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Yuletide travels and experiences(2)

By Douglas Anele
While in the village, I interacted with my relations who I had not seen for sometime. We had meetings where vital issues relating to how to improve my kindred, Umuokwara,was discussed.

From what transpired at those gatherings, I realized that some of them still believe that their misfortunes in business, careers, marriages etc. are due to the evil machinations of others who used diabolical supernatural forces to thwart their destinies. I engaged in heated arguments with some of my cousins on the issue. I tried to convince them, unsuccessfully I believe, that the bulk of our problems stem from wrong decisions and bad choices we made over the years.

I am convinced that the earlier people come to terms with their mistakes and work hard to correct them and stop blaming imaginary enemies for their failures, the greater the possibility that they will make better decisions in future which will enhance their practice of life.Now, let me say a few things about the condition of the countryside, using my village,Ishiowerri, as a paradigm.

Life in the village is still rustic and hard. Apart from a few oasis of wealth belonging to families with prosperous relations living abroad, nouveaux riches, and political office holders, most villagers are poor. The large percentage of the aged in the rural areas means that the pace of economic activities will be sluggish and weak.It is really painful that up to this time Ishiowerri has no functional potable water supply and electricity. The villagers, especially children and the youths, trek some distance to fetch water from streams.

Throughout the12 days I stayed in the village, part of the  area where my family house is located did not enjoy one second of electricity from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria. Thus, we were compelled to buy fuel for generators  at exorbitant  prices.When I asked about the cause of the problem,I was told that the transformer was bad, and  that the relevant authorities are unwilling to effect the necessary repairs.

The road  linking Ukwu-egbu and Nkwerre-Umudi road has been in a state of disrepair for years.What exactly is Nkwerre local government doing about that road? In Nkwerre LGA, there is no viable industry that can generate employment for the people, despite the fact that there are indigenes of the area who are wealthy entrepreneurs in cities throughout Nigeria, and abroad. The consequence of the high level of unemployment  is the increasing level of criminality in the villages.

This ugly situation is noticeable throughout the south-eastern states. I call on Ugochukwu Nzekwe, the member representing my cnstituency in Imo State House of Assembly, to improve on his performance level by ensuring that my people get their fair share of amenities from the state government.

Similarly, the governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim, should look into the problems of inadequate supply of electricity and lack of pipe-borne water in Ishiowerri village and its environs, and expeditiously do something  about it.

People still complained that my local government, Nkwerre, has been neglected by the state government, although a development  centre has been created there. Creating development centres,on the surface, appears to be a good move,so long as it serves the interests of the people.

But if it becomes a conduit pipe for siphoning public funds, then the whole exercise is wasted, further plunging the people into “the slough of despond.” Therefore,if the incumbent governor is serious about good governance and has the interests of Imo people at heart, he should ignore what sycophants are telling him and do all in his power to be a servant-governor.

I know that there are entrenched agbata ekee politicians and big men and thick madams in Imo who are solely interested in filling their pockets with the funds that should be used in developing the state.

I have it on good authority that some Imo indigenes of questionable character  have relocated to Owerri to participate in looting the state.Evidently, Ohakim is not a saint. Nevertheless, the governor should avoid political gold-diggers and concentrate on delivering good governance to the long-suffering people of Imo State.

Hopefully,with people like Amanze Obi around him,he should be able to resist the shambolic influences of greedy politicians and implement programmes for the good of all.At this juncture, i must express profound disappointment at the repeated failures  of the Federal Government  to rehabilitate the Lagos-Benin expressway. That road is one of the busiest, if not the busiest,highways in Nigeria.

Many segments of the road, particularly from Ore to Benin by-pass, are  terribly bad.On our journey back to Lagos, we spent over four hours ,instead of one and half hours,from around Okada to  the outskirts of Ore.I am usually reluctant to bring ethnic considerations in analysing issues.

But sometimes I cannot resist the persistent impression that if the road in question was located in the north,the Federal Government would have rehabilitated it long ago.What a shame! CONCLUDED.


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