*Igwe Chidume exchanging pleasantries with the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe (Agbogidi) at the Ofala arena.
By Nwabueze Okonkwo
ONITSHA – The traditional ruler of Omor community in Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra State, His Royal Majesty, Igwe Chris Oranu Chidume, Eze Anukwu Eze Igulube of Omor Kingdom has appealed to the South-East governors to raise a think-tank that will fashion out modality for instituting an integrated and synergistic economic programme for the South-East.
He said the core mandate of such think-tank would be to identify the core opportunities that should be explored such as integrated railway systems, natural gas pipelines, etc with a view to getting ready to receive our brothers and sisters who may likely heed the think-home philosophy.
In his one-year anniversary on the throne and first Ofala cultural festival held recently at his palace in Omor, Igwe Chidume also called on the state and federal governments to note that what the people are facing today is a result of rural-urban migration of people who are not useful to the urban areas, but rather constitute nuisance.
According to the monarch, “Introducing the people to agriculture with a sustainable enticement will go a long way in stimulating the agriculture value chain which is one of the core pillars of the government of the day under the leadership of Governor Willie Obiano.
In addition, he said agrarian communities in Nigeria, just like Omor, with a bubbling youthful population, are usually faced with challenges of the youths indulging in illicit and hard substances and other social vices common among youths. Most times, people are compelled by peer pressure to indulge in them which ultimately lead to addiction.
“The youth being the strength and future hope of any nation, we must ensure we see to their well-being through positive engagement of their potentials. On this, we have engaged NGOs and some social organisations in working closely with the elders of the community on strategic steps that can stave off the plague of these unfortunate phenomena.
“Omor, because of its huge agricultural potentials, hosts the Lower Anambra-Imo River Basin Development Authority, which is an important Federal Government project in rice value chain. This, we have embraced, hoping that by the time the project is fully resuscitated, farmers will be able to engage in three-season-per-year rice farming which will in turn have a multiplier effect on the economy of the community and its neighbours. This will also expedite the Federal Government’s resolve to stop rice importation.
“The good news here is that the off-taker of this rice, JOSAN Rice Mill And Farm, who acquired the giant mill with annual rice production capacity estimated to be around 50,000 metric tons, the biggest rice milling plant in Nigeria, will not lack input.
“Going by the capacity of this giant mill and other rice milling plants around, with other viable ventures springing up around Omor and Ayamelum, like the Gas project being undertaken by Ibeto Group in Omasi, I see an economically viable Omor and Ayamelum.
“This is clear justification for the expediency of bringing in a commercial bank that will tap into the economic potentials of these enterprises around Omor and Ayamelum.
“Consequent upon that, it’s high time we called on Governor Wille Obiano to bring his political will to bear in positioning a commercial bank in Omor.
“Your Excellency, Mr. President, ably represented by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, I welcome you once again to Anambra State and to Omor town. I want to extend my appreciation to you for your doggedness in repositioning the country.
“I would like to appeal to the Federal Government to look into the construction of access roads to our communities – Otuocha-Omor-Adani road in particular. If the road is fixed, it will allow movement of farm produce from our towns to other parts of the country where we will access a bigger market and at the same time, unblock the economic fortunes of the region and further encourage inter-regional exchange of goods and services. This will bring boom in both agricultural and commercial activities in these communities and beyond, thereby discouraging rural-urban migration.”
He thanked Governor Obiano for the good works he is doing in Anambra State.
“I commend the government of Anambra State under your leadership for the giant strides in actualising a better Anambra using your Four Pillars of Development-Aggressive Mechanised Agriculture, Oil and Gas, Trade and Commerce and Industrialisation. Our people are enjoying the peace and development which your government has brought.”
The first Ofala festival which lasted for three days,with traditional and cultural activities going on non-stop at his palace in Omor, attracted dignitaries from all walks of life, including President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige and Governor Willie Obiano and also featured “Omor-in-Focus”, among other cultural fiestas.