he was impressed with the maturity and peaceful   processes with which Omor people selected Chidume, among other contestants, as their new monarch and urged other communities in the   state which have not selected their own royal fathers to emulate the gesture.

The traditional ruler of Mbaukwu, Igwe Peter Anugwu who spoke on behalf of other traditional rulers at the ceremony, advised Chidume to regard everybody, including his opponents, as his subjects since according to him, royal stool is meant to be contested for and not given to someone   on a platter of gold, adding that it is not even advisable for anybody to accept a traditional stool given to him on a platter of gold.

Igwe Anugwu noted that the right interpretation of the prefix: ’21 over 21′ added to Governor Obiano’s name was not necessarily that he scored   the highest votes in all the 21 local government areas of the state during the November 18 governorship election in the state, but that he is also ready to take APGA’s winning spree to other states in the South-East region and beyond in 2019.

Responding, the new monarch declared, “I will go back to Omor and make them live in peace and harmony and I will channel government’s interest towards having a closer look at agriculture and industries which will in turn create employment opportunities for our teeming youths in Omor.”

Twenty-four  hours later, four eldest persons from the four villages and two others each from Igwe Chidume’s paternal and maternal homes coronated   him as the traditional ruler of the community amidst pomp and pageantry.

In their separate speeches, the President-General of Omor Town Union, Chief Chukwuma Nebeife and the Public Relations Officer, Chiamogu   Ikechukwu commended Igwe Chidume for his selection and coronation,   adding that as a philanthropist, they have confidence that he would take   the community to a higher height in terms of quality leadership and   development.

They therefore urged every indigene of the community to support the new monarch, even as they wished him long life and progress. Igwe’s younger brothers, Anthony and Chiadi, expressed satisfaction that the monarch has 99 per cent support from the populace, adding that even  though some other people showed interest to contest the throne, the   majority chose him as a beacon of peace and symbol of love. In his speech, Igwe Chidume expressed excitement and happiness to have   received the certificate and staff of office from the government, adding   that he would first of all make everybody to come together and at the same time, bring about a harmonious co-existence.

He said he would join hands with other royal fathers in the state in assisting Governor Obiano to take All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, to other states in the South-East and even beyond, now that the beauty of APGA programmes has been unveiled by Obiano.

By  Nwabueze Okonkwo

Anambra State Govt On A Mission To End Open Defecation

Mr Victor Ezekwo, Programme Manager of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) in Anambra, has expressed willingness to combat open defecation in the state. 

Ezekwo made the pledge in Awka on Tuesday in an interview with newsmen.

He said that Gov. Willie Obiano’s administration was committed to ensuring improved healthy living standard of the people in the state.

According to him, the state government will achieve 90 per cent access to water supply and sanitation reform policy by 2026.

“The government has already achieved 90 per cent access to water and 85 per cent access to sanitation in Awka North and South as well as in Aguata Local Government Areas,’’ he said.

Ezekwo said the state government was able to achieve much under the joint partnership with UNICEF.

He said that government would ensure payment of its counterpart fund of N309 million, representing 30 per cent, while UNICEF would pay N750 million or 70 per cent of the project cost.

The project manager disclosed that the task force on sanitation had certified 130 communities in the three Local Government Areas free from open defecation. Ezekwo said that in appreciation of the state performance, UNICEF had approved extension of the programme to Dunukofia Local Government Area with construction of hand pumps, bore holes, solar boreholes and toilet facilities.

He said that he was confident that the local government would meet its financial obligation in settling its counterpart fund.


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