WHILE  leafing through the Daily Independent newspaper of Tuesday, June 14, 2011, I stumbled on a piece entitled, “Between Peter Obi and Ihiala people” written by C. Don Adinuba, a public affairs consultant.

The story later made appearances in all the newspapers in the country. The writer who often expresses strong opinion on issues was rather unedifying in this piece. A whiff of bias was manifestly evident.

Not even his spirited defense of Soludo (his choice of candidate in the February 6, 2010 Anambra governorship

election), when the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria was hurled abuses by Dele Cole, was as prejudiced. The brooding sense of loss evident in the piece suggests that the writer might still be unnerved by the turn of events in the election that produced Obi instead of his candidate. The absence of truth in the narrative portrays him as one with an axe to grind in the whole matter.

But that is a function of democracy. “It gives every man”, wrote James Russell Lowell, US essayist, “a right to be his own oppressor”. Access to free speech/writing is gradually taking a tumble as many people have turned critics when things don’t work out in their favour.

Evident in the entire piece was a note of complaint about the purported neglect of Ihiala, an outskirt town on the southern flank of the State. To drive home this point, emphasis was made on how Governor Obi discounted the efforts made by the town to sustain his administration through difficult times. As a consequence, a feeling of perversion against the administration was engendered according to the writer. But how true is this theory of neglect?

A rundown of development spread as undertaken by the administration via the Anambra Integrated Development Strategy, ANIDS, will shed some light. Since the Obi administration debouched on the political leadership of the state, Anambra has witnessed development in every sector and every section. Apart from the initial successes recorded by the administration in ridding the state of political rascality which years of impunity entrenched, Anambra has grown beyond fasting and prayer to meet basic needs of its citizens.

Today almost all the towns in the state have some projects completed while many more others are on-going. Ihiala as a town has a fair share of these completed projects and on-going ones.

But before giving the lie to the claim of neglect by the writer, let us excerpt from the address of welcome presented to Governor Obi by Orsumoghu community, one of the towns that make up Ihiala Local Council Area on  September 11, 2009.

“Time may not permit us to mention your many projects in the state and Ihiala Local Government Area in particular, one after the other, but on the side of road projects we thank you, especially for the Azia-Orsumoghu-Mbosi road project with a spur to Lilu awarded by your government to Grand Star Construction Co…which is nearing completion.

We also appreciate the effort of your government in the provision of a bore hole in Community Secondary School, Orsumoghu through the Millennium Development Goal Water Project”. Until Orsumoghu is discounted from the number of towns that make up Ihiala Local Government Area, such times will the writer’s claim of neglect be taken seriously.

Still on road projects in Ihiala local government, the following new roads are in advanced stages of completion: Lilu-Eke-Ututu road, Ihiala-Ogbaru road with a bridge (Okpu), Umudara- Ogwuaniocha road, while Ihiala local government ring road, Uli University road, Oluoha road are already completed. Lilu road, hitherto accessed through Eke-Ututu, a market town in Orlu area of Imo State, is particularly worth mentioning because of its peculiarity.

Until the Obi administration commenced the building of that road, no government, not even Mbadinuju the former governor who hails from the local government, attempted building a road across the heap of rocky mountains. The natives still marvel at the efforts exerted by the administration in building a road across the mountain, previously unimaginable. This is because there was no access except through Eke-Ututu market.

Aside road construction, the Obi administration has completed the following projects: health centers in Amaputu Uli, Eziama Uli, Isieke Okija, etc. Staff quarters were also built for Amorka and Isieke Okija health centers.

The administration also constructed legislative building at Ihiala local government headquarter, a borehole at Eziani, classroom blocks at Uzoakwa Community Primary School, and procured a 500KVA transformer, all in Ihiala.  It is instructive to note that even with all these achievements the writer still accused the Obi administration of prejudice against his people.

The writer should be asked, what his brother, the former governor from the local government did for his people, not to talk of the entire state? And this writer was not known to have attacked him for the wasted years.

It is a fact that not every community and or local council area must present a commissioner at the inception of any government, Obi’s included. Changes are expected in the course of administration and that was what Obi did when he appointed Chief Aloysius Egwuatu to oversee the Ministry of Science and Technology as Commissioner.

For a state with about 16 commissioners, it would be difficult for its 177 communities and 21 local council areas to produce a commissioner or adviser at a fell swoop. It would be a more sensitive issue were attention not paid to the senatorial zones in making such appointments. It will not just be unwieldy managing political appointees made not on the basis of useful contributions but on the inane consideration of pacifying every town.

The writer must know that Uli does not hold the sole distinction of being a historical town because of the location of Biafran Airstrip.

Uga, another town in the same senatorial district also did, just as several other towns in the state have one historical relevance or the other. The claim that the State University at Uli is being relocated to Igbariam, a town which in the writer’s estimation does not approximate Uli in importance, is just risible.

EJIKE ANYADUBA, a commentator on national issues,wrote from Anambra State.


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