…As representative says she’s doing her best
From Obinna Odogwu, Ekwulobia
As the Christmas celebration gets to the climax and the New Year draws closer, Christians all over the world, especially in Nigeria are in joyous mood with the greater majority of the people taking actions targeted at making the Yuletide worthwhile.
But in Anambra State, the people of Eziagu community in Orumba South Local Government Area are in pensive mood. Like the ornament, they are wearing a sad look everyday over what they tagged government’s insensitivity to their plight.
But their accumulated grief and complaints literally burst open when a Non-Governmental Organization, Community Empowerment Network, an offshoot of Justice and Peace Development Caritas (JPDC), executing the Voice to the People project visited the community to assess the level ofgovernment’s presence in it, and the quality of socio-economic life of the people, among others.
The visibly angry villagers who trouped into their village hall where they received their visitors literally opened a book of lamentation.
Conducting their visitors round the community to enable them see things for themselves, they decried the “absolute lack of basic amenities” in their community.
This was even as they carpeted their representative in the Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Nikky Ugochukwu, for “abandoning them to their fate.”
The lamentations of the aged people among them made their visitors to shed tears as they explained how hellish life had been for them.
They also ran down the history of their efforts to ensure government of the state executed meaningful projects in the town which were all futile.
Eziagu community does not have any social amenities and a secondary school. And to worsen their pain, two streams in the area, which serve as their only source of potable water, have been polluted by the Fulani herdsmen.
“We are being marginalized in all aspects of it. We don’t have a good source of drinking water. The stream we have, the Fulani herdsmen have invaded and polluted it with their cattle dung. The other one is too acidic and does not even allow soap to produce leather,” the Publicity Secretary of the community’s youth group, Mr Kelenna Nwankwo-Ewulu, said.
Nwankwo-Ewulu revealed that the youths of the community are burning in anger over the dilapidated state of their town.
“Youths in Eziagu are not happy with the government of Anambra State. We have not felt the presence of the government in this community,” he emphasized.
He also lamented the pains of their children who trek miles to Umunze to attend secondary school because they do not have one in their community, disclosing that it takes them about 45 minutes to get to the school.
The Vice President of Eziagu Improvement Union, Mr Wilfred Ike, who corroborated what the others said, warned politicians to stop coming to the community to deceive their people with paltry gifts during campaigns.
“During electioneering, we were usually promised heaven on earth, but after they win, they show us their backside. Politicians should stop coming here to deceive our people with cups of rice,” he warned.
He recalled that the “Anambra State government hung tank here in the pretence that they have sunk borehole for our people. They filled the overhead tank with water and commissioned it. After that commissioning, that water dried up. It was not actually drilled.”
The Secretary-General of the community, Mr Umenwa Ejike, who also corroborated what his people said, carpeted the lawmaker for not making any fruitful effort to draw the government’s attention to their plight with a view to doing the needful.
He lamented that the lawmaker couldn’t site a single constituency project in the area despite the massive support they accorded her.
“Hon. Nikky Ugochukwu is doing her third tenure in the House of Assembly but she has never sited any constituency project in this community. During the last election, she was on her knees begging our people to support her, but now she has not done a single constituency project here,” he claimed.
Also speaking, the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Bernard Emejuo, while lamenting the plight of his people carpeted some of the aides to Governor Willie Obiano for engaging in sharp practices which he said have denied the community and other rural areas in the state the dividends of democracy.
His words: “Obiano has good intentions for the state, but some of the people working with him thrive in corrupt practices. Take for example, in the cities, there is surplus of teachers because some government officials collect bribe from them in order to retain them in the urban areas.
“Thank God Obiano has devised a new strategy. He is giving teachers serving in the rural areas some percentage of their salary in addition to their normal pay to encourage them to serve in the rural areas.”
In his speech, the Chairman, Community Empowerment Network, Mr Albert Chinwuko, stressed that they would do everything within their powers to ensure that the community is given their share of the democracy dividends.
However, Hon. Nikky Ugochukwu through her Personal Assistant, Tochukwu Ubah, refuted the non-performance allegations levelled against her by her constituents.
Ubah dismissed the allegations as one from the opposition, pointing out that the lawmaker is making spirited effort to bring the government’s attention to Eziagu community.
“Nikky is representing Orumba South Constituency and not only Eziagu. Every December, she does something for every community. I wonder where that one is coming from. Those people telling you this, they are members of APC. I even know them. They are saying such as opposition party. Please disregard whatever they are telling you. She is doing well,” he said.