From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha and Obinna Odogwu, Awka
Self-help projects are parts and parcels of the Igbo life. Wealthy sons and daughters of Igbo communities endeavour to change the lots of their people by providing them with social amenities ranging from water, roads, schools, electricity to health care facilities. Many also float scholarship schemes.
Recently, two privileged sons of Anambra State came out boldly and tackled bad roads in their communities. This brought succour to the way of the people of Akabor in Ojoto, Idemili South Local Government. They had suffered the negative effects of lack of access roads for over 40 years.
Ravaged by erosion, Daily Sun gathered that residents parked their vehicles at a nearby primary school and trekked home while their farm produces also rot away as they found it difficult to evacuate them to the town for sale and economic empowerment.
However, their story has changed for the better. One of their eminent sons, Chief Uche Okoli (Egbeigwe Ojoto) came to the rescue by constructing asphalt roads linking the village to other communities. The project cost N250 million. Okoli said:
“My dream in life is to serve the people and such gives me joy. Commercial life is picking up again in the village. There used to be deep gullies here that people dreaded coming to the village especially during the rainy season.
“This project is simply to alleviate their suffering. I believe it is important because in Nigeria now, we have a wide gap infrastructure wise between citizens and the government. There is no way government would fill the gap alone.
“Government cannot do everything for us hence the need for the private sector to step forward and help. I am appealing to all the good angels to go to their communities to see what they can do to improve the lives of their people and help lift people out of poverty otherwise, after this EndSARS, there would be other ends too. When you serve your community well, you have served almighty God too and to me, the essence of making money is to help others.”
One of Ndi-ichie of the community, Chief Samuel Ezeimo (Ikenga Ojoto) said it was exciting seeing one person doing what should ordinarily be the duty of government: “I am not, however, totally surprised because the benefactor is merely toeing the path of his dad, late Aaron Okoli who built the first cement upstairs in Ojoto named Hope Villa.
“By this gesture, he has brought new lease of life for us. Our people in the Diaspora can now feel at home when they return because we are no longer living as villagers. This road links us to main Akabor linking other villages in Ojoto down to Ichi and Nnewi. We thank him so much because this road has transformed Ojoto in general as if we are living in a city. May God replenish his pockets.”
Site engineer handling the project, Musa Abdullahi, disclosed that the length of the second phase of the road project is two kilometers from 10th Mile to Ukwu Udala with double drainage. He said the project started last year was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic but they were now poised to complete it.
Also, Onneh, a sleepy community in Orumba South LGA came alive recently when Governor Chief Willie Obiano commissioned a new road project.
The half-a-kilometre road with gutter by its side, was constructed by a son of the community, Nze Vincent Nwankwo, a businessman. The governor was represented by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Don Adinuba. He was accompanied by his counterparts in the ministries of Health and Public Utilities, Dr Vincent Okpala and Mr Emeka Ezenwanne, respectively.
President-General of the community, Uchenna Mmaduike, commended the community’s benefactor for tarring the road in his village. He said people were only heeding the call by government for wealthy individuals to support government’s development efforts:
“It is during my tenure as President-General (PG) that an individual constructed a road in our community. This is also the first time our road was being tarred by the government. Obiano made it possible.
“We need good drainage in our community to checkmate the ravaging effects of flooding and erosion.” He applauded Nwankwo for assisting government in its efforts to develop rural communities in the state: “He has heeded the call by the governor, for the people to think home and develop their place.”
Nwankwo said he was moved to tar the road because of the untold hardship his people passed through following its hitherto very dilapidated state: “I was touched by the sufferings of my people on this road. Before it was constructed, the road was very dilapidated and I decided to tar it to reduce their suffering and make their movements easier.”