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New Year: Imo communities outline challenges

By Chinonso Alozie, Owerri

Baffled by the level of neglect in the over six hundred communities in Imo State, rural dwellers have resorted to self-help.

The Orogwe signpost along Onitsha road, Imo state, being unveiled by the traditional ruler of Orogwe community, Eze Emma Ejiogu. Photos by Chinonso Alozie.

This is not without asking the government to engage in grassroots governance to end the anguish of the rural inhabitants in the state.

The failure of leadership in Imo State, as regards communities, varies. South-East Voice visited the Orogwe community in Owerri West Local Government Area, in the state.

It was during their community youth enlightenment programme tagged Repositioning Orogwe for greatness, organised by The Orogwe Patriotic Assembly, TOPA, and unveiling of a signpost to differentiate the boundary of Orogwe and neighbouring communities.

South-East Voice was told that Orogwe community comprised Orogwe and Ndegwu, with six and five villages respectively and that the traditional ruler of the community is Emma Ejiogu.

Some of the issues troubling the community is lack of jobs for their teeming unemployed youths, lack of roads, dilapidated school buildings and lack of water.

The leaders of the eleven villages said they had started a process to engage their youths as one of the ways to address the plethora of challenges they have.

Speaking to South-East Voice, the traditional ruler of Orogwe community, Eze Emma Ejiogu, said: “When you look at the unveiling of the signpost, a lot of people keep talking about the big things but the little things matter a lot.

“If you know what this signpost is going to do for my people, you will be surprised. A lot of our brothers and sisters have passed Orogwe without knowing.

“With this signpost, you can tell your driver that you will stop at Orogwe and when he gets to Orogwe, he will stop you.

“We have six villages in Orogwe and five in Ndegwu. We like to develop ourselves. Before I became the traditional ruler, we have been in the forefront of carrying out developmental projects in Orogwe in different areas.

“And when you see a group of elders come together, know that it is very important.

“There are some problems we say that community help cannot solve in our communities.  We need attention in so many areas some of them include the roads. We need electricity and water.

“For people to come to Orogwe and live, they will like to see these social amenities present so that they will be comfortable.”

The President-General of Orogwe Community Development Union, Mr. Jerry Atuzie said: “It has been top on our minds to have a signpost like this. If you look at where Orogwe is situated, you can’t differentiate it from neighbouring communities.

“So, we need something that will help as a direction for our people and some other people coming to our community. They need to know where it starts and ends. We want to thank The Orogwe   Patriotic Assembly, TOPA, for this move, it is highly commendable.

“We look forward to getting more good things from them. It shows they have Orogwe in mind.”

Adding his voice, the President of Orogwe Patriotic Assembly,  Mr. Cliff Nzimako stated: “We started in September 2017. We came together and said that we want to have an association that drives development in our community.

“We still have the community development union but we felt that we should have a group of interested Orogwe men and women that will drive developmental activities.

“We fund our group through voluntary donations by our members. The purpose of our conference is to change the mindset of our youths. The problem we have now is the issue of mentorship of our youths.

“What we are trying to do is to organise a seminar where we bring our brothers and sisters who have made it to talk to our youths.

“The key aspect of the programme is to talk to our youths on how to change their mindset and grow in the society. The other one is on healthy living. We have doctors and pharmacists from Orogwe who will talk to them on how to live a healthy life.

“Also, how to manage the two key diseases we have – hypertension and diabetes. As the population ages, these are two health issues you have to deal with. How to mange it if you have it and how you can prevent it if you do not have it.”

In his view, the organising committee chairman, Mr Patrick Chukwuemeka Duru, said: “This is community first, we want to celebrate with our people and seize the opportunity to talk to our people on life issues ranging from youth empowerment and career development.

“On the side of the youths, we feel that there is a gap. Today’s youths are more interested in short cut approach to everything, everybody wants to make it very fast, taking the wrong route.

“We think that the youths should be guided so that they do not make mistakes at last.  We expect that everybody must go to school but not everybody must go to the university.

“We want people to diversify, if you have the skills, come up with it and we guide you on how best you can achieve your ambition.

“We want the youths to know that there are key ingredients that you must have, key factors to success, starting from humility. If you are not humble, you will have a very big challenge.

“These days, you may have a degree but it may not be enough to market you. You need something to top up you degree; like if you go to the ICT world, you take a small course, it can be desktop publishing or any other thing that will add value to what you already have and give you acceptability in the job market.

“Empowerment is when you come out with an idea and what you want us to do and we know that you have the passion. What we are doing is going to be a structured and well-arranged programme to sustain the youths in their areas of interest.”


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