Ahead the 2023 General Elections scheduled for February, the people of Ikwuano LGA were on Tuesday counselled not to re-elect under performing political elites no matter the attachments or sentiments. “Strong messages should be sent always through our votes”, days Dr Monday Ubani while declaring open the
Ahamefula Development Initiative Ikwuano (ADII)’s Ikwuano Socio- Economic Summit 2023 at the Council Hall, Isiala Oboro, Ikwuano LGA
The summit with the theme: Sustainable Economic Development For Ikwuano: A Road Map In the 21st Century, had the Constitutional lawyer and chairman, NBA-SPIDEL (Section on Public Interest and Development Law) as chairman and the Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, Chief Henry Ikoh as Special Guest of Honour.
In his opening remarks, Dr Ubani lauded the ADII for such a wonderful idea of forming the organization in the first place and the doggedness to see it come to reality.
In his words “My sincere appreciation goes to Ahamefula Development Initiative for pulling this through. I am excited that a group of young men and perhaps women from this side of the State are worried about the state of affairs of their local government which they found to be very poor and embarrassing and they have set out with plans and strategy to direct the attention of all and sundry towards addressing the basic issues surrounding the provision of socio economic development initiatives that will guide policy and development stragy from now onwards”
Ubani added “I am excited and overwhelmed that we are not few but many that can’t wait to see Ikwuano take a frog leap from its present state of lethargy to improved and comprehensive socio economic progress that it deserves.
According to him “Ikwuano lacks development not due to lack of resources and human capital. If anything, resources and human capital are in super abundance, but we lack foresight, initiatives, political will, we lack love, we lack drive and selflessness that is requisite to turn the Local Government to the condition we all dream of”
On the deplorable state of the Council, Dr. Ubani said “The truth is that we are starved of development from the Government angle. From 1999 till date, there is no single major development that has been carried out in Ikwuano that has multi economic dimension. All the roads in Ikwuano are in their worst state. Apart from Oboro out of the 4 brothers, roads in other areas in Ikwuano are in deplorable state. Oloko, Ibere are the worst hit. They are weeping and mourning at the same time”
On the way forward, Ubani said “We need two basic factors to transform Ikwuano to the State of eldorado.
One is private initiative (I mean individual, collective and community based initiative.
The second strategy is through government intervention in developing the environment which is their basic responsibility why they are elected in the first place. This development can come through the Federal Government. It can come through the States like the village road networks that is the responsibility of both the State and Local Government. And the third is the Local Government Area like the markets, transformers and electricity projects”
The NBA SPIDEL chairman enjoined Ahamefula to list out the priority of development that should be embarked upon for accelerated socio economic development in Ikwuano.
In his opinion he said “Without pre-empting them I will like our priority in these manner: Good Road network, Rounded security of lives and property, electricity to every nook and cranny, primary and secondary school development, hospitality, recreation and health development, town planning, market development, human capital development, arts and culture etc.”
On the role of political office holders, Dr. Ubani said” elected and aspiring politicians must be made to commit themselves to these priorities and be made accountable at every four years of their tenure to the Ikwuano citizens. Under performing political elites should not be re-elected no matter the attachments or sentiments. Strong messages should be sent always through our votes.
If we must achieve our ultimate goal through accountability of political office holders, political affiliation and religious sentiments should be jettisoned. Every contestant must be made to answer for his deed and antecedent. Individual evaluation and assessment should be our criterion to Elect any contestant. It should be our minimum requirement”
Unveiling the road map for the development of Ikwuano, the chairman, Economic Committee of Ahamefula Development Initiative, Evangelist Abraham Osondu described the road map as an attempt to structure a pathway to Ikwuano Sustainable Socio-Economic and or Infrastructural development.
He said that the document was triggered by the overwhelming recognition that there is no evidence of Abia State Government’s presence in Ikwuano Local Government Area.
Worse still, Evangelist Osondu added “Equally the case is the lacklustre performance of successive Ikwuano Local Government administrations since its creation – resulting, partly, from the State Government control of its treasury. We have also observed that the Federal Government Institutions and corporate organisations resident in Ikwuano have failed in their Corporate Social Responsibilities to our people. Ikwuano sons and daughters are also presented and challenged with the opportunity to consider ‘inward investments’ (Ikwuano people investing in Ikwuano) and or through international partnership deals”
On the usefulnes of the material, he expressed optimism “The Economic Blue Print we present to you today is a tripod stand – we are all development partners. Overall, our report recognises clear, immediate and continuing danger signs that are enshrined in our polity and or governance, and suggests the way forward. It is a ‘needs assessment driven’ report highlighting the physiological and psychogenic needs of our people that are expected as ‘dividends of democracy’. Invariably, it sets the minimum parameters against which our public office holders will be judged or held accountable.
On the report, he revealed “The report has benefited from the contribution of ideas by intellectuals, practitioners from many industrial segments and wider Civil Society, drawn from every clan in Ikwuano(home and in the diaspora).
It is also important we note that the Road Map is a ‘Working Document’, and not a panacea. It is our hope that ‘Task Forces’ will be set up after our Summit to look at the best ways to implement the various recommendations, and to regularly review progress”
Launching the Road Map, the Chief Launcher, the CEO, Logus International, Prince Eleogu, commended the leadership of Ahamefula for bringing Ikwuano Activists and people of like minds together for the first time in the history of the Local Govt.
Sir Eleogu charged the people to reject those that are not concerned about the infrastructural development of Ikwuano but who chose to give people ‘peanuts’ in order to sway them for votes. Sir Eleogu expressed hope that with the calibre of persons behind the move, that Ikwuano will get it right in no distant time.
In his contributions, Chief Henry Ikoh, who was ably represented by his Senior Special Assistant on media, Hon. Chinedu Kanu, lamented on the poor state of infrastructure in Ikwuano. Comparing it to other LGAs in Abia Central, Hon. Chinedu qeuestioned why Ikwuano should be treated in such a slavish manner, despite being the food basket of Abia state according to him.
In his remarks, the member representing Ikwuano/ Umuahia North/ Umuahia South federal constituency at Abuja, Rep. Sam Onuigbo lauded Ahamefula for putting together the epoch event.
As part of his efforts, Odozi Obodo said ” Over the years we have tried to let this people- centered leadership philosophy shape a vision for a better Ikwuano anchored on a sustained and oftentimes difficult/ graduated process of carefully setting in motion the various wheels of development so that when they fully allign, the wheel of development will run seamlessly and unhindered with little or no further efforts. We have seen this work in democracies in developed countries where the institutions put in place become the shepherd of all future actions and thus prevent any derailment. This is what has guided me”
He urged the Ahamefula not to get distracted along the way or drop their vision of seeing Ikwuano become a better place.
Baring his mind, the Diocesan Bishop of the Methodist Church, Rt. Rev. Dr. Udodirim Nmeregini, described the Ahamefula as history makers. He urged them not to bow to obstacles they may encounter on their way to bring a change. The Bishop placed emphasis on the role of the church, narrating the inseparability of the church from the society.
In his views, Hon Stanley Nwabuisi lauded the initiative, describing it as timely.
The summit continues on Thursday and Friday.
Other Notable dignitaries that attended the first day of the event include: Engineer Kelechi Ogbonnaya, Col. Austin Akobundu (Represented by Pastor Ekeleme Ikeije), Hon. Emeka Atuma (Represented by Chief Mrs. Franca Usuwa), Dr. Ifeanyi Uke ( Represented by Chief Dr. Sam Eke), Chief Mrs Ego Nwamuo, and a host of others.