From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Members of Okija Community under the aegis of Okija Town Union (OTU) and its women’s wing, Anulika, Okija Town Union, in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State resident in Nnewi recently counted their blessings as they celebrated their illustrious sons and daughters who were instrumental to the establishment of an ultramodern two-storey building in Nnewi.
This feat was achieved after 34 years of their gathering and squatting at private homes and church premises to hold meetings and other event, where they were sometimes sent packing.
Chairman of the union, Chief Lawrence C. Obi, Ekwedasike Okija, while addressing the gathering said the Okija people living in Nnewi had suffered in diverse ways in search of a place to call their own for their meetings and other social gatherings since1982 when the union came on board in Nnewi.
He explained that the union had passed through various leaders who did evertything they could to bring the Okija people together in Nnewi to stand as a common force to move the community forward.
“Okija Town Union started with the idea of the late Mr Udeanum in 1982. The first chairman was Chief Emezie Okwelogu. Ben Ebubechukwu accommodated us in his parlour for many years. When Ben was about to relocate to Okija, the union moved its meeting venue to Isaac Nzeka’s flat. When the union’s population increased that Isaac Nzeka’s flat could no longer contain us, the union shifted to DCC Anglican Church at the time Sir Dominic Awogu was the chairman,” Obi said.
He explained that the movement continued up to a point when the union got accommodation at the Salvation Army Church compound where it had a horrible experience.
He alleged that at a point the pastor of the Salvation Army gave the union a quit notice because it played native musical instruments inside the church premises which he said the church described as paganism.
He noted that it was after that incident that the union resolved to become a landlord of its own to stop begging for accommodation as the foundation of the building was laid by Ohaezukosi Sylvester.
The chairman said it was in recognition of efforts of notable Okija sons and daughters that the union decided to confirm 12 patrons, including Chief A. Okuma; Chief Abig Chimezie Nwankwo; Chief Nwabueze Umeh; Chief (Dr) Oge Agbazue; Dr and Dr (Mrs) Anslem Enyimba; Hon Ikenna Obidiegwu; Chief Dom Maduka; Chief (Dr) Frank Obi Anyijiofor; Hon Romanus Uzochukwu; Prince Amobi Sylvester Ohaezukosi; Ben Chuks Ebubechukwu and Mr Charles Aduhuba. In a different category, 10 members of the union received awards for their various contributions towards the development of Okija community.
The patrons and awardees were presented with beautifully designed plaques to appreciate them.
Chief Obi said the ultra modern Okija town hall close to completion is projected to gulp over N40 million.
He regretted that successive administrations in Anambra State had continued to neglect Okija community in terms of infrastructure.
He said there are no good roads in Okija and wondered why any government that comes on board would always turn its back to Okija.