From Mokwugwo Solomon, Nnewi
Anambra West Local Government Area of Anambra State is undoubtedly, one of the most backward council areas in the South East geopolitical zone. Created in 1996, the council wears the unenviable badge of the backwater of Anambra, as it has not attained the rightful status of development.
Educationally, economically and in the area of infrastructure and healthcare, the council area still lags behind. It was in recognition of the poor rating of the area in all development indices that the people of Anambra West launched a 12-year development blueprint on August 6, 2021.
Organisers of the event, which held at the Women Development Centre, Awka, the state capital, afforded stakeholders of the council the opportunity to brainstorm on the way forward so that the council and its people would take their rightful position in the scheme of affairs in Nigeria and the world in general.
The ceremony, organised at the instance of an illustrious son of the place, and the Commissioner for Lands, Bonaventure Enemalu, was graced by traditional rulers from the area, including Igwe Raymond Omoja (Onu Oja III) of Owelle Kingdom, Igwe Pius Omachonu (Ata Oja II) of Olumbanasa, and Igwe J.C. Ajodo (Egashi Ukwala). Others were the Transition Committee chairman, Anambra West LGA, Sylvester Orji, as well as politicians and industrialists, among others.
During the ceremony, the people evaluated their disadvantaged position in the areas of education and human capacity development, agriculture and natural resources development, health and wellness, safety and security, infrastructure and social welfare, politics and positions, as well as strategic and concerted plans to reverse the trend.
Chairman of Technical Committee of Anambra West Development Plan, Igwe Amachonu, in setting the stage, regretted that the council had nothing to show in terms of development, after 25 years: “Out of the 21 LGAs in the state, Anambra West is the most obscure. It is not evil to be obscure but it is evil not to do something to come out of obscurity. Anambra West was created in 1996, but there is nothing to show for its 25 years of existence. This is because the step we’re taking today was not taken when we ought to do so.
“In this development plan, we’re looking at our strengths and weaknesses, and, based on our net worth, to make plans on how to move forward. We have great potentials that if properly harnessed, will make our hitherto backward LGA to move forward. If Anambra West people would join hands, we can develop our area.
“Stakeholders of Anambra West have, by this blueprint, identified our deficiencies in seven key areas of education, health, agriculture, security, infrastructure, politics and culture. And our vision for the next 12 years is to become the leading local government in the areas of education and human capital development, return the active working population to the farm with modern equipment, achieve affordable and sustainable healthcare delivery, promote and sustain culture of peaceful co-existence, propel development of infrastructure, harness the potential in art, culture and tourism, among other objectives,” he said.
The traditional ruler disclosed that the 12-year development plan was put together by a committee of 30 persons from the area, explaining that the blueprint was aimed at lifting the people from their present situation. He also said deliberate effort was made to identify and state possible sources of funds, human and material resources for the effective implementation of the plan.
Driver of the initiative, Enemalu, said the development plan was conceived sometime in September 2020, wherein stakeholders of the area came together to deliberate where they were coming from, where they were and where they would be in the nearest future.
He said: “Anywhere in the world, no society can develop without planning. Anambra West people have come together to chart a course of where they want to be in the nearest future. This issue is not politics; it is a time to identify, discuss and solve our problems ourselves. As a people, we do not take advantage of what we have or who we are. We’ll work round the clock to ensure that we come out of our problems by implementing this plan to the letter.”
Enemalu reminded the technical committee that they would also play roles in the implementation of actions. He further said that the development plan sought to achieve a sustainable, participatory and people-oriented blueprint that would bring the council area before the eyes of government, with the overall objective of improving on the quality of life and living conditions across all the communities in the area through the transformation of relevant sectors, with the sole aim of achieving development that could compete globally.
Orji lauded the initiative, noting that it was the first of its kind in the state. He, however, called on stakeholders to also consider assigning roles to specialised persons or groups, whose duty would be to ensure that infrastructure already in place was not vandalised or sabotaged as new ones were being constructed.