Obinna Odogwu, Awka
Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano’s rural development model christened: “Community choose-your-project initiative”, has attracted accolades for the governor.
Obiano has been announced winner of the 2019 award of excellence for leadership in sustainable community and social development, tagged Community Pillar Awards (CPA) by the Community Development Institute (CDI).
The Governor, according to a statement released in Abuja, by CDI, was chosen based on the impact of the community programme he initiated in 2016.
The institute said the Governor will be celebrated at an elaborate event in Abuja, in February 2020.
CDI confirmed that the programme provided opportunity for local communities to choose a project that would have maximum impact on the lives of the people and the state government will execute it for them.
Executive Director of the Institute, Ogara Andrew, in the statement explained that, every year, CDI Nigeria review media reports and also receive entries; from the public on the activities of individuals and organisations that have outstanding contributions to community and social development in any of the four areas of teaching, research, policy and practice.
He said: “After an extensive and objective deliberation on the entries received, in addition to various media reports, the award selection committee unanimously scored Obiano’s community choose-your-project initiative high and chose him for the award.”
He also explained that the initiative creatively redefined governments’ traditional approach to community development effort, which hitherto, failed to empower local decision making and allow direct control of development resources by local community groups.
“It’s unfortunate that the practice by governments over the years has been to merely ‘package and deliver’ development projects and services to communities as passive recipients and beneficiaries of development assistance; an approach that leaves no room for input from the local communities who are the ultimate beneficiaries”, he stated.
Andrew lamented that governments hardly engage local community people in decision making process as well as in project planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, buttressing that lack of community engagement and participation implies that such projects do not reflect community priorities, needs and wishes, and as such, are seen as belonging to government.
He, however, confirmed that since the launch of the initiative in 2016, communities in Anambra state have completed or at the verge of completing various development projects notably, civic/health centres, water boreholes, market stalls, skill acquisition centres, roads, oil palm and crop processing factories, to erosion control, building of libraries and printing outfits.
“The projects were chosen, implemented or being implemented and monitored by the local people themselves, but are funded by the state government,” he explained.
Daily Sun gathered that the over 170 autonomous communities in the state had completed the first phase of the project; while many of them are currently in the second phase, some of the communities have moved into the third phase.
Many traditional rulers, community leaders and the leadership of the market associations described the community development model as the best thing that has ever happened to the state