MYTH-MAKERS, theologians and Philosophers, some of whom played key roles in shaping the history of humanity, propounded that after God finished creating the world, He handed over the remaining aspects of creation to mankind with all the necessary resources to succeed. This assignment, man, has been working on since the days of Adam and Eve till now. That African, as a continent, is being referenced as a developing continent, is not as a result of our darkened-skin completion, but backwardness in some of the major developmental indexes, especially in infrastructure.
The bridge between the first world countries and third world nations, is the state-of-the-art infrastructure which illuminates the splendor cum greatness of these developed cities. Even children born in these advanced nations, are largely influenced by the trans-generational, magnificent infrastructural facilities around them, bequeathed by visionary leadership, because, in the words of the great Aristotle, “man is a product of his environment”. According to statistics from United States of America security agencies, children raised in the slums (ghettos), are more prone to crime than their peers, bred in the urbanized areas. What is the difference between slums and standardized areas? It is infrastructure!
This ideology defines the quest of Enugu State government to open up rural areas, via massive infrastructural development, in order to domestic development in the hinterlands. From my understanding, the vision of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, is to reduce, or otherwise, close the infrastructural gaps between Coal City, and its adjourning rural communities. And the intention, is not only to minimize pressure on the aging infrastructure in Enugu town—being the former capital of old Eastern region, but to expand the breath and width of the city, by making rural areas conducive for business activities, at the same time discouraging rural-to-urban migration, which has congested the city centers.
I was elated when, recently, it hit the airwaves and cyberspace that the Governor, together with the State Council, has approved major contracts for execution of projects, simultaneously, that has the potential of turning the state (rural areas in particular) into a huge construction site, albeit temporarily. Out of the projects awarded, rural roads got a large portion of the approved fund; totalling N3.2 billion naira. The 26.6 Km road transversing Ukpabi-Nimbo-Ugbene Ajima-Eziani highway, in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area, was prioritized. The Neke-Mbu-Ogbodu Ada, Obollo Etiti road connecting two local government areas of Isi-Uzo and Udenu, received much-needed attention in the series of projects approved by the Council.
Not left out, even in the midst of paucity of funds plaguing the state, is reconstruction of Onuiyi Junction-Amobi Street-MCC Road Junction, in Nsukka Local Government Area, etcetera. While Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration has displayed great sense of empathy for rural dwellers since coming to power, as can be seen in the allocation of projects— unprecedented in the annals of the state. He has been working to upgrade existing infrastructure in the state capital—taking into consideration, the contribution of the city in the generation of internal revenues, and also Enugu’s socio-political status as epicenter of Igbo nation.
In the light of this context, the state government awarded the completion of Nike Lake Junction-Harmony Estate Road-Amorji, Amorji Nike-Adoration Pilgrimage Center, Phase 2 and 3, respectively, all in Enugu East Local Government Area. The completion of these urban roads, will no doubt ease the difficulties being encountered by motorists and other road users in the area. Also included in the recent projects approved for execution, were rehabilitation of Akpabio Street, GRA and access road at the old Governor’s Lodge, GRA—all in Enugu metropolis, respectively.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, being a lover of the sports and the youth, has not forgotten sport development in his infrastructural strides, since he took over leadership of the state. He understands the tripod nexus between uplifting sports activities, youth empowerment and reduction of crime in the society. It is akin to killing three birds with one stone. No elected, or even appointed leader, can claim to love the masses, especially those under their youthful age, while neglecting sports and its attendant infrastructural facilities. It is served best when these facilities are taken to the youths in the grassroot, where abounding talents, hitherto not recognized, can be discovered.
This wisdom informs the recent nod given by the Enugu State Executive Council, ably led by the governor, to construct Nsukka Township Stadium (Phase One) at the contract sum of almost a billion naira. Though this has generated mixed reactions in some quarters. Some people even questioned the rationale behind the project, especially when there are other “pressing needs” of the state. As thought provoking as their arguments might sound, I think they did not get the entire perceptive, right. Investing in sports, especially in its infrastructure, is one of the major areas that yearns for attention of any serious government.
Nsukka Township Stadium, when completed, will not only provide ultramodern sporting facilities to our ebullient youth, but will take it close to those at the grassroots. Anyone who is familiar with Coal City, will attest that Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, no matter useful it is to the state, can no longer be enough to satisfy sporting urge of Enugu residents; alone, talk more of the developing communities around the state capital. Nsukka Township Stadium will reduce the over dependence on the aging Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium and provide more opportunities for our teeming youth.
A good town planner will agree with me that, it is time to even relocate the stadium outside the city center, to free up the traffic—which usually builds around the stadium, whenever there is a major sporting activity in the facility. Having the biggest market in the state, Ogbete, close to the current stadium, again, is one of the major reasons Nsukka Township Stadium should be constructed in earnest, to decentralize activities in the state.
Nwobodo writes from Lagos